Eugene Cho

Homeless does not equate “Less Human.” More than a “transient” person. In loving memory of Don.

It’s sad when a person passes away and hardly anyone notices and when done so, it’s without a name and the simple description as a “transient.” This is my simply attempt to humanize and give dignity to a person that so many loved and respected. Yes, he was homeless…but he was more than “a transient.”

This past week, Quest Church and our ministry, The Bridge Care Center, hosted our annual Thanksgiving Dinner. It’s always good to not just host a one-time meal but to do in the context of ongoing relationship building and advocacy through the BCC made it even more meaningful and special. As I’ve shared before…

Relationship are important:

And when you start dehumanizing the poor, you have no desire to build relationships with them. You have no interest in their stories. You have no interest in relationships. You believe stereotypes that have been told about them. You believe the lie that they have nothing to teach us and are incapable of contributing to the larger society.

When we’re not interested in building genuine mutual relationships, you rob people of their dignity and they become projects and not people. They become statistics and not reflections of our selves. How can you love and serve the poor if you don’t even know the poor?

When you dehumanize the poor, you have no desire or investment in their redemption.

More than a “transient” person

But on the morning of the Thanksgiving meal, we heard some unfortunate news. Initially, I read it through the local neighborhood blogs and then the local papers:

“A man’s body was found Saturday morning in Ballard, but police said there were no signs of foul play.

The dead man was found in Ballard Commons Park across from the Ballard branch library and two blocks from Northwest Market Street. His age wasn’t immediately known, but police said he was a transient who frequented the park.”

It’s sad when a person passes away and hardly anyone notices and when done so, it’s without a name and the simple description as a “transient.” It’s not a criticism of the paper since they had absolutely no knowledge or relationship of this person. This unnamed and “transient” person was a friend of the Bridge Care Center and although I did not know him very well, I explained to our church that a fellow brother in our community had past away.

In loving memory of Don:

Jill, the director of our advocacy center knew him well and grieved over her passing. Rather than the very brief and impersonal couple sentences in the local paper, I wanted to share her words and description of Don as a way to honor him:

Dear Volunteers,

We were blessed to have 75 of our homeless brothers and sisters join us in the Quest basement for a beautiful feast last night. It was great to feel the community and love that was buzzing around the room. I was so thankful to have so many wonderful Quest volunteers who were eager to love and serve.

While yesterday was an opportunity to “rejoice with those who rejoice” it was also a time to “mourn with those who mourn”. I wanted to let you know that I found out yesterday that one of our regular clients of The Bridge passed away yesterday morning. Our friend Don Farquharson was found at Ballard skate park early yesterday morning. It is not a definite as to what the cause of his death was. Byron had been with him during the night and they had been drinking. He was also exposed to the rain that night and it got pretty cold. I had also heard Don had some heart issues, so it really could have been a combination of it all. Whatever the cause, this came as a complete shock to me.

For those of you who remember Don, he was always well put together. He was one of our regular Native American clients. His hair often reminded me of the 80s, with his gray pony tail and buzzed cut up on top. I hardly ever remember his without his glasses and a baseball cap on. He often had a job. He was kind and engaging to his friends and all of the volunteers at the BCC. Don truly will be missed!

While it is never easy to deal with death, I consider it an honor to grieve with the rest of our homeless friends who lost a great friend yesterday. I read of Don’s passing in the Seattle PI, and while I don’t blame them for not knowing him, it’s very hard to read “police said he was a transient who frequented the park.” I am so glad that Don was more than just a transient to us. He was our friend.

Please keep Don’s friends and family (I believe he had 5 kids) in prayer this week!

Rest in peace, Don. I’m sorry that I never got to know you very well.

If you feel compelled to help:

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.

But most importantly…

Remember the homeless. “See” them. Acknowledge them. Treat them with dignity. “Homeless” does not equate “less human.”

Filed under:

5 Responses

  1. great message here, Eugene. You know, it’s funny (or maybe just ironic) but I often remind that about myself when I find myself feeling less human than others b/c I don’t share their successes. I don’t know why I’m so quick to reduce myself so easily, but, sadly I do. And then I remind myself that. On the other hand, I remind myself that when people are in conditions much, much worse than mine. And then I remind myself of that when I’m dealing with little, snotty-nose, bratty kids. It just seems to be an easy reduction to make of ANYONE who somehow feels unworthy of being human or worthy because of their circumstances in that moment. My constant temptation to do this to myself or others has also produced this amazing reverence for everyone b/c of how much I have to work through what the *actual* truths are and what God feels about every single bratty kid or rebellious daughter of his (ahem, me).

  2. Deb says:

    Thanks for this Eugene. May Don rest in peace.

  3. Bruce P. says:

    This is so sad. May Don Farquharson, who was known to God, rest in peace.

    • Martha Rozkydal says:

      We have looked for Don for so long. He was our foster son for many years, and we loved him. He kept in touch with us for a few years and then disappeared.
      He identified us as his family and we welcomed that.
      We tried to find him and later, our daughter, who was a nurse at the Native hospital in Anchorage, helped the family try again to find him. His mother was dying there.
      Donnie was not Tlingit but Yupik or Eskimo as his mother said. She was from Point Lay and his father was Scottish, perhaps from Scotland.
      When Donnie first came to live with us at about age 6, we only knew he was part native. We assumed he was Tlingit since that was the largest group there in Juneau. We taught him that he was and tried to show him as much of the Tlingit culture as we could. We met his mother a year or so later and she told us he was Eskimo. By then I think the idea of being Tlingit was firmly planted in his mind.
      Donnie moved with us to New Jersey when the Coast Guard transferred my husband. Donnie was excited about the move. There were two things he hoped to see when we went to the East Coast. A wolverine and a McDonalds. No McD’s in Juneau in 1971.
      Then we came to the Mat-Su and Donnie was with us well into his teens.

  4. Karen S. says:

    Thank you for honoring Don, and for giving me the chance to remember him as a human being, loved by God.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

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

  • 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 || 2 days ago
  • Back safely from Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan to assess @OneDaysWages' partnerships & to film mini-documentary on refugee crisis. So many emotions. || 2 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. || 2 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. || 4 days ago
  • Father, bless these Iraqi and Syrian refugee children that have already endured so much. As we pray, teach us how t… twitter.com/i/web/status/9… || 6 days ago
  • Pray for Iraq. Pray for persecuted Church, minority groups (Yezidis) and Muslims alike who are suffering under ISIS: instagram.com/p/BZF2j6Ngrna/ || 6 days ago