Calling All Hinson's

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


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Vamos a Costa Rica

As many of you know, the hispanic population makes up a large portion of our neighborhood. It has been a struggle for 2 years to grasp the language in order to minister fully to our friends. We have tried various ways to learn and have come a long way, but still have a long way to go.

In October Grant traveled to Intensa language school in Costa Rica where he stayed for 1 month to be immersed in the culture and learn español. He did a fantastic job and came home with more confidence in his ability to speak to our friends. (You can read that blog post here.)

Because of the grant we received from the Baptist Foundation (read about that here) and through much prayer, we are able to go to Costa Rica now as a family! I will be in class 6 hours each day and the nice folks at Intensa have agreed to teach our kids for 1 hour each day. Grant will glean from being in the culture again and will take care of the kids while I am in class. This is such a special opportunity we have to travel together and learn together.

My very favorite friend in Countryside is Carmen. We have a bond that I cannot describe, despite the language barrier. I truly get the definition of language barrier. It is a block in the middle of a path, interrupting the flow and communication. It is a wall that is in the way of the destination. Carmen and I have a great relationship despite this barrier that is in the way, and I cannot imagine what it will be like when we can understand one another more fully. Our hearts seem to connect when our languages don’t. Sometimes we just laugh at each other’s frustrations and move the conversation to another topic that we can convey more clearly. I have sat at her kitchen table and cried with her, not having any words–and I mean that in every way possible–to comfort her. It makes my heart happy to perhaps come back from Costa Rica with more to say, not only to Carmen, but to all my other friends in Countryside!

We appreciate your prayers as we travel THIS SATURDAY. Please pray for our minds to be opened, for smooth travels, and for happy kids.

I’ll update often while we are there!

Hasta luego, amigos!

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List of happenings

A lot has been going on here in the past week. Good stuff. God stuff. I thought the best way to share it all with y’all is to make a list, so here goes:

1) Last week at AWANAs we witnessed the baptism of two young girls from our neighborhood! They are two of the ones who got saved last summer during VBS. (You can read about that here if you want to.) They have been coming to AWANAs faithfully and felt The Lord leading them in baptism. It was wonderful to see them being obedient to The Lord!

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We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. Romans 6:4

2) These girls excitedly invited their families to come witness the baptism. Pastor Scott preached a short sermon about what we believe baptism represents in the Baptist church. God’s word fell on one of their mother’s heart and she spoke with Pastor Scott about getting baptized herself! The witness of the daughter led her mother to return to The Lord!

And now why do you wait? Rise and be baptized and wash away your sins, calling on his name.          Acts 22:16

3) Before the baptism began, all the children were talking about it. One child in particular, Briston, had a lot of questions and wanted to talk to Pastor Scott about what this all meant. As they were talking and The Gospel was presented, Briston felt God knocking on his heart and decided he needed to be saved. Briston is now in line to be baptized! Amen!

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 For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. Romans 10:13

4) A friend we have come to know in Countryside was having trouble financially, despite all her efforts to stay afloat. Her AC ducts were clogged in her new place, causing her power bill to jump $200. Because of this, she was late on her rent and did not see any way to pay it. Grant and I met with her, leading her through scripture and praying with her. Just a few days later God made it possible through two church donations for her rent to be paid in full. He is so good!

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28

5) A few nights ago we were invited to speak at a circle meeting for one of the local churches. The women were so very kind and hospitable. They are excited to jump in and help feed one of our mission teams this summer. They were so encouraging and generous to us. It was a true joy to be in fellowship with such sweet believers.

Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.       Hebrews 13:16

6) At the beginning of the year we were awarded a grant from the Baptist Foundation. We were so surprised at the amount given, as we were only expecting a small portion of what we asked. The needs list we made on the application consisted of a lot of updates to The Connection ministry trailer. After receiving the grant, however, God’s people seemed to come out of the woodwork asking how they could help with any needs we have. Just in the past month we have had folks do a raffle ticket fundraiser to raise money for a (much-needed) storage building. Today we had someone call and say they wanted to build it for us. We had someone volunteer to buy new carpet to replace the worn and stained white carpet that was in The Connection. We had someone volunteer to bring gravel for the storage building to sit on. We had someone volunteer to pour a basketball court at The Connection. We had someone volunteer to buy paint to freshen up the walls in The Connection. We had a church come by to ask if they could seal the roof of The Connection so it wouldn’t leak anymore. All of this was God’s stirring in peoples’ hearts to meet the needs of our neighbors. All of this happened in the past month. God is sending a flood of help this way–we are bracing ourselves for the awesome things He will do this summer!

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And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.     Philippians 4:16

7) And because the grant money that was allotted for those type of things has been freed up, we are able to use it for other things on the list like signs to advertise events, pop-up tents and medical supplies. We also have felt The Lord free us to make a big family decision that we are super excited to share with you…

…tomorrow!

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Easter Hope

On Saturday we prayed for revival and repentance and surrender. We received Hope.

As folks gathered on the gravel lot they were corralled under pop-up tents where they were met by an eager Christian ready to share the true meaning of Easter. They sat quietly as they listened to the truth of Jesus’ suffering and crucifixion, then of his resurrection. They listened as it was spelled out clearly in their heart language that Jesus did this because He loves them. Despite their sins and shortcomings, He loves them.

In between the tents sat another tent with four chairs. A sign hung on the tent that read Prayer. Bibles scattered the table for anyone to take. Two servants sat, waiting for anyone who needed prayer. For anyone who may have more questions about this Jesus and the love He has for them.

Many folks rose up from their chairs after hearing The Gospel and headed directly to the hot dog line. Many, younger in age, rose up and ran to the playground. But one rose up and headed to the prayer table.

As she stood on her prosthetic leg she moved slowly, carrying the scowl on her face. She sat in the chair with her side to the folks who were eager to pray with her. She almost had her back to them, but she didn’t. She didn’t close them all the way out. She angled her chair according to her comfort level and according to her openness–or her coldness.

As she sat slowly she was greeted by a kind missionary woman. One who has seen hurt and heartache and persecution that many cannot fathom. One who is seasoned in praying with those who are in tough situations and are seeking out help. One who was eager to pray with this scowl-faced woman.

This woman greeted the missionary with two sentences.

I don’t want you to pray for me. I want to know why God did this to me.

As time passed, Crystal’s story poured out. Her tears stayed safe in her eyes, never approaching the surface. The missionaries tears, however, spilled over onto her face, falling on her clasped hands. Crystal told of her struggles over years and years, each new story seemingly worse than the last. Things you would never expect to happen to one person, happened to Crystal. Things that people don’t deserve to go through, she endured.

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Her seemingly final trial is upon her. She has been diagnosed with cancer for the second time. The first time it was in her bone and took her leg. This time it is in her brain and will likely take her life. The doctor’s have told her there is no hope. 

What do they know?

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Crystal is not from Lancaster and has no family in this world except the grandson that she is raising alone. She does have a few friends and they found out about her diagnosis. They asked her to come live with them so they could help her. They live in Countryside. They came to the Easter Egg Hunt. They brought Crystal with them.

Crystal didn’t want prayer, she wanted to know why. She wanted to know why God would do this to her. Why He chose her to have such a hard life. Why she was dying. This God that she just heard had so much love for her, why in the world would He do this to her.

She said for herself that she was angry at God. She didn’t want anyone to pray with her, but she wanted answers. This may seem discouraging and frustrating, and we certainly don’t know why God allows such bad things to happen, but we do know one thing…

Crystal may not have wanted prayer…but she came to the prayer tent.

Crystal may not have wanted prayer…but she came to the prayer tent.

The Gospel fell on Crystal’s ears on Saturday and she could have ignored it and headed straight to the hot dog line like every other person there. Instead, she headed to the prayer tent.

There is hope for Crystal’s heart and situation. There is hope that brain cancer may not be the cause of her death. There is hope that she will turn her anger towards God into trust that He is sovereign.

