Strong faith, strong life! The Love Anyway Project is excited to introduce Reagan Hinton the Co-Founder and President of Where Love Abounds. She began her new chapter at a young age feeling overwhelmed and uncertain of where it will lead to. She knew her purpose was greater than herself but she kept faithful and surrounded herself with hearts that only encourage the light in her and to become the Godly woman she truly is. Read and learn how Reagan is making a gentle but strong impact in the world.
I love your dedication and faith filled perspective in life. How do you nurture and protect it especially in a world where people can be easily swayed away from their faith?
My faith fuels every aspect of my life. As any young woman, I wrestled with what I believed my first year of college, but came out of that time stronger in my faith than I had ever been. I have found throughout life that when my faith is running low, my work tends to not be as efficient or effective. Therefore, I try to surround myself with other women who encourage me and love me. I have been blessed to find a group of eight incredible, Godly women who pour positivity and Christian reinforcement into my life every chance they get. These women are located in five different states in the United States, but encourage my walk with the Lord and help seek His will for my life. They have been the best support system. Additionally, I start every morning with quiet time with the Lord so that my day starts off the right way. I also attend a weekly Bible study with other Christians in my community and have an ever-flowing conversation with the Lord throughout the day. The world may try to steal peoples’ joy and faith, but a joy and faith that are deeply rooted and nurtured are harder to steal.
What is your role in your organization and how has it helped you grow into the woman you are today?
I am the co-founder and President of WLA. Taking on such a large role throughout college and law school has taught me many invaluable lessons. First, taking on the role of President at such a young age has truly helped me see how blessed I am. Because I am so blessed, I should use my blessings to be a blessing to as many people as possible. Luke 12:48 states, “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” As a Christian woman, I have been blessed to know the Gospel of Christ and have the means to help others. Thus, I have learned that it is my duty to help others and I will be without excuse if I do not. Second, my role has helped me to prioritize every aspect of my life and helped me decide to pursue a career in law. Isaiah 1:17 states, “Learn to do good; Seek justice, Reprove the ruthless, Defend the orphan, Plead for the widow.” By starting this organization, we have been able to do much good around the world by providing clothes, shelter, and food to the needy; helping expand a pediatric oncology ward and provide treatment to children faced with terminal cancer; connect athletic teams as sponsors to teams around the world; partner with incredible organizations in seven countries; and share the Gospel of Jesus Christ in all things. However, I felt a calling to not only be able to do good, but to be able to bring justice, defend the orphan, and plead for the widow. Thus began my journey of law school. My prayer is that WLA continues to shape me into a godly woman living my life to help and protect others.
Why have you chosen this path?
Starting in high school, the Lord began placing in my heart and mind the idea of bringing lasting change to communities by empowering the people of that community. I have my own family and commitments in the United States. However, I have met many people in different countries who have organizations already running and making a difference. My desire is to connect people with their unique talents and passions to organizations around the world. Once we make those connections in-country, we desire to continue to build those connections and support those organizations throughout the year by donating time, talents, and money. The organizations with which we partner hire mostly nationals to work with them so that the nationals can empower their communities. Besides oversight to ensure our resources are being used properly and the organization is completing its purpose, we want to have as little hands-on running of the in-country organizations as possible to ensure that the local people are changing their nations. Our goal is to donate time, leadership, and money to help them achieve their goals. Thus, we send people with talents that are needed to the field to help train and work with our partners in order to grow our organization and our partner organizations.
What was the specific event that triggered you to begin and pursue this dream?
I went to Zimbabwe when I was in 8th grade with my family. That was one of my first experience overseas. I saw kids my own age and younger walking miles and miles into town carrying water jugs on their heads. I knew those kids would likely never get an education and would never be able to truly be kids. Even as an 8th grader, that broke my heart. After graduating high school, I went to Ghana with my church and fell in love with the people and culture. Once again, I saw a need for resources and education that broke my heart. I knew that if these kids could get an education, they could be the generation that changed the entire nation. Thus, began the dream of working with locals who have a passion to make their countries a better place for the next generation.
