Eugene Cho

from the trenches: no idea where to get food

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.

karen-church-2-1-09-001

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…

Crazy, huh?

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 deanza@seattlequest.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.

Filed under: churchplanting, ministry, quest church, seattle

7 Responses

  1. Teresa says:

    Thank you for your heart and your constant encouragement to put faith into action.

  2. Chris Scott says:

    Wow. I live in the SF Bay, any idea on how to help the refugees and immigrants that live down here?

  3. DK says:

    wow. speechless.

  4. Matt K says:

    There has been astronomical growth of Southeast Asian immigrants into Kent for years. Its great there is a church there to minister to them!

  5. eugenecho says:

    @chris scott:

    we work with an org called World Relief [and World Aid]. i think a simple google search will get you some info about orgs that are working with incoming refugees.

  6. mary says:

    We hosted a World Relief refugee family from Iraq in 2007. It can be challenging, but was an extremely rewarding experience (not to mention a vehicle for making life-long friends) and I would encourage anyone with an inkling of interest to get involved. All you need is some time and a heart to help people!

  7. eugenecho says:

    @mary: very cool.

    we hosted a family from somalia. it was a great experience but challenging as you shared. i won’t forget the time they kept flipping the lightswitch on and off constantly for awhile.

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One Day’s Wages

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Collaboration.

col·lab·o·ra·tion
kəˌlabəˈrāSH(ə)n/
noun

the action of working with someone or a group of others  to produce or create something.

May we hold our logos, egos, and tribalism have their place. May we hold them loosely for they too shall pass. May we collaborate for the sake of the greater Kingdom of God ... which endures forever. As we honor Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., don't forget the God behind the man. The one true God who deposited this dream into MLK is still speaking to us today. Are we listening?

Be courageous. Be brave.

Being invited by the King Family to speak at the MLK worship service at Ebenezer Baptist Church in 2016 remains one of the most unexpected honors of my life. On the right is his daughter, Dr. Bernice King and his sister, Dr. Christine King Farris. Walking throughstreet markets in different parts of the world is the best. Soaking in the culture. Listening to the local language and music. Enjoying the amazing cuisine. Meeting new friends. Praying for the Gospel to penetrate. #ChiangRai Blessed be the local, indigenous leaders for it is they who live in the very communities they seek to love. For it is they who understand their context and culture...better than a Westerner ever will. For it is they who will continue to tenaciously pursue a better world with hope, justice and love when visitors like me leave.

Yes, blessed be the local, indigenous leaders. What an honor and privilege to celebrate with the on-the-ground local @thefreedomstory team to celebrate the recent opening of their Education and Resource Center for the local youth in Chiang Rai, Thailanf. This was made possible through a partnership and matching grant by @onedayswages and The Freedom Story.

While it was an honor to be there to cut the cord and say a few words, this is an example of collaboration. Much love to the Freedom Story team including their co-founders Tawee Donchai and @Rachel Goble, to their staff who live in the community, who understand their context and culture, and who tenaciously pursue a better world with hope, justice and love. And of course, much love to the students themselves for they each matter. Finally, to each person that donated to @onedayswages to make this grant possible.

May hundreds and even thousands of youth be impacted, encouraged, and mentored. May they capture a glimpse of God's love for them.

Photo: @benjaminedwards Part 2 on my wrestling with the complex issue of human trafficking. In part, documenting my trip to Thailand for @onedayswages...to listen, learn, and visit one of our partner orgs @thefreedomstory. More to come.

There's such painful and poignant irony in pursuing justice...unjustly. One way we do this is when we reduce people into projects...and thus, propagating the dangerous power dynamic of US as heroes and THEM as helpless and exclusively as victims. So dangerous.

Human trafficking is not just an issue. It’s ultimately, about people. Depending on the sources of statistics, there are anywhere from 29-40 million people in some form of forced labor and slavery, including sex trafficking.

And one thing I’ve learned, personally, is how easy it is easy to reduce people into projects which is why mutuality, reciprocity, and dignity are so vital. These are critical because God never intended people to be reduced into projects.

We forget this and we indirectly foster a culture and system of victimization or worse, the pornification of the poor or in this case, "the trafficked." And when you start dehumanizing the poor or trafficked, you have no genuine desire to build relationships with them. You believe or build stereotypes in broad strokes, singular, black and white narratives that have been told about them. You believe the lie that they have nothing to teach us and are incapable of contributing to the larger society.

Lord, break our hearts for the things that break your heart. Give us eyes to see others through your eyes. Give us humility so that we acknowledge our own need to learn and grow. (Photo via @thefreedomstory)

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