Guided by God
God brought Eric ′06 and Danyale (Strider ′05) Brazos to the same place by very different roads.
“I had grown up in a Christian home, but I wasn't necessarily looking for a Christian college,” Danyale says. “I wasn't really sure where I was supposed to go, but I took a chance and applied to Geneva.”
She was accepted, and took that as a sign that this was where God wanted her to be. She decided to major in chemistry and got involved on campus right away. She joined the Black Student Organization (BSO), and she and some friends got together and started a gospel choir on campus. As Danyale entered her sophomore year, she made a commitment to reach out to freshman girls who were minorities, welcoming them to Geneva and letting them know she was there to support them.
Danyale was a junior when she met Eric in the multicultural student services office. A student ministry major in his mid-twenties, Eric had been recruited by Geneva′s head football coach in high school. However, because his grades weren't high enough for him to come to Geneva right away, he started taking classes at a local community college.
“That′s when my little brother passed away,” Eric says. He was playing basketball with his brother in Geneva′s back gym one day, when suddenly, the 16-year-old collapsed on the court. “He had an enlarged heart, and no one knew.”
After that, Eric says he really didn't care about anything. He was depressed and starting drinking and partying. He stayed in school because he knew he had to, but he gave up on football and entered a trade school. He was at rock bottom when his mom invited him to church.
“While I was there, I gave my life to the Lord, and everything completely changed,” Eric says. With a new desire to learn, and even to play football, he called Geneva. It had been six years since he had originally been recruited, but he reapplied and was accepted.
Geneva was exactly what Eric needed. He made strong Christian friends on the football team, he was challenged and mentored by his professors, and he met his future wife in Geneva′s multicultural student services office.
“If I had come to Geneva right after high school, I never would have met her,” Eric says.
Now they are married and are living in the Pittsburgh area with their active two-year-old, Ava. Eric is earning his master′s in school counseling at Chatham University and working with severely troubled teenage boys at Southwood Psychiatric Hospital, and Danyale is a medical toxicologist at Quest Diagnostics.
They are both amazed at how God used Geneva College, not only to bring them together, but to grow their faith and prepare them for the challenges of life.
“At Geneva, I had an opportunity to spend time studying the word of God on a regular basis. It gave me a solid foundation in the Christian faith,” Eric says. “My professors were proficient Bible scholars, and they were able to relate the subject content with real-life situations. Now I work in a highly stressful environment, and my faith is what keeps me going from day to day.”