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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People often ask, "How does one stand all that rain in Seattle?" Actually, it doesn't rain that much. I like the rain. Keeps everything "evergreen" and clean. Keeps our air fresh. What's challenging is the gray weather. Give me a few more sunny days. 99 more days to be specific. 
Regardless, still love this city. Checking out Canada in case I need to move up North after the presidential election. Just saying, eh.

Downtown Toronto. Fascinating architecture. Amazed by the diversity of this city. We desperately want our children to not just be captivated by the beauty of creation...but more importantly, to the actual Creator of all that is good and beautiful.

Actually, we want and need this truth for our souls, too. What a privilege. This isn't possible without all those who give, pray, and support the work of @onedayswages. This week, I signed and mailed grants to three partner organizations totaling over $170,000. These grants will empower people by supporting maternal health care, refugee relief efforts, access to clean water, provide education, etc.

Sometimes, the brokenness of the world feel so overwhelming but let's keep running the race with endurance. Let's keep pursuing justice, mercy, and humility. Let's be faithful and may we be spurred on to keep working for God's Kingdom...on earth as it is in heaven.

Again, thank you so much for your support for @onedayswages! My wife, Minhee, and I stand on the shoulders of praying mothers. I'd like to take a moment to honor my mother-in-law. It's hard to put words together to embody her life but she is a very special, anointed person. I'm so blessed to have her as a mother in my life.

She was a devoted wife until she lost her husband to cancer, mother to three daughters, and later became a pastor. She became a follower of Christ as an adult and as such, led her her family to Christ. In her late 50s, she obeyed God's calling to go to seminary and be a leader in the church. She graduated #1 in her class and reminded us that it's never too late to follow a new dream or calling.

As she'll soon celebrate her 80th birthday, I'm especially grateful for the ways that she poured into and prayed over Minhee and her other children.  Even though she's officially retired, I'm inspired that the concept of retirement is not in her vocabulary.  She continues to serve the local church, evangelize and bear witness to Christ, and goes to the early morning prayer meeting at 5am everyday to pray for our family, our church, and for others. 
Jangmonim, we love and honor you. 어머니, 사랑합니다.

Someday, I hope that when my kids speak of Minhee and I...above all, they would say with integrity that their parents prayed for them and kept pointing them to Christ. On this Mother's Day, I want to take a few words to honor mother.

There’s a moment from a few years ago that will stick with me until the day I die. It’s regarding Sung Wha, my mother.

Minhee and I were at a point of transition, between working at an ethnic Korean church in the northern suburbs of Seattle called Lynnwood and launching Quest in urban Seattle. As I shared earlier, I was in desperate need of a job. I had a mortgage to pay. A pregnant wife. A kid at home. 
Then, praise God, after months without work, I finally landed a job.

My mom was in between jobs at this point in her life. She was in her late fifties, but she had such bad knees and degenerative hips that it was, and is, difficult for her to walk. My mom is like a human barometer—when a storm is coming and when it rains, her hips throb. Although my parents lived in San Francisco, she was visiting us in Seattle to encourage us in this difficult season.

As I prepared to go to work one early morning, I walked downstairs to put on my jacket and shoes, and forgot that my mother woke up early every morning to pray. In fact, she had been praying for months that I would find a job. “Eugene, where are you going?” she said when she saw me.

I hadn’t told my mother the news that I had just recently been hired for the janitorial gig at Barnes and Noble. I chose not to because I thought she and my father would be devastated. I didn’t want them to think that after laboring, sacrificing, and doing so much for us over all those years that their son had failed them.

But I couldn’t lie to her, so eventually I told my mom that I got a job and was going to work. “Great! What job? What are you doing?” “Um, I’m working at Barnes and Noble as their custodian,” I said finally.

Without asking another question, my mother got up from the dining table where she had been reading her Bible and praying. She slowly walked slowly toward me.

She approached me, then walked past me without saying a word, and I realized she was headed toward the closet. She opened the closet door, put on her jacket, turned around and said to me (in Korean), “Eugene, let’s go together. I will help you.” This is my mother.

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