Wood Carved Heart
Daniel Woodall knows exactly who he is. His tone lets you know that he is truly a man speaking about his passion. This isn’t just a spur-of-the-moment-endless-stream-of-consciousness that Daniel was relaying. It is his life, his faith. This is his foundation: “I’m all about God’s love and His grace,” he said. “It’s not about me. I’m just a vessel to be used by him.” Even without vocalizing it, Daniel’s warm heart and honest intentions are written all over him: it was in his laugh, his friendly tone and it’s present in every facet of his mission.
Daniel’s mother was born deaf so he grew up around sign language. He ventured into professional signing in 2007. “It was instilled in me that life was more than just about investing in yourself.” He wanted to further his impact by finding ways to give back to the hearing-impaired community. “I feel that a lot of different people have the ability to talk, but not a lot of people have the ability to sign.”
Daniel’s life has come full circle. When he was nine years old, his family moved to Sulphur, Oklahoma. His father started a summer camp for the deaf and built log cabins for campers. From an early age, Daniel was busy learning sign language while also working with wood for the camp. These two hobbies would continue to follow him later on in life.
Currently, Daniel and his wife Becky are preparing for a mission trip to Moldova, a country in Eastern Europe. This will be Daniel’s third time making the trip and his wife’s eighth. “We’re doing summer camps for the deaf,” he said. “The former camp director decided that it was time for her to do some other things. So now, my wife and I are the directors.” Daniel and Becky’s 10-day summer camp houses around 100 kids.
When they’re not teaching in Europe, Daniel and Becky are both busy working as full-time interpreters. Daniel works for Edmond Public Schools and is also an interpreter for various agencies. In his free time, Daniel carves the state of Oklahoma out of reclaimed wood, along with other items, and sells his work online. He accidentally stumbled upon the idea of selling woodcarvings for missions. “My wife saw something online that she liked and said ‘Hey, can you make this for me?’” he said. “I made it and put it up in our house and she posted it on Facebook.” People immediately liked the work that Daniel was doing and started requesting for him to make more Oklahomas and even other states.
Embracing the popularity of his designs while still following his calling, Daniel uses the money from selling the items to help fund his mission trips. While he has to put a price tag on his items online, he insists that the buyer decide the final donation amount. The art not only gives purchasers a chance to find interesting décor items for their home, but it also allows them to play an active role in fulfilling Daniel’s mission.
Daniel said that there are a number of ways that people can help fund their mission. While the online retailer Etsy helps sell the items that he makes, Daniel said that they need one thing from people more than anything else. “Pray for us,” he said. “We need lots of prayers while we’re there.”
Daniel also offered sound advice for anyone hoping to find their passion: “People spend their lives waiting for something to fall in their lap instead of going out and becoming a part of something.” While we all may not have the resources to travel around the world to help people, Daniel believes that your talent might be hiding right in your own backyard. “While you’re serving, loving and doing those things, you find your passion,” he said. “If you never get out there, you’ll never find it. Go find something to do and it may be right around the corner.”
Check out Daniel’s work at woodbywoody.etsy.com. Donations can be given via PayPal at [email protected] or by writing a check The Woodall Foundation (501c3) and mailing it to 2204 Rushing Meadows Edmond, OK 73013.