Interview with Heather and Robbie Oleniuk
What are you currently doing while you raise up your team and where are you headed after you get to 100% financial support?
To continue towards this call of overseas missions, we realize there are many ways in which we need to prepare. We are building a support foundation with people and churches, including prayer, finances, encouragement, and commissioning.
We also take time for our own spiritual growth and are prayerfully developing a heart for the people we’ll serve with. Of course, there are many missionaries we can learn from as we engage in the strategy of missions. We’re reading books and biographies, and participating in training and courses.
Once we reach 100% of our finances, we’ll move to Tumu (a town in Northern Ghana) and join a small SIM team there. Until then, we are working part time jobs, creating our own structure for the above preparations, and jotting a lot of to-do lists!
Did you individually have a call to missions or was it something that happened after you were married? What does it look like to be called?
Before we were married we both felt called to serve in ministry, yet the specific call to overseas long-term mission service came after we had been married for 2 years.
For us, the calling started small. So small that it was just one option among others on our plate. As we pursued a few of these options, missions stuck with us and we felt it could be the next step to keep us growing in our faith. The attraction remained of buying a house in Canada, having kids and serving in a ministry here, but somehow God was propelling us to something different and we know this North American stereotype would not satisfy us now.
When we first chose missions, we didn’t have the whole picture of what the journey entailed. Now, at each point in the process as we get closer and closer, we have seen our passion and calling for missions growing exponentially in the process! Our sense of “calling” seems to be expanding and rather mouldable!
What is the most difficult part in the waiting time before leaving?
Spending so much time preparing for Ghana means we have had to say no to a lot things we would normally participate in here. For us it feels like we are living in a constant state of transition. We cannot engage fully in life here in Canada, nor can we be involved in things in Ghana yet. The transition affects our relationship with friends, our sense of purpose, and can make us feel like we aren’t really serving God yet. We often have to remember God is our primary goal and not life here in Canada or in Ghana.
Could you describe what you will be doing in Ghana?
We will be involved in discipleship, mentorship and church development. There are several villages in the area we are going to that have very few Christians. Our role will be to empower and facilitate those few believers to learn more about Jesus Christ and His words, so they can live out their faith fully and teach others to do the same.
What are you most looking forward to in Ghana?
We are really excited about focussing all of our time and energy on loving people and getting to know Jesus Christ with them. Sitting with people and talking with them about Jesus and the Bible is exactly what we love to do! As we mentioned earlier, we have been caught in transition for an extended period of time and we are eager to fully engage in ministry in our new home.
How can people join your team if they want to?
If people are excited about what God is doing in Tumu and in us, they can join with us through prayer, finances and relationship. Prayer for the ministry, for the Sisaala people, and for us is essential if this work is to be effective and have longevity! Financial support is a huge encouragement to us, and a very practical need as well. It is amazing to feel people investing in us and the Sisaala people. We are also looking for people who want to connect with us, as we connect them with God's precious people in Tumu.
Ideally, we want people who are really in it with us! We believe we cannot be successful in ministry outside of community and we are already being encouraged by many people who want to check in with us and encourage us along the way.
You can financially support Heather and Robbie. Go to www.sim.ca/missionaries/Oleniuk
Who are the Sisaala?
The Sisaala of Ghana are engaged but as yet, unreached. They are only found in Ghana. Their primary language is Western Sisaala. Their religion is deeply rooted in their identity and conversion is essentially understood as giving up their culture.
- Bible Translations: Yes
- Jesus Film: No
- Gospel Recordings: No
- Radio Broadcast: No