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A chance to say, “God, I messed up”

Thoughts from Joy Lutheran Church's Deacon Don Heien

Don and Debbie Helen
Don and Debbie Helen

Joy Lutheran Church

Contact: 810 Buena Vista Way, Chula Vista, 619-262-4444

Membership: 100

Pastor: Deacon Don Heien

Age: 56

Born: San Diego

Formation: Lay Leadership Program for the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod

Years Commissioned: 3

San Diego Reader: What’s your favorite subject on which to preach?

Deacon Don Heien: Grace. It’s a part of forgiveness, and grace and forgiveness tie together. Many people are thinking that God can’t give them grace because they’ve messed up so much, but grace is a do-over; it gives us that chance to say, “God, I messed up.” Please forgive me. As believers we are forgiven.

SDR: Why did you become a minister?

DH: I was a contractor by trade. For the last 20 years or so, I thought about the process of becoming a deacon. I never went into it with the thought of being a deacon because I’m not normally someone who likes to be out in front of people. I like to do the behind-the-scenes work – put the chairs up and fix things and that kind of stuff. When I got into the program, God was pushing me a little more each day. I went in for the knowledge and came out realizing that I was supposed be a deacon after all. God showed me every day that this is where he wants me to be at this stage of my life. That’s how God works — he sometimes puts us in situations that we don’t really want to be in, but we’re there because He has something for us to do. There was nothing specific in discerning my path to becoming a deacon. I’m geared to seeing Him in all things and being from a construction background I know that sometimes God needs a two-by-four to help get my attention in order for me to understand what he wants me to do.

SDR: What’s the mission of your church?

DH: Our mission is to bring people to the saving faith of Jesus Christ. Our people go out and ask, “How can we pray for you?” It’s going to be a huge focus of our ministry when we build our School Campus, merge and change our name to Victory Lutheran, which will include Lutheran High School, Joy Lutheran Church and the church we’re merging with — Pilgrim Lutheran Church and School in Chula Vista. We’re doing the merger in phases. We’re basically waiting on the details to get ironed out. Our goal now and especially once we’ve merged is to be community-minded and open the doors — serve as a hub, if you will, to bring our community together.

SDR: Where do you go when you die?

DH: I’m going to be with Jesus. I don’t know what it looks like. The Bible talks a little about it in Revelation 21. My job on this Earth is to prepare myself and others for a life with God. I can’t tell you what Heaven looks like and I know I don’t want to go to the other place — it’s a little too warm for me. Who knows what hell is going to look like, it’s just not going to be comfortable. I think Jesus lays it out pretty clearly when He said to the thief on the cross: “You’re going to be with me in paradise.” To avoid the other place, you have to believe in Jesus. The only way to get to heaven is through Jesus.

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Don and Debbie Helen
Don and Debbie Helen

Joy Lutheran Church

Contact: 810 Buena Vista Way, Chula Vista, 619-262-4444

Membership: 100

Pastor: Deacon Don Heien

Age: 56

Born: San Diego

Formation: Lay Leadership Program for the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod

Years Commissioned: 3

San Diego Reader: What’s your favorite subject on which to preach?

Deacon Don Heien: Grace. It’s a part of forgiveness, and grace and forgiveness tie together. Many people are thinking that God can’t give them grace because they’ve messed up so much, but grace is a do-over; it gives us that chance to say, “God, I messed up.” Please forgive me. As believers we are forgiven.

SDR: Why did you become a minister?

DH: I was a contractor by trade. For the last 20 years or so, I thought about the process of becoming a deacon. I never went into it with the thought of being a deacon because I’m not normally someone who likes to be out in front of people. I like to do the behind-the-scenes work – put the chairs up and fix things and that kind of stuff. When I got into the program, God was pushing me a little more each day. I went in for the knowledge and came out realizing that I was supposed be a deacon after all. God showed me every day that this is where he wants me to be at this stage of my life. That’s how God works — he sometimes puts us in situations that we don’t really want to be in, but we’re there because He has something for us to do. There was nothing specific in discerning my path to becoming a deacon. I’m geared to seeing Him in all things and being from a construction background I know that sometimes God needs a two-by-four to help get my attention in order for me to understand what he wants me to do.

SDR: What’s the mission of your church?

DH: Our mission is to bring people to the saving faith of Jesus Christ. Our people go out and ask, “How can we pray for you?” It’s going to be a huge focus of our ministry when we build our School Campus, merge and change our name to Victory Lutheran, which will include Lutheran High School, Joy Lutheran Church and the church we’re merging with — Pilgrim Lutheran Church and School in Chula Vista. We’re doing the merger in phases. We’re basically waiting on the details to get ironed out. Our goal now and especially once we’ve merged is to be community-minded and open the doors — serve as a hub, if you will, to bring our community together.

SDR: Where do you go when you die?

DH: I’m going to be with Jesus. I don’t know what it looks like. The Bible talks a little about it in Revelation 21. My job on this Earth is to prepare myself and others for a life with God. I can’t tell you what Heaven looks like and I know I don’t want to go to the other place — it’s a little too warm for me. Who knows what hell is going to look like, it’s just not going to be comfortable. I think Jesus lays it out pretty clearly when He said to the thief on the cross: “You’re going to be with me in paradise.” To avoid the other place, you have to believe in Jesus. The only way to get to heaven is through Jesus.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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