Eugene Cho

homelessness just isn’t as sexy…

Let’s be honest: the issue of homelessness just isn’t as sexy as some of other ‘justice’ issues like the global water crisis, human trafficking, or shoes. Yes, I just went there.

The reasons for homelessness are numerous and complex but the numbers – indicating real people – are real. Very real.

  • Approximately 2.3 – 3.5 million people are homeless each year in U.S. (Urban Institute)
  • 12 million adults in U.S. currently are or have been homeless at some point in their lives. (National Coalition for the Homeless)
  • The largest and fastest growing group of homeless folks are families with children, comprising 40% of the homeless population, mostly with single mother head of household. Average homeless family has 2.2 children. (HUD)
  • 33% of homeless men are veterans. (HUD)
  • 22% of single adult homeless population suffer from severe and persistent mental illness. (U.S. Conference of Mayors, 2001)

In the Seattle area alone, on any given night there are 7,980 homeless in Seattle/King County.

This is the main reason why Quest Church envisioned and funded a ministry called The Bridge Care Center and I can’t tell you how proud, encouraged, and convicted I am to be a part of this ministry. It’s the aspect of Quest that I’m most proud of this past year. What is the BCC?

The Bridge Care Center, a ministry of Quest Church, is an outreach center for men and women who are experiencing homelessness and displacement, allowing relationships to develop through advocacy and case management. We seek to provide partnerships and support to adults, youth and families who are experiencing homelessness and financial hardship. The Bridge Care Center’s work is about dignity and acknowledging people with value and meaning. [RSS readers: click here to see the video]

I’m so proud of our church because in spite of a challenging financial year, the church community blew past our announced goal of raising $50K and they gave nearly $75,000 to help underwrite the vision of the Bridge! We brought on our first staff (and case manager) and numerous volunteers to initially focus on three main areas:

  • Advocacy and Referral Services
  • Computer & Communication
  • Clothing Bank

How you can help?

This request is especially directed to anyone and everyone that lives in the greater Seattle area. I’d like to sincerely ask you to consider 3 very simple ways to support The Bridge. While a ministry of Quest, this operation is couple miles from our location and designed to serve the larger Seattle area – and especially the Ballard area where there are numerous challenges but very limited resources.

CLOTHING. We need your clothes. Seriously. I want your clothes. I’ll send volunteers to your home to pick them up or you can drop them off at the Bridge or at the Q Cafe. I’ll also take your extra blankets or sleeping bags.

FINANCIAL CONTRIBUTIONS.  Yes. Can you consider investing $25, $50, $100, or another amount. You can send in your donations to: Quest Church (c/o Bridge Care Center), 3223 15th Avenue West, Seattle, WA 98119

If you’re a pastor of a local church, I’d like to especially ask you and your congregation to make a donation to The Bridge. 100% of your donation will go directly to fund the three focuses of Advocacy & Referral Services, Computer & Communication, and Clothing Bank.

VOLUNTEER. Please contact jill@seattlequest.org and we’ll get you up and running. Asides from one paid staff, the entire Bridge Care Center is run by volunteers.

Joking aside, I’m glad that God calls us respectively and collectively to seek good, love mercy, do justice – here, there, and everywhere. But as we go there and everywhere, I’m regularly reminded – by the lines of people that are literally waiting for the Bridge doors to open every week – that we can’t forget to focus on the here.

Folks need shoes here, too.

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13 Responses

  1. Andy Wade says:

    Good Job, Quest! Blessings upon you all as you expand the presence of the Kingdom of God!

  2. KL says:

    Thank you for this post. I think many of us (including myself) struggle inwardly with how to respond when we think about our responsibility as Christians (and really, as fellow human-beings) when we see someone on the street who is clearly in need. Having a place like The Bridge Care Center to refer them to is an effective way to help meet that responsibility.

  3. Thank you so much for posting this, Pastor Eugene. I watched the video and I am so moved by the ministries of Quest. Since moving from Seattle, I have really missed being a part of the church. I loved the tight knit community, the honest humility, and the sincere passion to love God and love people. Keep up the amazing work, and I hope to get involved when I can.

