Hook Life Brings a New Ministry to Highland County


A new ministry in Highland County is set to help youths have an outlet and experience God on a more personal level during the dynamic times of their middle and high school years.  Residents Cane and Lauren Sampson are founders of this ministry called Hook Life.  Their first meeting in a series called “Keeping It Real Thursdays” is coming up.

Mr. Sampson has more.  He says, “Hook Life stands for ‘Helping Others Obtain Knowledge” in Christ.  Basically, it’s a lifestyle we believe, and “Keeping It Real Thursdays” is for middle school and high schoolers.  It’s from 7:00 to 8:30, so you come in at 7:00.  That’s going to be the time where you could interact, mingle, play lots of games, listen to music, talk to your friends.  Then after that, we’re going to a little Word, and then after that, we break off in to sections.  The females go upstairs with Lauren and the guys stay downstairs with me, and that’s what we call ‘Keeping It Real.’  It’s a time where the youth get to talk about the problems that they have going on in their life, and we give them some Word and basically try to apply the Bible to their lives.  Some of the topics that we’re going to be discussing is just real life.  We’re not going to sugarcoat nothing, because our lives ain’t sugarcoated, the things we face on a daily basis, so if you’re nine, and you feel as though you’re going through something, whether it’s anxiety, stress, depression, it could be anything from some of the things we heard before, suicidal thoughts, anything of that nature.  But if you are that age, and your parents say, ‘hey, you’re mature enough to be there and discuss some of these topics,’ then we want you there, so we’re not pushing away nobody if you’re old enough.  If you’re six and you’re mature, you can come.”

Parents are not allowed to be present during the meetings.  Mr. Sampson explains the reasoning behind this decision.  He continues by saying, “We’re trying to make this a party for Jesus, and all the kids excited.  They’re saying it’s going to be ‘lit.’  That’s the word that the youth use nowadays.  It’s going to be ‘litty,’ and you can’t get ‘lit’ if you got your parents in the room.  (laughter)  And we don’t want no parents in the room just because of the simple fact that we feel as though a kid can’t open up or express themselves a certain way without turning their shoulders and looking at their parents for their approval like ‘Mom, did I just say something wrong?’ so we think that’s a big problem nowadays; kids can’t express themselves the way they want to, so we just want them to open up and be them.”

Can and Lauren have previous youth experience as members of Harrisonburg First Church of the Nazarene.  Mr. Sampson says, “Dealing with the youth is something that we’ve been doing since I think 2013, 2014 with our local church in Harrisonburg where we deal with between 500 to 800, 900 kids at a time as youth leaders that’s just participating in an event.  We usually do winter retreats at our church, where it’s like 500 plus kids, 800 plus kids.”

Along with an urging from a friend in McDowell, Mr. Sampson explains why they are moving forward with this ministry.  He concludes by saying, “Lately – just a comfortability thing.  God put it on our heart and was saying, ‘Look.  You got to get out the comfortability.  You got to come to Highland.  It’s a need.’  And my wife and I help coach the girls here at Highland High School.  We interact with the boys, whether it’s through coaching, whether it’s just through seeing them in the streets, and I just know it’s a need just from the things that’s shared, you know, one on one sessions with the youth in Highland now, so I just feel as though God is calling us to do this, and our hearts is in it, so we’re just going to try to be obedient and listen.  At the end of the day, it’s just about reaching the youth and helping them get through life.”

Again, the first meeting will be Thursday, April 27th at the McDowell Methodist Parsonage basement from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m.  To learn more, Cane and Lauren can be reached at 540-820-5083.


Story By

Chris Swecker

is the Assistant Station Coordinator and a News Reporter for WVLS. He has roots in Highland County going back several generations, and he grew up in Monterey. Since graduating from James Madison University with a bachelor’s degree in Media Arts and Design, he has pursued his career at a news station and advertising agency in Virginia, on Microsoft’s campus in the state of Washington, and in both states as sole owner and employee of a video production company. He enjoys exploring life with his wife, Jessa Fowler, traveling, hiking, hunting, gardening, and trying new foods, all while discovering more about what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ. He feels blessed to be a small part of this talented AMR team to help give back to the community that has provided him with so much.

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