Andrew Hancock

and

Sarah Mally

Our Story

Andrew and Sarah's video


You may know Andrew but not Sarah, or you may know Sarah but not Andrew. In this video Andrew and Sarah answer a few questions to help you get to know them: How did you meet? What did you think when you first met each other? What Scripture passages have been important to you? What has been a highlight? How have families been involved? How does Andrew like being called Prince Charming? Did the proposal go as planned? What do you appreciate about each other? How has COVID-19 affected your wedding planning? Tell us a little about your future ministry and goals.

Watch their video here.

Below is more of their story written out.

Background


By Sarah:

I grew up in Marion, Iowa, and I have two younger siblings, Stephen and Grace. My parents have been in full-time ministry since I was young, and I loved growing up with parents who involved us as they served the Lord. We began homeschooling in 1990, and this was a great blessing to our family too.

When I was 17 I started a girls’ Bible study in my living room called Bright Lights. My goal was to share with younger girls what the Lord was doing in my life and to encourage them to be strong in the Lord in their youth. I found that many girls were thirsty for biblical teaching and I was excited to see them growing in Christ. This group began to grow, and after a few years the Lord opened the door to train and equip other girls and moms to start Bright Lights groups in their own areas. Over the years, the Lord has continued to give new opportunities to train leaders, host girl’s conferences and write resources. If you are interested in learning more about Bright Lights, you can check out our website: www.brightlightsministry.com 

By Andrew:

I grew up in the Iowa City area and have lived here for most of my life. I was raised in a loving home, with my parents and my two brothers, Matt and Paul. My parents led Navigator College ministries during my childhood in Illinois and Iowa City. I’ll always remember those years, interacting with college students in the ministry who were full of faith in Christ. Many of these students my parents invested in spiritually still keep up with us to this day, which is super special.

I sensed a call to ministry in my early twenties. This calling has been confirmed many times over through the affirmation of church leaders, fruitful ministry experiences, and excellent educational environments that have shaped my heart for the Lord. I have a bachelor’s degree from the University of Northwestern in Christian ministry and Bible and two graduate-level educational experiences at Southern Seminary (MDiv and EdD).

Apart from living away for school, God keeps calling me back to the Iowa City area to serve at my home church, Parkview Evangelical Free Church. After living in Minneapolis, I served on staff in a blossoming college ministry for 5 years at Parkview. And after living in Louisville for graduate school, I was a pastor of the young adults for nearly 10 years, again at Parkview. It has been such an honor to serve in these ways at the church I grew up in. Right now I am taking a break from full-time ministry to work on my health and find relief from chronic back pain.

How God Brought Us Together


By Sarah :

How We Met - In February of 2018 there was a conspiracy between a friend of Andrew’s and my sister, Grace, to get me and Andrew together! Since Andrew came so highly recommended and since he was a pastor at a church in my area that I was already familiar with, I definitely thought it would be worth meeting him for coffee.
Plus, I had researched him in advance (and my parents had too). We even read some of his papers and Bible studies on his website … and we liked what we saw. :-)

So Andrew and I were total strangers when we met each other at a little coffee shop called the Kava House on March 2, 2018. We had a great talk about life and ministry. After meeting him, I remember telling my sister and friend, “I don’t know if anything is going to come from this, but I can’t believe there is guy like this right in my area!”

Andrew and I have lived in the same area for most of our lives. We are the same age and both us have been in discipleship ministry, but neither of us had heard of each other before!

Andrew and my friendship grew as we met each other many times for coffee, spent time with each other’s families, and got involved in each other’s churches and ministries. Andrew and my dad were able to get well acquainted also, and Andrew joined a small men’s Bible study my dad was leading.

Lessons and Challenges - Andrew has had chronic back pain for many years, as a result of a couple car accidents in his twenties. A few months into our relationship there was a severe flare-up in pain, and a few months after this, Andrew decided to go on a sabbatical from work and ministry in order to focus on health and pain.

The past year has been a very difficult one for Andrew as he suffered through a lot of pain, worked hard on physical therapy, and has seen very little improvement in the pain. On the other hand, it has been a wonderful year for us as we have been able to spend much time together, experienced God’s grace and many spiritual blessings in the trial, and seen our relationship deepen as we have walked through this hardship together.

I was so very excited on January 28th when Andrew said he believed he should move forward with me in faith. On a trip to Florida where we were visiting his family, he took me on a beautiful boat ride to watch dolphins. Then as were walking along the beach, Andrew dropped to his knee on the beach and asked me to marry him!

By Andrew :

I liked Sarah from the start. As we got to know each other, I quickly realized she was beautiful, had a deep walk with Jesus, and that we shared many things in common. Sarah had a similar heart for discipleship. She was a teacher, writer, and ministry leader just like me. And we were around the same age. Amazing! Given that our ministries were both large and relatively close to one another I was surprised we never heard of each other.

We got to know each other slowly at first, sharing a lot of coffee as we learned each other’s stories. As we got to know our families, ministries, and churches, it became clear that God was in this and it was a great fit. Along the way, we received so many positive responses from our loved ones. They encouraged us to keep going in the relationship and to trust God together. I was blessed by Sarah’s care for me and she enjoyed how I led her in the relationship, especially in the spiritual aspects of life. Sarah and her family have been a wonderful support for me as I have experienced lots of back pain and its corresponding appointments and frustrations this past year. But in the struggle, God has only brought Sarah and me closer together.

It may have taken me longer than most wanted but I did eventually propose. I will never forget the joy in Sarah’s eyes when she said, “yes!” It was very special to give her an engagement ring. After all these single years, God brought us together. So neat! My grandma says that God saved us for one another. We agree and are so delighted and humbled to share our story and lives with all of you.


Our Future


By Sarah:

One of my prayer requests for a future husband was for a man who had a heart for discipleship ministry. The Lord answered that prayer above and beyond in Andrew. There are a lot of unknowns about what the Lord has for us next, but we both share a heart for discipleship, for equipping believers, for the local church, and for family. We both have experienced the Lord’s leading and provision in so many ways the past 40 years, and we know it is the same Lord who goes before us now. One of the most encouraging parts of our relationship has been hearing of many friends who have been praying for us for years. I know that many have especially prayed for a spouse, and we are humbled and thankful. Thank you for making this season so special for us by sharing our joy. “The LORD has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy” (Psalm 126:3).

By Andrew:

Thank you so very much for your excitement and encouragement. We have loved getting all your texts, notes, and words of joy for us. We are sustained and blessed by your prayers. We need God’s grace and strength even more each day as we face this virus and the unknowns it brings, even about our wedding and life together thereafter. But we trust in God who knows all things and is in control of all things. He has promised to be with us and to provide for us. Thank you all for being so flexible, kind, and supportive. We need you during this time and love you with all our hearts!
Cass Loh