  4. Stephen says:

    I have a bunch of clothes I just picked out of my closet. If I bring them to church tomorrow where can I leave them?

  5. Nancy Howerton says:

    I would love to find a similar ministry in the Orange County, California area. I was moved by the video and was so blessed by all you do. If I could, I would give you tons of clothes!! When I come up to visit my kids, maybe I’ll bring an extra suitcase filled with my closet! We are so blessed and I am always looking for ways to give positive, Christian help to those in need. Keep up the great work and God’s blessings to you all, and your amazing sounding church!!

    • Eugene Cho says:

      Nancy,

      Thanks for the note. As much as we’d love those clothes, I’m sure there are groups, non-profits, clothing banks, agencies, churches, etc. that would absolutely love and can use those clothes.

      Thanks for the encouragement.

  6. Awesome. I am consistently blown away and challenged by all that your tribe does.

  7. That’s awesome. I was just writing about how the church needs to take steps to meet needs in the community. Well done, guys.

  8. Stephen says:

    Fantastic, bro! We struggle, daily, here in Mexico city, as well. It is quite overwhelming. This past week we treated 15 street kids feet, traded their shoes and socks out and gave them a healthy dose of the gospel. Several of them have trench foot (that we treated), open sores, toe nails that are contorted, and black gunk that was, nearly, unwilling to leave their feet. You are right… it sure isn’t sexy, but what a blessing. Thanks for keeping the homeless on the forefront of people’s minds! – Stephen

  9. […] Here’s an update of the Bridge Care Center (about 9 months post launching) and video: […]

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One Day’s Wages

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Window seat. For the win. As leaders, we must not see ministry and family as competing commitments.  We must not sacrifice our marriage and kids for the sake of "ministry." How can we? Loving our families IS ministry & good leadership.

And on a side note, we took this goofy photo for Mother's Day last Sunday at @seattlequest. I was shocked! What in the world happened to our kids? Our 13 year old son blocked four of my shots on the basketball court yesterday. He's since been grounded... I fear that we ask God to move mountains, forgetting that God also wants to move us.

In fact, it's possible that we are that mountain. Time flies. The eldest is wrapping up her 1st year in college and the college tours have begun for the 2nd child. The youngest enters high school in the Fall. Can't say enough about how proud Minhee and I are of the kids - not just of their accomplishments but the people they are and are becoming.

But...man...we can't wait to party it up when we're emptynesters. Party at our house. It's going to be epic. Humbled. Grateful. Mindful of God's grace and faithfulness in my life. It's all grace... It's an unexpected honor to be invited back - even with some mini-drama - to @princetonseminary to receive the 2017 Distinguished Alumni Award - exactly 25 years after starting my journey there as a student in 1992. Wow.

Princeton isn't necessarily for everyone. And to say that I loved everything about my experience would be misleading but it was very formative. Ir challenged me to examine why I believed in what I believed. It reminded me that God could handle my questions. It prepared me for a post-Christian context where I am not entitled to be heard but I had to earn the right to be heard, and of course, it taught me that all is good with a Philly cheese steak at Hoagie Haven.

No one is an island to themselves and I am certainly an example of that. Many people - women and men, young and old, and of many backgrounds - prayed, encouraged, mentored, and loved me along the way. Grateful for my professors at seminary, my many classmates, and the numerous fellow staff and co-laborers I've had the privilege of serving Christ with past and present. And of course, I'm forever inspired by my parents, my children, and my wife, Minhee. Thank you for your faith, hope, and love...and oh, for your patience. Only your family will know and see both the best and worst of you. They've seen my worst...and keep on believing in me.

Thank you again, PTS and President Barnes, for this honor. Then, today, and tomorrow...by God's grace, just striving to be faithful to my Lord and Savior...to preach and live out the convictions of the whole Gospel. Amen. So humbled and grateful to be with @catalystleader in Cincinnati to encourage leaders from all around the country about the invitation to Uncommon Fellowship.

Preached from John 4. We can talk, preach, sing, philsophize, liturgize, and spit rhymes about Samaria...but we still have to talk through Samaria.

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