How one client’s words made an eternal impact on Sethea’s life.
Sethea’s grandmother was raised Presbyterian, and her grandfather was raised Catholic. They had 12 children, and they raised the first six Catholic and the second six Presbyterian. Sethea’s mother was their ninth child, so she grew up in the Presbyterian church.
When Sethea’s parents, Ethel and Robert, got married, they decided to raise their family Presbyterian as well. But getting 12 children to church was no small feat, especially if you care about presentation. Ethel was very particular about how her children were dressed, meticulously assembling outfits complete with white leather shoes, ruffled socks and little gloves. As the family grew greater than nine children, the whole process became overwhelming. Gradually, venturing to church became an event mainly for Christmas and Easter.
Yet God was still a big part of Sethea’s home growing up.
Sethea’s mom would always say, “God is where we choose to share Him with others.”
Ethel talked about God often, and regularly shared spiritual stories around the dinner table. Christmas was also a huge deal in their household as they celebrated Christ’s birth together. As they grew up, Sethea and many of her siblings continued to seek out God on their own.
“There is a difference between going to church and having a personal relationship with Christ,” Sethea said.
After finishing barber college and taking first in the state for cutting hair, 18-year-old Sethea started applying for jobs. She was offered a position at a barbershop in Oakbrook Terrace, Illinois, on Summit and Roosevelt.
On her third day at her brand-new job, she met Don Langford.
Don, who was in his mid-thirties at the time, had survived a traumatic car accident. He had hit a station wagon and was ejected from his convertible.
He wasn’t expected to make it through the night. But Don made a promise that fateful day: If God spared him, he would give the rest of his life to Christ.
Don was in the hospital for two and a half weeks and suffered multiple broken ribs, but God saved him, and Don held true to his promise. From that point on he started reading the Bible and pursuing a personal relationship with Christ.
When Sethea met Don in her barber chair, she encountered a man who was bold in sharing his faith. He would always tell her, “Just give it to God.” It was a foreign concept to Sethea, and she had a hard time grasping what Don meant.
How can I give just “give something to God” when I still have to deal with all of these issues in real life? she would wonder.
“Sometimes he would be so abrupt, and it was very emotional,” Sethea said. “I would be cutting his hair and I’d be crying because I didn’t quite get it. It was very difficult for me.”
Sethea started seeking out Christ more and more on her own. In the meantime, Don was still there, sending her birthday and Christmas cards with verses written on them, and encouraging her to give it all to God. Each time he came for a haircut, he’d bring stacks of little cards for Sethea to hand out to her clients. They read, “Don’t worry about tomorrow. God is here. For all of the tomorrows of our lives have to pass before Christ before they get to you.” Don has handed out thousands of those cards in his lifetime.
Over time, God continued to work on Sethea’s heart, revealing himself to her through His Word and showing her what it meant to have a real relationship with Him. She remembers the change being incredible.
“It was like getting to know your earthly parents if you had been separated from them and were just meeting them for the first time,” she said. “It is completely amazing how God has opened up my eyes to this whole thing.”
Sethea and Don have remained close friends throughout the years, and Sethea was the maid of honor in his wedding. Don and his wife ended up moving to North Carolina—only two miles away from the Baruns—not long after Sethea and Ken moved for Ken’s position with the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. Sethea still goes to Don’s house to cut his hair, and they talk about life and death and faith.
Don’s once confusing words at that barbershop on Summit and Roosevelt mean the world to her now.
“It is so crystal clear,” she said. “Give it to God—that is very much a part of my daily life today.”