March is Women’s History Month and in recognition of the occasion, the L.A. Sentinel Religion section will present L.A.-area “Champions of Faith,” which features ordinary people inspired by their faith to make a difference in the community.
Evangelist Sonja Thompson Robinson, owner of One-Of-A- Kind Hats and missionary
What role has God or your faith played in your ministry/profession?
Faith and trust in God have been a key element in my life and in every endeavor. The business I started in 1986 is a testament to that fact.
One-Of-A-Kind Hats was opened without a bank loan, substantial amount of capital or financial backers. It was opened with a dream, hard work, ethic, determination and the scripture Mark 11:25 – “Therefore I say unto you, what things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them and ye shall have them.”
There have been three locations, including one in a major mall, over a 35-year period. The hat designs have been featured in movies, television, magazines and newspapers. We have a noted celebrity client base and have received numerous Awards.
What is a memorable moment or experience during your ministry/profession?
As an evangelist missionary, I have ministered in many countries including South Africa, Haiti, Brazil and Mexico. The most memorable moment in my ministry was a mission trip to Haiti.
Haiti is one of the poorest countries in the world. There is no proper disposal of sewage, trash pickups are random and water supply or electricity is not consistent. Fifty-nine percent of the people live below the poverty line.
Our mission group attended a church service with the local people. The women were dressed in white dresses and white lace for their heads. They were impeccable. I have never seen white that white.
They wash clothes in tin tubs with washboards. The church was so clean with polished wood banisters and floors. The men were neatly groomed in suits and ties. The choir was angelic. The people danced and rejoiced for hours.
Afterwards, they served us a chicken and rice dinner. What I experienced was richness in the midst of poverty. I saw pride, dignity, joy, love and giving. They were rich in spirit.
What are you doing or working on now and what are some of your future goals?
I am presently working on writing a business manual, a how to start your own business book. We are now in a volatile time in the job market, especially for minorities. I think you must learn to generate your own jobs. Entrepreneurship is the way of the future. The book will be a manual that will give you guidelines as how to start a business without a large amount of capital. My future goals are to establish business workshops and seminars.
How can others help or get involved in your efforts?
I think it is important to get involved in the community. The church goes beyond the four walls. Ministry must reach out to those that won’t come inside a building. We must learn to reach out and relate to the millennials. The world is changing and we must change with it.