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Adi Matis Smiles Romania Assistant Director   March 2016

The boxer guy. Past and present.

It is very encouraging for me to let my colleagues once in a while present their own stories on some of the people they work with. This time Raul is telling us about one of his beneficiaries who is supported through the Homeless Project. Read on to find out more about a champion.

Some of you will know the story of this man Janos Ecsedy. This is his name, but most of us will know him as Ioany or Johnny, the boxer guy. He has been through so many things that would fill-up two lives. From being the former European vice-champion in Boxing, having a happy life, great prospects and future, to finding only in months he lost everything! Family and friends, peace, liberty, eventually his dignity, all disappeared as if it never existed.

This was the situation when I met him 5 years ago. A pale shadow of the former fighter, impressive in the arena and acclaimed by many but now just a poor homeless person that had just come out of prison. These were the tough years, he says, when the prison changes everything, takes the dear ones away and take you away from all youve known before. Even takes God away. After so many years being isolated, once he was a free man again, the society only isolated him more. Johnny was an outlaw now, a worthless criminal, who could only prepare and wait for his ending.

It was not easy to gain his trust and it was about many promises that I had to keep and many promises he broke. But we had to get over these and continue trying. We became friends and only then we could in fact start the procedures for him to receive some benefits from the state or medical insurance, these papers being processed only if someone like Smiles would get involved.

I saw him in various situations, I found particularly disturbing to see him trying to rise again after the police will chase him away, or the land owners will send him out of wherever he was trying to build a shack. A house made of cardboard. But the most challenging was to get him a job, to help him having a secure income for some self-sustainability and dignity. Johnny had a criminal record for murder, so it was not easy to find something and someone to accept this, for months we were looking without success.

About three years ago, Johnny with his partner Mary, found a little concrete structure that use to be in service for the workers in a factory to store their tools. Being abandoned, they moved in, painted the walls, cleaned the area and arranged the place a little bit. It felt like home. Unfortunately for them, the legal owner sold the land and they thought, as we did, that they will be evicted. But it was not like that! The new owner met Johnny, talked to him, understood his situation and allowed him to stay. Even more, he helped him with some materials and encouraged him to take care of their little house. And totally unexpected, offered a job to Johnny!

He is the security guy now. He takes care of the place during night time. Its so true that no one will try to challenge a former boxing champion by breaking in! Johnny also helps during the day time with whatever is needed. We are indeed very happy to see how a difficult and complicated past changed into a calm and settled present and we hope the future will continue to be hopeful.

Raul Homeless Project Manager

As you see, life is surprising and not all together hopeless. But it takes time, patience and commitment to help people like Johnny, whose bad past threatens a good future. Yet, being a friend and being supportive can give a second chance and most definitely God can turn things in a way that most unexpectedly will turn the odds.

Thank you for being a Smiles supporter and making these things possible through your prayers and support!

God bless you and please keep in touch!

Adi Matis

Assistant Director Smiles Romania
adrian.matis@thesmilesfoundation.org
 


Previous reports from Adi:

February 2016 - Kati and how Salard can surprise!

January 2016 - Christmas Joy

December 2015 - Hope

November 2015 - Salard Life snapshots

October 2015 - After Summer

September 2015 - The Small Things that go a Long Way

August 2015 - Mission Trips with significance

July 2015 - A great way into knowing God

June 2015 - History with a man that is no more

May 2015 - A Story Worth Sharing

March 2015 - Here in Romania, but not only...

February 2015 - New year, new hope and new plans

January 2015 - Management Team Reports

December 2014 - Preparing for the Celebration

November 2014 - A man's true story... an inspiration to us all

October 2014 - Golden September

September 2014 - A Summer of Experiences

August 2014 - Salard Community Reloaded

July 2014 - Sessions for the Mind

June 2014 - Unknown

May 2014 - Celebrate with us

April 2014 - Beliefs

March 2014 - From being taken care of to taking care...

February 2014 - My dream... to become a pig caretaker

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    Page last updated on 29/02/2016 09:39:57 AM
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