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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41 years ago today, our family immigrated to the United States from Seoul, South Korea. I was six years old; the youngest of three sons. My father, when he was also six, fled from what is now known as North Korea. Just recently, he shared with me that he and some of his family had been in a refugee camp when war and violence broke out on the Korean peninsula. It's emotional thinking about what my brothers and I went through coming to a completely foreign country. It wasn't easy. And then, I think about what my parents had to go through:

They fled their homes near Pyongyang which also meant leaving some of their extended families.

They experienced unfathomable hunger and poverty.

They experienced the pain of war.

They immigrated again to the United States as adults with minimal resources and a handful of English words.

All in hopes that their children would have the opportunities that were never afforded to them.

I'm thinking of my brothers today. I'm thinking of my parents and honoring them for their sacrifice and tenacity. And finally, I'm thinking of refugees and immigrants all around the world that are yearning for family, peace, hope, and opportunities. Don't reduce Martin Luther King Jr. to a yearly quote on social media. Live out the dream. Seek first the Kingdom of God. Confront evil. Be a truth-teller. Seek justice. Love mercy. Pursue reconciliation. Build bridges. Love your neighbors. Forgive your enemies. Pray unceasingly. Live a committed life of peace, love, and justice.

The God who deposited this dream into MLK is still speaking to us today.

Be brave. "Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that." ~ Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Here's the full context of his famous quote: "The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it. Through violence you may murder the liar, but you cannot murder the lie, nor establish the truth. Through violence you murder the hater, but you do not murder hate. In fact, violence merely increases hate. Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate. Only love can do that." An important word for the Church... Oh, how God loves the nations. The Scriptures make this so clear. No one - let alone, the leader of a country - should ever disparage other nations with such a disgusting comment.

To the beautiful people of Haiti, El Salvador, and of the many countries of Africa: We are so sorry. Please accept our apologies on behalf of President Trump.

I've had the privilege of being in Haiti twice and numerous countries in Africa including Kenya where I took this picture during an afternoon drive near Kijabe. In many of these visits, I witnessed such creativity, courage, leadership, hospitality and kindness. To follow Jesus without obedience, repentance, self-denial, and dying to self is an oxymoron. In other words, are we more in love with the idea of following Jesus than actually following Jesus?

Grateful for an incredible Sunday at @seattlequest of beginning our 21 Days of Prayer and Fasting.

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