Hinderliters: MCC’S Unique Siblings

By Mark Janssen

Greta Hinderliter is a 6-foot-1 middle hitter on the Manhattan Christian College volleyball team. She was born and raised in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Pure Americana!

Jack Hinderliter is a forward on the Thunder soccer team. He’s 5-foot-5 and 120 pounds … at the most. He spent the first five years of his life in Taiwan where he went by the name Jing-Jye prior to his adoption by Mark and Cathy Hinderliter.

As their semi-comedy routine goes, “People ask us all the time, ‘You’re really brother and sister?” begins Greta.

And Jack good naturedly adds, “Yeah, don’t you think we look alike?”

While there is a loving family bond, and each certainly has the back of the other, there is also a smidgen of sarcasm when the two young Hinderliters describe one another.

Best friends?              

Us?” asks Jack, rolling his eyes. “Nahhhhh.”   

“Not best friends … (pause) … but friends,” adds Greta with a laugh.

Further defined, Jack says, “Greta can really be stubborn … a pain. She always wants it her way.”

And Greta chimes in, “That can go two ways. Jack can really be annoyingly hyper. He’s so full of energy when at times I need a quiet time.”

To that assessment of his personality, Jack gives a “she’s right” smile.

“From the first day that I was here I’d go from 0 to 90 in a second. I was always on the move,” said Jack. “I’d tear a toy apart, and then put it back together … and then do it again. I guess it’s why I’m technical and would like to go into engineering.”

In reality, Greta and Jack truly are chums. The Hinderliter parents say that even at the age of five before the adoption, Greta would listen to Chinese speaking tapes with her mother. And once Jack arrived in the household, it was Greta who the parents would go to: “What does he want?”

“Greta was very receptive to him,” said Cathy. “She looked at him as a new playmate.”

Mark added, “They had their own language. It was a Chin-glish.”

MIRACLES FROM GOD ARRIVE AT MCC

Greta and Jack were members of the Cherokee Hills Christian Church, where the brother-in-law of MCC President Kevin Ingram served as minister.

In finding a college to attend, it didn’t hurt that Greta’s best friend, Gentry Mortensen, was already enrolled at MCC.

“President Ingram was her uncle, plus Gentry told Lauren (Sanders, MCC’s volleyball coach) that I played volleyball, so it was another reason to come here,” said Greta, who is majoring in Psychology and Counselling.

As for Jack, he says that Greta already being on the MCC had “little influence” on his decision to come to Manhattan. Instead, it was an opportunity to get an education in Children’s Ministry, plus play soccer, plus possibly get a dual degree in Engineering at Kansas State.

Mark and Cathy have reason to believe that each child is a gift from God.

Cathy had the misfortune of three miscarriages prior to giving birth to Greta.

“Our church came together after the third miscarriage and laid their hands on us and prayed for us,” said Cathy, who also had three miscarriages after Greta’s birth.

Mark adds, “We firmly believe that she is our miracle from God.”

Jack’s Taiwanese name is Jing-Jye, but in their pre-school system each child was given an English name. It was Jack.

“We adopted him at the age of five from a foster home as Jing-Jye, but when we got him home we immediately named him Jack, which was Cathy’s father’s name” said Mark. “It wasn’t until all his paper work started arriving that we realized that ‘Jack’ had been his pre-school name when it was a name we had already given him. Crazy.”

Cathy added, “That was our Holy Spirit conformation that we had adopted the right child. He was supposed to be ours.”

In reality, Jing-Jye’s official name today is Pearson Jack Hinderliter. Pearson comes from the Hinderliter side of the family, while Jack is from Cathy’s side.

While stopping short of calling their respective arrival at MCC a miracle, Greta and Jack do admit that there was a spiritual hand that led them north of the border and into the Sunflower State.

While raised in a Christian home, Greta said, “I never lost the importance of God in my life, but the last couple years in high school I was making decisions that weren’t necessarily the best. I think it’s cool that I was led here and will eventually be able to use counselling as a ministry. In high school, I was the person friends came to in hopes of resolving conflicts. I hope to continue to do that through my MCC degree.”

She says the topics of science and spirituality fascinates her, and the complexity of the brain brings up oodles of questions. But she adds, “I would love to study it more, but I just can’t see myself in a lab for the rest of my life.”

Jack comes from a country that he suggests is five percent Christian and the rest “… non-religion or into Buddhism.” He adds, “God has been in my life because he found a family that would adopt me and give me a new home. I don’t come from the brightest backgrounds. My birth mother gave me up right after I was born because she was heavy into drugs. I hear she was just 16 or 18 … real young. I have never known either of my parents, but I did have caring foster parents and certainly loving parents today.”

Of his adoption, Jack added, “At that age (five) I figured I was just going to another foster home for a couple years, and then would move again. That’s the way it had always been. I had no idea I was going somewhere that I would live for all these years.”

Full of appreciation for those who have taken him in as a son and showered him with love, Jack would now like to give back. Give like teacher April Swang gave a passion for God to him back at his home church in OKC.

“I’m here for Children’s Ministry. Not youth, but younger kids … middle school on down,” said Jack, who presently coaches a 5- to 7-year-old girls’ soccer team. “I understand the importance of those years and I think I have the energy to keep up with them. I’m one who feels that kids are our future. I didn’t come from the best of backgrounds, so I think I can relate with anyone and speak at their level. I hear so many adults speak over the heads of children.”

Eventually, he says, “My dream is to go back (to Taiwan) and help young kids. It’s my home. It’s where kids want to learn about God, but in Taiwan kids have no legal rights of their own until they reach the age of 18. All decisions are made by their parents.”

Jack says he has no idea where his father is. Of his birth mother, he adds, “I don’t even know her name, but I’d like to meet her someday. But again, it’s not a real high priority. It’s my foster mom who means something to me.”

This past summer, 14 years after his adoption, Jack and Mark traveled to Taiwan to take part in an English-Sports Camp. It was during that visit he reconnected with his stepmother, Lon Ti Ti. “It was important to see her. She’s one of my biggest role models that I have, along with April Swang.”

IMPORTANCE OF SPORTS

Greta and Jack are standouts on their respective Thunder teams, but keep their sporting world in perspective.

“I see how sports and Christ work together because there is a unity of working together,” said Greta. “We’re a team working as one. We’re playing to the glory of God.”

Of sports and God working in unison, Jack says, “Sports brings the character out in people, and it’s an opportunity to work as one. As in life when you’re trying to be a better person each day, in sports you’re always trying to have a better game every day.”

OH …. OU OR OSU?

While at 5-5 and 120 pounds, Jack never found his way to the football field, and has yet to truly get into the Okie thing of being either a fan of  the Sooners or the Cowboys.

“I guess I’m for OU, but it’s only because red is my favorite color,” quips Jack.

FINALLY, LET’S EAT!

As they say, you can take Jack away from Taiwan, but you can’t take Taiwan away from Jing-Jye.

What was his favorite food growing up in Taiwan?

“Noodles and rice,” he stated.

And what is his favorite food today as an Oklahoman?       

After a slight pause, he smiled and said, “Noodles and rice!”

MCC Scoreboard

10/17/2017 | Womens Volleyball vs. Calvary University | W, 3-0 
10/17/2017 | Mens Soccer vs. Randall University | L, 4-2 
10/14/2017 | Womens Volleyball at Ozark Christian College | W, 3-0 
10/14/2017 | Mens Soccer at Ozark Christian College | W, 4-1 
10/10/2017 | Womens Volleyball vs. Central Christian College (Kan.) | L, 2-3