HEINEN HAPPENINGS – November 2019

1 chron 16 34

In this season of giving thanks, may you be more aware than ever of God’s love for you and His amazing grace that is offered to you.  Truly, “His love endures forever.”

Leah and I have so much to be thankful for as we approach Thanksgiving.  Our girls continue to amaze us and bless us.  Maria is a terrific student at Arkansas Tech University.  She just received news she can graduate a semester early.  She invited me to the homecoming game for ATU last month.  Rebekah drove me to the campus and Maria escorted me in as I limped up the ramp into the seating area.  Even though they lost, it was a lot of fun.  Maria continues to encourage our church family, teaching an upcoming Thanksgiving devotional and directing the Christmas play, both with her sister.

Victoria is just weeks away from finishing her student teaching.  She will be working at her alma mater, Russellville High School, in an adjunct position in the spring semester.  After that, the sky is the limit!  Her boyfriend, Noah, just landed a great job.  She is super involved during this season of school plays and Christmas concerts, and is loving every minute of it.  She surprised me by coming to our church on my birthday.

Rebekah is weeks away from finishing her internship and her Master of Social Work degree.  They will really miss her at the senior adult center where she has worked for the past year.  And she is just a few months away from marrying Tim and moving to New Jersey, where they being an exciting life and ministry together.  It looks like they have found a place to rent!  Please pray for her healing, as she continues to struggle with immune system issues that are yet to be accurately diagnosed.

leah and iLeah and I will celebrate 33 years together in a few days.  How blessed I am to have someone who radiates Jesus and encourages me with her love and wisdom.  Her health issues don’t get any better, but she continues to trust our Savior in a way that inspires me and glorifies our Lord.  Please pray for her complete healing.  We were lamenting today that her health problems and the medications she takes have robbed her of her beautiful singing voice.  Please pray that she will be able to sing again!

Many of you have asked for more information about my own health needs.  I am diagnosed with severe axonopathic polyneuropathy.  My feet have no feeling left, and my ankles and lower legs are severely numb.  My ability to drive is extremely limited and I walk like I am inebriated.  My hands have constant pins and needles pain and numbness which impact my fine motor skills.  Writing and computer work are difficult.  The symptoms continue to progress.  My wonderful team of doctors are unable to find a cause and are trying to set up an appointment with a very busy neuromuscular specialist at the medical school in Little Rock.  I have been on medical leave from work since July 1st.  That leave ended today.  Many of you know our financial difficulties over the years and realize that we do not have resources to fall back on.  I am working with a great lawyer to try to get disability, but the process seems to take forever.  (Leah does not qualify, as she does not have enough work credits.)  We survive simply because of the extreme generosity of our dear friends and family.  We are so thankful for you!  We continue to pray for our daily bread and depend upon the One who provides.  We never know how the bills this month will be paid, but He remains faithful!

I hesitate to write this, but if you feel led to give, the girls set up a Go Fund Me set up to help pay some medical and everyday living bills.  Thank you to everyone who has already given!  I am blown away by the love and support we have received.

https://www.gofundme.com/heinen-family-in-need

Leah and I were discussing the topic of thanksgiving lately.  She has lost so much because of her health trials over the years, but she remains so thankful to our Savior!  I more recently lost my mobility, my ministry, my profession, and now my ability to work and provide for my family.  I can easily begin a big pity party, but because of her example and the encouragement of Scripture, my loss is now turning into praise.  I am incredibly thankful for the little things I experience each day.  I can’t drive, but when I can walk into the backyard or across the street to go to the mailbox, I am grateful!  I can’t work, but when I can do a load of laundry my heart is filled with praise!  I can’t pastor, but when when my daughters drive me to our wonderful little church and I can expound on the good news of the gospel, I cannot help but get alone with my Lord and give Him glory!  I am so thankful for each moment’s breath, for all the wonderful people I come in contact with each day, and for the presence of my Heavenly Father who never leaves me nor forsakes me!

