It was May of 2000.  I had just been elected President of the Western District Youth Division of our church organization.  After the flood of emotions had subsided—“what have I got myself into, how am I going to find the time for this, what an honor, etc.”—I quickly realized I would need a dynamic personality to be the face of promoting our youth agenda and programs.  We needed someone positive and energetic; someone to whom the kids could relate and by whom the kids could be motivated to positive life change. After discussing the possibilities with the Youth Secretary, one name emerged as a prime candidate: Darin Sargent.

I did not know Darin personally at the time. I had just heard about him and his unique ability to communicate and motivate others.  After meeting with him and discussing the promotional needs we faced, I was convinced he was “the man!”  Over the course of the next five years, our youth team organized one of the most successful youth divisions in our church organization.  Our youth camp and convention attendances swelled in number, teens were impacted, and lives were radically changed!  Our success was fueled in large part by the energy and creativity Darin brought to the position.

Another thing happened during this time period; Darin became one of my closest friends.  We laughed together and at each other (really hard at times!).  We stressed together (really intensely at times!).  We even disagreed on plans and ideas (fervently a couple of times!).  But through it all, I learned to respect, admire and (yes, I’m secure enough in my manhood to say it) love him.

Darin epitomizes the old proverb, “When life hands you lemons; just make lemonade.”   He is one of those people who’s life story will mesmerize you.  Overcome physical limitations?  He’s done it.  Dealt with ridicule, cruelty and people telling him “he can’t?”  Yeah, he’s done that too!  And by the way, don’t ever tell him he can’t!  Been able to overcome limitations and the doubters with an amazingly positive attitude?  That’s Darin Sargent.

I’ve seen him capture the attention of grade school children, bring tears to the eyes of tough gangbangers in a High School assembly, and infuse courage and determination into the hearts of seasoned teachers and church leaders.

On the pages of The HandBook you will be privileged to hear some of Darin’s story while being the beneficiary of the wisdom he has gleaned along the journey.  The path to success like his is not easy.  In fact, your path to success is sure to be littered with obstacles.  And if in the course of reading these principles and insights you are tempted to think, “I can’t do that,” I hope you will remember whom you’re telling, “I can’t!”   Then, just go out and do as Darin wisely says, “Have faith in who you are, in what you can do and what you can become!”

Darin and The HandBook have my two thumbs up!

Jonathan Mullings