Calling All Hinson's

"…that they should seek God…" Acts 17:26-27


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Super-duper blog pressure

I’m feeling super-duper blog pressure here. I have let this thing go this summer, but I must say it has been for good reason. 

Would you believe me if I said This week we are taking the Countryside Clan to our SIXTH VBS??

SIXTH??!! you may reply in disbelief.

SIXTH!! I answer, in disbelief.

God surely knows what He is doing. And I’m glad He does, because I don’t.

I am exhausted. I am tired. I just finished my final exam for Statistical Techniques for Graduate Research. My girl turns 3 this week. We have Thumbs-Up Thursdays and visitors and needy neighbors and Spanish and friends and play dates and emails and grants and non-profit by-laws…oh dear.

I have millions of pictures on my phone waiting for the day when I can upload them here and show you all the cool stuff God did this summer. There is even the most remarkable of things to tell you but I just can’t blurt it out here…on this waste of a blog post. It’s too good of news to not dedicate it’s own special page for.

And that news is what is giving me energy to keep on keepin’ on. God is at work and it’s so so so good to be used by Him.

And I say all that to really simply say Hey Friends! I hope you haven’t left us. I hope you haven’t given up on this blog. And I hope you will stick around to hear the good news in the next few days! 

Stay tuned…


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Testimony Tuesday {Stacy Edition}

I just love Stacy. She is someone I have known almost my whole life and her family is so special to me. Her sweet Dad ministered to me as a Pastor for 17 years and her mother, standing faithfully beside him, poured so much into my life as well. Stacy is a strong woman with a strong Faith. Her story today about answering God’s call is one that challenges me. Let her words challenge you as well.

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YES! I will do that!

Has God ever asked you to do something and you said “WHAT!?!” This is what happened to me about six months ago. I was sitting in church and one of the men shared his testimony about going on a medical mission trip to Honduras. I sat there and cried. Tears running down my face not because of what he was sharing but because of what God was telling me he wanted me to do! God wanted me to go on the next medical mis- sion trip to Honduras!!!

First, I am a teacher, not a doctor or nurse. I do not like to fly and I have motion sickness in planes and cars. I have no passport. I also have three young boys at home. As you can see it was very easy for me to come up with all kinds of excuses as to why I couldn’t go. The big challenge I was faced with was to be obedient and take a step of faith to do what God ask me to do. Over the next week I continued coming up with nu- merous excuses why God really didn’t say go to Honduras. Here are two good ones….

I got the church newsletter and immediately noticed the dates were just not going to work for me. My oldest son’s birthday would be the week of the mission trip and I just couldn’t miss his birthday. The following week the dates for the trip had changed and the mission trip would no longer be the week of my son’s birthday! (I couldn’t use the excuse that my kids really needed me because when I discussed the trip with my wonderful hus- band he said go, he and the boys would be fine)

The next one was, “Ok God, well I don’t have the money to pay to go on this mis- sion trip” (thats always a good one right?). Well…every payment since May has been covered one way or another. One of my friends from work even felt God leading her to pay for my passport!

Throughout the past several months of making excuses I have realized I really needed to work on my obedience and commitment to Christ. A few weeks ago at church the sermon came from Romans 6:15-23. Verse 16 reads,

“Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey-whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness.”

I was not so obedient, coming up with all kinds of excuses why I shouldn’t go on the mission trip. God expects me to be ready at any time to go wherever, whenever.

As I have continued to pray and plan for this trip I’ve realized so many ways God has already used this mission trip to minister to me and others. The good news is He is just getting started! I have learned much about obedience and really being committed to God and not questioning Him when he so clearly asked me to do something even if it is going to another country! Not everyone is called to the same work or places but we can all guarantee that God is calling each one of us to do something to further His Kingdom and we need to be willing, available, and ready as his servants to say Yes! I will do it!

I know there will be many more blessings to come on the trip in August. I am looking forward to this mission trip and am ready to serve Him and the people of Honduras!

“Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and truth. For God is greater than our worried hearts and knows more about us than we do ourselves.” 1 John 3:18-20 


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Testimony Tuesday {Tammy Edition}

I am so very blessed to know so many godly women. Tammy is one of those. I met her when we moved to SC and I am so glad God has allowed me to get to know her. She exudes grace and wisdom. She teaches with authority and submits to her role as a woman. Her love for God’s Word is so inspiring. I wish you all could know her. Here is a piece of her heart, so you can know her at least through her words here today.

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The most valuable treasure I possess has more influence on my life than anything else in this world. My treasure existed before I was born and it is both tangible and intangible. As a matter of fact, it existed before any of you who might be reading this today. You may even possess this treasure as well. If you do not, hopefully by the time you read about its worth you may decide to pick one up for yourself.

It is worth more than all the money in the world and it is free to anyone who asks. This treasure is alive and speaks to me when I take the time to sit and listen. However, it does not speak with an audible voice but it is louder than any voice I have ever heard. It sits in most all the rooms in my house. It rest on the arm of a chair, on a side table and even on the floor near my quiet place where I feast on it daily. As a matter of fact, I even have my treasure with me in my car and my purse. It is most valuable when it is in my hands. It comes in many different sizes and colors. It feeds me when I am hungry and quenches my thirst when I am dry. It will feed thousands at one sitting. Are you hungry for more?

Inasmuch, it is there waiting for me when I wake in the morning and gives me guidance for the day. It’s my daily bread and each day a portion is allotted for my taking. With it I am equipped to meet the day. It goes with me through the day giving me direction when I do not know which way to go. It gives me advice when I need help making decisions. It has more wisdom than all the books in all the libraries in the world combined. Parts of it are always with me because it abides in my heart as well as my home, car and purse.

What is it that is worth more than money can buy? What is it that contains all the wisdom in the world? What is it that meets me in the morning and goes with me through the day? What is this intangible tangible? God’s inerrant, infallible, Word, the Bible.

Therefore, you might ask, “what does the selection of the Bible tell about you”? The Bible tells about my Creator, my Savior, my Redeemer, and my Lord. It tells about the sin nature I was born with because of Adam’s sin and the new life in Christ I have been given by God’s Grace. It tells of faith that I have been freely given that cost my Lord His life. It tells of a Hope that I have of seeing my Lord face to face in Heaven one day. The Bible is a treasure chest of life, freedom and victory unimaginable. So, the only thing this book tells about me that is worth mentioning is Jesus the Christ, my Lord. To Him, be all Glory and Praise.

John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
John 1:14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.


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Testimony Tuesday {Kay Edition: Knitting Gypsies}

I’m catching up on Testimony Tuesday Testimonies today! I have 2 that you are just going to LOVE! I know it’s not Tuesday, but God has a Word for you today.

I have been blessed to know Kay and her family for years and her walk with Christ is so inspiring. I recently spent a weekend with her at the WMU conference and was encouraged by her wisdom, faith, and trust in her Creator during a very difficult weekend for her family. Her strength and faith is a testimony to all who know her.

As you read Kay’s testimony, think about how much you “help” God and how much more He can do through you if you’d only surrender to His plan. I needed to hear this today. I hope you are encouraged by it, too.

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“Look at the nations and watch—and be utterly amazed. For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told.” Habakkuk 1:5.

I have a tendency to be the General Manager of the World! God gave me administrative and teaching gifts, and as everybody knows, people with those gifts just have to be in charge. So, over the years I’ve found myself trying to “help” God along with my planning and “handling of stuff.” Sometimes my plans have worked out well. Sometimes, well……I should have sat quietly and waited to see the great things God wanted me to see without my interference!!

One of those times comes vividly to mind.

