The faith-filled, fearless, unstoppable Promise intern
With fear having no room in Hannah Pratt’s life story, she filled it through faith, family, swimming and her internship at the Promise United Methodist Church.
Hannah started her internship with the Promise in August 2019. Members of the Pratt family working for the Promise has been common long before Hannah started as her mother, Stacy Pratt, has been Director of the Promise Preschool (now the Promise Preschool & Kindergarten) since May 2006.
“(My mom) is a superhero for what she has done for the preschool and the church,” said Hannah. “She has put in countless hours that nobody sees. There is so much work that it actually requires than just the job description.”
Fishers High School provides senior students with the opportunity to do an internship during part of their school day. Hannah wanted to take advantage of it and her mom jokingly suggested that she come work for her at the preschool. They both realized that Hannah working for her mom wouldn’t be a good idea.
Stacy then suggested that she work for Pastor Amber. Pastor Amber had only known Hannah for two weeks but said yes to the idea of Hannah joining her Promise Team.
“From the moment I met Hannah, I was impressed by her presence,” said Pastor Amber. “She is confident with humility, courageous yet careful and bold and loving in her faith. I knew we would have a great year together with her as our intern.”
Hannah saw this internship as a way to give back to the church, something that has always been a part of her life. Her responsibilities at the Promise included digital communication outreach for the church. One of her projects was starting the Facebook Live stream for the Promise.
“Updating our media presence was important because we didn’t have a way for people to watch church unless they came to church,” Hannah said. “I did some research and looked at ITOWN Church, which is a big deal around here, and I looked at how they grew their congregation (through their media presence) and implemented some of those practices at the Promise.”
Through her hard work and determination, Hannah quickly became Pastor Amber’s right-hand person.
“(She has) an unbelievable ability to anticipate my questions and thoughts (that were) totally ‘in my head’ sometimes,” said Pastor Amber. “She fulfilled and exceeded any expectation I would ever have imagined.”
Life during the internship was not always easy for Hannah. An incident from someone on the Fishers High School Boys Swimming team and a lack of leadership from many officials at the school forced Hannah to live in a world of fear.
“During that time, I went through a very difficult mental period,” said Hannah. “I shut down and didn’t want to do any schoolwork. I came home from practice and just went up to my room and did not talk to my family.”
What helped propel Hannah out of the mental state she was in came from Francesca Battistelli’s song, “The Breakup Song.”
“‘The Breakup Song’ would just constantly come on and I just said, ‘Man, this song means something,’” explained Hannah. “There was just something about this song and I could not figure it out. (The lyrics) ‘Fear you don’t own me’ just stuck out to my mom and me. No matter what I am going through right now, there is nothing that fear can do to me.”
Hannah and her mom, Stacy, went and got matching tattoos of those lyrics, giving them a permanent reminder of how fear does not own them.
“As horrible as it was that happened to her, it made her grow up faster,” said Stacy. “She had to learn how hard life is and how it isn’t fair. Most kids in Fishers don’t have hard lives or any ‘hard knocks’ coming to them. There was nothing we could do other than to talk to her. She had to do it on her own and become an adult during that time. She really centered in on her faith through her internship and it helped her move past it.”
Hannah hopes to continue to grow her faith through her studies and swimming at the United States Naval Academy (Navy). And even though she is far from her church home, she has learned a lot about God’s promises for her.
“No matter how far I am from home, I will always have someone with me,” Hannah said. “He has a plan for me no matter how hard life gets. My God will get me through it. Philippians 4:13, you know?”
Hannah leaves for Navy on June 28, which means she will miss out on the Promise’s regathering service on July 12.
“I was very upset (about missing the regathering) because church is my home,” said Hannah. I love church and the people at the church. I love working for Pastor Amber. Knowing that I am not able to go back until I come home (from Navy) is hard because that is my second family.”
The familial vibes were felt on Pastor Amber’s side as well as she and Hannah developed a deep bond this last year.
“I often thought how proud I would be to have her as my daughter,” said Pastor Amber. “Her parents have raised a wonderful young woman who is transforming the world right before our very eyes. I am grateful that our life journeys have crossed this year and am beyond blessed to be a part of her life story.”
Pastor Amber and Hannah’s paths crossing this year aided the church and Pastor Amber in their transition to virtual worship when COVID-19 hit.
“She has been my partner each and every week,” said Pastor Amber. “Her dedication and loyalty to our mission of Jesus Christ and ‘Showing, Sharing and Spreading Love’ make her unstoppable. While there is a part of me that is sad to see her go because I will miss her so much, most of me is beyond thrilled to see what God is going to do through her to better our world.”
Pastor Amber is not the only one who will miss Hannah as her family will miss her as well. Her mom commented on what she would miss most about her.
“She does a lot of chores for me,” said Stacy. “Nah, I’m kidding! I’m going to miss… her. Her, that’s what I am going to miss. What is not to miss in my eyes?”
Even though Hannah will be missed, and she will miss her family and the people at the Promise, she is grateful for those who have loved and supported her throughout her life and is most grateful for the relationships she has built with her family.
“My sister and I used to fight a lot but now we are best friends,” Hannah said. “My mom can be like one of my friends to me but then can also be my mom. My dad is my hero. I am really thankful for all my relationships with my family members.”
Hannah has expressed concerns about finding a church home while at Navy and being away from her family but then turns that around and says that God’s got her no matter how hard things might be. And even though the congregation will not be physically there with her, they will still support her from afar.
“Hannah, with my deepest blessing, go be great!” said Pastor Amber. “We will be here cheering and praying for you!”