Daren Mitchell is local, raised in Oak Cliff, he spent a year in the UGM Discipleship Program in 2001 before leaving, in his words, “because I had become arrogant.” He stayed in Dallas, spent time in East Dallas off Gaston and Fitzhugh detailing cars. Yes, there were drugs and alcohol; there was depression after separating from his wife and not being able to spend as much time with his grandkids. Sometimes the things our disciples have gone through before leaving the streets will astound you. Daren was on his way from a convenience store one night, heading around the corner to purchase drugs when he was held up by two men, who shot him in the head and stabbed him in the face multiple times. If you’ve experienced that, you’re not supposed to be around talking about it.
Shortly after this, Daren took a personal inventory. He was depressed from not seeing his grandkids, not going to church, into self. He remembered his time in UGM’s Discipleship Program as a time of spiritual and emotional healthiness. He also realized that, “I left the Mission, the Mission didn’t leave me.” Friends he had made at UGM stayed in touch. Still, after realizing he needed to come back, it took Daren almost a full week to return. “Again it was my pride and arrogance.”
Once he came back, Daren Mitchell realized his true vocational love is being around food. He worked hard as a kitchen assistant at UGM’s men shelter. Now that he has graduated from the Program, he is the cook at the Center of Hope. He wants very much to return to El Centro and finish a culinary program he had once started. He’s also taken the first steps toward healing relationships with his ex-wife, “we’re now friends,” his sister, his niece and, of course, his grandchildren.
This time around, Daren gave himself some time, enough time for him to see and understand that in Christ we become new creations.