Luke 15: 3-6 reads: Then Jesus told them this parable: 4 “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? 5 And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders 6 and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’”
It is from this parable, of the one lost sheep, that a new mobile homeless outreach has been formed in Virginia Beach called 99 for the 1.
A young couple with two young children, Jeremiah and Rachel Fjeld, the hearts and minds behind 99 for the 1, have been touching those in need for years. In 2015, they lived as missionaries in Costa Rica for 9 months and brought back with them a deep desire to touch those in need here in Hampton Roads through God’s love and word.
“When we got home from Costa Rica we were driving around and Jeremiah was blown away by the amount of homeless people here. We originally just thought that we would make little love bags to keep in our car and hand out if we came across any homeless people, but one thing led to another and we found the box truck. The idea evolved from there,” Rachel says. She continues, “Obviously homelessness is a huge problem here. Our hearts have always been to love the people society has told us are unlovable, and there was no question that we would use the truck for something good.”
99 for the 1 is how they plan to accomplish that dream. Their mission is “to be a one stop shop to make those in need feel good again. They can walk in one door, shower, shave, get clean clothes, fill a bag with hygiene products for the week, get a meal and walk out the other door feeling good about themselves. We don’t want to give a hand out but more of a hand up.”
The Fjeld’s have spent the past few months turning an ordinary, timeworn box truck into a mobile mall, filled with any and all components the homeless need to survive living on the street. If you see the 99 for the 1 box truck on the roads, you won’t miss it. Troy Summerell, known as OnieTonie, is the local artist responsible for the mural that transformed the truck into what it is today. OnieTonie decorated the truck with a colorful combination of shapes that form a sun over the horizon, a perfect mural for helping the homeless along the beach, where the sun meets the sand, where heaven meets earth.
Rachel and Jeremiah don’t set out at nights with the intent to help dozens of people but, instead, hold out hope of at least helping a handful of the homeless community in Virginia Beach that need an extra blanket, an extra jacket, or maybe just a loving couple to pray with. To them, helping one person is just as treasured as helping 99.
“In the long run, we would love to have multiple vehicles,” Rachel explains. “The next thing we are going to be working on is getting a shower installed. We have already started developing relationships with those in need because we go out each week, they recognize the van now and get excited to see us heading their way. The whole idea is that we want them to walk away feeling better about themselves. We want them to know there are people who care and that we don’t think any less of them, they are just like us with a few more bumps in the road.”
99 for the 1 depends on the generosity of others willing and able to help and donate to keep the wheels turning. You can donate to their ministry here or email firstname.lastname@example.org for other volunteer opportunities such as organizing, sorting, picking up donations or going out on the truck and helping those in need.