How does the transition from summer to school year affect you? Children seem the pivot in answering that question, and for us, it is usually typical. But this year the Hanson household also experienced new beginnings and a renewal of steadfast ministry.
New beginnings in our home started with Mandi, who returned to the workforce after 17 years. She began work in the Cedarville University library, and finds it both challenging and rewarding to be both wife-mother and library assistant during the work week.
Our oldest daughter, Melanie, started college this fall at Sinclair College in Dayton. She is taking a full load, in class three days a week. During her off days and evenings, she works at our wonderful local pizza joint in town, Colonial Pizza.
Caleb, Brianna and Hayden are playing fall sports, which only means we are on the move every single evening.
For me I turned from 23 years of full-time youth ministry, a somewhat formal beginning of our next chapter. A new youth pastor started September 1 at Grace Baptist Church, and I turned over the accountability, transitioning to an advisory role. It does feel different—but a good different!
The transition gives me greater opportunity to focus on renewed steadfast ministry, as we resumed our chaplaincy with Central State University football. It was great to come alongside the team for pre-season camp, and return to the sidelines to pray for and cheer them on, with Bible study soon to come. They enjoyed their first game over Labor Day weekend, and lost in the closing minutes. The last Sunday of August, we hosted the team at Grace Baptist; what an amazing opportunity to bring these 100 players to hear worship and the Word. A church service for some is a real conversation starter; for a few it was their first, and for others, it felt a touch of home (although maybe not as spirited ). Several from Grace will join me and Don Callan throughout the season, as the church will host 5 dinners for the team. Please join me in praying for openness for those team members who are unbelievers, and for courage and boldness for those who are.
We also renewed Bible studies with the Central State coaches, some new and some returning. These opportunities could not go any better. Having new coaches at the table alongside veterans turns past conversations into new. Some know the Scriptures, others not a clue. But it stirs me when a veteran steps up to answer a question, confirming that fruit has blossomed and is growing. There is no better seat to watch the Spirit work in their lives.
Also, while we have not made personal contact with the new owners of the Dayton Devils (replacing the Dayton Gems hockey team), we were told they know about us and are warm to Don and I continuing as their chaplains. Even more, we made contact with the Wilberforce University basketball coach and it looks promising to work with that program this coming season. Opportunities seem abundant.
In the midst of “pre-field” ministry for GateKeepers Ministries, we are privileged to be in ministry with gatekeepers. Athletes are often the most visible of gatekeepers, shouldering unique pressures as they step in and out of the limelight. They are watched—both on and off the field and court. Satan knows their weaknesses and plays hard in their arenas. We cannot leave them to his devices, for he hopes to keep them at a distance. Athletes need Jesus. And those who are believers—Jesus’ children—are daily bombarded and isolated to minimize their spiritual effect. They need bolstered, and I am privileged to be right there for all of them.
And Mandi and I are privileged to have many of you right there for us, too!
We are so thankful for friends like you who are interested in our lives and our ministry. We are thankful for the 56% support already received, many giving monthly and others with significant one-time gifts. We wait on God to provide the remaining 44% in His time, assured that He will provide in more amazing ways like He has already. Perhaps you are among those He will use. If you are interested in supporting us and GateKeepers Ministries, there is no time like the present. Go to http://www.abwe.com/give and use our i.d. # 0135291 to confirm your gift.
With the fall season, may you, too, find new beginnings, or new and renewed ministry.