Mission Spotlight: Joe Darin
“Cooking for the Kingdom”
by: Louis Deas
Meet Joe Darin. Joe is a 34 year old husband and father from Atlanta, GA and has a sincere passion for ministry. In the past he has traveled to the Dominican Republic working on community development projects and is involved in local missions feeding the hungry. Last summer, he and his wife, Melissa, decided to travel to Honduras with Simpsonwood UMC to share the love of Christ with their brothers and sisters in Central America.
Joe was approached by HOI Executive Director, Laurie Willing, about an opportunity to serve in a different, but meaningful way in Honduras. “Laurie approached me and said that she heard that I was a chef and asked if I would be willing to host cooking classes in the village during the trip,” Joe said. “I was happy to do it!”
Although Joe has been a chef for the past 11 years, he was still somewhat nervous about cooking with the ladies in the village. “It was completely different from what I’m used to. I’m used to doing the usual projects, like mixing cement and pouring floors. But, I got a chance to practice the trade that God has given the ability to work with. I felt like God said ‘I gave you the skills and now I need you to teach other people.'”
Joe spent a lot of time cooking and sharing unique experiences with the cooks at the Ranch as well as the people of Las Masicas, where he spent the week teaching. He spent time showing the villagers, primarily the women, how to cook healthy and nutritious meals for their families using easily accessible vegetables that grow in the area. Joe’s personality and willingness to share his gift with the community made the experience enjoyable for everyone involved.
When asked about the most meaningful part of his unique mission experience Joe replied, “I loved cooking with the ladies at the Ranch, but the most meaningful part for me was being able to help break stereotypical norms. At first it made me a little uncomfortable when some of the men would give me funny looks for cooking, which is traditionally assigned to women in many cultures; but I got increasingly more comfortable and I just pray that I was able to help change someone’s perspective. I know it helped me grow, because when we get out of our comfort zone we’re able to experience more meaningful things in life.”
Joe’s story is a great example of how we can use our everyday talents and skills to bring glory to God and serve others. He had such a great time last year that he’s going back again this summer!
If you are planning on traveling with us to any of our three site locations and have a unique gift, talent, or trade that can be used to help develop the communities we serve, please contact Laurie Willing to learn how you can get involved.
Mission trips are a central part of HOI’s ministry in Honduras and Nicaragua. Week after week teams of missionaries from around the country travel with us to serve the people of Central America in different ways. Each team member has a unique story and has a special gift that God can use to bless the people in the communities we serve. Every couple of months we want to put the spotlight on one of our partners, share a bit of their story, and encourage you to serve the people of Honduras and Nicaragua in your own special way.