A new home

A missionary kid discovers the differences between her two worlds, Jordan and Bethel University, working through the transition of calling them both home.

By Hannah Quinn | Royal Report

Freshman Heidi Hankin walked around Bethel University, her new home. Accompanied by two new friends, they made their rounds throughout campus, navigating where their classrooms would be for the beginning of classes the next day.

“All I remember was that the campus felt so huge and I wasn’t sure if I would ever feel at home here,” Hankin recalled.

Before moving to Bethel, Hankin, now a sophomore, lived in Jordan for nine years. When she was 9, her parents felt called to missionary work in the Middle East, packed their bags and moved to their new home in Jordan. Moving to Bethel was her first time being back in America.

Her life in Jordan was different than what would seem normal in America — the climate was different, everyone was more laid-back and getting essentials at the store was not as simple as we find today. America is bountiful with stores and options galore and Jordan is more scarce, with fewer stores and options.

She recalls the first time she walked into a Super Target when she moved to Bethel:

“I was surprised how you could basically get everything that you need to survive in one store,” Hankin said. “In Jordan, things are definitely available, but it’s hard to go to one place and get everything you need.”

One of her roommates, Erin Alpers, joined her on one of these Target runs.

“I remember going to target with her and she thought it was crazy — all the options we have every day,” Alpers recalled.

Capitol of Jordan was home for Hankin. It was waking up in the Kings Academy International boarding school bedroom during the week and returning home to her parents on the weekend. It was the continuous challenge of interpreting the Arabic language and communicating. It was standing out for looking different than most, being a Caucasian young woman. Life there was different, but it was all she knew. It was her home.

She made the majority of her friends while in boarding school and fellowshipping with local missionary families, friends from all surfaces of the world . While pouring into these relationships, she discovered a gift that the Lord instilled in her. That gift was prayer for others.

“Throughout high school, God opened up many opportunities for me to pray for my friends who weren’t believers who would be going through a difficult thing,” Hankin said. “I would just say to them, ‘Can I pray for you?’ and God used that in some really cool ways to encourage them.”

A psychologist student now at Bethel, Hankin continues to use this gift as she is involved in the PrayFirst ministry and in an evangelistic group called, CityFront. With a collection of other students involved in CityFront, she goes downtown Minneapolis and spends her Saturday nights bundled up, studying the Bible, praying and evangelizing to those on the busy streets in Dinkytown.

“She didn’t say she would just pray for me, she stopped what she was doing and did it right there.” — Shana Hazel, Bethel University student

She hopes to use her psychology major to help people find hope and healing in the future, and use it as a way to point people to Christ. Hankin has a passion for people and she uses this passion by loving on others through prayer.

“I’ve seen Heidi become a bold prayer warrior,” roommate Alyssa Sandberg said. “If she feels something isn’t right, she’ll stop and pray. She tries her best to understand you and make you feel heard.”

“I feel really established at Bethel and because I have a place that I feel I really belong, I know that I have a place that I can always come back to.” — Heidi Hankin, Bethel University student

Hankin often would make conversation in her freshman floor bathroom and ask prayer requests from the girls who would walk in. One night, while brushing her teeth before bed, freshman Shana Hazel ran into her fellow floor mate, Heidi Hankin.

“She asked me how my day was and if I needed any prayer,” sophomore Shana Hazel said. “She didn’t say she would just pray for me, she stopped what she was doing and did it right there.”

Creating and sustaining relationships has not been a challenge for Hankin at Bethel. However, transitioning to America has not always been easy, as she was half a world away from her family during her freshman year. Praying kept her patient and building relationships helped her home-sickness. Jordan was her home for nine years, but Bethel has quickly become a new home for her. She believes that being a missionary kid prepared her well for this transition. A campus that felt huge her first week has become small and intimate.

“I feel really established at Bethel and because I have a place that I feel I really belong, I know that I have a place that I can always come back to,” Hankin said. “Bethel is stable. Everyone needs to have one place that is stable.”