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Living on Mission: An Interview with Hannah Goodnight

Updated: May 4, 2021

Living on Mission: An Interview with Hannah Goodnight

Erika Castiglione

I love to see all the ways that Waypoint members are living out the call to be a preview of the coming kingdom of God. A group of women have stepped up to make a difference in four students’ lives during online school. I hope you will be inspired as you read their story and see the ways we can support and pray for them.

1. How did you find out about these children and their need for supervision and online school help? What prompted you to step out in faith in this way?

When I first heard about school going virtual, I began praying about what God would have me do to serve our school age community. I began to think about children who might be left home alone while their parents were at work. A couple weeks before school began, I reached out to Joy, and she told me of four children, two brothers and another boy and girl. I told her that I wanted to at least take one of them for the day and that I would pray about what else, if anything, I could do.

I was already planning on doing a preschool pod with friends so I asked them if they would care if we had some older kids at my house as well, and they didn't mind! Liz also offered to also take one of the kids to her house in the afternoon (during younger kids' nap times).

As the time grew closer to school starting, I was honestly a bit nervous about having older children in my home. I was afraid about the influence they could have on my kids and about how differently my day would look. I asked for everyone involved to pray for God's peace and assured them that I wasn't backing out. I feel like God did give me His peace. The day before the kids came, I called Joy to check in, and she said she would send all four (two sixth graders and two fourth graders) the next day. Liz and I were a bit surprised to hear that all of them were coming but decided to see what the first week would look like. I was so pleasantly surprised with the first week, the four big kids (as we now refer to them) were so pleasant and played so sweetly with our little ones!

I cannot stress enough how amazing this has been to serve in community with my three partners in chaos, Sarah, Liz, and Dianne! I could not have loved on these four children in the same way on my own! I am so thankful for my sisters! We definitely share each other's burdens, and various tasks like meal planning and preparation for 12 kids.

2. What does your week with them currently look like?

The big kids come to my house before school starts every weekday, and Sarah, Dianne, and Liz come with their kiddos. Our younger kids play together mostly outside, while the big kids do their virtual school on their laptops and join us for breaks and lunch. For the first nine weeks, one of the adults would be primarily with the big kids, but we have transitioned to trying to be more of a monitor than a teacher that is with them the entire time, which hopefully promotes their independence and responsibility. In the afternoons, when all of the adults have to get our little ones to take their naps at our separate houses, two of the kids stay at my house and two go home with Liz. Then, they go home around 4:00.

3. What have been some blessings you have experienced from serving these children and families?

The big kids are so amazingly sweet and fun with our little kids! I know I will look back on this season of my life and be so thankful for the interaction that my kids got with them! We've built trust with them over the past couple of months and have gotten to hear a bit of their stories and to share the love of Christ with them! We get to experience a little taste of what parenting (sort of!)/teaching teens is like - how to speak God's love and mercy and truth into everyday life with them. I've done a ton of cultural learning as well, all about Roblox (so. much. Roblox.) and you-tubing and Adopt Me.

4. What have been some challenges?

Trying to keep up our hopes for our preschool while the big kids need help with their virtual school is definitely a challenge, as is adjusting to sharing even more of my time and mental and emotional energy with more children. I definitely escape to my baby's room, to nurse her and get a breather.

Some of the learning needs that they have as students can feel a bit insurmountable and discouraging, but God has sustained us and given us energy to continue and to try to work on one assignment at a time and to let go of the hopes that everything will be done perfectly. Maybe we cannot help an ESL student make the gains that he needs to get on grade level, but we can keep our focus on what matters eternally, teaching them about the Good News found in God's word, and sharing the love of Christ, through conversation, a hug, ensuring all assignments are attempted, baking cinnamon cake, teaching someone how to mow the grass, or playing soccer (shout out to our husbands!).

5. What are some specific ways others can come alongside you as you serve in this way? What needs (tutoring, coaching, etc.) do you have?

We need people to come read with a sixth grader, for any amount of time that you have available! The kids generally finish around 2:15 in the afternoons, so helping after that time would be greatly appreciated!

General tutoring would be a great help, again, for any amount of time! You can come for the whole morning at my house and be available for anyone who needs help, or half an hour. The kids can also wear their masks and be outside with you!

You could make us a lunch or pick up DPS lunch and drop it off at my house!

You can come play soccer with us on Wednesday afternoons.

6. What are some ways we can be praying for you and the kids?

Please pray for us to have God's strength and patience every day and the stamina and endurance we need to do this however long God calls us to it, which is probably until school goes back.

Pray for softened and inquisitive hearts to the gospel, not only among the big kids, but even our little kids, so that the teaching can happen all throughout the day and be beneficial to all who hear!

Pray for their moms to be encouraged and given God's supernatural strength as they provide for their families!

These children's dads are not in the US right now, so pray for them, while they are away from their families!

For discipleship, that they would want to grow in the knowledge of Christ and maturity!

If you would like to help out in one of the ways mentioned above, you can contact Hannah at (828)-989-5775

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