Today, Sonja left us a note on the table at Marina's house and has made the decision to leave the #life4homeless program through the Rejoice in Hope Foundation.
We have realized that even though there may be a desire for many, the work that it takes to truly get off the street and become self-sufficient again is much more difficult that most people think. Change is challenging and it takes recognizing the problem and extreme self-discipline, desire and dedication to create a new foundation for life so that going back to the street is not an option.
We have seen that most people will give up before they even build the foundation to become self-sufficient or if it takes work to see results. The Rejoice in Hope Foundation can do their best to provide what is needed for each individual but without a willingness to take those opportunities, the Rejoice in Hope Foundation is limited in what we can do. As an organization committed to serving one person at a time, we are also learning too as we serve.
In Sonja's case, after 3 weeks in the program, she had a hard time with having a structured schedule and made the choice to leave. Though she did not finish the program, with what she has learned, she was able to make the difficult decision not to marry someone who may not enrich her life and chose to try and be a mother to her two youngest children. Sonja is staying off Skid Row and will be returning to Minnesota. The children are now adopted to another family and she has never seen her daughter in person, only through pictures and communicating via phone and text. Her son is also having behavioral disorders at school. Sonja has seen how life can be off the street and we pray that she will not allow herself to go backwards but only forward.
We feel this too is a success.
We would like to request our ambassadors to please refrain from contacting or responding to Sonja via social media since she has made the decision to leave the program and does not need a hand out. She needs to focus on her family and life in Minnesota.
We will continue to pray for Sonja and pray for the next woman or child who needs to be served. #life4homeless
Sometimes, it's not just about changes but about healing as well. It's also teaching and learning about value and quality. Sonja looks great in these beautiful Chanel sunglasses from Founder Sunny Chae and we want her to learn to appreciate and value herself! Brands are not only for the rich, she deserves to have one and look good just like everyone else. #life4homeless
Today, Founder Sunny Chae was stopped by an 80 year old grandma at Aroma Spa & Sports with two piggy banks full of coins from both herself and her husband and some simple toiletries to share with homeless women. The grandma had been looking for her all week, wanting to share this with her. At first, the grandma was a little worried - after all it was just change, mostly pennies in one, would the Foundation even want just simple pennies?
The answer? YES! It doesn't matter how small, even a few pennies from many can add up to much. It's not about how much you give, it's about your heart to do it and giving back to God at your best.
Ambassadors, it starts with you. Are you donating to help? Can you collect coins in your community or come up with creative fundraisers? You can sell candy, you can hold car washes, you can do services for others, you can have a garage sale, you can make things to sell...the possibilities are endless if you just make the effort. #life4homeless
A letter to share from Karis's mother, Linda Parnell:
"It is refreshing to watch Karis transition in this new role of Helping the Homeless. Karis was challenged by Sunny Chae to help the Homeless in her community and she has hit the ground running. What a good way to spend her time. She is now a volunteer at House of Hope for the Pee Dee. If you have items to donate to the shelter, please let us know.
Today, Founder Sunny Chae brought Sonja to her church in Downtown Los Angeles. This was Sonja’s first time back at church since May. Before that time, she had not been to church since October.
A week ago when Sonja was living on Skid Row, she would not have been allowed to attend service at the church. They would have kicked her out and told that she was not welcome. Sonja registered with the church as a visitor and experienced a bilingual service, with the songs and message in Korean, translated into English with a headset. she said that as soon as she walked in, she felt the presence of God in that place. During the service, the senior pastor asked Sonja and the other newcomers to stand ands be recognized and our 4000 member church sang to them in welcome. After service, there was a wonderful reception and she was greeted by Pastor Timothy Park, who she had met while living on Skid Row and the Senior Pastor Richard Shin, who had just returned from Korea. She was greeted warmly and no one treated her as an outsider. It has been less than a week, but Sonja is really experience what it is like to have new life. #life4homeless
Today, near a laundromat in Koreatown, I met a homeless man named Tony. He was articulate and charming and I could see in his eyes that he was clear - not on drugs alcohol. Tony came here from England to sell a book he had written but unfortunately, the person he was dealing with took his book and all the money he had come over with. When I asked him why he was here in Koreatown and not on Skid Row, he said he tried going there but kept getting bullied and beat up so he was scared. I asked him if he knew Jesus and he said that he did, so I told him with Jesus we have no fear and to pray and cast away those bullies when he tries to go back to the area. We ended up chatting for almost 15 minutes and I could see that he was really enjoying just having someone acknowledge and speak to him with kindness.
Later that day, I met up with Sonja and Marina and shared about meeting Tony. Now that Sonja is off the street, she can take better care of herself, she seems happier and more relaxed in public. She blended in comfortably and no one looked at her twice, much different than things were just a week ago. As we chatted about Tony in our conversation, I wondered what she was thinking, if she looks at things differently now because she is no longer homeless?
K-town 노숙자 토니
이불빨래를하기위해 소문난 K-town 빨래방...옆건물 Jack in the box앞에서 구걸하는 노숙자 Tony.... 돈을 주며 그냥지나치려다 다시돌아가서 물었다.
What is your name? TONY ...잘생긴 얼굴에 훨칠한키... 그는 영국에서 작가의꿈을 앉고 할리우드에왔다가 모든인생을 빼앗긴것같다. 스키드로드는 흑인들이 마구때려요.....ㅠㅠㅠ
다시는 돌아갈수없는 고향영국을 이야기하며 그의눈에 눈시울이....
