Eugene Cho

ted williams: finding your true voice

Have you heard the story of Ted Williams?

It’s likely that you may have heard the story (and voice) of a “homeless” man named Ted Williams. His voice is indeed amazing but the story behind his voice, truly shines.  Most will focus their attention on the voice and the feel good story of second chances but if we listen to his story – in his own words – we’ll hear the story of redemption and reconciliation and…

a God who is still speaking to the world today.

While his story is unique, it also has a common thread that can be understood by all: we’ve all been down and out in some way or another.

  • A few years ago, he was strung out on drugs & alcohol, barely surviving, and living out on the streets.
  • Even a few days ago, he was homeless and simply looking for a break.

And then this video below was filmed this week. It was uploaded on January 3 and at the time this post got published, it was viewed 8,747,752 times and counting:

You’ve heard his voice…

Now, listen to his story…in his own words.

Just take 6 minutes to watch this video. It’s pretty amazing. In his own words, he speaks of 2010 – while perceived by most as another wasted year –  as the most significant year of his life as he encountered God in his life.

Stories of redemption & encountering God never grow old.

They are the most beautiful stories.

I love this story – maybe even more than the story of Susan Boyle – because it gives a face and a story to many who are homeless.

So many nuggets of wisdom and life lessons, no?

We’re cruel and unfair when we paint everyone who are down and out with a broad stroke or description of ‘homeless.’

We all have a story and a voice.

We are created in the image of God. We are loved by God. This – in essence – is the definition of human dignity. Indeed, the Gospel matters…

Everyone needs a break. 2 million?

And as we feel all tingly and mushy inside, know this:

When the frenzy dies down, we need to remember that there are anywhere from 672,000 to 2 million people that are homeless in America that are looking for 2nd chances.

They, too, have stories and voices.

How about you? What’s your takeaway from this story?


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13 Responses

  1. KH says:

    no words…just feelings…and words don’t work!

  2. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Eugene Cho. Eugene Cho said: Ted Williams: His VOICE is amazing. But the STORY behind his voice…is life changing. – http://bit.ly/hwQhn1 […]

  3. brian says:

    ha! updated my blog and then checked twitter and found out we were on the same brainwave snd had almost identical posts. funny🙂

  4. Garry says:

    What an inspiration to all!! Wishing him the best of luck!!

  5. Pat Pope says:

    I saw him on the Today Show this morning and I cried as I listened to him and saw how he seemed to really impact Matt Lauer. He talked of what has changed in him is that now he doesn’t miss an opportunity to talk to God and to thank Him, whereas before, he took so much for granted. I wish him all the best!

  6. Tim Morey says:

    Great piece Eugene. Thanks for posting –

  7. Deb says:

    Love this story! Love your post. Thanks for the reminder that he is just one of many. My take away:how many people drove by this guy with his sign? All it took was one guy to stop and ask him about his story. What can I do as one person?

  8. Peter Jang says:

    What an encouragement and challenge to start 2011!

  9. What a cool story…loved the video of him reuniting with his mother, as well.

  10. Rosie says:

    God is Awesome!
    It’s expected that people will criticize, but how often doesn’t God come knocking at our own door and we don’t let him in. God’s always on time!!

  11. Elvin says:

    It had to be a**holes who called him a phony and looked at his previous history. That shouldn’t matter. As a 15 year old boy, that is an inspiration for me to pursue my dreams and it definitely brought a tear in my eye. Congrats Ted, you deserve it.

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One Day’s Wages

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As I soaked in this breathtaking sunrise this morning above the clouds, I felt compelled to pray for so my places in America and around the world that are experiencing such pain, heartache, injustice, and violence. At times, it feels so overwhelming but in prayer, I was reminded of these words from John 16:33. As we keep striving, working, hoping, preaching, loving, truthtelling, reconciling, repenting, forgiving, dismantling, peacemaking, Kingdom building...may we fix our eyes on Christ: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” - John 16:33 Grateful for a very full weekend of ministry and preaching in Toronto, Canada (GTA). Such a privilege to partner with @worldvisioncan @wvcollective to advocate for the most vulnerable around the world. God is so gracious. A true honor to meet and encourage local pastors, lecture at Tyndale University & Seminary (photo), and preach at Richmond Hills Community Church, Compass Point Bible Church, and New City Church. Thank you, Lord, that you use broken and imperfect people like me to speak of Your love. Today, Minhee and I dropped off our eldest child at her college. We have been thinking and praying about this day for many years. On some days, we hoped it would never come. On other days, we couldn't wait for it to come. On some days, we prayed for time to stop and other days, we prayed with anticipation. 
After an entire summer of laughing it off, it hit us...hard...this week. Seeing all of her stuff laid out on the basement floor was the catalyst to a load of emotions.

After unloading the car and taking her stuff to her new home for this year and mindful that she might never live with us again; helping sort out her stuff, saying hello to her roommates...I wasn't sure what to do or say.

A flood of thoughts rushed my mind.

Is she ready?
Have we done enough?
Have we taught her enough? 
What if this? What if that?

And so we shared what we have shared with her the moment she began to understand words: "Remember who you are. Remember WHO you belong to. Remember what you're about. God loves you so much. Please hold God's Word and His promises close and dear to your heart. We love you so much and we are so proud of you." And with that, we said goodbye. Even if she may not be thousands of miles away, this is a new chapter for her and even for us. I kept it composed. Her roommate was staring at me. I didn't want to be that father. I have street cred to uphold. Another final hug. 
And I came home.
And I wept.
Forget my street cred.
I miss her. I love her.
She will always be my little baby.

I'm no parenting guru. I just laughed as I wrote that line. No, I'm stumbling and bumbling along but I'd love to share an ephiphany I learned not that long ago. Coming to this realization was incredibly painful but simultaneously, liberating. To be honest, it was the ultimate game-changer in my understanding as a parent seeking after the heart of God.

While there are many methods, tools, philosophies, and biblical principles to parenting, there is – in my opinion – only one purpose or destination.

Our purpose as parents is to eventually…release them. Send forth. For His glory. Met a friend and fellow pastor who I haven't seen in over 20 years. In him, I saw a glimpse of my future. While only 10 years older, his kids are married and he's now a grandfather of 3. His love for his wife and family were so evident and his passion for the Gospel has not wavered. It was so good to see someone a bit older still passionately serving the Lord with such joy and faithfulness. Lord, help me to keep running the race for your Glory. Happy wife.
Happy life. - Eugenius 3:16

I still remember that time, many years ago, when Minhee was pregnant with our first child. She had left her family and friends in Korea just two years before. Her morning sickness was horrible and when she finally had an appetite, she craved her favorite Korean food from certain restaurants in her neighborhood in Seoul, Korea. I had no way of getting that food from those restaurants so I actually said, "How about a Whopper? Big Mac?" Sorry honey. Eat away. You deserve it. I don't care if it sounds mushy but sunsets are one of my love languages. Seoul, Korea was amazing but WOW...what a breathtaking welcome back sunset by Seattle. Not ready to let go of summer.

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