A few years ago my pastor announced that a mission’s team would be leaving our church and going to Munkac, Ukraine. A group of Gypsies had been given land in Munkac, they had acquired a church—New Life Christian Church, and Pastor Jonas needed some help with Bible School at the church, Backyard Bible Schools in surrounding villages, and a construction project. My husband and I felt that this was a trip that we wanted to be part of, so we started attending the planning and prayer meetings with the team. It didn’t take long for me to wonder what I was doing going on that trip. I don’t do construction work although I’ve sold houses for over 35 years, and while I do love children, I’m just more comfortable teaching adults. Team members would sit around planning crafts and Bible studies for the children and I’d just sit there with very little input. The construction team would discuss how to get the tools over that they needed to take, and I’m sitting there thinking that they don’t need me swinging even a hammer. Lord, I prayed, why am I going on this trip?

One Sunday night as we were planning, Pastor Lance announced that he had heard from Pastor Jonas’ contacts and Pastor Jonas wanted our team to spend some time with their women in Bible Study. He asked for a volunteer and my hand, eyes, and heart immediately responded. That was why I was supposed to be on the team! Pastor Lance put me in charge of that part of the trip.

We had no idea how many women we’d encounter, but MY planning began immediately! I was visiting with my sister several days later and while we were just sitting around, she asked me if I’d ever seen a Knifty Knitter. I don’t knit! But something about that little device intrigued me. A Knifty Knitter is a loom on which you twirl yard around spindles, and with a special tool, loop over and under repeatedly until you knit a hat. You do not need any talent to use this tool. You don’t even have to speak English to use it. Ah……a perfect project to get the women together, to give them a tool that would be useful to them, and while we are sitting around “knitting”, God’s Word could be taught. MY idea was….what if this project would give them a reason to get together and study God’s Word long after our team left Munkacs. So I started trying to figure out how to purchase as many knitters and yarn as I could. The ladies at my church are givers, and oh how they gave. They gave enough knitters and yarn to fill my dining room. We could not walk in there for the yarn!!! Some ladies donated Space Bags, so we scrunched yarn and more yarn, and finally filled 6 huge suitcases with nothing but yarn and knitters. I think some of the team members thought the project was crazy and burdensome, but I felt that God had placed His hand on this project. That yarn just had to get there. I was not sure how it would be used, but the yarn HAD to make it to Munkacs.

And, if we’re going to have a knitting circle, we have to have a planned Bible Study. So, I (note the word, I) started planning that as well. I figured I’d just do a basic Jesus study, you know, His birth, His ministry, His death, His resurrection, His coming again, because I (note the word, I) figured we’d have 5 days of Bible Study to the same women. I printed snapshots of Jesus in all stages of His life. I had hundreds of them. I also printed 100s of pictures of my first grandchild, Megan who was 2 at the time and 100s of sonogram pictures of Jake, my second grandchild who was due to be born 3 months after our trip. At the time, I (note that word again) thought that having those pictures of my children would give us an “icebreaker”. You know….they get to know me so we can connect.

So, off we went to Munkacs. We stayed in an old KGB building which the Gypsies were using for a church. Does God have a sense of humor, or what? What was once used for evil had become a house of prayer and praise!

Bible School started early the day after we arrived and boy did the children come…hundreds of them…but no women….from the Gypsy camp.

By the second day, I’d still had no opportunity to meet with any women. I pulled out the Knifty Knitters, though, during our downtime, and we team members made hats. We figured we’d just give the hats to the children who we sadly noted had almost nothing to wear. Eventually some of the pastors of the village churches came in to learn to make the hats. The yarn was hit among those at the church building, but still, there were no women. I was beginning to question why I had insisted on lugging all the yarn over.

On the third day when Bible School at the church was over, we were invited to go to a village outside of Munkacs for a one afternoon Backyard Bible School. We put a tarp on the ground and started to set up for the kids to come. Come they did…and so did the mothers. I was so excited. I could finally get to work with the women! We set out another tarp for the women, but, I have to tell you, that all that planning I had done back in the USA just didn’t seem right. It was five minutes before I was supposed to lead them, and I had a horrible feeling in the pit of my stomach that all that I had planned was wrong! So, literally five minutes before I opened my mouth, God gave the scripture that I was to use with them. There was no time to plan what would “fit”. I just had to let God do what God does best and step out of the way. Psalm 139 was what God had planned. So I began to read and with the help of an interpreter, shared with the women how special they were to God. I got to verse 13 and my tears started rolling:

13 “For you created my inmost being; you KNIT me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body.”

