Dan Schall was an angry young man when he heard the Christian Gospel message at a concert he attended in a small town in Texas at age 17.
Now a messenger of the Gospel himself, Schall will share his testimony in word and song at Holiday Springs RV Resort, First Baptist Church Weeki Wachee Acres and at the Nobleton Community Church in February.
Schall grew up with a severe speech impediment that caused him to stutter. It prevented him from doing things other teenage boys did, like asking a girl for a date.
"Not once could I open my mouth without stuttering," Schall explains on his website, danschall.org. "Teenage years always bring confusion, but my stuttering combined it with anger."
The night he attended the gospel concert, Schall wasn't even sure there was a God. Church, to him, had been a social club, and God was something mankind had made up because they were afraid of death. But a Bible verse he heard toward the end of the concert touched his heart.
It was John 3:16.
"Right before the group sang their last song, one of the men said a verse from the Bible, then they began to sing," Schall explained. "The verse was 'For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son for us.' "
As he watched other teens going forward to pray, the verse kept repeating itself in his mind.
"I can remember at first saying to myself, 'What is going on?' As the time passed, I began to cry."
Schall realized something was happening.
"I knew that my heart was changing," he wrote. "The pain, hurt and anger was leaving me. There wasn't thunder, lightning, and the earth didn't shake, but I was at peace with God and myself. There with hundreds of others who gave their life to Jesus Christ that night."
Schall still had his stutter, but he was changed.
The anger was gone, and Schall began reading the Bible. He read how Jesus gave his disciples a "great commission" to share the Gospel with the world.
"Well, I knew I couldn't preach. A 15-minute sermon would last three hours," Schall joked.
But he could sing. And when he did, there was no stutter.
"People seemed to enjoy my voice," he said. "So that's what I did."
Schall gave concerts on weekends and finished his schooling, then worked as an engineer. Eleven years ago, he went into the ministry full time.
Now 59 and the father of two adult children, Schall and his wife of 42 years, Linda, leave their home in Zelienople, Pa., many times each year to travel up and down the East Coast so Dan can minister.
He performs more than 200 concerts a year at churches of any denomination.
According to the website, Schall "presents the Gospel and encourages individuals with gifts that God has given them to live the life God has planned for them."
He also encourages people in their day-to-day struggles.
"Some nights I share about my heart bypass or that Linda had epilepsy," Schall said. "I share about car accidents we've been in. God's carried us through all of it."
Schall began recording in 1970 and describes his voice as baritone and his style as "old hymns, a little bluegrass, country gospel." He's made 14 CDs and a DVD. The latest is Because He Lives.
It will be his 12th consecutive year appearing at the Nobleton church.
He's performed at First Baptist in Weeki Wachee Acres before as well.
"I enjoy both churches," Schall said, noting that his concerts are relaxed. "We've been coming south for a number of years, and with many of the churches I come back every year for concerts. They become like our church family."
Jay Miller, on the board of directors at the Nobleton church, is a fan of Schall.
"He puts on an absolutely fantastic program and uses a lot of humor," Miller said. "He and his wife are a delightful couple."
One young man who came to a recent concert gave his opinion to a friend of Schall's.
"He'd never been to church his whole life," Schall said. "My friend, who was taking him home, asked him what he thought of Dan Schall. The young man said, 'He's okay, but the guy he was singing about is really something.'
"The story was a blessing to me," Schall said. "He looked past me and saw the one I was singing about and serving."