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Tour company combines sights, Scripture

Posted: September 8, 2012 2:00 a.m.
Updated: September 8, 2012 2:00 a.m.

Michael Hansel, left, poses with a tourist at Pier 349 in San Francisco during one of his company's tours.

 

A bus full of singing, devotions, a church group and a German man who wants to witness the love of God to others. That is what Michael and Donna Hansel would tell you Ardeo Tours is all about.

They brought their tour company to Santa Clarita in 2008. Michael Hansel was born in Hamburg, Germany, and came to the U.S. in 1993 to study to become a pastor.

He enrolled in The Master’s Seminary and graduated with a master’s of divinity in 1997 and soon became the pastor at a Baptist church in Highland Park.

He served there for six years before it closed. Looking for a way to make ends meet, he got back into the tour business — a business he began in Germany, used to supplement his income while he was in the seminary, and was now bringing to the U.S.

Bus ministry

The Hansels began offering tours of the western United States to tourists from Europe. The couple organize and book all the arrangements for the tours, and Michael Hansel would drive the tour bus and act as tour guide. They quickly found that most of the groups booking tours were religious based.

“I discovered being in the tour business and working with tourists can be a ministry, too,” Michael Hansel said.

He would take churches, choirs and other religious groups on tour to San Francisco, the Grand Canyon and even Alaska. Anywhere they wanted to go, Michael Hansel was ready, Bible in hand.

“People would ask me questions about the Bible,” Michael Hansel said. “They seemed almost to be more interested in the Bible than the tours. I began to have an even better ministry than I did as a pastor.”

Many groups will ask Michael Hansel to say prayers and devotions, and speak about the Bible or even make stops at other churches on the way. Some groups don’t ask for that, and some provide their own.

Saved!

Many travelers have enjoyed the trips they have booked with Ardeo, commenting on the scenery and the gospel.

“We had a wonderful trip to Alaska with Ardeo Tours this summer,” said Wolfgang Reuter, a professor in Germany who took a tour with his church this summer.

“I have never seen such beautiful nature scenery before, especially landing on a glacier. We really enjoyed our group encounters and morning devotions.”

The company name, “Ardeo,” is a Latin word that means “to be on fire or inflamed.”  Michael Hansel based his business on this word and Luke 24:32, which talks about the disciples being “on fire” after speaking with Jesus.

“Michael always tries to be a witness everywhere he goes,” Donna  Hansel said. “That’s why he wears his “Saved!” hat on the tours.

“I like to encourage people in their faith,” he said. “Bring new faith into the hearts of people.”

For more information about Ardeo Tours LLC. call 661-298-2402.

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