Bethesda News

Lily K. Martin, Communications Specialist

“Hey, we need you to fix something”, is a phrase that Darvin Martin and Dan Latshaw hear several times a day. While the work is wearying at times, Darvin and Dan continue, year after year, to fix all the broken things at Bethesda Mission. Darvin, Bethesda’s unofficial “handyman contractor”, has served the Mission in various capacities for over two decades. He is in good company with Dan Latshaw, founder of Pitbull Solutions, who has also served Bethesda for nearly 20 years, providing IT consulting and network/technical support to the shelters and administrative offices. Bethesda was one of Pitbull’s first clients, and Dan’s relationship with Bill brought him back each year to give his time and services.

Darvin, a Lancaster County native, worked at the Men’s Shelter as the Food Services Director until April 2001. He then took his talents to Outreach Ministries (now the Food Bank) in Mechanicsburg, where he served until 2005. Shortly after, Darvin returned as Bethesda’s “handyman contractor” where he serves as the point person for any and every problem that arises with Bethesda Mission’s facilities. On a given day, Darvin plans to address a set number of issues, but something else always comes up that demands his attention, whether that is a water where it shouldn’t be, fixing a shower or a broken receptacle, setting up COVID protective barriers, or pulling cables with Dan. In his words, “a typical day is absolute chaos.”

Dan and Darvin share a similar motivation for their continued, longtime service with Bethesda Mission: they get to have a front-row seat watching shelter guests overcome addiction and homelessness. Having grown up in a Methodist parsonage, Dan experienced the despair and hopelessness of homeless individuals firsthand as they often came to his parents’ home for a meal. “It made me not want to be homeless,” Dan said. “I saw how hard it was for them.”

Darvin reflected on several interactions with guests, saying that the connection between the staff, volunteers, and shelter guests is his favorite part of serving with Bethesda. He remarked, “[Bethesda] feels like family. We care. The one cool thing about Bethesda Mission is despite our imperfections God has his hand on Bethesda Mission. It just keeps moving forward. It’s cool to be a small part of that.”

Each of these men feel a strong sense of calling to Bethesda Mission. When asked about his motivation for continuing to work with Bethesda, Dan replied, “We can bring experience from the outside world to help the Mission. Some people get focused on the business of helping people and not the business of helping Bethesda.” He knew Bill Christian, Director of the Men’s Shelter, from a previous job, and when Bill brought him to the Mission and Dan saw that the network was not in the best shape because volunteers, not professionals were running it, his motivation was to get the Mission a stable, functional and cost-effective network that would help them effectively serve their guests. He has also worked hard to establish a database that tracks trends and progressions in guest recovery.

Darvin and Dan serve the Mission tirelessly and attribute their dedication to evidence of God’s work in the guests, the staff, and volunteers: “I could tell stories all day long about how I saw God work…”, said Darvin, “So many unexplained things could only be God. It changed my faith over the years, seeing how God came through, not everything is going to be perfect and great for us, we have to keep moving forward, some of those experiences changed my views and my path. I’ve seen God work through fundraising too. When you ask, God delivers.”

When asked about the Misson’s future, the two remarked, “we don’t want the grace or the unity that is present here to disappear. We hope the Mission continues to meet peoples’ needs: body, mind, and soul”.

 

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