The time I was able to spend with Donnie was very brief, but I always felt a desire to reach higher for Jesus after we were through hanging out. He was a man of incredible strength, but his faith exceeded that even more. That’s what I take away most from this wonderful man of God. My mission is reaching and discipling student athletes at Sam Houston State University through Chi Alpha. I first met Donnie in October of 2016, when he was doing a talk with the baseball team here at SHSU and after he was through, I gave him a ride back to his hotel after we made a stop at Jack In The Box, so he could get tacos and tea with a lot of ice. During the drive, he asked if I was reaching student athletes here at SHSU. I told him that I wasn’t and Donnie began to share his heart with me as to why reaching these guys mattered. It really tugged at my heart and I knew that was the Holy Spirit. A year later, that would become my mission. I was so excited to learn that Donnie was going to be the main speaker at South Central SALT in 2017 and I had hoped that an opportunity would come that I’d be able to visit with him and share what I was now doing. My wife and I were about to get on the elevator in the hotel and out come Donnie. I felt kinda speechless at first, but then Donnie remembered my name and gave me a hug and I was quite surprised by that, seeing as how our first visit was brief. Donnie took some time to hangout with me during SALT to talk about his experiences in ministering to athletes and God used him to give me vision and more faith in what Jesus was going to accomplish through the guys I’m ministering to. That would be the last time I would get to hangout with Donnie in person. We had what seemed like two brief spontaneous hangouts that would impact my life in ministry forever. I will never forget those two occasions I’ve spent with Donnie for the rest of my life. On April 19th, I sent a text to Donnie with a picture attached that I’ve placed below to encourage him with what God is doing on our campus among the SHSU football team. This is what the message said and I hope that he got to read it.
“Hey Donnie, I just wanted to say “Thank You” for giving me your time and thoughts over SALT about reaching athletes. Wanted to let you know that this spring semester in this picture above is currently what’s been happening. I’ve met 7 hungry men on the Sam football team and we have a small group that I’m leading and they are always asking questions and really desiring to know Jesus and they have a burden for their teammates. I’m overwhelmed by what Jesus is doing here among these guys at Sam Houston State and I’m grateful for your encouragement and the model you’ve set friend. These guys here would love to meet you one day and Coach Deggs and the baseball team would gladly welcome you again man. Praying for you and hope this encourages you as it has for me. Thank you Donnie. ??”
To friends and family
To Donnie’s family and friends, I send my deepest sympathies and prayers during this time of loss. I take heart the things he shared with me about being a husband and a father and I’m very grateful for it. Thank you to all of you that ministered to Donnie as he carried out the advancement of God’s kingdom. So many lives were impacted for Jesus through this man and he will be greatly missed. Heaven welcomes an incredible man and Donnie is now in the presence of Jesus.