MOUNT OLIVE — Robert Tyler Daniels of Raleigh enjoys working on engines, hunting, and offshore fishing with his family and friends. The 23-year-old religion major has a passion for the Bible and for helping people with disabilities. He’s the great-grandson of The Reverend J. C. and Ethel Moye who gave one of the first endowments to the college in the late fifties. After graduation, the Mount Olive College junior plans to continue his education and to obtain his master’s in Divinity. Sharon Mervin sat down with Daniels recently for an interview.
Mervin: Why did you choose Mount Olive College from all of your other options?
Daniels: When I received “the call” into the ministry, I knew that there was no other option but Mount Olive College. However, leaving all my friends and leaving the path I thought my life should be taking was difficult. Mount Olive College made the transformation easier on me. Also, I needed a Christian atmosphere that was familiar to me and a quiet place where I would feel accepted for who I am. There were no other places than Mount Olive College. It has always been the cornerstone of the Moyes, my Grandfather’s family. It is like returning to my roots and home. I knew I was going where I would receive the best quality education, and it would be the right stepping stone for my future.
Mervin: Did your family history influence your decision to attend Mount Olive College?
Daniels: My family history did indeed influence my decision to attend Mount Olive College. As a third generation of the Moye family, we were taught the importance of the school and the wonderful and loving relationship of Dr. and Mrs. Raper over the years. Dr. Raper had a passion for this college; I can honestly say that I would not be here if it weren’t for him. When I made the decision to enter into the ministry, I knew that there was no other institution that would prepare me and give me the tools and knowledge that I would need to fulfill this dream more than Mount Olive College.
Mervin: Do you find that it’s beneficial when speaking with a younger audience that you will be a younger preacher?
Daniels: Some people get their call when they’re younger and some when they are older. But when you get put in that position, it doesn’t matter your age. When you feel God’s presence…you may not want to change, but you are going to change. I don’t think your age matters.
Mervin: You told me once that you have a passion for working with people with disabilities. How would you like to help them?
Daniels: I have family with cerebral palsy, down syndrome and autism. They are just an inspiration to me. I would like to possibly do work or some kind of ministry with them to be sure that they receive the same kind of quality education that other kids receive. They need a different form of learning. Being sure that they get proper care and education weighs heavy on my heart. I would like to do something soon, but we’ll see how that goes.
Mervin: What are your ultimate education and career goals after you graduate?
Daniels: My ultimate goal is to continue my education and to begin work on my master’s degree in Divinity. After that, I pray that God will show me the work He has in store for me and to share my knowledge of the Bible and my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Wherever I end up on my journey I know that God’s hands and the inspiration of my family are the only reasons for me being there.
Mervin: You are probably aware that the tag line for Mount College is “Transforming Lives and Transforming Education.” How has your life been transformed by Mount Olive College?
Daniels: My life is transformed every day by a deeper understanding of God’s word. I have been challenged on a daily basis by the curriculum and the professors to strive to do my best. It is a special feeling knowing that every time I walk onto the campus that the Lord is working through my classes to enable me to spread His word and bring knowledge and perceptive of the love of Jesus Christ.
Mervin: Who has been your greatest inspiration?
Daniels: That’s a difficult question and I’m reluctant to answer because I’m afraid that I may leave someone out or offend someone. Several people have inspired me. Dr. and Mrs. Raper and most of my professors have been very inspiring to me. Dr. Raper opened his arms to me to make sure that my spiritual journey became a reality, and that reality would take place at Mount Olive College. Dr. Hines is an extraordinary individual who continues to inspire me each day with his knowledge and caring attitude. Dr. Hines has been most helpful - especially with the hard curriculum and the “pep talks” to keep my head above water.
As far as my family, I have been blessed with a large, extended family. My Mom and Dad, Will and Debbie Daniels, my Grandparents, Bob and Betty Moye, my brother and sister, Everett and Lindsay - aunts and uncles and many cousins, My family means the most to me; they inspire me, push me, and will do anything for anyone at a moment’s notice. While growing up, their passion for Christ, love of people, understanding of mistakes, and trust in second chances, has proven to be the foundation of my life. My grandfather Dr. Robert “Bob” Moye’s roots are very deep in the ground here at Mount Olive College.
Mervin: Your grandfather was a business manager at Mount Olive College wasn’t he?
Daniels: Yes. He was the athletic director here at Mount Olive College and later became the business manager. His only reason for leaving MOC was to pursue his dream of being a dentist. He ran a Christ- centered dental practice for over 35 years. Although my grandfather was never a minister, I believe that his “pulpit” was his dental chair, where he witnessed and told of the blessings that had been given to him over his life. His unveiling passion for people and Christ has been truly inspiring to me, and his patients throughout my life and new journey. He is a man that I look up to in every aspect of life, his perseverance, gentle sprit, and love for his family is something that I treasure. The compassion that he demonstrates to everyone around him is something that I strive to be like every day. I also thank God for the opportunity to be a part of Mount Olive College.
Mervin: What chapter in the Bible sums up your view on life?
Daniels: Romans, chapter 8. The last part says, “What shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?” That is the basis of my life. I would like to reach out to kids and tell them that He is for us. There is nothing on the earth that can stand in their way. I take it personally as well. No one can stand in the way of me achieving my goals.
Mount Olive College is a private institution rooted in the liberal arts tradition with defining Christian values. The College, sponsored by the Convention of Original Free Will Baptists, has locations in Mount Olive, New Bern, Wilmington, Goldsboro, Research Triangle Park, Washington and Jacksonville. For more information, visit www.moc.edu.