“There’s just something different about the ladies at Houston’s First,” said Anna Hasselbring, who joined the church in 2004. She initially visited while attending Beth Moore’s Tuesday night Bible study during Beth’s long service here. The Prayer Ministry and ladies in First Place 4 Health, a biblical health management program, provided guidance and support as Anna sought the Lord and continued on a long road of emotional healing. His healing and her spiritual growth prepared Anna to mentor young women who need a prayer partner, an encourager or just a listening ear.
Anna was born in El Salvador, where she grew up on a tropical coffee plantation. She was raised Catholic and felt God’s pursuit of her at an early age. Anna didn’t hear the Gospel until age 17 when she moved to the capital, San Salvador. She readily accepted Christ, but wasn’t discipled until she moved to the States where two older brothers had settled. “I had no one to walk alongside me,” she said. “I believe I’m passionate about mentoring because during the years from 18 through my early 20s I had no mentor.”
Her first marriage at 22 was her “ticket out” from the care of her brothers, who kept a tight rein on their baby sister. “It was a foolish decision,” she said. “I married an alcoholic like my father, but the Lord protected me those six years.” Though Anna had no relationship with her father (he had never even lived with the family), she had followed in her mother’s footsteps when choosing a husband.
A new Christian in a new country, Anna lost her mother, just 54 years old, in the Salvadorian earthquake of 1986. “I felt abandoned by God,” she said. “I felt rejected by Him, and the enemy came against me with lies. Anna finds common ground with young women who have been disappointed or abandoned by their earthly fathers or who have lost a dear loved one. “Some women have had no real relationship with their father,” she explains, “and it often affects the relationship they have with their Heavenly Father.”
But God proved to be a compassionate Father to Anna in providing a loving and godly husband, Kris Hasselbring, whom she met in Divorce Recovery at another Houston area church in 1992. They married two years later.
Women of all ages are drawn to Anna’s warm and caring nature. She became involved with T.A.G., Touching Another Generation, a mentoring ministry for women at Houston’s First, and has mentored five women in the last two years.
“I really connect with Millennials,” said Anna. “During a mission trip to Indonesia last year, I met a young woman, also on the trip, who had lost her sister to cancer. It’s a sorrow that only another person who has lost someone can understand.”
As Anna was encouraged by the ladies she met at Houston’s First, so she now encourages others. Anna met Laura Brown in Crossing the Jordan Life Bible Study and became her friend and unofficial mentor. “When I was struggling terribly with doubt, she spoke the truth of the Word of God to me,” said Laura. “When I am baffled as to the correct step to take, her gift of wisdom and her knowledge of Scripture directs me.”
The Women’s Ministry not only desires for all women to know they are uniquely designed and loved, but for all women to feel connected to the body of Christ. Through their mentoring ministry, Touching Another Generation (T.A.G.), the Women’s Ministry enables mentors to touch the lives of individuals and speak truth into their lives on a more intimate level.
T.A.G. applications for 2016 will be available at every campus beginning Sun, Nov 8. Women wanting to be a mentor or a merea (Hebrew for young friend) can learn more online or by contacting T.A.G. Coordinator Nancy Taylor (Nancy.Taylor@HoustonsFirst.org, 713.957.7641).
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