Eugene Cho

moving beyond the janitor’s closet

Dear Quest,

Thank you so much for your partnership in the gospel.

I am so proud to be one of your pastors and to have had the honor of planting Quest Church almost 10 years ago. This past Sunday, while Pastor DeAnza was preaching a spirited message at Quest from our ongoing study through Philippians,  I had the joy of visiting and preaching at the Burmese Karen Churchplant in Kent, Washington. On their behalf, I pass on their sincere greetings.

Several years ago, Quest helped plant this church and it is in part because of your prayers and generosity that allowed us to have a small part in birthing this beautiful church through our Quest Churchplanting Foundation.

This church and community did not exist 3 years ago. In fact, the majority of them are recent refugees and have entered this country in the past couple years. This past Sunday, I asked – before my sermon – how many of them had arrived to the United States in the past year and it appeared that over half of the nearly 150 people raised their hands! Many of them were living in refugee camps…and how amazing it must be that a church community was here to be their fellowship and support.

But for a second, I want to encourage you to 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 left no instruction how you get food in this country. The families hadn’t eaten for four days…

Wow.

My “favorite” aspect of worshipping with them was the children’s choir. While I did not understand exactly what they were singing, I was most encouraged by the smiles of so many children. You see…when I last visited couple years ago, this church was meeting in a very small community center (emphasis on: small). Their space was so limited that the 16-18 children had nowhere to gather for Sunday School and had to meet in the janitor’s room.

What great joy to see so many children:

  • worshipping Christ
  • reunited with their families
  • seeking a fresh and new start in the United States
  • and able to go to their own classrooms!

Many challenges remain for this community. They’ve been dramatically affected by the economic recession; Many have lost their jobs and are currently unemployed but to see this community care for one another is a fresh and vital reminder to all of us about the beauty of the body of Christ.

Thank you Quest for your commitment to the Gospel.

Thank you for believing that the Gospel is not just merely for your personal salvation, for your own spiritual health, and for our own church depth and growth. Thank you for caring for one another – in both the highs and lows. Thank you for your partnership in birthing The Bridge Care Center to reach and build relationships with the homeless and refugee community and more deeply engage our passion for mercy, justice, and compassion.

Thank you for playing a small part in being a source of blessing and grace to this new Burmese church.

Thank you for not only loving Jesus but for living in a way that demonstrates that the Gospel matters

– Pastor Eugene

PS: Here’s a picture from couple years ago…

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2 Responses

  1. wow. what an incredible journey and honour. thanks for sharing this. sincerely.

  2. jchenwa says:

    I think every kids should take janitorial 101.

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One Day’s Wages

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41 years ago today, our family immigrated to the United States from Seoul, South Korea. I was six years old; the youngest of three sons. My father, when he was also six, fled from what is now known as North Korea. Just recently, he shared with me that he and some of his family had been in a refugee camp when war and violence broke out on the Korean peninsula. It's emotional thinking about what my brothers and I went through coming to a completely foreign country. It wasn't easy. And then, I think about what my parents had to go through:

They fled their homes near Pyongyang which also meant leaving some of their extended families.

They experienced unfathomable hunger and poverty.

They experienced the pain of war.

They immigrated again to the United States as adults with minimal resources and a handful of English words.

All in hopes that their children would have the opportunities that were never afforded to them.

I'm thinking of my brothers today. I'm thinking of my parents and honoring them for their sacrifice and tenacity. And finally, I'm thinking of refugees and immigrants all around the world that are yearning for family, peace, hope, and opportunities. Don't reduce Martin Luther King Jr. to a yearly quote on social media. Live out the dream. Seek first the Kingdom of God. Confront evil. Be a truth-teller. Seek justice. Love mercy. Pursue reconciliation. Build bridges. Love your neighbors. Forgive your enemies. Pray unceasingly. Live a committed life of peace, love, and justice.

The God who deposited this dream into MLK is still speaking to us today.

Be brave. "Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that." ~ Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Here's the full context of his famous quote: "The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it. Through violence you may murder the liar, but you cannot murder the lie, nor establish the truth. Through violence you murder the hater, but you do not murder hate. In fact, violence merely increases hate. Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate. Only love can do that." An important word for the Church... Oh, how God loves the nations. The Scriptures make this so clear. No one - let alone, the leader of a country - should ever disparage other nations with such a disgusting comment.

To the beautiful people of Haiti, El Salvador, and of the many countries of Africa: We are so sorry. Please accept our apologies on behalf of President Trump.

I've had the privilege of being in Haiti twice and numerous countries in Africa including Kenya where I took this picture during an afternoon drive near Kijabe. In many of these visits, I witnessed such creativity, courage, leadership, hospitality and kindness. To follow Jesus without obedience, repentance, self-denial, and dying to self is an oxymoron. In other words, are we more in love with the idea of following Jesus than actually following Jesus?

Grateful for an incredible Sunday at @seattlequest of beginning our 21 Days of Prayer and Fasting.

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