그는 마약이나 술에 취한것이 아니라 억울해서 .....너무억울해서 ......상처가너무커서 인생을포기한 토니.... 하지만 오늘은 마음껏 서로를 칭찬했고 잠시 나누는 그시간이 토니에게는 오랫만이었 던것같다....아무것도 할순없지만 웃어주고 들어주는시간.....그는 마음껏행복해보였다.
저번주 노숙자였던 쏘니아는 무슨생각을하고있을까...?
Sonja got a little hair makeover today thanks to Founder Sunny Chae! She looks and feels beautiful! The last time she was in a beauty salon was 8 years ago - since then she has been trimming her hair herself. It was wonderful to treat our Sonja today. #life4homeless
A letter from Ambassador from Los Angeles, Lewis Jang:
I’m not sure how to start this letter but I’m going to share as it comes to my heart.
Today, I was smoking a cigarette outside of my home and I saw a homeless lady who has been in front of my apartment building for a long time. Today though, I felt so much sorrow for her and I’m not sure why. She said she was hungry, so I invited her in to have dinner with me, even though all I had was some rice and ramen noodles. My roommate happened to be out for the evening, so I could invite her in without disturbing him.
Through the Worldwide Star Search showcase and the Rejoice in Hope Foundation, I gained so much about what is true about poverty and homelessness, so I decided to take a step forward and take action. I was going to try small steps but suddenly I felt like I needed to be more aggressive and take action to help in my community. When the lady was finished eating, she hurried to leave. I tried to talk to her but she said she had to go, so I ran after her and gave her all the cash I had, $6.00. She told me her name is Lancy, but I’m not sure if that is her real name.
When I came back, I realized that three lotions were missing from the bathroom. It didn’t bother me, because those are things that can be replaced. I now find myself worrying about her safety and I’ve never had that feeling before. I’m not sure how to share so I wanted to share this letter with you because I want to make sure these feelings are normal when you care for a stranger.
Hi I am Lewis Jang
어떻게 얘기를 시작해야 할지 몰라서
그냥 생각 나는데로 얘기 하겠습니다
오늘 매일 저희 집 앞에 있는 홈리스 친구를…매일 집앞에서 보는데… 제가 오늘 너무 서럽고 슬프고 상처받고 그래서… 어떤 마음인지 모르겠어요…. 그냥 그 친구에게 물어서 집으로 데려와서 밥을 먹였습니다.
담배를 피고 있는데 배가 고프다고 해서 집에 오늘 마침
룸메이트가 없으니 밥이나 같이 먹자고 그래서 둘이 같이...라면을 먹었습니다.
저도 이번에 Showcase에서 느낀점이 너무 커서 그냥 진짜 라면 하나를 먹고 천천이 얘기를 시도 했는데…
갑자기 가야겠다며.. 막 나가더라구요.
그래서 나가서 현금이 $6 밖에 없어서… 그걸 주고 보내고 왔습니다.
이름은 LANCY 라는데 진짜 이름인지는 모르겠어요.
그리고 집에 와보니… 제 로션을 3개정도 몰래 가져갔더라구요..
근데 기분이 나쁘지는 않아요. 저는 또 구할수 있으니까..
다만 그 친구가 걱정이 되기는 해요.
이런 기분이 처음이라.. 어떻게 share 해야 할지 몰라서 대표님께… 글을 남깁니다.
원래 이런 시행 착오도 격고 어떤일인지도 모르는 이 기분이 맞는 거겠죠?
사진 같이 보내드립니다.
LIKE and SHARE to encourage Lewis to continue to help others! #life4homeless
A letter to share from Sonja Fletcher:
To my dear new friends,
I met Juan on Skid Row in September of 2016 and we started dating in October. Sometimes, circumstances cause us to lean on one another for help. When I came to Skid Row in August of last year from Minnesota, I knew I could not make it on my own. On Skid Row, it’s not safe for a single woman to be by herself because there are so many rapists and murderers who are being released from prison every day. Most of the relationships on Skid Row are done for safety, not because of real feelings for each other.
Juan proposed to me and wanted us to get married after just a few months but I wanted to wait because I wasn’t sure that I was ready. After meeting Sunny and seeing how a woman can be independent and strong on her own, I knew I needed to make a clear decision now if I wanted to get married and stay on Skid Row or if I wanted to try and get back on my feet and get myself stable first so I could communicate with my kids who are now 9 and 11 and give them something to be proud of. It was not an easy decision to make because I was scared but I’m proud to say that I am ready to take care of myself and my children. Now that I have gotten a chance to work in an office, I’ve realized how much I enjoy working again and feel great waking up every day because I feel like I have purpose. I’ve been so inspired and overwhelmed by the love that I have received by meeting all of you at the event and it’s encouraged me so much.
I’ve made the choice to separate from Juan for now until I get myself settled and after that I need to decide my next steps. He and I can just be friends and I will always care for him, but it’s important for me to be able to be on my own and not rely on anyone to make a way for me and I thank God for giving me wisdom and helping me make a clear decision so I can focus my life on helping others and glorifying God.
As of Wednesday, August 9, 2017, I have left Skid Row. Marina was kind enough to offer to let me stay at her house until I can find a place of my own. With Sunny’s help and encouragement, I am looking for a permanent place for me and we are praying to have me move in by September 1. Thank you for your prayers and your kindness.