In 2019, Daniel Quiles left Brazil to study English in the United Kingdom. After a short stay with his uncle and aunt in Carlisle, he enrolled on an English language course at Newbold. “I wanted to speak fluent English and knew that Newbold had an intensive English language programme,” said Daniel. “It was a really good experience, and I got to meet people from many different countries.”
Daniel already knew he had received God’s call to the ministry before arriving in the United Kingdom. “Originally, I wanted to study social sciences at the University of São Paulo. At the time, I had already done the first phase of the entrance exam to study theology and history at the Adventist University of São Paulo [also known as UNASP]. However, the second phase of the exam was on the same date as the entrance exam for the University of São Paulo. I had to make a choice. I felt God asking me, ‘Hmmm! Social sciences. Do you really think that’s what I’m calling you to do? There’s more!’ In the end, I decided to take the Adventist University of São Paulo entrance exam. I felt at peace with myself. I knew I was doing the right thing.” He finished high school in 2017. The following year, he received another call, the call to serve in the military.
“In Brazil, young men have to enlist in the military when they are eighteen. I enlisted in January 2018 as required. I had to go through a selection process, in August, where we did different tests to see if we were a right fit for the army,” he explained. “If they call you to say you’ve passed, you have to serve in the army for one year. I did my best to pass the tests, to give them an authentic result. Eventually, they called me to attend an interview. The officer who interviewed me asked about my plans for the future. He wanted to know if I would consider a career in the military.”
Daniel was ready to serve his country. However, he had already made up his mind to serve God. “Trying to be nice, I told the officer I was an Adventist, and although I would love to serve in the military, I felt God had a calling for me,” said Daniel, “I told him God’s plans could not be delayed. At the end of the interview, he said, ‘Okay, I hear you. Wait a moment.’ He began writing some notes, turned to me and said, ‘Rest assured, you don’t have to worry about anything.’ Instead of waiting days or weeks for a final interview, they dismissed me the same day. The path was clear for me to come to the UK, which opened the door to study theology at Newbold.”
In 2020, the coronavirus pandemic forced Daniel to return to Brazil, but it gave him time to think about his future. He decided to study theology in the United Kingdom and successfully applied for a scholarship to do the BA in Biblical and Pastoral Studies course at Newbold.
“One of the things I most enjoy about the course is we get a deeper understanding of the Bible,” commented Daniel. “We dig deep into the history of the Bible, its biblical languages, and its meaning. It’s a holistic learning experience. You not only learn to understand the Bible, but you also share what you’ve learned with others. I like languages, and I enjoy learning Greek and Hebrew, so it’s a pleasure to read the Bible and read it in its original text. I also enjoyed learning about the Epistles with Dr Laszlo Gallusz [Senior Lecturer in New Testament]. I’ll never see the writings of Paul in the same way again because once you’ve studied context – nothing makes much sense without it – you understand what he wanted to say to the people of his time and us today.”
Daniel says that “God speaks to us in many different ways” through the Bible, prayers and Jesus’ examples. He issues a gentle warning to everyone who is struggling to decide whether they should go into the ministry, “If God calls you to the ministry, don’t run in the other direction!” and continues, “As in my case, you know you’ve received God’s call when you have to keep asking yourself, ‘Does God really want this for me?’” He concludes, “There’s no greater joy than doing what God wants us to do, knowing that his purpose is being fulfilled through us.”