Facebook has been abuzz with news that calls have gone out from our seminary to pastors and vicars that will serve the Lutheran Church….where the Holy Spirit has called them. It’s a wonderful thing to know that God is in control of where you’re going. I had to think back to our own “Call Night”.
Tim graduated from the Lutheran Seminary in Fort Wayne, Indiana in 1983. It was a big night. Having prepared for overseas missions, our destination was not a surprise. But it was fun to sit and watch others receive their news for the first time. You could almost feel the envy in the room when someone was called to the warmer areas of the country. He got Florida? Drat! And I’ll never forget when some poor soul received his call. The person making the announcement figured he’d throw in a bit of excitement; make sure we were all paying attention. “And So-and-so, called to Brazil” ……. at this point I think his wife passed out …. “Indiana!” A collective, “OH, WHEW!!!” was felt throughout the chapel. Relief, some uneasy chuckles.
And then it came: Timothy Heiney, to Ghana, West Africa. His future wife (me) didn’t faint, in fact we were thrilled. We’d met with someone from the World Mission office some months before. He had asked to meet us in Detroit to talk to me, I think to see if he thought I would make it as a missionary wife. Questions were asked and answered. The one that sticks in my mind was, “Do you believe you can learn a language?” I stuttered a bit and hesitated. I’d studied German for 9 school years and still didn’t feel like I could carry on a conversation. Maybe I couldn’t learn another language?? After an embarrassing pause the man asked, “Well you learned English, didn’t you?” Why yes, yes I had. I guess I could learn another language. Three languages later I can’t say I do all that well, that I have a gift, or that I even enjoy learning new languages, but yes, yes I did it. So apparently I passed the test, at which time we were asked, What do you think about Ghana? Tim and I immediately pictured Jim Jones and a pitcher of Kool-Aid. It took us a bit to learn about Ghana (NOT Guyana!) and we soon set our sights on this new place to which God had called us. We learned we’d be working with the Konkomba people in the northern part of the country. Our prayers started in earnest for these people, for our work there, and our transition to a new place. As we have done with each new people group with whom we have worked, we prayed that God would go ahead of us, prepare the way, and make His people ready to hear the Gospel. We had no idea how ready the Konkombas were, but we were about to find out!