The Noble Warriors Team of staff, board members & key volunteers have pledged $16,200 in our Jump Start Campaign to kick off our year-end giving! Our goal is $55,000. Click here to track our progress!

Family Witness for the Kingdom

“How can we ‘adorn the gospel’ when it is already perfect?”

It’s a question posed by Harry and Elaine Hanger years before we met, and they’ve spent their life living out the answer. Harry and Elaine Hanger were called to adorn the Gospel in their family life, as Elaine explains, in the same way we bring in a perfect evergreen tree from the forest to adorn with Christmas ornaments. It doesn’t make them more perfect; it only draws attention to and highlights the perfection that is in it. And the Hangers made it their mission to adorn the Gospel with the way they raised their three children and lived as a family committed to spotlight the Gospel in all they do. 

For the Hangers, it just made sense that family training and family ministry are necessities. After all, we receive training for everything else – jobs, driving, etc. Yet when it comes to marriage and family, we’re often just launched on our own to figure it out and fend for ourselves. The Hangers poured their time, energy, and treasures into family ministry. One Bible study their own teens formed became legendary at their local public high school and even included a little swing dancing for fun – the kids could not get enough. Harry was behind the scenes all the while training his own children to teach the Word and become leaders in their circles. That study eventually reached 200 students!

That’s why Stacy and I clicked immediately with Harry and Elaine.

Elaine explains, “We always wanted to support anybody doing anything to teach people how to reflect the Gospel in the family, and that’s what Mike and Stacy were all about.”

When Harry attended a morning meeting with Noble Warriors where young guys were being taught principles of how to be godly men, he was very impressed with what was being taught.

“We’ve always been very thankful for Mike’s heart just to shepherd men.” So Harry and Elaine became faithful monthly partners.

Even when they received a devastating diagnosis, news that would alter the plans they shared for their future, Harry stood faithful in planning, preparing, and paving the way for the future of their family.

Encouragement in Suffering

“Even contracting a terrible disease like ALS can be used by my loving Heavenly Father.”

Harry was no stranger to suffering having lived in chronic pain since his twenties. He gave his life to Christ in college and dedicated his life to pursuing Him. For 35 years he led a Bible study with his “Tuesday Morning Guys”, a group of local businessmen. Harry wasn’t the type of man who pushed his way into leadership; he was more reluctant. But his biblical knowledge and passion for Christ were so obvious to anyone around him that they knew… this is a man who studies and knows the Word.

So, it was no surprise to those who knew Harry that he viewed his illness as an opportunity to develop his theology on how God uses suffering, and Harry purposed that he would use his suffering to encourage others. He wanted to allow God to communicate hope through him to other people. 

“That I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death.” Philippians 3:10

Harry was open about his suffering, but his Kingdom perspective continued to shine through.

“Elaine and I both know what the future holds (as far as my ALS), but we both conscientiously choose to focus on the blessings of the present and not the certain sorrow of the future.”

Even from his wheelchair, Harry stepped up to lead his family, and he continued leading his small group as well until he was no longer physically able. Even then, he wrote many letters for as long as his fingers were up to the task. Harry and Elaine often ended their day by saying, “We’ve had another good day,” and they would turn to the Lord in prayer.

Harry’s life and testimony are a consistent encouragement at Noble Warriors, and in this crazy year we aspire to continue passing that baton of hope to others. Harry’s perspective shows us all that even in times of suffering, disappointment, and loss, our task is to be faithful to the call of building the Kingdom.

We are thankful for Harry’s example of living for the Kingdom and investing in Kingdom men, and we are thankful to honor his legacy.

Leaving a Legacy – Harry’s Footprint

“Keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us.” Philippians 3:17

Each of us will leave a legacy, whether we plan for it or not, because our legacy is based on how we live our lives here and now.

One day, we will come to the end of our journey on earth, and all that will be left are the footprints we leave behind.

Harry Hanger went to be with Jesus in April of 2017, and he left a large footprint to fill. We may not have Harry with us here today physically, but we have him here with us through his wife and family, his spiritual children, and his legacy.

Elaine and a friend took some time to put together a composition of Harry’s letters which he faithfully wrote from the onset of his illness. His letters would keep his friends and family updated on his progress and also shine a light on God’s faithfulness in the midst of his suffering. The book, The Footprint of Harry Hanger, contains letters of his faith, wit, and wisdom written during his journey with A.L.S.

On one of Harry’s last trips to the beach with his family, he shared a cool story of their family worship time. As he was no longer able to lead, he took great pleasure “in seeing our children playing with their children as I had done with them (the torch has passed) . . . On Sunday the younger generation led us (as we had done with them) through reading of the Scriptures.” 

Harry reminisced in another letter that someone once told him he was an extraordinary man, but all he could think was, “I am an ordinary man in the hands of an extraordinary God.”  

I know I am challenged by Harry’s legacy to lead a life worthy of the calling of Christ. I want to live so that those who walk behind me will find me faithful in leading my family, faithful in discipling others, faithful in finishing strong, and faithful in leaving a legacy for the Kingdom. Harry exemplified spiritual strength even in the deterioration of his physical strength.  

One legacy Harry left behind was his partnership with Noble Warriors, and Elaine carries on their intentions to support family ministries.

Even in Harry’s last wishes, he left an opportunity for others to partner with Noble Warriors through a Memorial Fund.

In Harry’s words, the torch has passed. Who will pick it up and carry on the work that needs to be done? 

Who will stand firm?

The Noble Warriors Team of staff, board members & key volunteers have pledged $16,200 in our Jump Start Campaign to kick off our year-end giving! Our goal is $55,000. Click here to track our progress!

Mike Young
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