Quest has had the privilege of helping facilitate a new churchplant in the Kent, Washington area. But it’s likely that these folks have never even heard of the word ‘churchplant’ and the numerous technical words that pastors like myself like to throw around. And to be honest, these folks probably don’t care.
But they do care about one another, family, community, justice, their children, their people, and of course, they care about their faith in Christ.
Over a year ago, a group of friends including Rich and Teresa from Quest helped start a church community for refugees from Burma including the Karen and Chin people. The group has since grown to over 100 people the last time I heard including tons of young children. I’ve had the privilege of visiting and preaching there and I’ve been immensely encouraged by this community – even though I know there are numerous hardships and struggles. I was even greeted by a man who recognized me from my visit to Burma several years ago. I’m glad to report that this community has moved to another location that better accomodates their growing community. The last time I visited them, the kids were meeting in the janitor’s room.
This isn’t an official Quest plant but we are supporting them through our Quest Churchplanting Foundation. Years ago, I would have wanted this to have our ‘label’ but it’s been liberating to let those things go. God’s at work there and we want to just be a part of it.
But for a second, I want to encourage you think about what it would feel like to be completely new, foreign, and lost in a new country. Asides from the people they see at their church, there is absolutely nothing familiar at all about anything. My heart goes out because I lived through the ‘immigrant’ story. I understand what it feels like to feel dumb, useless, and completely lost simply because the language and culture is entirely ‘foreign’ to me.
Want an example? Read this from an email I received from one of the folks helping with this refugee community:
M and W went to meet four newly resettled families in Tukwila and found the agency that brought them in had left them with money, but no idea how you get food in this country and hadn’t eaten for four days…
If you’re in Seattle, I want to invite you to consider helping in some way. I’m not asking for money. But asking for your time. Time to simply share with people how you shop for food in the country! The human connection is so valuable and life giving.
If you have any intersest, you can contact DeAnza [pastor of compassion and justice] at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit Teresa on her blog.
And this is an encouragement all of my readers: consider the foreigner, the poor, the widow, the oppressed, and the orphans.