Some wonder why our family struggles so.  Weary friends question why the bad news never seems to go away.  Many ponder what secret sin we are harboring that has brought God’s punishment into our lives.  Others have thought out loud how weak our faith must be for our lives to be as they are.  Maybe my faith is weak, but while I may not be able to rejoice in the greatness of my faith, I do marvel at the greatness of the One who is the object of my faith.  Our family does face constant trouble, but remember the words of Jesus:  I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world (John 16:33).  You have trouble, too!  It may look different than ours, but you have it.  And when you are overwhelmed by it all, please remember the last part of the verse – we can take heart, because He has overcome the world!

Brian

Brian Heinen, 802 East 23rd Street, Russellville, Arkansas, 72802
479-886-0765    brheinen1@gmail.com
Follow my journey on Facebook and Twitter.

 

HEINEN HAPPENINGS – October 2019

Man-at-crossCome to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. (Matthew 11:28–30)

From Leah:  I chose this verse to encourage you all. It has been a verse that has stuck with me for many years and means a lot to me. Blessings!

 

From Rebekah:  I wanted to thank all of our friends who have showered our family with encouragement, generosity, and love.  Life has been crazy this past month, but God has shown Himself faithful time and again by giving us Scripture, songs, and encouragement from loved ones to keep us going.

Dad’s health continues to deteriorate. He has been to various specialists and doctors. It is a bit discouraging to experience how long every medical process seems to take. Every new referral, every part of the disability process, and every waiting period for test results bring more questions than answers. Currently our family doctor is trying to send Daddy to UAMS for more testing to see why in the world his nerve damage is rapidly progressing.

Amidst all that chaos, life has also been moving fast for all of us girls as well! Maria is doing great in her first semester of college. She says her classes are easier than high school haha.

Victoria is so close to graduating! She will have her choral music teaching degree in December! Right now she is enjoying finishing up student teaching, leading voice and piano lessons, and giving googly love-eyes to her man. 😉

My life is revving up too! I will be done with my Masters Degree in Social Work in December. I am absolutely loving my internship working with geriatric patients, and I will miss them dearly. I also am only 91 days away from getting MARRIED to the love of my life, Timothy Thorpe!! We had a beautiful shower last weekend at Church, and it is all getting sooo real. I am blessed to have this time left with my family before moving away to be with my honey in New Jersey.

We are all in different seasons of life but God is showing Himself to be faithful in them all. Every step He proves His goodness. Every second He whispers His love. Thank you to everyone who has been a part of helping us keep our eyes on Jesus through the thick and thin of our crazy lives.

If you would please be praying for all of us in this transition and also as we face the uncertainty (money-related and otherwise) of Daddy’s medical problems we would appreciate it! Please let us know how we can pray for you too! My momma especially is a super-prayer warrior and would love to lift your needs to our loving Heavenly Father.

And if you feel led to give, we also have a Go Fund Me set up to help pay some medical and everyday living bills. Thank you to everyone who has already given! I am blown away by the love and support we have received.

https://www.gofundme.com/heinen-family-in-need  

 Now all glory to God, Who is able, through His mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Glory to Him in the Church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen. (Ephesians 3:20-21 NLT)

Heinen Happenings – August 2019

Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward. Psalm 127:3

Once again, as I share with family and friends the incredible ways the Lord blesses us, I must focus on how our Father has blessed our children.

Rebekah is engaged!  Our oldest is marrying Tim, an amazing gentleman who has experienced God’s grace in a life-transforming way.  They love their Savior dearly, and that love has drawn them together for a lifetime of love and service to our King.  God is good!

Victoria begins her student teaching soon in the music department of a neighboring community.  She also teaches voice lessons in a local music center.  She is in a relationship with a terrific young man, Noah.

Maria begins her first year of college in a few weeks and will be rooming with her best friend, Elizabeth.  Arkansas Tech University, watch out!

Please pray for our girls to grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus and to continue to love and serve Him faithfully all of their lives.

Also pray for Leah, who continues to battle physical issues.  She experiences constant pain and exhaustion, but shines the light of Christ every day!  Pray that she will have the health and strength to be part of wedding plans and all the other wonderful things that our girls are experiencing.

