Calling All Hinson's

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


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Family Christmas Pictures

I guess it’s time to get caught up on Christmas posts so I can feel like I am starting 2015 having completed 2014.

After our Thanksgiving Meal we had two weeks to get ready for Family Christmas Pictures for our neighbors. We did this last year, and BOY was it a blessing!

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The backdrop was hung from the ceiling with masking tape, the stains on the carpet were strategically covered, and the cookies and cocoa were set up for all who would come.

It was such a blessing to see families arrive with matching outfits, moms wearing make-up, and children wearing their biggest smiles.

The cool thing about this event is when we hear that people are so grateful for this opportunity because they haven’t had family pictures made in __ years. Tears come to many of their eyes when they are given the free print in a nice frame. They are truly thankful for this and we are glad to do it. It’s one way we can show the Love of Christ to our neighbors. So, for your viewing pleasure, here is a sample of the pics that were taken.DSC_0300 DSC_0349 DSC_0369

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Now wasn’t that the cutest?!

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Giving Thanks

I know it’s way past Thanksgiving, but I wanted to share with you the cool things that happened at the Thanksgiving Meal this year.

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On Wednesday, November 26th, church buses rode throughout Countryside picking up our neighbors to bring them to Brooklyn Springs Elementary. There, we had prepared some delicious food and some fulfilling worship. As the volunteers gathered, we prayed and divided into teams, anxiously awaiting the guests to arrive. As they poured in my heart filled with excitement and longing–hoping that The Gospel message that would be shared later would reach deep into hearts and would transform lives.

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I don’t really know how to measure success at things like this, but I guess it depends on what you call “successful”. I do know, however, that our goals were met.

We connected Countryside to The Church.

We connected The Church to Countryside.

We connected Countryside to Christ.

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There was a rich, thick feeling of the Holy Spirit in that cramped cafeteria as the music by Soul Purpose started off. There were smiles and giggles as the little AWANA kiddos got up to sing proudly for their parents. I had never listened closely to the lyrics of Big House, but they sang:

I don’t know if you got some shelter
say a place to hide
I don’t know if you live with friends
in whom you can confide
I don’t know if you got a family
say a mom or dad
I don’t know if you feel love at all
but I bet you wish you had

Come and go with me
to my Fathers house
Come and go with me
to my Fathers house

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And after hearing that invitation to Come to The Father’s house, a skit was shared by the Hyde Park youth. In the skit, a young girl walks closely with The Lord until sin slowly pulls her away, dragging her to a dark place where she considers suicide. Jesus jumps in to rescue her from her sin when she reaches out to Him. As the girl dropped the gun and ran to Jesus, the cafeteria erupted in applause.

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Grant then preached a clear Gospel message by going back through the skit and explaining what happens when we get tangled in sin. All eyes were focused on the message.

In the end all the food was given away, all the songs were sung, and all the words were spoken. Even all the Bibles were taken from the prayer table.

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And I believe I figured out how to measure success. I’ll say it was a successful event by the tears that were falling down the cheeks of our neighbors and by the tight hugs that we were given when it was over and by the many seeds that were planted by God’s people that night in the cafeteria of Brooklyn Springs.

To God be the glory!

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A day in my life

One of the questions I am asked regularly about our life here in Countryside is “What’s a typical day look like for y’all?” My answer usually consists of something like “we make loose plans but are open to whatever God has planned for us any given day.”

If I’m being honest, that answer comes with either a lot of Divine appointments or a lot of frustration. When I say I make loose plans, I really mean that I make plans to do what I want to do. When my selfishness comes into play, I don’t want to move those plans for anything–or anyone. Wait, I’m not supposed to say that. I’m a missionary.

It’s true though. I have a hard time with balance and selfishness and putting others before myself sometimes. Today I found myself praying for that all to be pushed out the window and to be filled instead with compassion and love and joy. Interruptions–at least in this line of work–should be considered opportunities.

And as I slowly saw God changing my focus and felt Him softening my heart, a lot of things came to mind. He gently reminded me of some of the conversations I have had these past few weeks.

Last week I was praying for a mother of four small children who had her power cut off. We sat and watched as God moved in people’s hearts to give and he provided down to the penny what she needed. I am privileged to pray for people to get their power turned on.

A few days ago I received a text that said: I JUST WANTED TO TELL YOU I GOT ALL MY BABIES BACK. THEY ARE ALL HERE AGAIN!! THANK YOU FOR PRAYING FOR US!! GOD IS SO GOOD AND MERRY CHRISTMAS!! I am privileged to pray for people to get their babies back.

Today me and Grant were asked to be Godparents to one of our sweet little neighbors. When his mommy asked me she said: I want y’all to be his Godparents because I know you will always be there for us no matter what and you will be a constant in his life. I am privileged to be a constant in people’s lives no matter what.

Tonight I sat and watched 15 Countryside kiddos sing in a Christmas play. They sang of the joy that came to the world at Christmas. They sang of the urgency to Go, Tell it on the Mountain. They sang their best for a new story they had been taught. Christmas this year is going to be about Jesus. Many had no idea who Mary and Joseph were last year, this year they are singing of the little Lord Jesus asleep on the hay. I am privileged to share the true meaning of Christmas with those who have never known.

I just cannot even imagine my life being any fuller. I cannot look back on my life pre-Countryside and think of what I prayed for and what broke my heart and who I was crying for. I cannot ever remember a time when I sat and watched God literally answer my prayers in very specific ways and in very miraculous ways.

Experiencing this kind of relationship with people makes me hunger for more. Experiencing this kind of intimacy with God makes me hunger for more. Experiencing this kind of movement of the Spirit makes me hunger for more.

