How the Hahn family found joy in their sadness through planned giving

We all have an ideal picture of what our life will look like. When we’ll get married, how many (if any) kids we’ll have, how many dogs we'll have, where we’ll live, what kind of work we’ll do, etc.

Until the unexpected happens. In that moment, our image of what we had hoped for our life crumbles.


You don’t get into the college of your dreams.

You get divorced after only being married a year. 

You get fired from your job.

You lose a loved one. 


It’s easy to be a follower of Jesus when things are going well. It’s easy to live out your thankfulness to Jesus through joyful giving when God’s blessings are flowing endlessly. But when you go through seasons of life when you feel like the seed tossed amongst the thorns, it can be hard to find the strength to persevere. 

Yet with God it is possible to make it through. 

Look at the lives of Job and Joseph from the Old Testament. Everything seemed to be going their way, they were abundantly blessed by God but then, because our world has been broken by sin, they lost everything.

But they knew and trusted that God was with them. With God they were able to persevere, and eventually He brought them to a place where they could be a blessing to countless people. The same can be said about what happened in the lives of Kelly Hahn and her husband, Verlyn.

The Hahn family

Kelly and Verlyn had been raised in Christian homes and when they were married, they decided to make giving, including planned giving, a part of their financial reality. Kelly said, “We both have WELS called workers in our family. My father is a WELS pastor. We were raised to give first fruits to the Lord. We educated our children from early on to give to the Lord first whenever they were blessed with dollars. As the Lord blessed us over the years, we were able to increase the amount for giving, including a specific fund for charitable giving.”

Then, in the midst of their season of blessings, the unthinkable happened.

For the Hahn family, everything changed after the unexpected and tragic news of their adult son’s passing. In that moment, life as they knew it—as their family knew it—would never be the same.

When hopelessness could have swallowed them whole, Kelly and her husband instead clung closer to Jesus.

“The harsh reality of the death of a child is very pain-filled but we also know our Lord is in control and had His reasons for his death. We looked at our son’s life and thanked God when we realized how he had been influenced by Camp Phillip, WELS pastors, Kingdom Workers, Martin Luther College, Christian day school and WELS Lutheran high school teachers, all sharing God’s word with him.”


Taking time to set up your estate plan, will, and planned giving is important no matter what stage of life you are in.


By leaning on Jesus for support and looking to Him for guidance, the Hahn family has been able to turn what was one of the darkest moments of their lives into a source of light.

Kelly and Verlyn had taken time to complete financial planning, including investing for planned-giving, and setting up their family life insurance plan to include covering their children. When their son passed away, his life insurance funds were available to Kelly and Verlyn as part of what’s known as a “life insurance death benefit.”

The Hahn family wanted to honor God and bless all the countless organizations and people who had been influential in assisting them as Christian parents, and in sharing the gospel with their son. Kelly and Verlyn eventually decided to use the funds to set up a gifting plan to give back.

Kelly talked about their motivation for doing this,

“What we have is not ours, it is all a gift to be used as good stewards while here on earth. It has, in a very real way, brought healing to our hearts as we have set up a gifting plan with the life insurance death benefit. We felt that this unexpected and, in some ways, sad money, should do good for those who had blessed our family and other families with the Word.”


We don’t have any guarantee that this life will be void of any pain or sorrow. We do, however, have a promise from God that He will always be with us (Matthew 28:20). This promise fills us with hope that no matter what, we will be able to make it through.

Whether you are walking through a season of plenty or a season of challenges, Kelly’s encouragement is to take time to set up a financial plan and take a look at how you can use planned giving to be a blessing to the causes you care about. Kelly stresses that,

“While you may feel that what you give is not large enough to need ‘planning’ per se, relying on God’s promises, we should start as soon as we have income. Don’t think about the amount, think about the percentage chosen from a joyful heart and strive to increase that percentage over time.”


Planned giving isn’t something just for people who are retired and have a wealth of funds saved up. Planned giving is something that will allow you, no matter what stage of life you are in, to pour out blessings upon the family members, organizations, and causes you care about. And, while it’s not something we want to have to think about, learning how to plan giving after death is something we should all take time to consider.

When seasons of emotional hardship, or financial struggle come your way, you can trust that God will remain by your side. Even when it seems impossible, take encouragement from this verse in Malachi 3:10, “’Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,’ says the Lord Almighty, ‘and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.’”

If you’re interested in including planned giving in your life but are unsure how, Kingdom Workers can help.

Explore how planned giving can work for you with our free, downloadable PDF guide.



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