Mary Jane Fejeran – God Provided a Family With a Home

Z-LEAP SIDEBAR-Mary Jane & Family

Mary Jane Fejeran is shown with her family in front of the house she was able to get through help from CATCH, LEAP Housing, and Collister United Methodist Church. Family members, left to right, include: daughter Kira with baby Mary Jane; mom Mary Jane, center; daughter Bella in front with family dog Sweet Pea; and son Daniel. (Photo by Gaye Bunderson) 

By Gaye Bunderson 

Mary Jane Fejeran credits the Boise faith community with helping her re-establish a normal life. She also credits LEAP Housing and CATCH for helping her obtain a home when she had no home. But most of all, she praises God for the love and care He showed her through a storm of trouble. 

“We were homeless because of the COVID,” Fejeran said. By “we,” she means herself and her children, the youngest of whom is 7. “COVID demolished our stability.” 

At the time, the family was living in Burley in a nice apartment with a new car. Fejeran worked a cosmetology job in Twin Falls. When COVID-19 hit, businesses shut down, the world was temporarily upended, and Fejeran experienced the worst of all of it. She lost her job, her car was repossessed, and the family was kicked out of their apartment – a so-called ‘perfect storm’ of disruption. 

Fejeran told herself, “I gotta get back to Boise.” Her mother lives here but is disabled and has only a two-bedroom apartment – a limited space for Fejeran and her three children (a fourth child is now 20). She has a friend in Boise, and when the homeless shelters temporarily stopped taking in new people, the family lived with Fejeran’s acquaintance. 

But, as Fejeran puts it, “It’s hard to approach family and friends and ask, “Can I bring my huge burden and baggage over and stay with you?’” The stay at her friend’s house was short. For a year and seven months, the family tried hotel rooms, even living in one for six months until the cost got to be out of range. They ended up staying in a bad hotel – the epitome of substandard living. 

“Getting employment was very slow,” Fejeran said. 

The mother and sole provider for her family stated, “I met kind people, and I met unkind people. I met a lot more not-kind people.” 

Out of work with children to feed, she was looked down upon by many, including the police, as she occasionally spent a lot of time in a truck she was able to come by during her ongoing anguish. But a bright light for her was an organization known as CATCH, a non-profit that works to house the homeless. 

 When she contacted CATCH, she was appointed a case manager named Jesse Fessenden. Fejeran and Fessenden made a great match. “I adore her. She believed in me,” said Fejeran – and to suddenly be encouraged and valued following so much rejection was a blessing. 

The affinity Fejeran had – and still has – for her caseworker came to be eclipsed by an even greater one: a love for the Son who would save her. In so many ways. 

“I was a believer, but I had lost hope. I was in the truck, crying and praying…big time. I felt things were hopeless, and I was worthless,” Fejeran explained. “But then, Christians – strangers – came out of the woodwork. God-fearing people. Churches helped pay for a hotel and provided food. God showed up. I thought to myself, ‘This can’t fail because it is God.’ It solidified my faith. 

“I know God was bringing me to a point. I’m stubborn, with a past. I had everything stripped away. I lost everything – everything but God.” 

CATCH works with other non-profit housing providers, including LEAP Housing. (See accompanying story.) Stephanie Day, executive director of CATCH, attends Collister United Methodist Church, a faith institution that partnered with LEAP to build homes on excess church land. 

LEAP was in the process of constructing two beautiful new homes on property behind Collister United Methodist, and pivotal connections were made between CATCH, LEAP, and the church. 

“I heard houses were going to be dedicated to God for His use. I put all my eggs in that basket and thought, ‘God owns those houses’,” Fejeran said. She was convinced, through faith, that she was going to establish a home in one of the two residences on Taft Street, where the church and homes are located. She even stopped applying for any other housing, she was so certain the Taft Homes was where God was going to put her and her family. 

Sure enough, the Fejeran family of four moved into one of the homes in the fall of 2022. 

“I don’t look good on paper,” Fejeran said. Trying to purchase a residence on her own was a towering, out of the question option. But the goodness of God and His faithful followers put a dream within reach. 

“I have so much gratitude to God,” she said. She is quick to praise His Church as well. “God works through good Christians. I was barely hanging on, with addictions and temptations and shame.” 

One church, True Hope Church, paid to put the Fejeran family up in a hotel while they were waiting on construction of their home. 

The process wasn’t entirely seamless. “We were denied the house originally,” Fejeran explained. She never vacillated from believing God was going to help her but said she spent a couple of tearful nights – until a small glitch over an item in her application was quickly straightened out. Her money from True Hope was about to run out; and just in time, she got the call that her home was ready. 

So now what do she and her children do in a vacant house? She stated: “It’s not just a house. The church was always there for us.” 

Christians and CATCH provided dishes, a washer and dryer, beds, bedding, and gift certificates. 

Pastor Joe Bankard of Collister United Methodist assured her the house wouldn’t be empty when she moved in, which makes her exclaim with humor that, “I would have moved in anyway – we’d have slept on the floor!” 

The Fejerans’ restoration back to a safe and thriving family again has produced family members with hearts of gratitude and foundations of faith. Fejeran and her children each believe that God was behind their blessings, and that He continues to look out for them. The matriarch of the family also wants to encourage others – both people who are struggling as she was, as well as other churches who might have spare land they are uncertain how to utilize. She said: “If I could petition any church to build these houses, I would say, ‘Give God the opportunity to work with people who need Him and have been praying to Him’.” 

She also stated: “I love homeless people now.” She’s gotten to know them, to understand them, and to sympathize with their unfortunate and difficult circumstances. “I have a very rocky past. I had a hard life my whole life. The community rejected us, but the church people were always there for us. I’ll never go back.” 

She’s still working through many things, including time spent with mental health counselors, as are her youngsters. “In the morning when I wake up, I tell myself, ‘Keep your eyes on God’. I know I will always have God beside me.” 

In the future, when she is able, she hopes to attend Boise Bible College. “I’m going to dedicate my life to Christ and do ministry. I tell Him, ‘I give you myself. I have nothing else to give’.” 

When people who’ve known her well over the years see her now, they are moved by how she’s changed. In fact, they tell her, “It’s a miracle.” 

Fejeran knows that’s exactly what it is, and she replies, “Yes, only a miracle could do this. Look at me now – only God could accomplish this.” 




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