Missionary Loses Weight to Get 66 African Language Bibles to Uganda

Something odd happened on the way to Uganda.

That's how missionary Danny McDowell's story of his last trip to east Africa begins.

Pictured: McDowell's spare-tire cover speaks volumes about his missionary work. The retired nurse, 67, had a spare tire he's been trying to lose - he weighed 280 pounds.
There were two strangers, a bet, and $1,000 on the table. The unusual circumstances unfolded - not half-way around the world but in Martinez - at the former location of Chain Reaction Bicycles.

As McDowell tells it: "We dropped into the bike shop looking for stuff for my wife's bicycling hobby. This fellow, Phil, approached me from nowhere. He asked, 'How'd you like to lose some of that weight?'"

McDowell, who weighed 280 pounds at the time, replied, "I'd love to." Under his breath, however, he mumbled sarcastic comments about Phil's weight and tried to shrug him off.

The "Phil" in McDowell's story is Phil Cohen, the owner of Chain Reaction Bicycles, who did not take the hint.

Here's what Cohen remembers about that day in late April or early May: "I turned to Lynette (McDowell's wife) and asked her, 'What would motivate him? What's his passion?' She said, 'Bibles.'"

For the better part of a decade, McDowell has worked in Uganda, teaching Bible classes and raising money for native-language Bibles. Now 67, the retired nurse has made five trips to Africa.

That day in Chain Reaction, after hearing the missionary's story, Cohen made McDowell an offer.

"He said, 'I will buy $1,000 of African Bibles if you lose 40 pounds before your next mission," McDowell recalled.

McDowell couldn't say no.

"You have to understand. I don't even know this man and he's offering me enough cash to buy 66 Ateso, Luganda and Swahili Bibles that would surely develop eternal dividends," he said.

SOURCE: Kelly Jasper
The Augusta Chronicle
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