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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stuff, connect, info

One Day’s Wages

My Instagram

Back safely from Iraq, Lebanon, and Jordan. Thanks for your prayers. 
I have numerous stories to share but for now, the following came up in every conversation with Iraqi/Syrian refugees:

1 Have tea with us. Or coffee. Or juice. Or something with lots of sugar in it. Or better yet, all of the above.
2 We want peace. We want security. 
3 We hate ISIS. 
4 We just want to go home.
5 Please don't forget us.

Please don't forget them... Father, please bless and protect these Iraqi and Syrian "refugee" children that have already endured so much. Protect their hearts and mind from unfathomable trauma. Plant seeds of hope and vision in their lives. And as we pray for them, teach us how to advocate for them. Amen. "We don't call them refugees. We call them relatives. We don't call them camps but centers. Dignity is so important." -  local Iraqi priest whose church has welcomed many "relatives" to their church's property

It's always a privilege to be invited into peoples' home for tea - even if it's a temporary tent. This is an extended Yezidi family that fled the Mosul, Iraq area because of ISIS. It's indeed true that Christians were targeted by ISIS and thatbstory muat be shared but other minority groups like the Yezidis were also targeted. Some of their heartbreaking stories included the kidnapping of their sister. They shared that their father passed away shortly of a "broken heart." The conversation was emotional but afterwards, we asked each other for permission to take photos. Once the selfies came out, the real smiles came out.

So friends: Pray for Iraq. Pray for the persecuted Church. Pray for Christians, minority groups like the Yezidis who fear they will e completely wiped out in the Middle East,, and Muslims alike who are all suffering under ISIS. Friends: I'm traveling in the Middle East this week - Iraq, Lebanon, and Jordan. (Make sure you follow my pics/stories on IG stories). Specifically, I'm here representing @onedayswages to meet, learn, and listen to pastors, local leaders, NGOs, and of course directly from refugees from within these countries - including many from Syria.

For security purposes, I haven't been able to share at all but I'm now able to start sharing some photos and stories. For now, I'll be sharing numerous photos through my IG stories and will be sharing some longer written pieces in couple months when ODW launches another wave of partnerships to come alongside refugees in these areas. Four of us are traveling together also for the purpose of creating a short documentary that we hope to release early next year.

While I'm on my church sabbatical, it's truly a privilege to be able to come to these countries and to meet local pastors and indigenous leaders that tirelessly pursue peace and justice, and to hear directly from refugees. I've read so many various articles and pieces over the years and I thought I was prepared but it has been jarring, heartbreaking,  and gut wrenching. In the midst of such chaos, there's hope but there's also a lot of questions, too.

I hope you follow along as I share photos, stories, and help release this mini-documentary. Please tag friends that might be interested.

Please pray for safety, for empathy, for humility and integrity, for divine meetings. Pray that we listen well; To be present and not just be a consumer of these vulnerable stories. That's my biggest prayer.

Special thanks to @worldvisionusa and @worldrelief for hosting us on this journey. 9/11
Never forget.
And never stop working for peace.

Today, I had some gut wrenching and heart breaking conversations about war, violence, and peacemaking. Mostly, I listened. Never in my wildest imagination did I envision having these conversations on 9/11 of all days. I wish I could share more now but I hope to later after I process them for a few days.

But indeed: Never forget.
And never stop working for peace.
May it be so. Amen. Mount Rainier is simply epic. There's nothing like flying in and out of Seattle.

#mountrainier
#seattle
#northwestisbest

my tweets

  • Boom. Final fishing trip. Grateful. A nice way to end my 3 month sabbatical. #catchandrelease twitter.com/i/web/status/9… || 1 day ago
  • Christians: May we be guided by the Scriptures that remind us, "Seek first the Kingdom of God" and not, "Seek first the kingdom of America." || 1 day ago
  • Every convo with Iraqi/Syrian refugees included: 1 Have tea with us 2 We want peace 3 We hate ISIS 4 We want to go home 5 Don't forget us || 4 days ago
  • Back safely from Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan to assess @OneDaysWages' partnerships & to film mini-documentary on refugee crisis. So many emotions. || 4 days ago
  • Pray for Mexico. For those mourning loved ones. For those fighting for life - even under rubbles. For rescue workers. Lord, in your mercy. || 4 days ago
  • Don't underestimate what God can do through you. God has a very long history of using foolish and broken people for His purposes and glory. || 6 days ago