My UNSHAKEN story on the National Geographic and Biography Channels this weekend

I just found out that two shows taped about my Hiati earthquake survival experience will both air this weekend.

On Saturday night (June 4), the National Geographic Channel will air a show called “Witness: Caught by Disaster,” featuring my story among others, and on Sunday I will be featured on the Biography Channel’s “I Survived.”

You can imagine how strange this feels. Some days I feel so disconnected from my earthquake experiences, as if they happened to someone else in a story that I read. Other fleeting moments I am right back in the darkness, smelling the broken concrete and hoping for rescue (speaking publicly about my adventure usually brings me back, among other things).

And now holding my newborn son, Sam, so grounds me into my present, normal life, that it makes these occasional media exposures seem especially surreal—not something that happens to ordinary me (surreal is a state of mind I’m becoming accustomed to).

I don’t know how these shows will turn out. I haven’t seen them, and you never know what they’ll cut or keep (be warned: many stories on I Survived involve violence).

But I’m hopeful.

I’m sure they’ll tell some parts of the story that others have found interesting—what it’s like to face a bad earthquake and be trapped in a collapsed building, how technology (including my iPhone) helped at key moments, etc. But I really hope they also left in some of the positive messages in the story.

I hope they remind people about the challenges faced by the Haitian people, especially the poor, and their resilience to rise above their circumstances. Hopefully the shows will keep
at least a short profile of Compassion’s ongoing work with impoverished children in Haiti and generate additional support for this Christian ministry that I love.

I hope some testimony of how God was present with me in my crisis, working on my heart even as He preserved my life, comes through in these secular accounts, because I think many people need to be reminded of how God meets us in times of crisis and can be trusted no matter what.

Hearing such testimony on the National Geographic Channel and the Biography Channel, where God is rarely discussed in seriousness, would be very encouraging.

However the shows turn out, perhaps they will draw more people to the complete account in the book, which I believe does hold messages of hope and challenge for people in many situations. So I’m grateful that both of these channels found interest in my story.

If you end up watching either show, I’d be interested in your thoughts. And if you haven’t encountered the whole story yet… check out Unshaken, still in many bookstores.


  1. Michael Coyne says:

    Dan – Saw your story on ‘I Survived’. Your goal of showing Christ’s love and presence came through. Blessings in you and your family as you continue the journey He has planned for you.

    Michael Coyne
    Washington, DC

  2. Beth Stitely says:

    Hi Dan! Just wanted to let you know that your book is kicking off our book club here in Dunedin, New Zealand. We’re looking forward to discussing it, especially how God was present with you and how your testimony will influence others. The topic is very relative as Dunedin is not far from Christchurch and many families here have relatives and friends who were affected by the recent earthquake in New Zealand.
    Our prayers are with you and your family.
    Kind Regards,

  3. Thomas says:

    Hello Dan,
    I can’t imagine how crazy this experience must have been for you. I’m glad u r able to talk about it. I know it helps very much to talk and process things.

    My cousin was staying there at the hotel doing some work with a whole bunch of kids over there.

    She never made it out, but I wanted to say hi

  4. business says:

    Christ Jesus, we ask not that you would spare us affliction, but that you will not abandon us in it. When we encounter affliction , teach us to see you in it as our sole comforter. Let affliction strengthen our faith, fortify our hope, and purify our love. Grant us the grace to see how we can use our affliction to your glory,and to desire no other comforter but you, our Savior, Strengthener and Friend. Amen.