To my church peeps:
Yes, I called you my peeps.
To quote our dear pastor Mike, “I took the liberty of looking up ‘peeps’ for you in the dictionary.” The only difference here is that Mike uses an actual dictionary, I used the internet.
Peep: Short for “my people”; A person whom one knows, likes, and trusts. A person with whom one is allied in a cause. One who supports.
On August 26th we began this journey together. That was the night we told you that we were being called somewhere, sometime soon. Since that day we have been encouraged by your prayers, your hugs, your love, your gifts of food and your kind words. That’s what peeps are for!
We knew at the time that this would not be an easy task…to leave the family that loves you so much and that you love back, to move on to something different and unknown, to step out of our comfortable life. I read recently that God comforts the disturbed and disturbs the comfortable. That was us.
Since August God has proven faithful to not only speak to us personally, but to speak to us through speaking to you. Countless people have come up to us and told us things that they felt God wanted us to know. As the body of Christ that is so important! It has truly allowed us to come to the point where we are today, being confident in the task that God has set before us. That’s what peeps are for!
This past week we drove to Ohio for a human trafficking conference where we learned about the horrors of human slavery. We were going there to see if there were opportunities for us to serve in that setting. We had visited South Carolina a few weeks before and that door was still standing open as well. While in Ohio, God spoke clearly to us that we were to go serve in South Carolina. Leave it to God to send us to Ohio and tell us to go to SC!
Side note: When we first visited Lancaster, SC, we called it Lan-cas-ter. We now know how to correctly say it…well, most of the time.
The trailer park where we will minister and live is called Countryside. It has about 170 trailers, with 1/3 of the population being white, 1/3 black, and 1/3 Hispanic. We will work with three churches, New Hope Baptist (the white church), New Hope Missionary Baptist (the black church), and Olive Green Hispanic Church. We will do bible studies, hold block parties, disciple, prayer walk, etc, etc. We will start taking Spanish classes so we can communicate with 1/3 of our mission field. On May 1st we will complete our season with you and May 2nd we will be trailer park missionaries.
We ask for your prayers in many different ways. This will all be new to us, new to the community, and new to the churches. We ask you to pray that we are guided only by the leadership of the Holy Spirit. Please pray for relationships to be formed with the residents of Countryside. Please pray for a smooth transition for the kids. Please pray for our families we will leave here. Please pray for our financial needs, as we know God will provide for us in ways that only He can.
And for those of you who have been so affectionately dubbed “younguns”, please know that I know EXACTLY how you feel right now. I, too, was in a very tight youth group with an awesome and influential youth pastor named Hal Hiatt. Hal made a tremendous impact on my walk with Jesus and was used by God to make me into the person I am today. He showed me what it meant to be a Christ-follower. He showed me how to be the hands and feet of Jesus through missions. He showed me how to read and study my Bible. He showed me what a real lover of Jesus looked like. The day he told us he was leaving, I felt like there would never be another youth leader that would measure up to him. I knew that would be the end of the youth group. I felt discouraged and sad. But, Hal taught me to look to Jesus, not to him or any other human. He taught me to be confident in who I was as a Christian and to seek Jesus first in all I do. Grant has also taught you these things. Sure you will be sad. Sure you will be tempted to step away. But the real measure of what Grant taught you about God will come when you step up instead of stepping away and continue to dig into Jesus no matter who is leading your youth group! You will always have each other to look to for accountability…and we will always be your peeps!
In the book “The Irresistible Revolution” by Shane Claiborne, he writes, “We can admire and worship Jesus without doing what he did. We can applaud what he preached and stood for without caring about the same things. We can adore his cross without taking up ours. I had come to see that the great tragedy in the church is not that rich Christians do not care about the poor but that rich Christians do not know the poor.” We want to know the poor. We want to get up in their business. We want to live among them and minister to them. We want to be the hands of Jesus to them. We want to be their peeps like you have been our peeps.
So as we move along to the next task God has set before us, please consider this…
Deuteronomy 15:11 says “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.” God calls us to obedience-no matter the cost. This is what He wants from The Hinson’s and we must be obedient to this call. It doesn’t mean it will be easy for us, for you, or for the younguns, but it will be what is right.
I love you and will treasure this season we had together, peeps.