Justine Heidengren lives in Philadelphia with her husband, Stephen, and they attend the Altieri’s community group. They have plans to move to Garnet Valley, where Justine grew up. She has been attending Covenant since 2004 and serves on the Cross Culture A-team. Besides being popular among Sixers fans (read about her job below), her influence is felt by many.
Justine, tell us about your involvement in the A-Team.
I have been serving on this team since 2008 and I love seeing God work in the youth of our church! Teenage years can sometimes be a confusing and awkward time, but watching God reveal himself to teens is an incredible thing. We also have a ton of youth who are chasing hard after the Lord, and it has often encouraged me in my own walk.
You’re a favorite among Sixers fans. Can you tell us about your job?
Yes, I’m the Manager of Ticket Sales and Service for the Delaware Blue Coats. It’s the g-league affiliate of the Philadelphia 76ers. I oversee a team of four fabulous people whose job it is to sell out every home game at the 76ers Fieldhouse. I’ve been with the 76ers organization for almost 8 years.
What are some things you love to do?
I love spending time with my husband, Stephen (who I call Cute Husband), and our dog, Carson. We love trying new places to eat and just going on walks together around Philadelphia. I also have an amazing group of girlfriends who I often feel like I don’t deserve, so spending any time with them makes me so happy!
Tell us about your family and any interesting family traditions you have.
I have two very loving parents and a younger sister and brother. I also married into an amazing family. One of my favorite traditions is that every Thanksgiving, my dad and I get up early and go get coffee and hot chocolate from Wawa for everyone in the family. We also pick up all the Black Friday ads, and when we get home, we watch the parade together and compare the best deals. I’ve been doing it with him since I could hold my own cup of coffee, and it means a lot to me.
When and how did you start coming to Covenant Fellowship Church?
I started to regularly attend Covenant Fellowship Church during my junior year of high school in 2004. I didn’t actually become a member until I moved back from South Carolina in 2008.
What is your morning routine? What’s the best way to begin the day?
Over the past few years I changed from being a night owl to a morning bird. I wake up around 5:30 a.m., try to head to the gym, shower, spend time in the Word, throw some laundry in the washer, finish dishes, and make the bed. It helps me to feel accomplished even before I get to work. I definitely was not this way growing up. (Sorry mom!)
Do you have any embarrassing moments you can share with us?
I have a lot, but in college I was out on a first date, and I am a very messy eater. My date took me to get wings, and I ordered really spicy ones. As I was eating, part of the sauce on a wing flew off and hit my date in the eye. He had to run to the bathroom, and when he came back his eye was nearly swollen shut. Needless to say, I did not go on a second date with him!
Is there a book from the CFC book shoppe that has been helpful to you?
One would be Heaven by Randy Alcorn. This book helped me to long for Heaven, gave me a better picture of what eternity with Jesus will look like, and to hope for that even more. Another is Systematic Theology by Wayne Grudem. Jared Mellinger had challenged the college-age ministry years ago to read it in a year. I didn’t finish within the year, but I did finish it, and it helped educate me so much on the things of God. It is extremely long, but packed with so much good!
If you could talk to a younger version of yourself, what advice would you give her?
I would tell my younger self to trust in what God has for your future. His plans are so much better than anything you could plan yourself, so stop trying to force your own way. Be faithful to obey the Lord and his commands, and you will be so much happier knowing the God of the whole universe has a perfect plan just for you.
How did you come to Christ?
I attended Garnet Valley High School and looked for fulfillment in sports, activities, friends, classes, and being a “good kid.” I thought I could earn the love of my family and friends by being the perfect person, but I struggled with anger when things didn’t work out as I planned. There was a guy named Bill in my public speaking class who I knew through friends, and he attended Covenant. He kept inviting me to the youth group. There was something different about Bill and the way he interacted with other students, so I figured there was no harm in trying it going a few times.
A few months in, I was hooked. I met some of the girls who are now my closest friends. They all had the same light about them that Bill had, and I knew I wanted it too. I jumped at the chance to go to youth camp in 2004. The first night’s message was on love and propitiation and I was convicted of my sin and realized my need for Jesus. During worship after the message, I was filled with the Holy Spirit and felt Jesus saying that He had been moving in my heart and had that day marked for me. I knew I couldn’t go back to school and my family as the same person.
How can we be praying for you?
We are in a busy season but are trusting God in what He has in store for us, so prayers that God would make His will clear for us. Also, pray for spiritual gifting. Stephen and I have been talking about and praying through the gifts of the spirit a good amount, and I’d love for God to pour out more gifts on us to use to advance His Kingdom.