“I’m paid to build relationships.” For someone like Anthony Kasper, who has a natural gift for engaging with people, his role as the Director of…
“As far as I was concerned, I was just going to go apply at ALDI.”
After Stacey Hong’s husband died, she made a three-year plan. After spending the last two decades as a stay-at-home mom and a homeschooler for her two children, she did the math and knew she could make it another three years before she needed to get a job.
“God allowed me all these really amazing opportunities before I got married,” Stacey shared. “I had a lot of work experience and a lot of skill sets. But it had been so long. I figured I’m totally rusty no one’s going to want to hire me.”
She casually mentioned her plan to look for a job to a friend, who immediately lit up. Her friend’s husband works at Children’s Hunger Fund in Sylmar, California, and had mentioned that they were looking for a new Poverty Encounter facilitator. Her friend and her children had all commented that Stacey would be perfect at that.
“We used to joke about me being a tour guide at Universal Studios,” Stacey shared. “I always said to the kids that this would be such a fun job. I’m going to totally do this in my retirement years.”
Unfortunately, the position at CHF had already been filled. Stacey wasn’t discouraged, though, because she knew God had a plan.
A week later, her friend sent her a text that there was another open position.
“I went online and looked at the job description and was like, ‘100% I could do this, and I want to do this,’” she recalled.
Stacey started her job as a Poverty Encounter Facilitator in July 2021.
Poverty Encounter, located in Sylmar, California, is an award-winning, 16,000 square-foot exhibit designed to inform guests on the realities of global poverty. Guests can experience what life is like for children living in extreme poverty in four different countries and learn what they can do to make a difference.
To be able to talk about the things that we talk about in Poverty Encounter and to do it with heartfelt passion to people who may not know anything about what’s going on in the lives of suffering kids, it’s just such a blessing,” Stacey shared. “It feels like we’re making a contribution in the hearts of all different walks of life: believers, nonbelievers, school kids, older guests.”
Stacey loves being able to interact with the visitors and resonates with CHF’s Distinctive to impact the next generation. Calling on her experience as a mother of teenagers and her own faith journey, Stacey recognizes the importance of mentoring the next generation.
“I grew up in the Mormon church.”
Although her mother grew up a Methodist, Stacey’s father came from a long line of Mormons. Before they could marry, her mother had to convert.
When Stacey was a teenager, her mother and older sister had a falling out with the Mormon church and decided to part ways. Stacey stayed for a short while longer before she, too, decided to leave the Mormon church.
Stacey’s brother, Gary, had gotten a job working for a man who ran an arcade. The man was a Christian and shared the gospel with Gary. He was a mentor to Stacey’s brother for the next several years. Gary came to faith as a young adult but faced nothing but hostility when he shared his faith with his mother, who wanted nothing to do with church or religion.
Years later, when Stacey’s mother was older and nearing the end of her life, Gary once again shared the gospel with her.
“For the first time, she wasn’t livid with him when he evangelized,” Stacey shared. “She knew she was going before her Maker empty-handed. She said that she just had a lot of regret that she had spent her whole life to serve herself.
“When I came back from Virginia after she passed away, my brother shared with me about her finally surrendering to repentance and accepted Christ as her Savior. God used her story to convict me and to make me want to be right with the Lord.”
God worked through a faithful man running a video game arcade in the ‘80s to bring a teenager to God, who then helped to bring spiritual healing to a woman suffering from years of bitterness, whose transformation convicted Stacey, who now has the opportunity to impact thousands of guests every year through the Poverty Encounter exhibit.
“God is so incredibly, mind-blowingly generous, and His goodness is literally chasing after us,” Stacey shared.
Stacey continues to enjoy her role at Poverty Encounter, though her responsibilities have changed a bit in the past two years. As Experience Coordinator, Stacey is responsible for training facilitators and running the exhibit experience.
Outside of being a mom, this is the best job I’ve ever had,” Stacey shared. “And I’ve had some pretty cool jobs.”
Learn more about Poverty Encounter