For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD,“plans to prosper you and not to harm you,
plans to give you Hope and a Future.
Pastor Ben Daggett-Gonzalez is humbled and grateful to have received this invitation to serve at the work of God in Derry and Salem, alongside the St. Luke’s and Pleasant Street UMC congregations. Ben is originally from a small town north of Hartford, Connecticut, where he, his older sister and brother learned from their parents a deep appreciation for the outdoors, prayer, music, travel, and the "art" of bringing puns into otherwise thought-provoking conversation.
Upon graduating from high school, Ben traveled to Brazil on a yearlong student exchange, and was so taken with the culture and language that he set off for Latin America again for his junior year of college, that time in Argentina. His experiences in foreign lands and the radical hospitality he received from strangers turned friends, turned family eventually convinced him in heart and mind that God’s ways are better than his ways. Soon after that he came to believe that Jesus is the Way, as he had learned about from the Bible and in church growing up. Amazed at the prospect of participating in God’s great story, Ben worked for several years as a medical interpreter of Spanish and Portuguese in central Massachusetts, and met his wife-to-be Milka and her children Carlos and Karlene among the community of faith. Milka, in addition to being passionate about Jesus, was an interpreter colleague and true friend. When Ben served with a mission team together with former street kids in Brazil, Venezuela, and Texas, he discerned that God’s call on his life included seminary and full-time ministry. He enrolled in school again and completed his M.Div at the BU School of Theology in 2016, with a concentration in Global and Community Engagement. Ben and Milka were married in 2015, and came to the UMC through friendships and missional collaboration with Brazilian Methodists in the greater Boston area and Worcester. He is a provisional elder with the New England Annual Conference.