John and Kristy Hensley
John- Growing up, I was always fascinated by how things worked. I would take things apart to see how they functioned. It stood to reason that I eventually chose to make my career as a commercial aircraft mechanic working for the airline industry. However, it was not just mechanical things that fascinated me, it was also people-why they functioned the way they did. For most of my childhood and school-aged years, normal function was not modeled for my sister and me. In fact, dysfunction is a more appropriate description.
Because of this, I began to question if families and relationships functioned like mine. When I spent time with my friends’ families, I would see interactions that were foreign to me, not like mine at all. I had not learned skills to cope with the dysfunction, so I began making decisions that adversely affected relationships in my life-the cycle continued. I discovered that fixing mechanical things was far different from fixing the pain of broken relationships.
After years of dysfunction, I responded to God and He began the process of redemption. His wisdom made sense of my healing journey, and I started to see my story was not in vain. Through the shame and dysfunction, a true purpose was appearing, one that made sense of my past and gave hope to others walking a similar road. I was not beyond His repair. It is funny how God works. I believe He has given each one of us a purpose, with a unique story to tell.
Revelation 12:11 tells us, “And they conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death.” To defeat the enemy and bring others to His saving knowledge, we must tell our story. I am so glad God pursued me and did not give up on me.
Indigo Hills is the culmination of this journey and the purpose God has given for our stories-mine and Kristy’s. When she and I met, we realized we shared a similar dream and believe the Father brought our stories together. Our vision is simple; to give ministry leaders an environment where they can rest, reconnect, recuperate, and remember that they too have a redemption story to tell.
For many ministry leaders their testimony can get in the way of their leading. They often feel suppressed by the demands of their profession while being placed in a bubble of expectations, which far exceed the example and hope of Christ. We want leaders to feel safe and respected at Indigo Hills. We want to be able to provide any resources needed to regain the passion and vision God placed in their hearts. We would like to come alongside them to be a listening ear, offer encouragement, prayer, and biblical counsel.
When I retired in 2015, I had no idea how God would further write my story to include Indigo Hills. I am currently involved in men’s ministry and pursuing my master’s in biblical counseling to add tools to my toolbox. Our love for the outdoors and our passion to see souls restored and healed has brought us here. I pray that in the remaining moments God gives me to journey this Earth, will provide us the opportunity to share all that He has given us to steward. Healing comes from one true source, Him. It is my hope that many ministry leaders will connect with that source, find healing for their souls, and the freedom to run here at Indigo Hills!
When I am not mowing, repairing fences or warding off poison ivy, I like to enjoy all that the outdoors of East Tennessee has to offer. I also love being Dad to Erin and Elise, and Papa to Nox.
Kristy-Many years ago, a woman named Judy Fox drove down a winding country road in Jonesborough Tennessee, saw the breathtaking views of the indigo-colored mountains, turned to her husband and said-“We have to live here!” This is how we found the beautiful property that is now Indigo Hills.
A couple who loved nature, Gene and Judy, my parents, both instilled and nurtured a love of nature in my sister and I from an early age. (There are stories of me supposedly “hiking” the smoky mountains at 18 months). As a young adult, I moved to Florida where I lived for 25 years but ultimately, the peaceful mountain views and lifestyle drew me back to Tennessee in 2018.
What I bring to Indigo Hills comes from a place of redemption as well… “beauty from ashes.” Raised in a home where alcoholism impacted our family for generations, I questioned the love of my father. Insecurity, and a false sense of identity led me to ask: “am I truly loveable?” and to making unfortunate choices with years of deep pain to follow.
After the love of my Heavenly Father wooed me to a grace-filled church, my healing transformation began! Years later, after growing in my relationship with Christ, “peeling back the layers” as many say, I wanted to offer that same opportunity to other women. I facilitated groups through healing bible studies. Seeing women enter a room with a heavy heart, broken spirit, and the impact of pain then, after a few short weeks, those same women became restored daughters, reflecting light and lightness- I was hooked! Returning to school to become a Christian mental health counselor would provide a broader opportunity to “comfort others with the comfort I had received.”
In grad school, the professors stressed the importance of self-care because burnout and suicide are quite common among counselors. As a student, an intern, a volunteer, and staff member at a large church, I was personally experiencing and witnessing the impact of those who carried many responsibilities. On staff at the church, I worked with the Care Ministry-those who care for others. In response, I formed the Women’s Wellness Care team to address the needs of the church staff and volunteer women. We held “Nourish Your Soul” events that addressed whole person care. These events were such a blessing to all involved.
God created us as whole beings-mind, body, and spirit. I believe it is vitally important that we take a holistic approach and give attention to each, so we can live more abundantly-especially those in ministry! Part of our vision is to offer holistic wellness care on-site to the local community, and those retreating at Indigo Hills.
I have learned so much on my journey and have been blessed by being “mom” to two grown sons, “sister-mom” to two grown stepdaughters and “Gigi” to a chubby grandson! My journey and growth I pray will continue. When not working, I love to spend time connecting and laughing with family and friends, getting outside taking in beautiful views, or hiking and biking, doing yoga, singing (sometimes with cows), taking pictures, and doing creative stuff. When you come to Indigo Hills, let's go for a walk and talk, or I’d love to sit down with you over coffee and listen to your story.
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.”
(2 Cor. 1:3-4)
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
(Matthew 11:28-30 MSG)
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.
(John 10:10 ESV)