A few weeks ago on SA election day, I told you all about the heart wrenching story about our housekeeper’s son and her anguish about his potential internment in a psych ward. Social services called out of the blue and demanded that they boy be brought in for an evaluation.
As it turns out, the call was not as spontaneous as previously thought. Folks in the neighborhood had been talking about him and reported him to social services for no discernable reason. He hadn’t assaulted anyone; he wasn’t roaming the street; he hasn’t been flinging boogers at passersby. There is a reason that the Bible says that gossipers will find their portion in the Lake of Fire. The torment our housekeeper went through in the hours leading up to was etched in her face, and all because someone with an idle tongue decided to file a false report.
Honestly, she was indeed afraid of how her son was going to react to being taken away by strangers in a van. Would he fight? Would he try to run? No one could say. She did her best to prepare him, and informed him that some men would be coming to take him to the hospital.
“But you must talk for me,” he pleaded. “You mustn’t let them keep me. Who else is going to sweep for you if they keep me?”
Not being the very best orator, she was gripped with fear – fear that she wouldn’t be able to advocate for her son with the same ferocity that her recently deceased sister had, or that the hospital would just dismiss her altogether. She asked us to pray for her and her son. In the five years I’ve known her off and on, I’ve never seen cry or known her to cry. But there is one thing about (some) women and their children: the idea of them being separated and scared is enough to break the high walls of strength life forces us to build. Hers were cracking.
We gave her the day off, as I mentioned before. Marshall and I prayed for her then and prayed later that evening as well. On the day after her son was to be taken away, she reported for duty at our house with a HUGE smile on her face. She recounted the events of the previous morning.
“I told you the police were coming to pick my son up in their truck because that’s what the social worker told them to do. I was standing in my bedroom getting dressed when they arrived very early. Then they just jumped from the bakkie (Afrikaans for ‘truck’). I told them ‘Eh-eh! My son is not a criminal for you to just be jumping from the bakkie like that. He’s asleep. He’s not ready to go yet!’ They said ‘Sorry, Ma.’ I told them he is not going to fight with them so they don’t need to jump from the bakkie like that! They said sorry again and asked what they must do. I told them to sit in my living room and watch DSTV while he gets ready.
Then my son sat nicely in the truck. When he got to the office, the social worker was really shocked. She said, ‘Are you the same boy who was here last time shouting in my office? I’m surprised to see you like this today. You’re so quiet!’
She called the doctor in to evaluate him. The doctor told him he was going to ask him questions and he don’t want NO Afrikaans…he must answer in English. (Me speaking: It was at this point that I flinched, because there is a direct link between discrimination in the quality of service and language.)
But my son answered his questions all in English and the doctor gave him his injections. He warned him not to fight, otherwise he would have to stay here for long ‘….and this is not a nice place.’
My boy didn’t fight. He just took the injections. Then I went home and left him. I cried and cried…But Neena*, guess what? They called me the next day to come and fetch him. They said they don’t need to keep him for long. I said to myself, ‘Marshall is a real pastor! He prayed and it come true!’”
At this point I just had to laugh. Sure, we prayed and Marshall is a man with a tender heart towards God, but it wasn’t his prayer specifically or alone that got her son out of that dismal situation. She AND her family stayed up praying that night. Some of you pledged to pray as well. I believe it was the combined, fervent prayer of all involved that changed what was feared to be a two-week stay in a government hospital into a one-night sleep over.
This praise report is about 3 weeks too late, and I hope you will all forgive me for being tardy in rendering it. I haven’t been faithful with updating the blog as often as I’d intended to, but I think the issues preventing that have been worked out – at least for the short term.
Thank you all for praying for us and for everyone in our circle. TFH family, if you’re reading this, you know that Mother Claire is here and she is putting in spiritual WORK right now. You ought to see her go!
*Neena is the name our housekeeper gave me in 2012. It means “friend”. Or at least that what she says. It could mean ‘Fluffy Fat Lady’, for all I know. 😉