Monthly Archives: January 2012

“The Help” Movie real life…

I was lying in bed, sick again, staring at my dirty house, feeling overwhelmed. I was sick for 2 weeks and so ready for the energy to clean again. Then the phone rang. A voice on the line asking, “Do you need me to come clean for you?” I thought it must be my imagination, but amazingly it was the cleaning lady who works for a neighbor. It felt like a gift from God, but I somehow felt guilty.

Having  a “house help” was something that I furiously resisted when first arriving in South Africa. To me it seemed like a continuation of the racial divisions and the white privilege of apartheid. I remember the first week I was here, we went to a park and I saw white children with black maids in uniform and big houses with black “house help” answering the door. I had flashbacks of “The Help” book and movie and told Ralph that “The Help” seems to be real life here.

Needless to say, I was excited to for “The Help” movie to hit South African theaters. I had visions of the film radically shaking up the social norms. When I found out it was not being shown mainstream but only in a few artsy, alternative theaters that cater mostly to the white crowd, I was disappointed and suspicious.

Why do all other big box office US movies make it in all the theaters here and not this one? Did this one hit too close for comfort in a nation that. despite political change is overall racially divided?

My “house helper” for the day showed up and I embraced her with a hug and said,”You hear God, how did you know I have been sick and in desperate need of help?” She pulled away in shock and the look on her face showed that she is not used to being embraced by her white employers, but the big smile on her face revealed her thankfulnessfor the warm welcome.

Lunch time came just as she was finishing up and so I asked her to join me, to sit with me and the kids at the table and eat together. Her face looked utterly stunned. She stammered and paused, finally saying, “This is the greatest honor. This is a really big honor. I have never in my entire life eaten at the same table with one of my employers.” This is coming from a woman in her late forties who was probably cleaning white people’s houses since the age of 12.


We began to chat and she opened up to me about her life. I learned that it takes her 3 hours to get here, though only 25 miles away, on trains filled with scary things she says are too terrible to describe. She lives in a township called “Khaylitscha”.

Until 1990 people in South Africa were confined to live in certain areas according to their race. The Xhosa tribe began migrating to Cape Town in 1983 looking for work. Scince 1983, more than 1.5 million Xhosa people have settled in this township called Khayelitsha (which means “new homes”).  Today, 75% of these people are unemployed and illiterate.Two thirds of the population live in small shacks made from scraps of tin, wood and plastic.

When I told her God gave me the word, “Khaylitscha” 2 years ago while I was in the US and that I felt God said I would serve there one day she again looked shocked. Her eyes showed her inability to comprehend why God would be so bothered about her problem-filled community to speak to a white lady in the USA about it.

We agreed we must visit each others churches. We hugged and she left as a friend, not simply “the help”. That was it. Nothing big, nothing that seemed world changing. But Maybe, just maybe “The Help” movie logo is right, “Change Begins With a Whisper”, or a shared meal or a hug… sharing each others storiesc. Small acts of friendship across racially divided lines are a bit revolutionary…



Reflections of Thanks in 2011…

Happy 2012 to you!

We have a new years tradition of taking time to look back over our past year and recall God’s faithfulness. 2011 has been a year of:

CONTEND-ing, WAIT-ing and RECEIVE-ing God’s promises for our family. God has been so FAITHful.

We wanted to include you in our reminisicing since you, our faithful friends, family, supporters have been praying, carrying, loving and walking with us through this year. We could not have made it here to South Africa without you! As you reflect with us,we hope your are encouraged to see the hand of God in your own life, in the midst of good and hard times.

picture of Cape Town South Africa that we received in Hawaii as promise of things to come!

We began 2011 with a promise from God that we would be moving to South Africa in the fall of the year, yet our reality was that Ralph started the year with
illness that would not go away. He began the sickness during a “Not for Sale” Human Trafficking Investigators training in San Francisco, California. It was
the first step in his dream to work in human trafficking prevention.

Ralph’s sickness went on for weeks and he ended up in the hospital in March. Deb felt like a single mom but God carried her through and brought amazing people to help us… especially Lynette Meyers, who stepped in to live with the kids and I and serve us in love!

Lukas saying goodbye to his beloved preschool teacher!

We had to leave Kona, Hawaii earlier than planned and our work with “Voice for the Voiceless” there. It was hard to say goodbyes to dear friends we had made, especially our best friends Margret, Gaby and Hero!

But God opened doors for us to have a place of rest in Lancaster, Pennsylvania and to find healing for Ralph. We felt such an amazing peace in this transition!

Lukas moving the yard where stayed in Lancaster with our amazing hosts!

We learned that God loves US more than what we can do for him. In the midst of the pain for Ralph and waiting and contending for his health and our future, God overwhelmed us with the best surprise gift of all… TIME to reconnect with FAMILY and friends in the USA… this was PRICELESS!

Time with cousins...

and more cousin time!

Time with Great Grandma Lina

Time with grandparents...

Time to get reaccquainted with Friends!

God opened the doors for us to extend our stay in the US at the “Bain House” where we met so many people who prayed and cared for us. Also we had the gift of nature to enjoy long walks in God’s farm land Creation.

This road became my sanctuary where I would pour out my cries to God and he would meet me amidst the corn fields!

God even brought our dear YWAM Kona friends who are from Rwanda, to us in Pennsylvania! Someone blessed us with lots of free food and a day at an amusement park so we could host them in style.

Ralph and Gaby at Dutch Wonderland!

Another amazing gift was Ralph finding complete healing by the end of the summer. The treatments for parasites worked along with tons of prayer. This meant we could go to my family reunion and Ralph could EAT… desserts and all! The best part was the Sunday morning family worship service where we all gathered in the barn praised Jesus together.  Ralph and I having the privilege to share our journey that morning and testify to God’s healing power.

The Headings family Reunion in Ohio

This time in the east coast US was not planned but it was not a waste.

“We know in ALL things God works for the GOOD of those who LOVE him and who have been called according to His purpose” Romans 8:28

This promise of God has become our reality this past year as we have seen God transform the pain of Ralph’s illness and all the transition that entailed into
GOODness in our lives.

Hope you too take time to look back and reflect on God’s gooness in your life during 2011.

Thanks for journeying with us! Stay tuned for part 2…