Many have asked about my own health.  I am struggling with neuropathy, which started some time ago in my feet, but is now spreading up to my knees.  I am not able to drive very well as a result.  My balance is off, and I occasionally stumble or fall.  My hands experience pain and numbness, which makes writing and turning the pages of my Bible difficult.  I sometimes drop things, including Leah’s serving bowl and platter – sorry, Sweetie!

I am under the care of four great doctors who are trying to figure things out.  My neurologist recently tripled my medication, which seems to be helping a little.  Many more tests are in my immediate future.  I have been off of work since July 1st.  Please pray for God’s provision with no paychecks and many medical bills.  And please pray I will glorify God through it all!

We so love and appreciate our many friends who faithfully pray for us and encourage us in a multitude of ways.  Please contact us with your own prayer needs and praises.  May God bless you with His presence and peace!

Brian

Brian Heinen, 802 East 23rd Street, Russellville, Arkansas, 72802
479-886-0765    brheinen1@gmail.com
Follow my journey on Facebook and Twitter.

 

HEINEN HAPPENINGS – July 2019

Friends, I apologize for not writing many recent updates.  My explanation will be clarified below.

Praise God, from whom all blessings flow; Praise Him, all creatures here below; Praise Him above, ye heav’nly host; Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost! 

Bless the LORD, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name!  Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits… (Psalm 103:1–2)

I want to start this update by thanking our Lord for the many blessings He has poured out upon our family!

Rebekah is really enjoying the internship for her Masters of Social Work, and is powering her way through some difficult, but rewarding final classes.  The place where she works would love to hire her upon completion, as her coworkers and clients adore her and appreciate her hard and competent work.  She is in a relationship with Tim, a young man who deeply loves Jesus.

Victoria finished her senior year at Arkansas Tech University, which included her final choir concerts and events.  She did a great job with her senior vocal recital.  This fall, she will complete her student teaching at a school in a nearby community as her Vocal Music Education program lasts 4 1/2 semesters.  She is in a relationship with Noah, a fine young man she met on the worship team at their church.

Maria graduated from Russellville High School, never earning anything but A’s her entire school career.  She also earned many scholarships that will fully pay for her education at Arkansas Tech University, which she begins in the fall.  She tearfully finished her final choir concerts and play performances at RHS, including choir trips to Washington D.C. and Carnegie Hall in New York City.

We are SO thankful to God for how he has blessed our girls!  Please pray they continue to fall in love with Jesus more every day.

66020725_849698268720111_4780117949828562944_n

Leah continues to exhibit her love for her Savior and her incredible faith in Him, in spite of her many physical challenges.  She is home-bound except for doctor appointments and choir concerts and play performances as she is able.  Please pray for God to bless her with His healing and sustaining grace.

I am blessed with a great job as hospice chaplain.  I am part of an incredible team that serves equally incredible patients and their families.  I also am thankful to shepherd a fine Cumberland Presbyterian congregation with a group of people who love Jesus and continually love our family.

church fall

I am asking prayer for myself this update, as I too am battling physical challenges.  I resigned from my denominational district position due to decline in my health.  I really loved serving our wonderful district family!  For years I struggled with non-diabetic neuropathy, which numbed my feet.  It is now spreading to my ankles, lower legs, and hands.  One of the reasons I do not do monthly updates is because computer work is more difficult with my non-cooperative fingers.  My main concern is that due to my numb feet and legs, I am now experiencing loss of balance and muscle failure that prevents me from driving.  I cannot drive when my feet cannot feel the pedals and when my feet and ankles lose control.  If I cannot drive, I cannot work or take care of my family.  Please pray for me!

We so love and appreciate our many friends who faithfully pray for us and encourage us in a multitude of ways.  Please contact us with your own prayer needs and praises.  May God bless you with His presence and peace!

Brian

Brian Heinen, 802 East 23rd Street, Russellville, Arkansas, 72802
479-886-0765    brheinen1@gmail.com
Follow my journey on Facebook and Twitter.

