John & Emily Darnell


account #: 3475

John serves as the Director of Ministry Programs for Hacienda El Refugio, overseeing the design and execution of the retreat experience, the training of facilitators, the design and execution of Latin American and North American internships, short-term teams from North America, and element design and maintenance. Emily is involved in teaching classes for the North American interns, mentoring staff and interns, and in the future hopes to pilot an outdoor education program for elementary age children.

John, Emily, Samantha, and Juliette live in Calacalí. John is from Glen Allen, MS, and holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Spanish (’09) and a Master of Arts in Curriculum and Instruction (’11) from the University of Mississippi. Also, John received a Certification in Ontological Coaching in 2015. Emily is from West Dundee, IL, which is about an hour northwest of Chicago. She graduated from Hope College in 2005 with a degree in English/Language Arts and from National Louis University in 2009 with a Master of Arts in Curriculum and Instruction. John and Emily met in 2008 in Jackson, WY, on a white water rafting trip where Emily was a client and John was working as the chef. They married in 2009 and taught for two years in North Panola County School District in northern Mississippi before moving abroad on January 1, 2012.

Samantha was born in July of 2011 in Southaven, MS.  She moved abroad at the age of 5 months! The Darnell’s arrived at El Refugio in July of 2013 after having spent a year working in Babahoyo, Ecuador, with a ministry to families. Juliette came along in April 2014 and was born in Quito. She is a dual citizen of Ecuador and the United States of America.

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