Musical star has faith to follow dream
Helena Pipe had no idea the challenges she would face when deciding to leave home and pursue a career in British theatre.
The hardest part? Trusting God in the midst of uncertainty.
However the experience helped the 30-year-old grow her faith.
She’s now in her biggest role to date as part of the ensemble cast of the long-running Broadway musical, Oklahoma!
Ms Pipe was “overwhelmed with joy” on opening night at the Grange Park Opera this month.
“I didn’t let it show as I didn’t want to be an emotional mess in the dressing room. However, as I journeyed back home on the bus I couldn’t contain the tears,” she said.
“I reached one of my dreams and I was overwhelmingly thankful to God. Everything He promised had happened and nothing I had gone through had been in vain.”
She went through some dark and lonely days after moving to England nearly 18 months ago. Finding work was tough in the beginning; she had to rely on her family for financial support.
“I applied for jobs that would work well for the schedule of an actor and I wouldn’t hear anything back or I’d simply not get them,” she recalled. “One place turned me down because ‘I didn’t have the right energy’. I’m still scratching my head at that one.
“I needed to work, so I humbled myself and signed up with an agency to clean houses. Having to clean houses was potentially my worst nightmare, but I did it and I’m very glad I did.
“I grew so much in my faith during that time. I would listen to sermons every time I cleaned a new house. I literally worshipped my way through scrubbing toilets and I would do it again if I had to.”
To cope with some of her anxiety and depression, she started seeing a therapist who she described as a “true Godsend”.
“All these things happened before I got on the stage in Oklahoma!, and that’s exactly why I speak of God’s strategic and perfect timing. Each one of these things has prepared me for where I am now. He knows all things.”
Her agent got the audition for Oklahoma!. Although she felt confident, she wasn’t sure if she would get the job after she missed a chorus in her audition song.
She was shocked when her agent called and said she had a role in the month-long production. It was her first official casting since leaving Bermuda.
The experience has taught her a lot. For starters, God is in control. Every situation she’s been through has served as a lesson, test, or opportunity to grow her faith.
“Even the darkest days have aligned me to His glory and for that He will always receive all of my praise,” she said.
“When I first moved, after all the excitement of moving had worn off, I was very closed-off. I didn’t really want to go anywhere and being alone was my safety.
“Now I’m learning to be more open to saying yes to things, making connections with people of different backgrounds, challenging myself to share more of who I am with strangers, and experiencing life overall. Life is about experiences and there’s so much to learn from people who aren’t like you.”
She’s also more self-aware than she’s ever been and has found that no matter how weak or down she feels, God’s strength can always carry her through.
“Listen to God. If He tells you to stop, then stop, and when He tells you to go, go,” she advised. “Trust the process, if it doesn’t happen the way you intended that’s okay. God’s plans are greater than we can imagine.
“Stand strong in your faith, remember who you are in Him and never forget that He has the final say. Don’t compare yourself with anyone else, be good to people, and trust your journey.”