Moving to a Women's Shelter: Interview with RHF Director Becca

In lieu of a member of the month, we are honoring our director Becca Jonassen who has served at Rainier Health & Fitness for 8 years. Thank you for sharing your time, talents, hugs, heart and sass with us, Becca! Say "goodbye" and send Becca with your wishes, prayers and gifts at her Farewell Fundraiser Friday, August 19th. 

RHF: So Becca, we hear there are some changes coming up in your life. What are they?

Becca: Yeah, so I am leaving Urban Impact. I’m moving to an organization called Penny’s Place under the umbrella of Northwest Family Life. The cool thing about it is it’s a shelter that houses women that are dealing with domestic violence, sex trafficking and some form of abuse in their past. So that’s what’s coming up. It was definitely a tough decision and a lot of prayers and consulting but after a year and a half of pondering and praying, I decided to step into it when they came and offered it to me.

RHF: What lead you to that decision?

Becca: I’m a single mom and I went through a divorce and there was abuse as well. After my divorce I really became passionate for women that dealt with it. I didn’t have anybody to call and I didn’t know who to call besides family. I really didn’t know how to deal with my emotions and losing my kids—there’s just so much involved in a divorce that there was just really a lot of emotional abuse. And I remember God telling me that He’s going to be the husband and the father and the provider—for me to just trust Him, that He would see me through this dark time. And so I went through a period of depression and conversations with God and I remember Him reminding me, “I’m going to redeem you, renew you, restore you. And one day you’re going to speak to people like yourself and tell them exactly what I’ve done for you, I will do for them.” And it never went away. It stayed in my heart and ignited a passion for people like myself who are going through some form of emotional stuff from divorce, losing their children, some mental abuse. So it’s been something that’s been in my heart. When I walked into Rainier Health & Fitness I didn’t understand the whole fitness aspect of it, but it was a perfect match because it was so many women coming in that gym were not only trying to get healthy but they were emotionally and spiritually broken and I was able to really connect with them. So I’ve always had that desire to be in a shelter where I could sit with them and really encourage even at some point that that would be a place where I could share the gospel, share who God is. My experience on how I came to it and being a director at Rainier Health & Fitness was like the best thing for me following a divorce because that’s exactly what God showed me: you will be working with people. And I didn’t realize that it would be through the fitness, but rewinding back there was a shelter shown and it did come to my heart that I would be working at a shelter.

RHF: And that was prior to working at Rainier Health & Fitness?

Becca: Yeah that was in 2005, eleven years ago. I didn’t know what that meant, but now it’s here and it’s time to step into what God has called me.

RHF: What’s your new role going to be?

Becca: I’m going to be the Executive Director of Penny’s Place, advocating for the women that are dealing with domestic violence.

RHF: What are some of your favorite memories or highlights as you reflect on your 8 years at Rainier Health & Fitness? 

Becca: I think my best memories are the relationships I’ve built. The trust. It’s one thing when you’re training, but this place is so community-oriented and just through some of the training I’ve met some of my very good friends—and it’s 8 years later. And so just strong, solid community relationships and family-like that’s really become dear to me. And it’s all from Rainier Health & Fitness. And just changing lives through fitness. Not even so much in training but pushing and coaching and saying “You can do it!” And these women really gravitated to—not so much what you know, but that you care so much for them. And so that’s how I want to be treated so I’ve always practiced that: how would you want women to receive you or to treat you. And so that was something that was so memorable to me. That I could do it at Rainier Health & Fitness. And I was supported by my peers on that. Because so many great stories and relationships come out of this gym.

RHF: What’s one of the most surprising things that happened to you while you were at RHF?

Becca: A woman named Patricia. It was almost a duplicate of my story. When she came to the gym and she was just crying and she had nobody to turn to and she got served with divorce papers and she was losing her kids and her husband was leaving her. I happened to be working at the front desk when she came in and I had a conversation with her and she cried and told me about her situation and I shared with her my story. So I introduced her to this God that is so loving and that cared so much for me and carried me through these years. And I just had dinner with her a couple weeks ago and now she is encouraging me in this new role and witnessing to me and sharing the gospel with me. So I think that’s my takeaway from Rainier Health & Fitness. It’s come back around.

RHF: Is there a funny story that sticks out in your mind?

Becca: Lots of crazy things. I think the funniest thing that ever
happened was when we made a promotional video during our humble beginnings wearing hideous pink wigs and costumes. When I watch that video NOW it just makes me laugh and I think about the great things that happened throughout the years.

RHF: What was the most stretched physically you ever felt working at RHF?

Becca: CrossFit. I thought I was going to die. It was just taking it step and then doing it and then I started to enjoy. But it took a few times—CrossFit was one of my hardest workouts. And I was in the challenge: double-unders and trying to lift 130 pounds above my shoulders.

RHF: Do you have anything else you’d like to leave members with in your final farewell?

Becca: I’m excited to see just how much Rainier Health & Fitness became a big community spot for many. It’s almost like a hospital. There’s so many who talk to me about there needs to be more Rainier Health & Fitnesses. When they move out of the community and say, “You need to come here! We need someone like you guys in our gym.” I guess they couldn’t find it anywhere. But I think we are unique and we have that special sauce in the gym and I want that to continue to have impact. I continue to pray that they would grow more to open more Rainier Health & Fitness like this one. So that’s my hope and prayer when I leave that there will be some more.