In the NEWS

The Book

Caroline Guirgis, John's older sister, continues to write the book she plans to publish soon. The purpose of the book is to share John's life and how an ordinary man became extraordinary. The book is to give hope to the hopeless through the life of John Kamal Hanna. 

The Library

The John Hanna Library was dedicated in February, 2014. The library is located in America's Keswick in Whiting, NJ. Shortly before his passing away, John shared his dream of building a library at America's Keswick so addicts can have a place to read, meditate and gain knowledge. Thankfully, through donations and his foundation we surpassed his vision and built a bigger and better library. 

Pastor Rick Warren's Letter to John's Mother  

May 31, 2006

Dear Aida,

I’m honored by your invitation to speak at your event. Even though I can’t be with you, my heart is united with you in prayer as you dedicate this time to launching your vision for the first Christian Drug Rehab Center for Children.

My heartfelt prayers are with you in the loss of your son John last year. Even though as Christians we don’t fear death, we still mourn when loved ones leave us. The comforting thing for us is to know that, as a believer, John has come into the Lord’s presence and is experiencing that joy we all long for.

Some of the things that happen in this world don’t make sense until I realize that this world doesn’t write the whole story; the real bottom line is written in eternity. It will be written in heaven with the Lord when we get there.

Any attempt to understand why John’s sudden passing happened from a human perspective would be futile. The question for me then becomes not why but what and how. What impact is John’s life going to have and what are the ways John’s life affected others? Also, how will God use John’s life to point others to Jesus?

Each of us, when we leave this world, leaves a legacy. God can do great things through people like John who have been an example to others: in the way he lived, loved, taught, and lived out his faith.

It takes courage to lead the Christian life. It takes courage just to follow Christ when it’s unpopular, to follow Christ when it’s inconvenient, to follow Christ when you don’t understand it all. It takes courage to minister. It takes courage to share your faith with an unbeliever. It takes courage to own up to your sin and stand up for what’s right and to speak up for Jesus Christ.

Significance comes from serving and John modeled that. He transformed our world by changing lives through the abundant life found in Christ. God is pleased with his faithful years of ministry and it’s obvious God has used John in a great way to fulfill His purposes for the Kingdom. Hundreds more will spend eternity in heaven because he was faithful to reach out to the lost.

I don’t think our purpose in life can get any clearer than when we are introducing someone to the Lord. This is when eternity visits time — when God’s will is done on earth as it is in heaven — when all other pursuits pale in significance.

True servants like John think of ministry as an opportunity, not an obligation. They “serve the Lord with gladness.” Why do they serve with gladness? Because they love the Lord, they’re grateful for his grace, they know serving is the highest use of life, and they know God has promised a reward. The Bible says in Hebrews 6:10 (NLT), “He will not forget how hard you have worked for him and how you have shown your love to him by caring for other Christians.”

Unlike past generations, people today aren't looking for the meaning of life. Instead they're searching for meaning in life, something that makes their life worth living. The fact is they're seeking the very thing for which God made them.

Do you think you would see a difference in your life if you felt truly accepted by God? What if you understood - deeply - that you belonged to the family of God? Or that the hand of God will guide you - deliberately - throughout life? How do you think you would react if you discovered that God created you for a specific mission in life, and he's ready for you to start on that mission right now, regardless of your age?

Frankly, all of this is true, but I think we often lose focus of this amidst the challenges of the 21st century. Yet, the Bible teaches that God had purposes in mind when he made each one of us. Discovering and living these purposes is the single most important thing any of us can ever do, and these purposes are foundational to everything you will decide in regards to your future.

Would it make any difference if you knew God made you for his own joy? The Bible says in Revelation 4:11 NLT, "You, God, created everything, and it is for your pleasure that they exist and were created."

We all struggle, especially in our youth, with love and acceptance. What a radical thought to know that you were created as an object of God's love. The Bible says "God IS love” (1 John 4:16)." It doesn't say, "He has love," it says "He IS love." And his love is completely unconditional, regardless of looks, intelligence, athletic abilities, fashions, fads, or anything else that this culture labels as acceptable. Because of this unfathomable, divine love, the most important thing you can do is to know God and love him in return.

And the second most important thing you can do is to learn to do those things that reflect your love for God. "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment" (Matthew 22:37 NIV). If you miss this, you will miss something of critical importance in life. Life is first about loving God, and worshiping Him forever. If done with the proper spirit and attitude, all of what you do in life, whatever career you choose, can become an act of worship before God.

God created each one of us with a longing for being part of a group where we can belong, a place where we can feel accepted. He gave us this longing because another of His purposes in creating us was for us to become a member of his family. "His unchanging plan has always been to adopt us into his own family" (Ephesians 1:5 NLT). God's family is going to extend for eternity.

Many of us wait for someone else to love us, care for us, and pray for us. We need to take the initiative and begin fulfilling God's second Great Commandment to love our neighbor as we love ourselves. Then we'll begin to experience God's family through real fellowship.

God created each one of us to be like Christ. God made us to transform us into the likeness of his Son, Jesus. There isn't - and never was- a Plan B in God's design. You are not an accident. Your birth and your family are all part of God's original plan. Even if there have been mistakes in your past, God works all things out for those who call upon Him and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28). God is still working the same plan he's had from the very beginning of time. It is to conform each one of us to the image of Christ.

Part of the process is to understand that God is going to take you through everything Jesus went through. Only then can we truly become like Him. Was there a time when Jesus was lonely? Yes. Was there a time when Jesus was tempted? Yes. Was there a time when Jesus was unpopular? Yes. Misunderstood? Yes. Criticized? Yes. Went without basic needs? Yes. Was there ever a time in Jesus' life when things left him uncomfortable? Absolutely.

The Bible says Jesus learned obedience through suffering. If God is going to make each of us like Christ, He needs to take us through everything Jesus went through. In order to produce the fruit of the Spirit in us, He will place us in difficult situations - surrounded by people who don't like us or understand us or even treat us fairly. There are no shortcuts to growth.

God created each of us to serve him, and in the church, we call that ministry. Ephesians 2:10 (NLT) teaches, "For we are God's masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so that we can do the good things he planned for us long ago."

We’re all called to ministry, created for ministry, saved for ministry, and uniquely gifted for ministry. The God of the universe shaped you to serve. Your will both serve believers and evangelize unbelievers. This is not the mission field we're talking about; this is your life. Your life is a mission; your environment is your mission field.

All these purposes apply to everyone and no one is exempt. No one is insignificant. You have the power to make a difference in the world. How you make it will depend on your commitment to Christ and fulfilling these purposes for living.

Aida, I’m sure that the work that you and Caroline are carrying on gives John great joy now that he’s among the great cloud of witnesses in heaven. Thank you for your example and all your efforts to make a difference in the lives of the young people you’ll be serving at the rehab center. God bless you richly as you’re faithful to fulfill His purposes. God uses the person who expect great things from Him. He uses the person who is persistent, who is diligent, and who doesn’t know how to quit. The secret of success in the ministry is to just keep on keeping on. Great people are simply ordinary people who don’t know how to quit.

God bless our shared vision to reach the world for Christ.

Warmly,

Rick Warren