“For Scripture says to Pharaoh: ‘I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.'” Romans 9:17

Pray for Crystal with me. She sought out the prayer tent and didn’t receive prayer, but she may receive more prayer now than she ever imagined. God can do a mighty work in her life. He is still God. He is still on His throne. And He is sovereign over every life. There is hope for Crystal.

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The panic before Revival

For some reason I tend to panic right before a big event. I wonder if we can make it happen again. What if we don’t have enough food? What if I bought all those hot dogs and only 10 people come? What if no help shows up? What if it is super chaotic? What if I forgot something major?

What I seem to forget is that we aren’t the ones who have made it happen in the past. God has.

In my state of panic this past week, God gently reached down to reassure me. He didn’t speak softly into my heart. He didn’t send someone with words to tell me to calm down. He sent eggs.

About a month ago we asked 5 churches to collect 200 candy-filled eggs each. That would give us about 1000 eggs for the 5 age divisions of the Easter Egg hunt. This week as the eggs started coming in, we realized we were going to have an abundance. Churches were bringing 300 or more and one church brought eggs and we didn’t even ask them to! After I finished separating them out today (and one more church still needs to deliver theirs) it looks like we will have around 2000 Easter eggs for tomorrow’s event.

That’s double what we asked for.

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That’s when God showed me that He’s got this.

That’s also when I started changing my prayer. I stopped praying for eggs–please, no more–and started praying for salvation.

I stopped praying for helpers and started praying for repentance.

I stopped praying for organized chaos and started praying for revival.

God showed up in the operational things, He can show up in the eternal things too. And the thing is, that’s where He wants to show up. That’s where He wants to be exalted and glorified–when we rejoice in the newness of life. When we give Him praise for a sinner’s cry for forgiveness.

Will you do me a favor right this moment? Will you please say a prayer that we see souls saved tomorrow?

Tomorrow our neighbors will hear the Gospel shared in small groups. Our prayer is that this Easter many of them would be able to fully realize the price Jesus paid on the cross and turn their lives over to him.

Amen.

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Overjoyed at #24

Since moving into Countryside almost 2 years ago we have had the honor to see 23 of our neighbors give their hearts to The Lord. Some of those decisions were a result of visits with local pastors, some were at church functions, some were through one-on-one conversations.

Sunday night we had the ultimate privilege of seeing our 24th person come to know the forgiveness of sin and ask Jesus Christ to be the Lord of his life.

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Asher Luke Hinson.

From the very first night our sweet Asher was born we began reading God’s Word to him. Chapter by chapter, day by day, he heard the precious love letter written for him by his Heavenly Father. He heard the truth of God’s promises taught through nursery workers and Sunday School teachers and BSF leaders and loving pastors. He heard the stories of the Bible during family devotions each night and even by watching his favorite Veggie Tales movies.

Finally it all came together and made sense in his heart.

Sunday, March 22nd, Asher was persistent. He knew that he wanted to ask Jesus into his heart. Grant and I talked with him at length, asking him many questions to ensure he understood what his decision meant.

He understands what a sin is.

He understands that he is a sinner in need of forgiveness.

He understands that Jesus died on the cross for HIS sins.

He understands that Jesus’ blood is the only thing that can forgive him.

He understands that Jesus loves him SO much.

He understands that through that love and grace that he can have a relationship with Jesus.

He understands that this is HIS decision.

After we talked, he knelt on the floor and prayed the sweetest prayer while the angels in Heaven rejoiced. He said, “I just love Jesus SO SO much.”

Asher and Grant met with Pastor Patrick a few days later and Asher went to the front of the church Sunday to share his exciting news with our church family. He was so proud. We look forward to Grant baptizing him in the next few weeks.

And yesterday at church we observed Holy week by participating in The Lord’s Supper. Asher was allowed to partake for the first time in such an intimate time of worship. We talked about the bread and the juice and the symbolism they carry. Being there beside my son in his first communion was a special moment.

