An Arrested Heart – The Book

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An Arrested Heart – The description

An Arrested Heart is an ordinary man’s story of life in Rhodesia, wartime flying, marriage and journey in following an extraordinary God. The book details some history of how the country was formed, his life as a school boy and outstanding sporting achievements. It highlights his exploits as a bush fighter pilot during the intense and bloody war that transformed the country to one man-one-vote, black ruled Zimbabwe. The book also describes his marriage, move to South Africa and subsequent meltdown as a person, resulting in divorce and extreme loneliness and depression. However a radical encounter with God led to remarriage to his wife, repatriation with his children and a life-time calling to missions.

The story outlines the tremendous personal struggles within, dealing with the impact of the war and his privileged upbringing and subsequently following God’s purpose for his life. His personal journey of faith resulted in him and his family serving God in missions with Youth With a Mission (YWAM) in Southern Africa and many opportunities to visit various countries sharing God’s love. The story encompasses the transformation of his personal belief system and is a testimony of a family completely renewed for His service. It culminates in an amazing story of commitment to care for abandoned, HIV/AIDS affected and other vulnerable children in Lesotho. Ray’s vision to establish a centre of excellent service to these children and widows in the community has resulted in the establishment of a R15 million care centre designed to serve in various ways. This service to give children a second chance in life has resulted in opportunities to motivate many people from all over the world to get involved in the tiny country of Lesotho. Hundreds of people worldwide have since partnered by giving, going or representing this centre.

An Arrested Heart is filled with anecdotes of extreme personal emotions, varying from pain and abject suffering to exuberant celebration and joy. It will be an inspiration to anyone who may doubt their self worth and ability to ever achieve anything significant with their life. It is also is a deliberate and unashamed testimony of God’s love and commitment to every person and His desire to see us all live abundant and fulfilled lives. The book is raw, honest and intimate in its content and should cause those who read it to search within themselves and find faith and belief to move from where they are, to greater things, no matter what their past or present situation.


For a number of years, I had thought about putting down on paper some of my life experiences. As I sit down now to write this story, I do it with a conviction that the story itself needs to be told. My intentions for many years to write it, even at the cajoling and encouragement of friends, family, and others who had heard parts of the story, were hampered mainly by my own belittling of the importance of it and the busyness of my life.

I have had the privilege of reading books by a number of great authors over my life that have significantly inspired and motivated me. Deep inside though, I have wondered what qualifies me to write an autobiography and who would read it anyway. It’s one thing for Christian writers like John Maxwell, Rick Warren, John Eldredge, or Joyce Meyer or sports heroes like Gary Player or Tiger Woods, presidents like Barack Obama or Nelson Mandela, or successful businessmen like Donald Trump to write a book. These are hugely successful and prolific people in their respective fields. My thought was, of course people want to buy and read their books but why would anyone want to read a story by Ray Haakonsen . . . yeah, exactly . . . I hear your question . . Ray who?

However, over time, the conviction to write the story grew stronger. I realise this book is not only about Ray Haakonsen’s life, or my wife Sue’s, or about our amazing life together, but also about God and His ability and desire to change and use ordinary people to accomplish extraordinary things on His behalf. I hope this story will be a testimony that God can use absolutely anybody to do great things for His Kingdom, as long as that anybody is willing to obey Him, even if what He asks is at the least strange and, at times, seemingly impossible.

I am humbled as I write the story, understanding that without Him I am nothing, but I write with the awareness that I am also a child of the King and the Most High God. What a dichotomy! It’s almost too much for me to comprehend, yet enough to spur me on to write of His love and goodness. I also unashamedly write of my life before I came into a real relationship with God, not only to detail where I come from and what shaped me, but also to recall the amazing experiences and people who had a significant impact on my life. That part of my life was filled with both good and bad and probably one that many can relate to.

Those who can’t relate may at least learn of a life that certainly has been full and eventful during a significant time in the history of Southern Africa.So this story will be told, whether only one or one million read it. I write it as a legacy to my wife Sue and five dear children and their children now and to come, and as a testimony of my gratitude to my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.


ISBN 13 (TP): 978-1-4500-7918-1

ISBN 13 (HB): 978-1-4500-7919-8

ISBN 13 (eBook): 978-1-4500-7920-4

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2 thoughts on “An Arrested Heart – The Book

  1. Dear Ray,

    Will you please send me this book to my address. I would be very happy with a personal message from you in the book.
    Jan van Poederooijen,
    Het Geerken 53,
    6932 MZ The Netherlands.

    Thank you in advance.