A great Athenian playwright named Euripides wrote this about friends: “Friends show their love in times of trouble, not in happiness. “
I have not read Euripides’ work but his quote describes exactly what I experienced with one of my dearest friends, Djoanna.
Djoanna Garcia-Kocher is one of the greatest individuals I know. I met Djoanna in the early 90s when things were less complicated and having “friends” was not based on getting a number of “likes.” There were no social media then; friends met face to face when they need a shoulder to cry on. Djoanna became my advisor when I was going through the worst times in my life. She would always listen to me, and in all my troubles she would tell me one thing – “Monet, you have to seek God.”
I had the privilege of writing her life story in my column and I hope that after reading this, you would have a different perspective on faith, fame and friendship.
Djoanna was a former singer-actress in the Philippines. She started out as a contestant in Tawag ng Tanghalan, a talent search show when she was 15 years old. Soon after, ABS-CBN gave her more projects, and one of them was a TV show named “Stop, look and listen,” which co-stars the late Jay Ilagan, Tirso Cruz, Eddie Mercado and Tina Revilla, among others. During her flourishing career, she had a relationship with former Caloocan Mayor Macario “Boy” Asistio. They have 2 daughters and now have 4 grandchildren.
In 2001, Djoanna moved to the U.S. when she married her husband, Vincent Kocher. Vincent is a Filipino from Davao who is one of the reassigned ons my dear friend Djoanna is always blooming. Djoanna and her husband stayed in Monterey, CA for a while and then moved to San Diego. In 2007, Djoanna received a wonderful business opportunity from her friend that made her decide to move to LA. Djoanna is the owner and CEO of Helping Hands of Beverly Hills Home Care Services. They provide nursing and caregiving services to seniors. They are looking to expand soon, as God wills.
Aside from being a successful wife and a hardworking business owner, Djoanna is a passionate singer. She still goes to singing engagements and gigs when she can. She tries to find time to improve her craft, which she believes is her passion and her first love – after God and her husband. She says that singing really makes her really happy. In her own words: “You get a certain high when you sing in front of audiences who appreciate it.”
As Djoanna and I were talking, I asked her to talk about her faith. She recounted everything with joy and pure conviction. She said she became a born again Christian in 1980. However, she thinks that during that time, her faith was not as deep as it should be. She would go through the motions but did not feel that she has a real relationship with God. But now, by the grace of God, she dedicates more time to church and bible studies. And says that she prays every single day of her life. Djoanna goes to The Church on the Way in Van Nuys, CA.
When I asked her to describe her faith now, she said, “God steered me toward the right direction. Without God, I wouldn’t be where I am right now. My faith is the most important thing in my life. It is non-negotiable. I will never give it up. It is The one thing that I will never compromise.”
I’ve known Djoanna as a very compassionate person. It is nice to see her having a far greater reason to be that way. And that is because of her faith in Christ. She said that they’ve never been so much happier. She and her husband live a very simple life. They try to live within their means and enjoy the blessings that come their way.
As I recall when I ran to her in times of trouble, I couldn’t help but appreciate how deeply rooted our friendship is, and how much impact her words brought to me. I remember her saying, “When you encounter these challenges, you have surrender to our Savior. It has to be His will, not our will that has to be done. Whatever happens, I will continue to pray for you. ‘She will perform this Sunday October 2, 2016 with the help of Mr and Mrs Raquel and some friends.
To my God-fearing friend Djoanna and her husband: Thank you for your prayers and for the gift of friendship. I hope that God will continue to bless all your endeavors.
Monet Lu is a Marikina-born, award-winning celebrity beauty stylist with his own chain of Monet Salon salons across Southern California and Las Vegas, Nevada. Ultimately, Monet is known as an all-around artiste who produces sold-out fashion and awards shows as well as unforgettable marketing campaigns. Monet is also the founder of the revolutionary all-natural beauty products such as Enlighten, your solution to discoloration. To contact Monet, please visit www.monetsalon.com or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org