Monday, September 2, 2013

A church turns away an angel?

Very early in my Angel Project, when I was still a "new kid on the block" in LA, I was told about Agape International Spiritual Center. It's like a big church for the spiritual crowd and was founded by Rev. Dr. Michael Beckwith, a speaker who was featured in the popular documentary called "The Secret".

The person who had told me about the church is a dear friend of mine, Dr. Ed Jor-El Elkin (I'll call him Ed), age 77, who was really instrumental in helping me initially get connected to some contacts around LA. I met him at a gas station during my first week doing the Angel Project while I was on the streets with my posters. I consider him to be one of my angels, because he took me under his wing to show me around a lot since I was so new to LA and still figuring out my calling to spread messages of kindness. However, Ed was from Hawaii, and was only able to show me around for a week before he had to fly back to Hawaii.
Dr. Ed Jor-El Elkin
Photo snapped by Ed the day I met him on the street at the gas station

The morning after Ed flew back to Hawaii was a Sunday morning, and I woke up feeling really sad that he'd left, because he'd been so helpful and kind. I had the feeling of "What do I do now?" because I still felt like I was floundering in uncertainty about my Angel Project. I had planned to go to Agape's Sunday service for the first time that morning, and I was laying in bed debating whether or not I felt up to going at all. Even though I felt sad, I went ahead and put on my angel outfit and drove to Agape alone.

Upon arriving at Agape, I put on my big angel wings, grabbed one of my posters, and made the trek to the outdoor New Guest sign-in table. There were people already standing in lines waiting for the early service to let out so they could go into the sanctuary. I signed in, put on my purple "New Friend" ribbon, and got in the back of the New Guest line.
My ribbon is taped inside my diary

The ushers began to let everyone in, and when I got to the front of the line, the usher told me I couldn't go in with my wings on. He actually wasn't very nice about it. It took me a moment to process what he was saying. I was thinking, "Are you serious??" I tried to explain who I was and what I was doing, but he maintained his position. A second usher even came up and also said the same thing. I was shocked. 

With a heavy heart, I turned away and sadly walked back to my car. I had no one to be with and got rejected on my first visit to a place that I hoped would accept and support me.

Once I got to my car, I decided that I was just going to go home. As I was putting my wings in the trunk of my car, I began to cry, and tears streamed down my face. The whole incident was the straw that broke the camel's back, since I'd already woken up sad. 

Suddenly, an old man appeared beside me, seemingly out of nowhere. He was leaning against a tree that I'd parked next to like a cool cat, smoking a hand-rolled cigarette, and wearing all white. "Angel, why are you crying?" he asked. I fumbled for my words, and began to explain to him what happened. I noticed he had a cute, small service dog on a leash with him. After I told him what happened, he told me his name was Tyrone, and he offered to have us sit together at the service. That sounded better than going home crying, so I left my rejected wings in the car, wiped away my tears, and walked with him back to the church.
Tyrone and his service dog

It sucked to not get to wear my wings into the service, because everyone was looking at me funny since I still had the rest of my angel outfit & accessories on, but once I got settled into my seat, and his little dog sat in my lap, I felt a lot better. I got the feeling that God sent Tyrone into my life at just the right moment, to lift my spirits and help me along with my next steps with the Angel Project.

After the church service was over, Tyrone took me with some of his nice friends to San Pedro, where I got to hangout on one of the biggest yachts there! The yacht belonged to a millionaire owner of an upscale seafood chain, and the owner himself made me a sandwich while I enjoyed the beautiful sunset over the bay.
The yacht
Picture I took on my camera of the sunset that night 
Group photo

I was so happy that the day had completely turned around from a dreary one to a dreamy one! 

Tyrone ended up being my next helpful angel in LA, because he, too, took me under his wing and introduced me to a bunch of new people who became my friends.

Life Lesson: Sometimes when bad things happen, don't get too discouraged, because something wonderful could be just around the corner!

~Mandelyn Reese
The LA Street Angel

(P.S. Be sure to read my blog from April called "Red Carpet Crasher!" because it describes how fate allowed me to have a personal hangout with Rev. Dr. Michael Beckwith when I crashed my very first red carpet event as the LA Street Angel!) 


  1. This is awesome! Exactly what I needed to hear right now <3 You Are My Angel :)

  2. Great story! I'm glad it had a happy ending, Mandelyn. It's very sad how people judge and it's more surprising that Christians do it. I remember awhile back, everyone had this saying, "What would Jesus do?" But, very few actually stand back and really ask themselves that same question. What would Jesus do in this same exact scenario? He would most likely invite you in as if you were anyone else. Luckily, someone did not prejudge you and invited you in. It's a shame that you had to put your wings away without first embracing you and accepting you as you are, but this is how our society reacts. People are too quick to judge before they find out the truth and it's a real shame society is so close minded.