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.


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 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

My Instagram

Let's fully welcome refugees. Remember, refugees aren't terrorists...they're fleeing away from violence, war, and terrorism. Afraid? We're all afraid but agencies are implementing some of the most rigorous and thorough vetting. My family hosted a Somalian Muslim family from a refugee camp years ago through @worldrelief. It was eye opening, challenging, and encouraging...and we hope to host families again in the future as they resettle in a new foreign city and country. It's a terrifying experience. And while not a refugee, I remember the first few months as a immigrant when I was six years old. To this day, I remember the kindness of folks that helped us through that transition. Lift a prayer for me as I'm privileged to collaborate in ministry here in Melbourne, Australia. Meeting with local pastors, teaching at the Justice Conference (10/21-22). Then, preaching at the Bridge Church on Sunday  Pray that in preaching the whole Gospel from the Scriptures, I may honor God, point people to Jesus, and be sensitive to the presence and power of the Holy Spirit. Amen. Interesting. The holy bench. Wow. And in a blink of an eye, this happened. The nights might be long but the years go by fast. #ParentProverbs #WhatHappenedToMy13YearOldSon This past week, @seattlequest celebrated its 15th Anniversary. In many ways, it feels like forever and in other ways, it just seemed like we just started yesterday.

Around May 2000, Minhee and I found out we were expecting a 2nd child. Then, we got another surprise. We felt a calling and stirring to plant a church. We told God, "This is horrible timing!" We left a thriving ministry that we started in the Seattle surburbs and felt compelled to move into the city to plant a new multiethnic church called Quest. To be honest, we were so scared. Minhee was pregnant. Our insurance was about to run out. But we ventured forth. Once I resigned from this church, I had plans, goals, strategies...and none of them materialized. Only bills and payments. I quickly found out that a Masters of Divinity degree - as cool as it may sound - is actually useless in society. No one wanted to hire me. I was unemployed for months. We were eventually on food stamps and DSHS insurance.

In December 2000, we welcomed our 2nd child to the world. When "T" was born, we cried more than the baby. Couple days later, I finally landed a job as the janitor at a Barnes & Noble store. It wasn't quite what I was envisioning but God really worked through this "valley season." And we finally felt peace about starting Quest. Seven people gathered in our living room and several months later on October 2001, Quest Church was officially launched. 
It has not been easy. We've been hurt and worse, we learned we hurt people. More accurately, I hurt people. We've heard our share of criticisms and sometimes, even worse. I've been called my share of names. Too many to list. I've been too liberal, too conservative, too edgy, too rigid, too blunt, too passive. We spent many nights crying out to the Lord...for direction, for peace, for answers. We usually never got the answers we were wanting...but we always felt His presence - even during our valleys. To be honest, we still have many restless nights. In fact, I think we have had more restless nights these past two years than we did in the first two years. 
But through it all. God has been so faithful and gracious. Thank you, Lord. The good ol' days when I just wanted to make music. My kids have no idea how coooooooool I was. #OriginalMacPowell

my tweets

  • It's my birthday today. Grateful for family/friends. Above all, Jesus: Grateful for life, gift of salvation & the privilege of serving You. || 12 hours ago
  • Let's fully welcome refugees. Remember, refugees aren't terrorists...they're fleeing from violence, war, terrorism:…… || 13 hours ago
  • Lift a prayer for me as I preach in Melbourne, Australia. That I may honor God, point to Jesus, be sensitive to HS: || 20 hours ago
  • Political inclinations aside, you discover much about a person in defeat. Finish well. This is leadership, too. || 1 day ago
  • Left. Right. Liberal. Conservative. Whatever your adjective, followers of Christ ought to be for the sanctity of life - from womb to tomb. || 1 day ago
  • Politics and politicians frustrate me. However, we must engage politics b/c politics create policy & policy affects people & people matter. || 1 day ago



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