And that’s a day in my life.


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Asher Basher turns 5

About Asher he said:

“Most blessed of sons is Asher;
    let him be favored by his brothers,
    and let him bathe his feet in oil.
The bolts of your gates will be iron and bronze,
    and your strength will equal your days.” Deuteronomy 33:24-25

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As much as I can’t believe it, it’s time to admit that you are 5 years old today. I remember what I was doing 5 years ago this moment. My emotions were tied up somewhere between giddy excitement and nervous nausea. I would be a Mommy for the first time and no matter how prepared I had tried to be, I felt so very unprepared. I remembered wondering if this is how Mary felt when she was carrying the Savior of the world.

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Asher Basher, you have been one of the greatest sources of happiness for me as your Mommy. We named you Asher because it means blessed & happy. You certainly fit your name and you cause those around you to be blessed & happy. You bring joy through your kindness and love towards people.

 

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You’ve never been one to snuggle very much, but you love to have one-on-one conversations. Your favorite topic right now is Heaven. You ask questions about what Heaven will be like and your sweet prayers for others always include “and I hope when they die they will go to Heaven.” Sometimes when you pray you sound so mature that I peek one eye open to watch you because I can’t believe it’s actually my little boy.

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Your ability to love all people has taught me so much. You play with children who aren’t the nicest and you have compassion on those who no one else does. You seem so grown up in the way you display God’s Love toward others. You are a remarkable boy.

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The intelligence you display is something that baffles me. I jokingly say you get it from me, but I realize that you are far smarter than I. Aside from the words you can spell and read and the math problems you delight in solving, you have a maturity about you that is rare. When neighbors come over they all are surprised you are not older. The ways you can hold a conversation and speak intelligent things are crazy. I know–without any doubt in my mind–that you are going to use that to serve God. Pairing your intellect with your heart for others is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen and I can’t wait to watch God do miraculous things through you, Luke Duke.

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Right now you can ride your bike like a rocket, eat us out of house & home, memorize scripture like no other, and still suck your thumb when you are tired. Your Daddy-O is your best friend and you love doing boy stuff. You try to speak Spanish whenever you can and your favorite restaurant is the Chinese place. Your creativity shines when you draw and cut and color and tape, creating crowns and capes and towers. When we told you that you would get three things for Christmas, one thing that is consistently on your list is a Bible.

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Buddy, I cannot put into words how proud I am of you. You are compassionate and favored. You are flourishing and tough. You are strong and mature. I am the one who is blessed and happy.

Love you more than I can say,

Mommy


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#GivingTuesday

Hello there, fine blog-reader.

I wanted to let you in on something you may not know about.

Today is #GivingTuesday!

We have a day for giving thanks. We have two for getting deals. Now, we have #GivingTuesday, a global day dedicated to giving back. On Tuesday, December 2, 2014, charities, families, businesses, community centers, and students around the world will come together for one common purpose: to celebrate generosity and to give.

We think this is so cool and helps us redirect our focus during the craziness.
We hope that you and your family will find a way to give back in the midst of all the holiday chaos. If you need some help with somewhere to give, prayerfully consider donating to The Connection. You can do so via PayPal here on the blog. We won’t mind at all ;)

Thanks for all you do for the people in Countryside and for The Hinson’s! Love y’all!


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The Connecting Tree

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My fingers are blistered.

I have cut out a lot of red crosses. One hundred and ten red crosses to be exact. The crosses are scratched with sizes and likes and wishes. Some newborn, some advanced in years. All live in Countryside. All have varying degrees of struggles this year. All are looking to these red crosses to provide gifts this Christmas.

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My head is hurting.

The organization of 110 crosses is taxing. Neighbors filled them out trusting that we would meet their needs. They don’t care how, really. As long as they can have something for their children under the tree this year. They are appreciative. And even surprised when we tell them they can fill out a cross too. No matter your age, you deserve a gift this year. We are celebrating Jesus this year and He wants you to feel special too.

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My faith is tested.

One-hundred and ten. That’s a lot. We work with a lot of churches but they have other things going on this Holiday Season. They have shoeboxes to fill and offerings to give and families of their own. Lord, will you provide this time or will we have to take the crosses back and tell them they will have to get their gifts some other way?

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My heart is full.

The churches stepped up despite their other ministries. They took part in The Connecting Tree. They want to connect with Countryside. They want Countryside to connect with Christ.

A family member called to see if we had anyone who needed help this Christmas–she took seven crosses to carry on her recently deceased mother’s memory. She’s calling it Ruby’s Gift because Ruby always provided for a family at Christmas.

Two friends called to see if we had anyone who needed help this Christmas–they took nine crosses so they could teach their children the real reason for Christmas.

The stories go on with how God has distributed 93 crosses so far. He is proud of His people for taking care of each other.

“For there will never cease to be poor in the land. Therefore I command you, ‘You shall open wide your hand to your brother, to the needy and to the poor, in your land.” Deuteronomy 15:11

And the needs go much deeper than material gifts. There is need for jobs and food and love and prayer and spiritual restoration.

And 7-year-old boys recognize that. Do you see his #1 wish? My mom can get a job.

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We believe that as these crosses are handed out to The Church, Christ will use His people to move mountains in Countryside. That’s what He does. He uses The Church to take someone’s cross full of burdens and meet their needs in simple ways. That’s what God did at Christmas. He met our need for salvation by allowing His Son to be born, in order that He would die on the cross years later as the perfect sacrifice. This reveals the true meaning of The Cross to Countryside, the true meaning of The Connecting Tree, and the true meaning of Christmas.

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