An interview with Hanne Evans
Why is a Danish lady living in Port Talbot?
The short answer is, ‘I was brave enough to marry a Welshman.’
The longer answer is that I have had close friends in Ynyshir in the Rhondda and visited Wales since 1998 and always been taken by the mountains, the coastline in south Wales and the Welsh people. Therefore it was not frightening at all when I met my husband and found out that he was the one to marry. We began our married life in Denmark, after which my husband pastored a church for four years in Plymouth. We came to Port Talbot in December 2015. I must say that Wales has welcomed us wonderfully and that our whole family feel very at home here even though Wales comes with the Welsh weather.
How did you come to faith?
My parents didn’t go to church but allowed their Christian neighbours to take my sister and me to Sunday school in the local church. Here I heard about God’s love. I knew that I was a sinner, but unfortunately, I couldn’t understand God’s grace. One day, as a little girl I decided to say sorry to Jesus for every sin I did. In the end, I had to give up because I couldn’t remember how many times I swore and how many times I had said sorry.
When I was 21, I was in Copenhagen, the capital of Denmark, pursuing a career as an actress, and here God revealed his grace to me. My sister suddenly didn’t want to smoke my cigarettes and drink my beer anymore, and she wanted to be married. She had met some Christians and had given her life to the Lord. I thought she was mad, but for one year she witnessed to me faithfully, showed me a new kind of love and reminded me about truths we had heard in Sunday School. Suddenly I understood that I had to turn from my sins and turn to the Lord Jesus, who had done all that was needed on Calvary and I received his forgiveness. I was a changed person that day in 1995, and the first obvious change was that I didn’t swear anymore.
How did you become involved in the work of Child Evangelism Fellowship?
Quickly after my salvation, I got involved in children’s ministry, and after a year I did a course with Child Evangelism Fellowship (CEF). I was impressed by the high quality of training and their big heart for the children — especially the ones who normally don’t have access to our churches. The workers seemed a bit mad though when they told us they were living by faith. My thoughts were, ‘Good for them!’
After finishing my teaching degree in 2001, I moved to a small village called Rødding in the south of Denmark to work at a private school, and soon I could see the need of training and inspiration for the children’s workers in my new church. I called CEF and they said, ‘We would gladly come and help you, but you have to arrange it all and teach a little as well.’ So this is how my adventure began as a volunteer of CEF. It didn’t stop there, and in 2003 God started to call me through his word into ministry with CEF. I loved my job as a teacher and living by faith was very scary. But God took away all my fears and reassured me through his words. In 2004 I went to Switzerland to do CEF’s three-month leadership course. When I started to work for CEF pioneering a new local work in southern Denmark, the work flourished. My testimony fits perfectly with CEF, so when CEF Britain approached me when we moved to the UK in 2011, I said ‘yes’ — first pioneering a work in Plymouth and now in south Wales.
Why are you known as the LEGO lady?
When CEF first came to Europe from the United States after the Second World War, the workers brought flannelgraph to help tell the Bible stories. Flannelgraph is out-dated now, and so here is where LEGO comes in. Some of my colleagues in CEF Germany started to use LEGO in their ministry, and it opened up many new doors for children and families who normally wouldn’t hear the gospel. LEGO is very attractive and appeals to both children and grown-ups. So when I was offered 65 kilos of LEGO, which a Danish businessman and his wife would generously sponsor, I quickly said, ‘Yes please!’
What sort of things do you do?
The LEGO has so far opened up doors for me to work with fourteen different churches since I received it in February 2016. I have also used it to do a Friday Fun Night, Easter and Christmas Clubs, Holiday Bible Clubs, at a church’s day out and at Messy Churches.
In August 2017 I held a holiday club with LEGO in Ystradgynlais. Last year, around twenty children came and this year thirty-seven children came. Wherever I go the building events with LEGO and Biblezone are very popular, and it grows each time. Normally we open with a LEGO craft, colouring or game, and then we start the LEGO building. In the middle of the programme, we have a break with refreshments and a Biblezone, where I teach the children the gospel through a Bible lesson and a Bible verse. After that, the children finish their creations before the parents come and view a final display. Soon I am going to try and use the LEGO in an afterschool club and on a more regular basis in our Kids’ Club in my local church.
What do you find exciting about your ministry?
I am a Christian today because my parents’ neighbour invited my sister and me to Sunday School. Therefore, I love to be a part of inspiring, helping or even training the local church to remember and reach out to the children who are around them. The Lord Jesus sees these children, loves them, died and rose for them. Will the local church remember them?
Furthermore, I love that we have a real God, who wants to meet our real children of today who have real problems and who face real temptations. I love it when the gospel comes alive for the children and when they start to pray and read the Bible. Then I know we have come a long way.
CEF has a lot of experience in training children’s workers to reach out to the children and has good solid Bible-based resources. May we help with outreaches in your community? If you are interested in finding out more, or wonder if CEF could help with your ministry, please email firstname.lastname@example.org