This corner of our website is meant to give you a chance to get to know Dan Hegelund, our Lead Pastor a bit better. What's his story, what's on his heart, watch sermons, and much more.
I was born 1977 in the most criminal part of Denmark. A so-called no-go-zone that was so criminal, that not even law enforcement could patrol there safely. Full of crime, drugs, barking dogs, rage, fear, and violence. The police would show up maybe once a week with truncheons and full body armor and they would violently clash with occupants throwing rocks and molotov-cocktails. The yelling, the screaming, the dogs barking, the blood.
I remember police raids in the middle of the night. People that I knew as a child were killed by gang violence or thrown in prison. You see my mom was an Christian evangelist on a mission to save those who needed saving the most.
Once, I was on my way to kindergarten and our path got blocked by police and occupants fighting in the streets. We had to run in a different direction to avoid the violence. I remember another friend, or acquaintance, he was the leader of a gang similar to Hell’s Angels. He, and others, got shot and killed. It was not uncommon for me to experience violence, blood, and loud screams.
My parents were divorced when I was a baby. My mom felt it was important that I still see my father. She didn’t know how bad he was. I certainly didn’t tell her. Because then she might not let me see him again. And even though he was very bad, I still loved him, so I kept it a secret, so that she would still let me see him. My biological father was a drunk and a drug-addict. When he drank, which was almost all the time, he got rowdy and violent.
I experienced violence, I commonly saw blood. I experienced screams and threats. I remember one of his many women chasing me around the house, yard, and surrounding forest threatening to kill me. I was also sexually molested by several people. Basically, I was physically, sexually, psychologically abused at a very young age.
Satan wanted to accomplish my death, and in a strange way I feel that my death–in a spiritual sense–is also what God wanted to accomplish. You see, resurrection only happens on the other side of death. At least for some of us thats how it works. There is a saying that goes: “He who is dead can no longer die”. The Bible has a similar verse that says “I am crucified with Christ therefore I no longer live, Jesus Christ now lives in me.” Satan’s plan to obliterate me in my childhood aligned perfectly with God’s plan to bring me to place of complete brokenness and dependency upon God.
At the young age of six, I had already experienced such degree of despair, forsakenness, crushing, and destruction that I was completely broken. I remember sitting on a swing; tears just flowing like rivers from my eyes. I felt completely abandoned, crushed, and frankly… dead. I felt like some kind of misunderstanding had occurred. That I wasn’t supposed to have been born. That I did not belong in this world. Like I could feel every single beat of my heart, in slow motion. Time slowed down. Everything blurred. I was all alone in the universe. Everything was emptiness and silence.
But in that silence something stirred. Someone was there. I noticed that everything had changed. I was not surrounded by darkness, but by light. My tears of pain turned into tears of bliss. I felt God wrap around me like a blanket. And I heard His voice: “You are not alone. I am with you. Always. Your life is not a mistake. I have a plan for your life. I will take you on a miraculous journey, and I will be with you every step of the way”.
I died at that moment, and what is dead can no longer die. I was completely broken. But what Satan had intended for evil, God intended for good. It’s because of that brokenness that I clung to God as if my life depended on it. And nothing could snatch me out of His hands. I was forever joined at the hip with the divine.
I want to give credit to my mom, Linda Meissner. She loved me and nurtured me, and talked with me about God, and we prayed together. And she would share stories from the Bible or from various Christian revivals.
From that day on, nothing else really interested me. Don’t get me wrong, I certainly played and had fun just like other kids, but I was not the same. Where others would dream of cars, girls, and sport-teams; I would dream of revival, kingdom expansion, and souls saved. Because of my traumatic childhood and my transformative encounter with God, worldly things just didn't seem to matter as much anymore. Life itself had little worth to me, except for what God had to offer.
Where Satan intended to steal, kill, and destroy, Jesus Christ, the lover of my soul wanted to give me eternal life and life abundantly. BUT He knew that this type of life would only come after I had died. That is why Jesus said, “You must be born again.” In other words, you are going to need to die. So I experienced genuine brokenness and death. Which lead to my resurrection and abundant life.
The amazing and extraordinary life that I have lived since my encounter with God, and since giving my life to Jesus, is like something out of a movie, to be honest. I haven’t really told too many people about it until now, because I feel it can come across as bragging or boasting, but I really have experienced some completely amazing things in my life, and now I feel that my story could bless someone. Perhaps you too came from impossible beginnings, with a history of abuse and trauma. Well, there is hope.
Now, I have a wonderful marriage. Three beautiful children. I hold a Bachelors and Masters degree from one of the best universities in Europe. I have experienced and participated in genuine revival, where many lives were saved and a large number of Churches were planted. I have traveled to wondrous parts of the worlds such as the Russian military navy base of Murmansk, the nuclear disaster place of Chernobyl. Africa, the Middle East. I have performed on international television on the God Channel as well as on national television in talent-shows. I have performed before parliaments and have shook the hands of a vice-president. I have been the worship director of three Churches in three countries. And I that barely scratches the surface. Studio-productions, festivals, concerts, competitions, talent shows, radio, television— On and on, the list continues, you can read some of it in my resume, but success can be deceitful, and the heart can be very deceitful, and really I try to not care about any of that. Even though I feel successful in several areas of my life, in my heart I am still that six year old boy. Broken. Dead. Gone. None of it matters anymore. At this point, I just want to sit at Jesus feet and learn from God.
I am like the girl who cracked her jar of Alabaster oil at Jesus feet. She then wiped His feet with her hair and kissed them. Every time I worship, I pour myself out as a living sacrifice at the feet of Jesus. Kneeling at His feet, wiping them with my hair, kissing them. My heart burst open like the jar carrying the Alabaster oil. I feel as if I am basically dead. The only things keeping me alive is the Holy Spirit breathing His life into my dead body. Not sure if that makes any sense, but that’s how I feel.
I really have experienced much, much more than what this testimony could account for, but at least I feel like I have shared a tiny bit of my testimony. Enough to give you a taste. I give God the glory for the good and the bad. I rejoice that my name is written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.
To end with an Encouragement and a Bible-verse. My encouragement would be, “The story is not over until its over. Some traumatic experiences that don’t make sense while their happening will prove to be invaluable later in life. Crazy as it may sound, I would not trade those experiences now, because they made me who I am today.”
The verse I want to share is Genesis 50:20 NIV, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.”
Don’t be defined by religion, the masses, your background, or your scars. Draw close to God and He will reveal Himself to you in a very real way. Selah.