How did you overcome the hesitation or reluctance to start?
It took me a good six months once I really felt a calling to start this organization to approach my father about the idea. I felt I was too young, as I was 19 at the time, and unqualified for such a position. However, I kept being reminded by different people that did not know my thoughts of starting a non-profit, that I do not have to be the best or the smartest, I just had to be willing to be used by the Lord and willing to work hard. Finally, I approached my father about the idea and he loved it, supported and encouraged me to proceed. Where Love Abounds was founded later that year.
I understand with any organizations and big purposes there will be some down falls. What are some challenges/obstacles you face daily with Where Love Abounds?
One of the biggest challenges is running an organization as a “full-time part-time” job until I complete my law degree. All of the founders and board members are in school full-time or have full-time jobs. Everything that is donated to Where Love Abounds goes directly to our partner organizations in other countries. Therefore, we all work jobs during the day then work on WLA projects in the evenings and on the weekends. Thus, we are not able to spend all our time focusing on how to raise funds and get people involved with the organization. A second challenge is finding the right organizations to partner with in countries outside the United States. The Lord has blessed us tremendously by bringing Ghanaian, Ugandan, Indian, Costa Rican, Belizean, Guatemalan and Dominican nationals to our attention who are trustworthy and have a passion for seeking justice and reforming their countries from the inside out. However, vetting new organizations and people tends to be a challenge.
How do you overcome them?
A lack of sleep. Just kidding, sort of. 🙂 Once again, God has been gracious with who He has placed in the organization. The board members we have are fabulous and work hard to raise awareness and funds every chance they have. We believe we have been given a calling and a duty to look out for the most vulnerable in the world and help passionate people change their countries in order to better the lives of others. Thus, we all put in as much time as we can to make sure WLA runs smoothly and people all over the world are being helped. As for vetting new organizations and people, we have been incredibly blessed to meet the people we have. However, we make in-country visits to these organizations several times before we begin partnering with them. We visit their ministries, see them in action, and spend much time in prayer about our partnerships.
What has been your proudest achievement with Where Love Abounds or even in your personal life thus far? And, Why?
As a new organization, one of my proudest achievements is just seeing the way the Lord has made connections and the way the organization has grown in the past year. A little over a year ago, we only had partners in Belize, the Dominican Republic (DR), and Ghana. We were helping support one church and one baseball team in the DR, an orphanage in Ghana, and a Christian radio station in Belize. We now have partners in the Dominican Republic, Ghana, Uganda, Belize, Costa Rica, and Guatemala. We have meetings scheduled with several organizations in India. Our partners in Ghana have started supporting several orphanages, a pediatric oncology unit, several schools, several churches, and are working towards fighting trafficking on Lake Volta. Our partners in the Dominican are working to fight trafficking, support several local baseball teams, and sponsor both Haitian and Dominican churches. Our partners in Belize are sponsoring the radio station, several churches, and soccer/softball teams. We have 4, maybe 5, teams going into the field next summer to work with our partners for a few weeks. The number of people getting involved is also growing as we are starting to be able to place different people and their talents with needs around the globe.
What advice would you give to those trying to pursue their passion in making a difference in the world?
My advice sounds a lot like Nike, but “just do it.” Do not let your fears and concerns stop you from making a difference. You are not too young or too old or too unprepared. You are gifted with unique talents and passions that the Lord gave just to you. There will never be another you and there will never be another person who can impact the world just like you can. Also, if you don’t know how to get your ideas off the ground, contact us. We want every person to be able to use his or her passions and talents to bring positive change to the world.
The Love Anyway Project admires the bravery that Reagan shares with the world. She shows grace and balance with everything she touches and don’t doubt the continuous growing success her team will achieve!
Thank you for the perseverance and willingness you encourage onto others,
Thank you for placing your faith above all and conquering your fears and worries,
And thank you for continuing to Love Anyway!
Follow Reagan and her team on instagram @whereloveabounds501c3
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