Melissa Heiland—wife to Ken and mother of 6 children—is one of EvanTell’s Master Certified Instructors and a recent recipient of our Matthew 4:19 Award Winner. Passionate about evangelism and sanctity of life, she strives to share God’s love as an international speaker, author, and through her work as founding president of Beautiful Feet International.
Some people find it hard to move overseas as a missionary, but Melissa Heiland—co-founder of Beautiful Feet International—shares that the most difficult part for her was returning home.
When Melissa and her husband Ken joined the International Mission Board, they sold almost everything they owned and moved to Costa Rica with their children. “We thought we’d never come back,” says Melissa, “But the Lord called us back to the US through a series of circumstances.”
It broke their hearts to return when so many people still needed to hear the gospel and so few were burdened to go. Melissa comments, “We realized in time that at least one of the big reasons that the Lord called us back was to share our heart and our passion for reaching the world for Christ.”
After returning to the States, the Heilands partnered with churches and even ministries in other countries to share Christ’s love. Since 2000, they’ve led mission teams to the Americas, Europe, Caribbean, Asia, and Africa. In 2009, they officially founded Beautiful Feet International, a “mission agency that shares the love of Christ through short-term mission projects and international pregnancy centers.”
Her passion for the gospel and for people motivates her involvement with pregnancy resource centers. “I’ve found that when people are in crisis that is when they are much more open to the Lord,” says Melissa. “They will come to a pregnancy resource center when they wouldn’t probably go to a church…[and are] more open to listen to truth because they realize whatever has been their plan of action before that is not working. They need something else, and so I believe that God is using PRCs to bring the world to Him.”
In 2012, one of her husband’s former work colleagues contacted them unexpectedly and offered them a house in Costa Rica to use for ministry. “Well, right at that moment I knew I wanted to build a pregnancy resource center,” recalls Melissa.
Up until that point, she had thought of her work in the pregnancy resource centers as something she did primarily in the states. But with wonder over God’s provision, she comments, “When someone calls and says they want to give you a house for ministry you pay attention. Because that’s God, right?!”
And since then, God has continued to provide homes. Currently, BFI has 5 pregnancy resource centers—3 in Costa Rica and 2 in Mexico. Three more centers are in the process of starting in Costa Rica and Togo, West Africa.
Many people have told her she has the gift of evangelism, but the implications of that didn’t really sink in until she read about the gift of evangelism in one of Larry Moyer’s books. “He talked about if you have the gift of evangelism, you have two different sets of responsibilities,” says Melissa. “The first is to declare the gospel to unbelievers. The second is to train believers how to share the gospel. I had never really thought about that before.”
Melissa now trains all of their teams and pregnancy center workers with evangelism materials from EvanTell. Almost everywhere she goes she trains churches and nationals, “[EvanTell] is a very big part in our ministry in the United States and around the world.”
Recently, Melissa returned from a trip to Costa Rica, “I was there for 5 days and I actually did 4 different EvanTell trainings. I did a training for a human trafficking ministry there, I did a training for a local church, I did a training for a woman’s bible study, and I did a training for a men’s bible study.”
Melissa’s been sharing the gospel for a long time, but her certification as an EvanTell Master Instructor has taken it to a whole new level. “I think that the biggest impact that EvanTell has for me personally has been teaching other people how to share the gospel,” says Melissa. “I loved it [the training] so much and it’s so simple and well organized as far as how to get the message out to other people.”
Read more about Beautiful Feet International at: beautifulfeetinternational.com. To find out how you can become a certified EvanTell Instructor, contact Danny Ray at firstname.lastname@example.org.