Eugene Cho

in memory of carlos holguin | a year ago

On a Saturday, July 2, 2005, approximately 1.30AM, a local homeless man named Carlos Holguin died. There’s been much speculation how he died. Initial reports stated that he was badly injured as he was ‘burned in an accident while grilling with propane.’ Many of the local homeless community who knew and love Carlos thought otherwise believing there was a ‘hate crime’ involved.  In fact, they are certain of it.  The case is now closed with his death attributed to an accident. A week after Carlos’ death, we held a memorial service at our church for him. We were surprised how many people from the homeless community had gathered to pray and honor his life.

One conversation I had was with a man who was not homeless and he did not know Carlos at all. When I asked him, “Why are you here?”, he replied with this answer (paraphrase):

“Reverend, I’m here because I needed to be here. You see, I was once homeless many years ago and I remember how it used to be. Being alone. And no, I don’t know this man, Carlos, but I read the article about his death and felt I needed to be here to somehow let him know that his life mattered.”

Honestly, I didn’t know Carlos very well or “Los” as many in the homeless community called this dude.  We chatted a few times but one thing I knew about “Los” was that he was nearly always happy.  He was always smiling and encouraging people.  He called me “Rev” and shouted it at the top of his longs whenever he saw me.  He was always nearly drunk as well and could tell he was drinking away some of his pain.

There are times I’ll sit in my church office and wonder if what we’re doing as a church means anything at all. We are so far from being the church we ought to be but nevertheless, I find strength in knowing that in some way or another, we are communicating and demonstrating to ourselves and others that PEOPLE MATTER TO GOD and IF PEOPLE MATTER TO GOD, THEY OUGHT TO MATTER TO THE CHURCH. PEOPLE OUGHT TO MATTER TO QUEST…

As you soak in the words of GOSPEL this week that YOUR lives matter to Christ, may you be encouraged and convicted to speak those words of TRUTH to others in your lives – both friends and strangers.

Filed under: church

One Response

  1. Carlos Holguin was my uncle. A year and a half ago my family and I heard the news of my uncle.The family was very upset with the way the seattle police took the case.We are still very, sad and hurt about uncle los and his death.Because it was a bad way to die. We all couldnt understand how the seattle police dept took it so blunt.We would love justice to be handed down to the person who did this to the los.Our uncle the coolest of all uncles,brother,cousin,and father of carlos Jr.I can remember all the great times me and the los had.He was a great person.He would always come home back to michigan,to pay a short vist and party with all of us.There is no way that there was any propane involved with his death.Seattle Police didnt care because the thought he was just another homeless man.That was not true carlos was a worker,and the job rate failed here in michigan.So he ended up some how on one of the fishing boats in seattle.The police who ever they where that day should of did there jobs.But they where to dumb and shouldnt waved it off as another homeless mans death.That to all the others who held the service for our beloved unlce los thank you very much the the church

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Window seat. For the win. As leaders, we must not see ministry and family as competing commitments.  We must not sacrifice our marriage and kids for the sake of "ministry." How can we? Loving our families IS ministry & good leadership.

And on a side note, we took this goofy photo for Mother's Day last Sunday at @seattlequest. I was shocked! What in the world happened to our kids? Our 13 year old son blocked four of my shots on the basketball court yesterday. He's since been grounded... I fear that we ask God to move mountains, forgetting that God also wants to move us.

In fact, it's possible that we are that mountain. Time flies. The eldest is wrapping up her 1st year in college and the college tours have begun for the 2nd child. The youngest enters high school in the Fall. Can't say enough about how proud Minhee and I are of the kids - not just of their accomplishments but the people they are and are becoming.

But...man...we can't wait to party it up when we're emptynesters. Party at our house. It's going to be epic. Humbled. Grateful. Mindful of God's grace and faithfulness in my life. It's all grace... It's an unexpected honor to be invited back - even with some mini-drama - to @princetonseminary to receive the 2017 Distinguished Alumni Award - exactly 25 years after starting my journey there as a student in 1992. Wow.

Princeton isn't necessarily for everyone. And to say that I loved everything about my experience would be misleading but it was very formative. Ir challenged me to examine why I believed in what I believed. It reminded me that God could handle my questions. It prepared me for a post-Christian context where I am not entitled to be heard but I had to earn the right to be heard, and of course, it taught me that all is good with a Philly cheese steak at Hoagie Haven.

No one is an island to themselves and I am certainly an example of that. Many people - women and men, young and old, and of many backgrounds - prayed, encouraged, mentored, and loved me along the way. Grateful for my professors at seminary, my many classmates, and the numerous fellow staff and co-laborers I've had the privilege of serving Christ with past and present. And of course, I'm forever inspired by my parents, my children, and my wife, Minhee. Thank you for your faith, hope, and love...and oh, for your patience. Only your family will know and see both the best and worst of you. They've seen my worst...and keep on believing in me.

Thank you again, PTS and President Barnes, for this honor. Then, today, and tomorrow...by God's grace, just striving to be faithful to my Lord and Savior...to preach and live out the convictions of the whole Gospel. Amen. So humbled and grateful to be with @catalystleader in Cincinnati to encourage leaders from all around the country about the invitation to Uncommon Fellowship.

Preached from John 4. We can talk, preach, sing, philsophize, liturgize, and spit rhymes about Samaria...but we still have to talk through Samaria.

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