I’ll never forget the first time that I met Daren Mitchell. About 8 years ago, a friend and I were serving as Deans for high school week at North East Iowa Christian Service Camp.
Most of the Mitchell family: Kyla, Kristi, Daren, Linden, and Jared (seated).
Daren was new to the area and this was his first visit to camp. Hannah (my friend) and I were near the dining hall when up walks Daren.
He didn’t introduce himself.
He didn’t say, “Hi”.
We didn’t give each other the super-secret youth ministry handshake.
He simply asked, “Where are all the parents?”
I asked him what he meant by that and then Daren started up with some mumbo-jumbo about “parents being the spiritual leaders in the home, and how those parents should be serving as staff at camps and other youth and church events and how the church should be equipping parents to….blah, blah, blah”…and on and on he went.
The only emotion I felt was fury. Well, and some rage. And, I was offended.
And, I actually considered punching him in the face.
As Hannah and I talked later, we just couldn’t believe this guy. (I won’t share with you what I called Daren- but he knows).
Some time passed and a few months later I had the honor of riding in a car with Daren to a statewide youth minister’s meeting where I heard Daren’s heart for parents, families, children, the church, and most importantly, Jesus.
Then, I began to examine the fruit of the ministry that I was a part of. And…
Daren was right.
Daren is right.
Ultimately, it’s Daren’s fault (Jesus’, actually- but you get the point) that I pursue ministry, equip parents and desire to see the church grow in the biblical way that I’m chasing down.
I share all of this because of the incredible way that the Mitchell family has modeled Jesus to me, my family, and a great many others over the years.
And, because they greatly covet your prayers.
Several years ago, Jared was diagnosed with cancer and well, it’s never really gone away. They’ve gone through all of the treatments they can, and they’re just done. They wait for an end that is sure to come.
As I’ve talked with Daren over the years, they’ve clung to the hope and victory that only Christ brings.
Another friend posted Psalm 62:2 yesterday:
He alone is my rock and my salvation,
my fortress where I will never be shaken
Because of this hope and promise, this end is only an end.
The end is something much better, because this end is a beginning.
I hear a loud shout from the throne, saying, “Look, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.
Please join me and my family, along with thousands of others, in praying with and for the Mitchell family. And remember… the end is glorious.
[Edit]- here‘s a post from several years ago when they were a year-ish in to Jared’s cancer.