There was a big announcement in our Bible Study Fellowship leaders circle several weeks ago. Joni, our beloved, fearless leader, also known as Heifer Lynn (only to me), announced that God had called her out of her position as our teaching leader. I did not see that coming.

And, to be honest, I don’t think she did either. But God, in His infinite mercy and care, made it known to her that He had other plans for her. Plans that did not involve shepherding almost 30 leaders and 200 or so class members. Plans that did involve providing for her and her family in ways that she didn’t even know were possible. Something about being recommended for a position she didn’t apply for, for a job that didn’t exist, at a school that hasn’t been built yet, and being practically hired on the spot before she was even ready to accept the offer. I think there might have even been more confirmation that I have forgotten to add.

That God, He can be pretty persuasive.

I have no doubt she will serve in this new capacity with passion, humility and a high view of God, because that is just how she rolls. She has led our leaders circle and class for the last six years with integrity, a deep desire to share God’s truth with honesty and compassion, love and great fun! She has modeled grace under pressure, transparency in her struggles, and a firm grasp of common sense.

When I first heard she was leaving I was sad. I have been in BSF long enough to know that when someone leaves, no matter how much you love them, you just don’t see them much, at least not every Wednesday and Thursday anyway. It happens. People have their families, busy lives, many commitments. Then God reminded me that some are forever friends, and it doesn’t matter how much time passes, the love and friendship is still there, you just have to work a little harder to get together.

There will be many things to miss about her. Her laughter comes first to mind, because I seek humor in all areas of my life, Bible study included. Her devotion to her family, three boys keep you hopping. Her love of Jesus is woven into the threads of who she is and you can see His fingerprints all over her life. She is a wonderful teacher of His Word, and it is always her desire that He receive the glory, not her. She is unflinchingly honest. One of my favorite Joni lines is her saying she wished she did not have to personally learn each lesson she taught. Or something along those lines. Basically saying she was a disciple, a learner, just as we are.

The leaders were each asked to write her a note as a going away present. It always seems so overwhelming  and also inadequate to write these sorts of things. How do you compress years of thoughts and memories and feelings into a note? Here are a few of the multitude.

I am so glad that she reintroduced herself when she came in as a class member! I did not recognize her but she had been a friend of my brother Beeve’s in high school! I did have vague memories of her and a herd of other girls, put to a Duran Duran soundtrack.

I was excited when she joined our admin team as a secretary a couple years later. Oh.My.Word. She was a fun girl!!!!!

She left admin to become the teaching leader the next year, and it has been a pleasure to hear her lectures for the past 6 (?) years. She has a whole heart for God, just like David.

She has been a dear friend throughout, in good times and bad.

She was such a blessing to me when my Mom was leaving this life. She had lost her Mother, she had walked that road before and she graciously walked it again with me.

We have lunched and commiserated with Jip the Farm Dog and CMB through whatever life threw us, it’s good to talk things out.

Above all, I love her servant’s heart.

I thank you for your service Dear Friend, and it has been my pleasure to serve alongside you.

Much love, Heifer Ann



  1. deb said,

    June 16, 2014 at 7:00 AM

    Joni brought the lessons to heart, I learned so much from her. Her passion and hard work and love will carry on to her new position. Congratulations Joni!

  2. Heifer Lynn said,

    June 16, 2014 at 4:38 PM

    You dear, dear girl! You made me cry all over again. Here, I thought I was done with all that. On a funny note, I did eventually get your recent text… sent to the old phone. I love reading your blog everyday because I can always hear your voice in it, but I miss you. Must figure out a way to get together.

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