Mark Wagner


“Take your Helmet of Salvation and the Word of God which is the Sword of the Spirit” Ephesians 6:17

101913.F.FF.weldinghopeHope Skills Training Center came about because 14+ years ago I would drive past the Cass County Jail and my heart would beat hard.  I knew God wanted me to get involved in jail ministry. But, I did what most of us do…I said, “God, I just don’t have the time to help right now.” My life since that time has been a roller coaster, but the wonderful thing about God is that His love never fails and He never gives up on us. His gifts and His callings on our lives are irrevocable! Romans 11:29

During the Jonah series a couple years ago, Pastor Matthew asked “Where is your Nineveh? Where is God calling you?” I vowed to the Lord that day to always listen and serve Him, wherever He calls me, regardless of the cost. The following week I got in touch with the Jail Chaplains and started taking prayer requests from men after their Saturday night church service at the jail. Just about every other request was for employment when released.

During a missions trip in South Africa, we taught welding as an employable skill and it also helped them to protect their families. They learned to weld bars on their windows and doors to prevent men infected with HIV from getting in and raping the children. After coming home, we had extra funds and began praying about how to honor God with it.

101913.F.FF.weldinghopeGod connected us to Amity Technologies who donated a shop to use in the evenings at no charge. Then more finances came in and Hope Skills Training Center was in operation. The students have an opportunity to earn an industry recognized certification after 40 hours of welding training. Individuals searching for hope, parolees, and new Americans make up our classes. We first share with them how to know Jesus Christ and His plan for their life, then safety, and finally welding. Class starts and ends with a devotion and prayer. The Gospel is shared and every person has the opportunity to receive the hope only Jesus Christ has for them. We are totally dependent on volunteers for welding instructors and support. Let me ask you: Where is your Nineveh? Where is God calling you?

Several photos provided by David Samson / The Forum