Calling All Hinsons

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

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Bulldog Profile

I am so excited that school is coming to a close. Less than 100 days until graduation!

I am also excited to share our story in different avenues. Gardner-Webb contacted me recently about sharing our story on the School of Nursing website. They did a great job writing up the article. Check it out!

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Staff Member Shanda

We had Connection t-shirts made a few months back and gave them out at some of our summer events. Our friend, Shanda, has worked with the ministry for over 2 years now and not only did she pick out one shirt, but she needed three. It’s a common thing in our house to make fun of her for being the only person who got three shirts.

Not only did she get three shirts, she also requested hers to have “STAFF” written across the back. She was only half-kidding when she asked.

A few months back, The Lord began speaking to Shanda and working in her heart. He would eventually lead her to put her house on the market and in His perfect timing, it was sold in ONE week. When God moves quickly, you must be quick to listen and respond.

We began praying with Shanda about what her next step was. In her heart she felt she had two different options, move close to a family member or move to Countryside.

Through many tears and prayers and hours worth of conversations, God made it clear to her that she was to move into Countryside and work with The Connection. The majority of her time is spent here anyways, why not live here?


A few days before she moved in, we joined The Smiths in praying a blessing over Shanda’s new place. It was a powerful time of calling on the name of The Lord to work in her life in a place that she loves dearly.


Shanda is an exceptional woman. She has one of the most mission-focused hearts I have ever seen. She has given countless hours to loving on our neighborhood since I first met her. She is fluent in Spanish and has a passion for serving our Hispanic neighbors. She will most definitely be used by God here in taking our Hispanic relationships to a new level by reaching them in their heart language. She has great ideas for ministry opportunities that we look forward to developing with her.


Will you pray for Shanda and her boys with us?

  • Pray for her Spanish With a Mission class at The Connection.
  • Pray for her safety in our neighborhood.
  • Pray for her three boys, Evan, Brandon, and Christian, that will be serving with her also.
  • Pray for her adjustment and balance as she sets out on this new journey.

We look forward to what God has in store for us as a mission team this year at The Connection!


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Sacrificial Giving

Last weekend we went on a retreat with our ministry partners, The Smiths. This was a time of rest, but more importantly, it was a time of connecting. With a house typically full of six children when we all get together, we had to make it a priority to get away and get to know one another. Our hearts needed it. Our sanity needed it. Our relationship needed it.

The weekend went better than we even hoped. We found ourselves deep in conversations from 9am to 1am with few breaks in between. Our friendship grew as we hashed out ideas and shared feelings and spoke of fears.

Sunday morning we headed to a nearby church that none of us had ever been to. As we walked in, the pastor was the first person to introduce himself to us. We exchanged short greetings and after he asked what brought us their way, we shared a little about the ministry and the reason we were on the retreat. During the service he had us stand to be recognized and, unexpectedly, asked us to stand at the doors after service so folks could meet us.

After a lull in the greetings, a lady walked up to me and grabbed my hand. She leaned in closely and spoke softly with tears in her eyes…

“The Lord told me to give you something and this is all I have to give. Do with it however you need to.”

She moved to Nancy as I clutched the small object she placed in my hand. Someone had come up behind her and I quickly placed the gift in my pocket without looking, in order to greet the next smiling face.

When all was cleared out I reached in my pocket. I pulled out the most beautiful sapphire and diamond ring I had ever seen. My eyes met Nancy’s as she saw her gift for the first time, too–a gorgeous matching necklace.

I am so undeserving of this mysterious gift. I didn’t get a chance to speak to this kind woman at any length. I didn’t get to tell her what her gift meant to me. I didn’t get a chance to talk her out of giving me her precious jewelry.

Because I didn’t get to talk to her, I have really reflected on this gift. I wondered if I would be able to do the same. If The Lord told me to give my lovely ring to a missionary I had never met, would I do it? Would I be so sure of The Master’s voice that I would give willingly of my prized possession? Am I unselfish enough that I would give the thought a chance? And even worse, would I hear the voice but not follow through with the command?

I don’t understand why God whispered in this woman’s heart to give up something so beautiful, but I do know that He is teaching me something through her gift.

When I see the ring on my finger I will be reminded to listen to my Savior’s voice.

When I see the ring on my finger I will be reminded to obediently and sacrificially give anything He asks.