Heinen Happenings – December 2018

Wow look at Mariah

The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone.   Isaiah 9:2 ESV

He will swallow up death forever; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces, and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth, for the Lord has spoken.   Isaiah 25:8 ESV

Jesus, the Light of the World, has come! Even the deepest darkness of death itself is swallowed up by His glorious light. Whatever darkness you find yourself in right now, turn to the Light.

On this First Sunday in Advent, I hope these words encourage you to seek Jesus in a fresh way this holiday season.

It has been a long time since I last shared an update about our family.  Here is a summary of what has happened:

–Rebekah continues to work as an intern at a local agency for her M.S.W. degree.  The employees and the clients love her!  She recently traveled to Iowa for a friend’s wedding and had a great time reconnecting with friends.  She is very active in our church teaching, singing, and writing/directing the Christmas program.  Please pray for her as she struggles with thyroid/immune system issues.

SUp it's bEkah

–Today, Victoria had her final Feast of Carols concert with the Arkansas Tech University Choir.  She was even able to conduct “Carol of the Bells”!  She also is very involved in her church serving on the worship team and leading a girl’s small group.  Please pray for her as she finishes up her senior year and begins her internship in vocal music education.

rocksssss

–Maria is looking forward to a spring choir trip where the RHS choir will travel to New York to participate in a festival at Carnegie Hall.  She also has an upcoming Christmas concert.  Her one-act play did very well in a recent competition.  She was honored to write and direct the drama for our community Veteran’s Day celebration.  She also is enjoying serving at our church.  Please pray for her to finish her high school experience strong.

Mariah

Please pray for all of our girls to continue to grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ!

–Leah continues to struggle with various health issues, but remains the heart and soul of our family.  Her faith is incredibly strong even though she faces daily challenges.  Her beloved brother died recently.  Pray for her to experience the Shalom (peace, completeness) of Jesus Christ!

–I am very busy working three part-time jobs.  I love being a chaplain with Arkansas Hospice.  I work with an awesome team and together we serve incredible clients and their families.  I also work as an administrative assistant with my denomination’s district office.  Our wonderful district superintendent is moving on after many years of faithful service, so my employment at the district may change soon.  I also am the interim pastor at a Cumberland Presbyterian Church in nearby Appleton, Arkansas.  We could not ask for a more loving and encouraging church family.  While I am not ordained in the CPC denomination, the people have embraced me as their “pastor.”  They even put my name on their sign!  Please pray for me to have the health and energy to do all I do for the glory of my Savior!

We so love and appreciate our many friends who faithfully pray for us and encourage us in a multitude of ways.  I am so sorry that with my busy schedule and exhausted body, I have not kept in touch.  May God bless you with His presence and peace!

Brian

church fall

Brian Heinen 802 East 23rd Street, Russellville, Arkansas, 72802
479-886-0765 brheinen1@gmail.com
Follow my journey on Facebook and Twitter.

HEINEN HAPPENINGS – August 2018

Email newsletter of the Heinen family: Brian, Leah, Rebekah, Victoria and Maria

I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. (Philippians 1:3-5 ESV)

We pray for our friends and neighbors!  How can we pray for you?  Send your requests to my email address listed below.

Bless the LORD, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name!  Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits… Ps 103:1-2

We have much to bless God for…

–Leah had a good report from the doctor, showing no further damage to her kidneys.  Her diabetes is under control.  She recently had to go through some tests for her heart, which all turned out well.  She has a stress test this week.  Please pray for her struggle with pain and exhaustion.

–Rebekah starts her MSW internship next week.  Please pray for her health, especially her hypothyroidism.

–Victoria continues to be involved in various leadership positions in her church.  She loves the girls in her small group!  She starts her senior year in college next week.

–Maria had a great start to her senior year in high school.  She is involved in the small group Victoria leads and also in the church where Brian is preaching.

–Brian is enjoying his part-time opportunities with hospice, with his denominational district, and with the small church where he is interim pastor.  It is amazing how many wonderful opportunities to share the love and truth of Jesus arise.  Please pray for his neuropathy in his hands and feet to be healed, as well as the wound on his foot, which has been an issue for many months.