The Knifty Knitters and yarn and so many pictures of that sonogram of Jake came immediately out of my bag. The women understood the scripture. It jumped off the page. They had never seen a sonogram before. We DO take so much for granted! Each took a picture of Jake and carried it close to their bosoms. They also took the Jesus pictures. God planned that blessing for me and I praise him.

It was also at that meeting that my salvation testimony changed. Always before when I’d given my testimony, I told how I’d been in Sunday School and church forever and at age 9 gave my life to Christ. But on that day, in Munkacs, Ukraine, my salvation testimony came to life. Those mothers brought their children to Backyard Bible School so that they could learn about Jesus. All of a sudden it dawned upon me that their testimony was mine. I came to have a relationship with Christ because MY MOTHER took me to Him. I charged those women in Munkacs to keep pointing their children and grandchildren to Christ.

The next day we went to another village. By this time I knew that Psalm 139 was the “Scripture of the Week”. This time we sat down in a small church building…in a circle…to study with about twelve village women. This time, I only got to verse 2 before God showed me His Spirit.

2“You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.
3You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways.
4 Before a word is on my tongue you, Lord, know it completely.
5 You hem me in behind and before me, and you lay your hand upon me.”

I looked over and the village pastor’s wife had huge tears running down her face. I was afraid that I’d said something wrong so I asked the interpreter to intervene. That sweet pastor’s wife testified that while she was working in the field that day she was so hot and tired that she could barely move her feet. She prayed while she worked that God would help her complete her task. Her tears were testimony that God had answered her prayer. He had “hemmed her in”. Nothing more needed saying! We just pulled out the Knitters and enjoyed our sisterhood!

The day we women sat in the plum orchard and knitted was VERY interesting. The men of the village came to see what the women were doing. They tried to help with the knitting! We were living out the knowledge that God knit us together, and we were hearing the reading of God’s precious Word. Nearly all of the Jesus pictures disappeared that day. The men actually took them from the women…for themselves. I figure that the people God intended to have them got them!

The final day that we went to a village is a special one that I’ll never forget. Again, the women brought their children to Backyard Bible School, so I got to meet with about 10 of them. The 10 were a diverse group. Some spoke Hungarian. Some spoke Russian. Some spoke Ukrainian. None spoke English. So my interpreter would say what I said in Hungarian, and then the one who spoke Hungarian would interpret into Russian, and on and on. This time there was no knitting. This time I read one sentence. Just one sentence! The testifying began. One woman testified that her husband had been ill…so ill that the doctors gave them no hope of keeping his leg. But the Christians in the village prayed diligently for him and God healed him and his leg. Another testified that her husband had died and she was left with 5 children and had no way to care for them. But the Christians prayed and are helping her and God is providing for her. Another shared that her baby was due any moment and asked us to pray for her. We joined hands and I prayed for each of them, lifting their cares to God. As soon as I said amen, they started asking me questions about where I came from and about my family. I still had pictures of Megan and the sonogram of Jake so I shared them. They were in awe of that baby in the womb…something they had never seen. I told them that was my grandson. They moved me to the middle of the prayer circle. Around me, they lifted the pictures of that sonogram and all prayed aloud in their own tongue for Jake. They prayed that God would bless that child and that He would raise him up to be a mighty man of God. I cannot even begin to tell you what a blessing I received from that group of women. These women had NOTHING but they had everything!

So, while I had planned (note the I) to bless the Gypsies with my knowledge of Christ, God turned the tables on me. The Gypsy women blessed me far beyond what I had planned for them. Yep, God did it again. He showed me things I could not have imagined even if He’d told me!

I’m still good at “helping God”. I’m sure He gets a kick out of my planning sometimes. I have learned, though, to ask Him to change MY plans anytime He deems necessary. I’ve learned that His ways are so much better!


