I do not have a proof text for this, but I like to picture, when Bruce Heffner was entering the Pearly Gates of Heaven, that Saint Peter was handing him a trumpet and pointing to the brass section. My personal friend, co-worker, and fellow Gospel minister went to be with Jesus in late February 2022. He will be greatly missed by not only his family and friends, but also by the Christian church in general and specifically, the Bible Fellowship Church.
Bruce grew up in the BFC as a preacher’s kid and ministered at our retreats, Pinebrook Summer Conference, Victory Valley Camp, Hymn Sings and various churches. He was a recording artist who started back when vinyl was all there was until 8-track came along (replaced by cassette and finally CDs). Last I checked, I think he still had some 8-tracks. But he was more than just a great musician.
As a missionary he also ministered, like his dad, Rev. William A. Heffner, as he preached the Word. He did all three (preached, sang, blew trumpet), often with Word of Life International in, according to his obituary – Hungary, Portugal, Kenya, Poland, Germany, Ukraine, Romania, Czech Republic, Italy, Argentina, Chile, Haiti and many more places. Each summer his ministry took him to Milford Park, a camp near Victory Valley, and for several months in the winter, he ministered in the Bahamas with Island Outreach.
My connection with Bruce started back in the mid-sixties when he came to Bethany BFC, Hatfield, PA, for a youth concert. My dad, the pastor of the church, however, did not appreciate the “new” music and gave Bruce an earful after the concert. I remember encouraging Bruce as he left that night. Our relationship continued as he came to the church I pastored, the Bible Fellowship Church of Ephrata, PA, on various occasions. The most significant time was the Sunday after 9/11 when he led worship and ministered in music at the Ephrata High School where like-minded evangelical churches had gathered and invited the community to come. We all needed encouragement and the community needed to hear the Gospel. Several trusted in Christ. But my most memorable occasion happened when we were leaving Pinebrook and quite discouraged about it. Bruce and Debbie asked if they could come up and stay in the Loft – an apartment attached to our house used by ministers and missionaries at no charge to recharge their batteries, study retreats, etc. That was not the purpose for the Heffners coming. As it turned out, they came just to encourage us. I guess a complete circle was made from when I encouraged him to 45 years later with them encouraging us.
As I get older, more and more of my friends and acquaintances finish their earthly course. It’s tough, but it is part of the lifecycle. The good news is there will be a great reunion when we get to Heaven. I look forward to seeing my friend; hearing him sing in his Frank Sinatra/Dave Boyer style and listening as he praises our Father with his trumpet. I wonder if they have that really small trumpet that Bruce used to play.
By Pastor Dan Allen, Joy in Jesus Ministries