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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One Day’s Wages

My Instagram

Back safely from Iraq, Lebanon, and Jordan. Thanks for your prayers. 
I have numerous stories to share but for now, the following came up in every conversation with Iraqi/Syrian refugees:

1 Have tea with us. Or coffee. Or juice. Or something with lots of sugar in it. Or better yet, all of the above.
2 We want peace. We want security. 
3 We hate ISIS. 
4 We just want to go home.
5 Please don't forget us.

Please don't forget them... Father, please bless and protect these Iraqi and Syrian "refugee" children that have already endured so much. Protect their hearts and mind from unfathomable trauma. Plant seeds of hope and vision in their lives. And as we pray for them, teach us how to advocate for them. Amen. "We don't call them refugees. We call them relatives. We don't call them camps but centers. Dignity is so important." -  local Iraqi priest whose church has welcomed many "relatives" to their church's property

It's always a privilege to be invited into peoples' home for tea - even if it's a temporary tent. This is an extended Yezidi family that fled the Mosul, Iraq area because of ISIS. It's indeed true that Christians were targeted by ISIS and thatbstory muat be shared but other minority groups like the Yezidis were also targeted. Some of their heartbreaking stories included the kidnapping of their sister. They shared that their father passed away shortly of a "broken heart." The conversation was emotional but afterwards, we asked each other for permission to take photos. Once the selfies came out, the real smiles came out.

So friends: Pray for Iraq. Pray for the persecuted Church. Pray for Christians, minority groups like the Yezidis who fear they will e completely wiped out in the Middle East,, and Muslims alike who are all suffering under ISIS. Friends: I'm traveling in the Middle East this week - Iraq, Lebanon, and Jordan. (Make sure you follow my pics/stories on IG stories). Specifically, I'm here representing @onedayswages to meet, learn, and listen to pastors, local leaders, NGOs, and of course directly from refugees from within these countries - including many from Syria.

For security purposes, I haven't been able to share at all but I'm now able to start sharing some photos and stories. For now, I'll be sharing numerous photos through my IG stories and will be sharing some longer written pieces in couple months when ODW launches another wave of partnerships to come alongside refugees in these areas. Four of us are traveling together also for the purpose of creating a short documentary that we hope to release early next year.

While I'm on my church sabbatical, it's truly a privilege to be able to come to these countries and to meet local pastors and indigenous leaders that tirelessly pursue peace and justice, and to hear directly from refugees. I've read so many various articles and pieces over the years and I thought I was prepared but it has been jarring, heartbreaking,  and gut wrenching. In the midst of such chaos, there's hope but there's also a lot of questions, too.

I hope you follow along as I share photos, stories, and help release this mini-documentary. Please tag friends that might be interested.

Please pray for safety, for empathy, for humility and integrity, for divine meetings. Pray that we listen well; To be present and not just be a consumer of these vulnerable stories. That's my biggest prayer.

Special thanks to @worldvisionusa and @worldrelief for hosting us on this journey. 9/11
Never forget.
And never stop working for peace.

Today, I had some gut wrenching and heart breaking conversations about war, violence, and peacemaking. Mostly, I listened. Never in my wildest imagination did I envision having these conversations on 9/11 of all days. I wish I could share more now but I hope to later after I process them for a few days.

But indeed: Never forget.
And never stop working for peace.
May it be so. Amen. Mount Rainier is simply epic. There's nothing like flying in and out of Seattle.

#mountrainier
#seattle
#northwestisbest

my tweets

  • Boom. Final fishing trip. Grateful. A nice way to end my 3 month sabbatical. #catchandrelease twitter.com/i/web/status/9… || 1 day ago
  • Christians: May we be guided by the Scriptures that remind us, "Seek first the Kingdom of God" and not, "Seek first the kingdom of America." || 1 day ago
  • Every convo with Iraqi/Syrian refugees included: 1 Have tea with us 2 We want peace 3 We hate ISIS 4 We want to go home 5 Don't forget us || 4 days ago
  • Back safely from Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan to assess @OneDaysWages' partnerships & to film mini-documentary on refugee crisis. So many emotions. || 4 days ago
  • Pray for Mexico. For those mourning loved ones. For those fighting for life - even under rubbles. For rescue workers. Lord, in your mercy. || 4 days ago
  • Don't underestimate what God can do through you. God has a very long history of using foolish and broken people for His purposes and glory. || 6 days ago