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God’s word commands us, as parents, to share His truth with our children. Deuteronomy 11:18-20: “So commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these words of mine. Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders. Teach them to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”

We look forward to watching God use our Asher Luke to make a HUGE impact on this world for His Glory. He is a terrific, brilliant, energetic little boy with so much excitement for people and for life. He is sure to do great things in his years on this earth because he loves Jesus SO SO much.

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An overjoyed Momma,

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Where, O Where, Could They Be?

I constantly run into people who say, “I just love reading your blog.” When folks say this I think one of two things:

1) You have a very boring reading-life.

or

2) You are reading someone else’s blog.

I feel that I have let you down, dear reader. I have left you hanging since 2014 with no word as to why.

Well, feel suspended no longer. I’m back!

And I say that very loosely. I’m back today because I have managed to find a block of time where I can sit and write uninterrupted. Also, the guilt for my blog-absence has caught up with me.

So, I decided that since it has been a while since you have heard from The Hinson’s in this particular format, I would make a list of things we have been up to.

In no particular order, here is that list:

  • Speaking: It seems that almost twice a month either Grant or me have been speaking at different churches. He is the main one, but I have been invited to a few women’s events and such. This kinda throws us out of our routine—not being at our own church and all. But we certainly appreciate sharing with God’s people what He is up to in Countryside.

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  • School: January threw me off kilter. I knew I would be starting my last year in NP school, but had no real idea what that looked like. Well, it looks intense. The stakes are higher…I am diagnosing and treating people for health conditions for crying out loud! The reading is intense, the stress level is intense and the pressure is intense. I certainly feel God is taking me through this one medical condition at a time, but it still feels like a lot of pressure when you are asking me not to kill someone by giving them amoxicillin instead of penicillin. Shew.

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  • Clinical: This deserves it’s own line item even though it’s part of school. I am required to get 160 hours of work with a Physician/NP/PA each semester for the next four. This first semester I am working with a fantastic PA in Salisbury (where we moved from). This means I stay with my parents for days at a time so I don’t have to drive so much. This makes it hard on Grant, the kids, and the ministry as a whole. The picture of our ministry is one of family. When Momma is gone, it ain’t the right picture. I’m almost finished though. And I am learning when to give amoxicillin versus penicillin.

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  • Family time: Because I am gone for chunks of time learning about tuberculosis and chlamydia, I try to spend lots of time at home with Grant & the kids. We have scheduled movie nights and have headed to the skating rink and have enjoyed playing outside on these sunny days. I just love my family God has blessed me with!

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  • Pregnancy: Did you know I am pregnant? Yep—16 weeks actually. That means for the first 12 weeks I had the strongest desire to sleep for 23 hours a day. The other hour I was awake I wanted to sit in the recliner so I wouldn’t throw up. I have, however, turned a new leaf. All is well and has been for about a month now—Praise Jesus I feel like a new woman!

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  • Ministry: We are still going strong with daily opportunities. Hanging out with kiddos, taking them to church, and helping them with their homework. Grant’s Bible study on Sunday nights has been so fruitful—it’s very exciting! ESL has it’s faithful learners. And there’s always the daily things that pop up unplanned—taking folks different places and praying with them through crises. We are also planning our Easter Egg Hunt that is sure to be an exciting 60-second swoop of candy-filled eggs.

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Well now. I feel tired after spelling that all out. Asher asked the other day, “Mommy, why do you have to go to North Carolina so much? I miss you when you are gone.” My answer to him was, “This is a season that God has planned for our lives. He has seen us through it this far and will continue to. I miss you, too, but I’m doing what I’m supposed to do right now.”

And I say the same to you. I miss you, but I’m doing what I’m supposed to do right now. God has given us this busy season and has provided a way. He makes time for rest and has actually grown my love for Grant in unexplained ways through all the craziness. He has also grown us as a family through the busyness. And, most of all, grown us closer to Him. We are relying on Him for strength in the madness and He has cradled us in His loving arms.

I hope to show up a little more here to let you know how God is still working in the hearts of our neighbors and of the Lancaster community. Just because I haven’t blogged in a while doesn’t mean He hasn’t been moving mightily!

Love and Hugs,

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