When Dan Newburg graduated from Natalia High School in 2002, little did he know that one day he would become a Baptist preacher. He was, however, expected to achieve high goals. He was salutatorian of his class, president of the senior class, president of the National Honor Society, and a member of the varsity basketball team, where, he reflects, “Some of my best life lessons were learned….” Those included “humility and learning to self-assess one’s strengths and weaknesses” in preparation for adulthood. That must also have included the ability to laugh at oneself, as Dan claims to have been one of the coach’s “30-point men,” meaning that he achieved playing time once the team was either 30 points ahead or 30 points behind!
During the summer following his senior year, Dan worked in the Technology Department of Natalia ISD, a job that he admits was nothing of note in itself, but it was very important as during the two months he worked there, he began dating his future wife, Yvette Obaya. Yvette was one of the incoming AP Biology students, and Dan was in charge of the laptops for that summer class. Dan actually admits that he had “grown very fond” of Yvette during the latter half of his senior year, so he saw this job as a second chance to build a relationship with her. It seems that his first failed, as was she had been invited but did not attend his graduation party — a decision he suspects she made due to his lack of basketball prowess!
To best take advantage of this second chance with Yvette, Dan frankly admits that he used his cell phone — which was less commonplace in 2002 than it is today, but one he had received in preparation for college — as his best line of approach. “I strategically placed my new cell phone near her desk and am ever so grateful that she saw fit to take it upon herself to enter her phone number.” This sealed her future.
In the fall of 2002, Dan began his studies at the University of Texas at San Antonio and commuted from his parents’ home daily “in my new pickup truck” and with a girlfriend who was beginning her senior year in Natalia. This was an exciting new era in his life, and, although his classes at UTSA were in some cases larger than his entire graduating class in his small hometown school, Dan says he never felt overwhelmed. Life was exciting, and life-changing changes were in the works.
It seems that Yvette had some standards young Dan would have to consider if he was to date her. One of these was that he attend church with her. He was agreeable and ready to impress this pretty girl, even though he had been raised in a less-than-religious home. So, together, they attended Betania Baptist Church in Devine, and a few months later, Dan found himself surrendering to the Lord and accepted Jesus Christ as his Savior.
Attending UTSA together and both working part-time jobs, Dan and Yvette decided that they could support themselves; so, in July of 2005, at Betania, the couple married. They spent a brief honeymoon in San Antonio, moved out of their respective parents’ homes, and started their lives together in a “tiny” apartment in San Antonio.
Dan graduated with his BS in Computer Science in 2007, and Yvette completed her BA in Education in 2008. Dan then accepted a job as software engineer with IBM in Austin. He reflects that during these early years of marriage, they were so busy with life that they didn’t place church attendance as a priority. Never the less, he attributes the Lord as bringing them back to live and work closer to their families in preparation for children. In 2011, they returned to San Antonio where Dan worked for IBM remotely, and they purchased their first home.
The Newburgs’ first child, daughter Bethany Rose, was born in 2011. Their second child, another daughter, Liliana (Lily) Grace, was born in 2013. “It was with Lily’s birth that my faith life really changed,” Dan says. Lily was born with hip dysplasia, a condition whereby the hip joints weren’t fully developed. The treatment for hip dysplasia is for the infant/baby to wear a Pavlik harness, a device that keeps the legs and hips aligned so that the hip sockets fully form around the ball of the femur bone. Failure to so mend the hips can result in surgeries, so the parents of a child with this condition must be diligent.
All of this was heart-breaking to Dan, as he couldn’t console his wife. Yvette wasn’t going to be able to carry or bathe her new infant like a normal baby because the harness could never come off for a full year. Dan found that he was in a situation for the first time whereby he did not have complete control over his life. He had to become fully dependent on God. And, by trusting in God, Dan came to believe that God would use Lily’s condition to teach him how to pray. This “essential part of the Christian faith,” Dan says, “has proven to be the key to where the Lord has led me in what has turned out to be a new chapter in my family’s life.” And, thankfully, Lily has fully recovered.
Since Lily’s birth, Dan has worked for Frost Bank and now USAA in software development roles. Then, in 2014, he and Yvette purchased property in Bigfoot and moved into their newly built home in 2015. They joined FBC Devine and he says they “have been immensely blessed by a wonderfully loving and nurturing church family.”
In November of 2016, Dan surrendered to God’s call to the ministry, and he began studying at Logsdon Seminary, a part of Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene which has an extension campus that meets at Trinity Baptist Church in San Antonio. He will graduate from Logsdon with a Masters of Divinity degree in 2020.
Meanwhile, Dan serves as supply to area churches as needed. He enjoys preaching, and he also enjoys reading and hunting, as time allows. But “first and foremost,” he says, “my primary focus is being a husband and father to the three beautiful women God has entrusted to me.” He adds that he has total peace in not knowing where the Lord may send him and his family. And it’s his prayer that his story serves as an encouragement to others to seek out how to build a relationship with Jesus Christ.