–While we are thankful for the opportunities we have to bless our neighbors, we feel that God brought us to this neighborhood for a purpose.  Pray that we will have the time, health, energy, resources, and opportunities to reach these special people with the mercy and grace of our Savior.

The entire family has been blessed by the encouragement, generosity, and prayers of so many friends.  Y’all have been conduits of God’s amazing grace to our lives.  We love you and appreciate you!

–The church, the Appleton Cumberland Presbyterian Church, is very responsive to the ministry of Jesus Christ that is taking place.  While the number of people in the congregation is very small in number, the hearts of the people are deeply devoted to Jesus.  Rebekah and Maria are making a real difference among the children who attend.

church 3

Brian Heinen 802 East 23rd Street, Russellville, Arkansas, 72802
479-886-0765 brheinen1@gmail.com
Follow my journey on Facebook and Twitter.

Valuing Life – A Pastor’s Perspective

I have always valued life – or so I thought.  I remember from my teen years on how I believed the Bible when it said that I was made in the image and likeness of God.  I was thankful that I was “fearfully and wonderfully made” by my heavenly Father and that He had “formed and covered me in my mother’s womb.”  I worked for a time at a ministry in Texas called “Last Days Ministries,” which had a branch of the ministry called “Americans Against Abortion.”   I served in the print shop there, and one of the most popular tracts that we printed was called, “Children – Things We Throw Away.”  Later, when I became a pastor, I faithfully ordered bulletin inserts for “Sanctity of Life Sunday” and preached how as God is the giver of life, He alone decides when our lives should end.  I was a hospital and nursing home chaplain and served on the ethics committee of our local hospital, and often had to help the sick and suffering see that even their lives had great value and that to end their lives prematurely would be a tragedy.  Yet, none of this prepared me for that trip to my wife’s OB-GYN.

We were expecting our second child.  Our Rebekah Hope was 2 at the time, and we had waited 5 years for her to be born.  We went to our 20 week appointment and looked forward to seeing our little one on the ultrasound.  As the nurse midwife viewed the screen, I noticed that she didn’t respond to my wife’s jokes and that her face turned very pale.  She excused herself and ran out of the room.  A few minutes later, she returned with the doctor, an immigrant from Czechoslovakia who was always smiling and pleasant.  He, too, was serious and silent – until he worked up the courage to tell us the news.  They couldn’t find any kidneys in our baby.  As such, the amniotic fluid would not be replenished once it was used up.  Without amniotic fluid, the lungs wouldn’t develop, as the lungs are strengthened when the baby in the womb breathes that life-sustaining liquid in and breathes it out.  He immediately set up an appointment for us at the Ohio State Medical Center.

On our first appointment, we met with two doctors who both assumed we were coming in to set up a time to abort.  They were shocked to hear my wife, Leah, explain that she believed that the same God who gave her baby life could heal her baby, but that even if he didn’t, it was not her right to end a life that He had given.  They explained to her that the baby would probably be carried close to full term but would die soon after birth and that each time she felt the baby kick, she would be reminded that she was carrying a baby with a death sentence.  “Why go through the heartache?” they asked her.  “Why risk your own health?  Why not end it now and try again?”  They introduced us to a geneticist who would “test” fetuses in future pregnancies and could tell us when to abort until we could get one that was healthy.  My wife stood firm.  Over what seemed to be never-ending visits to many different doctors, the professionals realized that they couldn’t change my wife’s mind.  Her courage amazed me.  Her faith humbled me.  We soon became a “teaching” case because of this rare disease.  I looked forward to the hours of ultrasounds, realizing that seeing my daughter on the screen might be the only chance for me to get to know her.

Our little Christina Joy lived one hour after the delivery.  She peacefully stopped breathing in our arms not long after we heard the hospital sound system play the bells that celebrated the birth of a child.  We put her tiny casket in the trunk of our car and drove her ourselves to Wisconsin, where she was buried next to my own brother, who had also died in infancy.  Not knowing if we would be able to have more children, God has since blessed us with Victoria Grace and Maria Faith.  O, how I value their precious lives!  And how I value the courage of people like my wife, Leah, who have the faith and strength to live out their convictions and who stand up and let their voices be heard.