When I see the ring on my finger I will be reminded that I have a Heavenly Father that provides my every need and every desire.

When I see the ring on my finger I will be reminded that I serve a Mighty God that gives unexpected gifts through strangers.

When I see the ring on my finger I will be reminded that I have a Good Good God who loves me intimately.

And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19

Learning and growing,


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The Connecting Tree Distribution

One hundred eighty-two.

That’s how many men, women, and children The Connecting Tree provided gifts for.

Ages 1 month to 68 years. Two different languages. Many different skin tones.

IMG_3174One hundred eighty-two.

That’s how many Christ-followers it took to carry out this mission. More than that, really, as some joined in as a family.

IMG_3156The Connection: to connect Countryside to Christ.

The Connection: to connect Countryside to the Church.

The Connection: to connect the Church to Countryside.

IMG_3171All of this was accomplished that day. Lives were pointed to Christ through a simply wrapped pair of shoes. Lives were connected to the Church with the presentation of a bicycle. Lives were encouraged through the giving of a new baby doll.

While we understand that Christmas gifts are not the focus of Christmas, we also understand when there is a need we are called to help fill it. In giving, we filled more than just a physical need. We made connections that will point our neighbors to the One who was born as a babe in order to give all He had.

“Every good and perfect gift is from above…” James 1:17







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A New Year and a New Song


Today I woke up with a song in my heart. It wasn’t the birthday song, even though today is my birthday. It was a song of renewal. One of rededication and excitement. One of anticipation and rejuvenation.

Today I am excited to start a new year with The Lord. I am unusually anticipating the year to come. I had a long talk with Him today and committed to a few things, a few ways that our relationship can grow more intimately. I want to be sincerely passionate about my Savior this year.

And He wasted no time pouring out His love on me today.

After church we had a few minutes to hang a backdrop and put out some cookies. We made the hot chocolate, despite the summer temperatures. Folks would soon arrive for our Third Annual Family Christmas Pictures and we wanted them to feel welcomed and loved.

The coordinating outfits and smiles made my heart happy. People came that we have never met. They appreciated the opportunity to have their family together in one picture. It was a lovely occasion to love on people.


Directly after pictures, we hopped on a hayride for a Live Nativity around the neighborhood. Each scene of the Christmas story was played out at different stations around Countryside. Our neighborhood kiddos were the stars of the show and their hard work was evident in the songs and speaking parts. The Truth of Christmas was shared for all to hear.




As we rode on the hayride, my eyes welled with tears. Countryside was saturated with God’s people today. Some were riding around enjoying the scenes. Some were praying that lives would be changed. Some were singing Go Tell It On The Mountain to the top of their lungs. Some were making sure kiddos got to their places on time. All had the same agenda–to share the true meaning of Christmas. Jesus has come to save the world.

Jesus has come to save Countryside.





My heart was full today. I wouldn’t want to spend my birthday any other way–serving my Savior by sharing His Love Story with my neighbors.

Here’s to Year 34. May it be one of unprecedented passion.


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Giving Thanks


The Third Annual Thanksgiving Meal at Brooklyn Springs Elementary is quickly approaching. This event is near to my heart because it is the only one we do that has such an intimate, family-feel to it. Well, as intimate as you can get with 200 of your neighbors in a cafeteria.

But this meal is geared at much more than good food and great music. This meal is meant to point people to Christ through fellowship. We will come together around the table, all sinners-some redeemed, some not-and will share stories with one another.

Some stories will be shared in Spanish, some in English, and some in between giggles in kiddo language.

Some stories will be shared with tears as folks open their hearts and become vulnerable with one another.

Some stories will be shared about the upcoming football games and plans for a grand meal with family the next day while others share of family strife and issues that can’t seem to be forgotten.

Some stories will be shared from the lips of Believers who wish nothing more than to see the person sitting across from them come to believe in Jesus.

All of the food and plates and drinks are taken care of. All of the music will be beautiful and the preaching will be on-point. All of the servers will arrive and the buses will pick-up.

Let us pray that all of the hearts will be ready and all of the minds will be opened. Let us join in prayer that all of the sins will be admitted and then washed away–all of them.

This Thanksgiving we are giving thanks for the big things God is going to do in a small cafeteria. May it be His will that lives are surrendered around the dinner table.

 “Blessed is the one who will eat at the feast in the kingdom of God.”

Luke 14:15



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