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Ghana mission worker will speak on Sunday, Jan. 6

The work of the Presbyterian Church USA mission in West Africa will be described when the Rev. Josh Heikkila speaks at the 10:30 a.m. worship service, Sunday, Jan. 6, at the First Presbyterian Church in Hastings. The service is open to the community.

Appointed as the PC (USA) mission co-worker in October 2009, Heikkila is regional liaison for West Africa. He facilitates support for the program, relationships and activities of the program partners. He also provides support for its mission personnel and helps connect partner churches with those that want to be involved in the ministry in the region. The PC (USA) has a partnership with churches in three countries in West Africa. In Ghana, PC (USA) maintains partnerships with two denominations, the Presbyterian Church of Ghana and the Evangelical Presbyterian Church, Ghana. The PC(USA) also has newer partnerships with the Presbyterian Church of Nigeria and the Evangelical church of the Republic of Niger. Heikkila is responsible for maintaining relationships with all partner churches.

Before his appointment, Heikkila served for five years as an associate pastor of House of Hope Presbyterian Church in St. Paul, a congregation with about 1,000 members. He worked with the youth program there. He also coordinated activities for the Self-Development of People program in his presbytery.

He has a variety of overseas experiences. He served as a young adult volunteer for the PC (USA) for one year in Ghana, where he learned the Ewe language. He has a Bachelor's degree in math and social studies from Dartmouth College and a Master of Divinity degree from the University of Chicago, where he served as a student intern for both the University of Chicago and First Presbyterian Church. Before entering the seminary, he worked as survey specialist for the National Opinion Research Center and a paralegal for the United States Department of Justice.

Heikkila was ordained as a PC (USA) minister of word and sacrament in 2004 in the Presbytery of Chicago and is currently a member of the Presbytery of the Twin Cities area.