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Pigmented Lesion Clinic Valedictorian

Thank you friends for all the prayers for me today. My appointment with Dr. Lampel went fabulous! She was very happy with my skin–nothing to remove. She wants to alternate seeing me with Dr. Coale, so I will go to Duke every 8 months. I have to do a mole mapping scan sometime soon so they can easily tell if any spots change. She was so nice and loved seeing me–she said I was the perfect candidate for the clinic. I am happy to have good doctors, and a good, good God!

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Dook Bound

It’s been a good day today. Me, mom and Ashley are in Chapel Hill, the home of the Tar Heels. And I’m a Tar Heel born, a Tar Heel bred, and when I die I’ll be Tar Heel dead, so I’ve been happy today being back. Walking this beautiful campus brings back so many memories.

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Tomorrow I have an appointment at the Pigmented Lesion Clinic at Duke Dermatology. My fabulous dermatologist in Concord has been trying to get me into this clinic for around two years now. I can say this is the only time I will be proud to be accepted at DOOK. :) Prayers appreciated for wisdom for the doctor tomorrow as she takes a look at my atypical skin. Thanks friends!


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Zucchini, Freckle Juice, & Secret Agents

These Countryside Kiddos are getting a gut-full of Jesus.

This week we have taken them to Covenant Baptist for VBS. They are impressing me with their ability to now wake up and make it to The Connection by 8:30AM. Yes, that’s right. The kiddos we were dragging out of bed last week at 10:00 are now voluntarily getting up and walking at 8:30! Small miracles.

Tonight some of them were at the house. One of them was playing by himself and I heard him say, “What does the Lord require of you?”

Evan Grace was within earshot and said “O, Mortal.”

My ears perked up. I asked them if they could tell me their Bible verse from VBS this week and with a resounding YES they jumped up. I gathered them on the couch and we rehearsed twice and then I captured it on video.

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
    And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
    and to walk humbly with your God.

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I wish I could share it with you on here, but you gotta pay to upload videos and I’m too frugal for that. If you’re on FB, I encourage you to check it out on my page. It’ll do your heart good. It sure did mine!

We also are participating in Squash Out Hunger with our church. A farmer in Monroe donates the “second-best” crop to this program and churches step in to hand it out to the needy in their community. Yesterday we picked up 2 bins (about 200 grocery bags) of zucchini. We delivered to Christian Services, the Soup Kitchen, the Adult Day Care, and a few more service organizations in the area. Countryside got the leftovers (about 60 bags!) and we handed those out to our neighbors. Some were grateful, some didn’t know what a zucchini was.

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And that same day we got a call from Hopewell United Methodist Church. They were participating in The Million Book Effort with the SC Conference. They had taken up new books as congregations to give out to their communities–and they wanted to share with us! We plan to use a lot of them for Homework Helpers, but I wanted to let the kiddos take a look at them tonight–and take a few home. They were as excited as Christmas morning!

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I mean, who doesn’t like Beverly Cleary, Junie B. Jones, and Freckle Juice!?

And then finally, last night we were given the privilege of traveling to First Baptist Church Salisbury to speak at their Family Night celebration for VBS. They focused on us as their missionaries for the week. We were told that one kid wanted to know before we got there if we dressed like nuns. Not all the time, son.

What a humbling experience it was to be the focus of prayer and offering for that week! The people were so happy to see us and hear Grant speak about what we do in Countryside. The stories of how 5th graders were giving from their allowances and kids were bringing in piggy banks taught us just how much God loves our neighbors. He provides for our every need so that we are able to live here and minister 24/7. He uses piggy banks and allowances. Wow.

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After all that exciting news of serving and giving and loving, I’m worn out. We did a trailer-count today because we wondered why we always ran out of flyers for events–and found out that we have been wrong the whole time. There are 185 TRAILERS IN COUNTRYSIDE! That’s a lot of people! That’s a lot of Love to share! Thank you for praying for us as we are about the Father’s business!

 

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