I feel very blessed to take part in the daily happenings of The Bridge Care Center. It’s great to develop and strengthen ongoing friendships with our homeless neighbors. I enjoy getting to see each volunteer come in for their shift and make connections with others in their own special ways. In this blog I wanted to give them the chance to share their experience in their own words. Enjoy!
My experience at the Bridge Care Center is a blessing because God is teaching me that there is no time to waste. Meeting people who need a shirt, pants, some food, or just want to talk to someone because they feel lonely, makes me realize how fortunate I am, and I should be humble and available to share and support others. I realized how big an impact some little actions can have in people’s lives. I’ve learned not to always expect from others; but I rather rely on myself to do whatever possible to help people. Because of the hard work of the volunteers I work with, people see some hope in their lives. My prayer is that God continues to guide me and show me the right things to do. Koffi Ngoran
One of my favorite things about volunteering at the Bridge is watching people become more comfortable there. In the first visit most people are a little unsure. They often get needed items from the clothing center and then leave, or just come in to meet us and find out what we offer. Over time, though, we have had more and more visitors who come in and stay for a couple hours or even the whole shift, enjoying having shelter and a safe place to spend part of the day. They enjoy snacks and a movie in the lounge, or hang out in the waiting room talking with volunteers, staff, and their fellow visitors. The number of people coming in is growing, mostly because people who come in spread the word to others they know who are in need. Brianna Chung
The Bridge, our brothers, and the Kingdom of God
My spiritual journey, to this point, has inspired me to believe that because man is made in the image of God we are all fundamentally spiritual beings. Jesus invites us to live in a spiritual reality.Throughout His ministry, he continually referred to that spiritual reality as the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom of God is a topsy-turvy spiritual plane that does not resemble the material world or its values. It is a place where the last shall be first. Earthly wealth and position are of no consequence in the Kingdom. Nobody can “earn” an extra portion of God’s love- the workers last hired to work the harvest are as beloved as those who have labored since sunrise. (Matthew 20: 1-15)
As Christians, we are charged with helping our Lord propagate the Kingdom of God. Jesus told the Pharisees that the “Kingdom of God is Among and Within You”, referring to the fact that wherever Jesus went there the Kingdom of God could be found. (Luke 17: 20-21) Each of us who has accepted the salvation of the Holy Spirit has a very limited ability, (as well as the opportunity and obligation) to allow that Holy Spirit to work through us to establish and expand the Kingdom of God.
Jesus charged us to care for the “least of these, my brothers,” in Matthew 25. It’s a great privilege to be able to offer some services and hospitality to the brothers of our Lord who respond to our invitation to visit with us at The Bridge. Because we are all spiritual beings, created in the image of God, there are no significant differences between those of us lucky enough to be housed and regularly fed and those who struggle with even the most basic functions of earthly life. I pray that this reality will be apparent to all who give as well as those who receive at The Bridge- God’s love for us is not predicated on achieving material success, or even adhering to a healthy lifestyle. As Jesus said, the true measurement of brotherhood and sisterhood is our common spiritual Father.
Practically speaking, The Bridge is a resource center that provides hygiene items, clothes, bus passes, case management etc. But more than that, The Bridge offers a place for people to belong and truly know that they are worth something in this world. This is why I volunteer.
Whether it is watching The Royal Tenenbaums with George, teasing Tim about his ‘90s fashion sense, picking out earrings with Lisa, or just hanging out and listening to Raji’s stories, I am honored to be a part of the the community God is building here. Every encounter and experience I have had at The Bridge has been about building community, moving far beyond the simple transaction of providing some tangible thing to those who need it. And the cool thing is that it doesn’t stop there.
I cannot count how many times I have come into The Bridge feeling overwhelmed by the things of my life only to hear the story of someone who has faced and overcome so much more than I ever had. True humility. To be honest, The Bridge has become a bridge for me in my own life - helping me to see God in the little things, allowing me to build friendships, and encouraging me to consider ways to move beyond my own assumptions. My life is not my own and I need to be constantly reminded of that.
Through volunteering at The Bridge over the past several months, people - the broken, the marginalized, the disenfranchised, the left out, the lonely - have let me be a part of their story. I am the one who has been blessed.
(by Keith Tungseth, Chair of the GP/QJC Advisory Board)
PURPOSE: To gain deeper learning
about Global Presence development strategies from long-term Covenant
missionaries and their national church partners.
FOCUS: Sustainable Development
Research Foundation (SDRF) AND COVENANT CHURCH OF THAILAND: We will experience
local church culture and learn about holistic development. We will explore opportunities to partner in
the ministries of SDRF and seek God’s vision for this region. For example: Medical and dental teams;
Development-focused teams provide consulting and know-how in the areas of
agriculture, animal husbandry, veterinary medicine, appropriate technology, and
public health. Children - short-term
outreach/service events to serve at-risk children; prayer ministry and building
of relationships among believers.
TEAM: Up to 6 Questers plus our
guide, David Andrianoff. Michelle Garred
will help us put together 4 team training sessions in Sept/Oct for information
and team formation. And we expect team
members to participate in the September 10 Depth Class on Peace-building as
COST: Best estimate: $2,500. (We propose that Quest
pay ½ of that through budgeted funds)
QUEST MISSIONARY CONNECTION: Bob and Grace Shim are supported by Quest. Here are comments by Bob Shim concerning our
proposed trip: “Great to hear from
you! That's fantastic that there are so
many folks involved with the Global Presence team at Quest…. It would be our
pleasure to host a team of "Questers" seeking to broaden their view
of what God is doing globally and explore how to better partner with ongoing
Kingdom work. In my opinion, there is no better way than coming and witnessing
first-hand how God is reconciling peoples to Himself in remote corners of the
world. I think I can offer a bold guarantee that if a team of Global Presence
members came, met with local peoples, experienced their culture and
hospitality, walked in their shoes, and saw how God is transforming their lives
and communities, they will return home changed forever (in big and small
Shim works with Jim Gustafson in a Thai foundation called the Sustainable
Development Research Foundation (SDRF) that has work going on in 5 different
Thai provinces in holistic community development and building grass-roots
church movements. Their work in the Southern provinces has been in predominantly
Muslim communities and all of their ministries involve building peace and building
bridges with communities. SDRF's work in the southern part of Thailand is in
two places: Songkhla and Koh Yao. In Songkhla we have the ministry to
HIV/AIDS-affected peoples (the Center for HIV/AIDS Affected Communities, or
CHAC) and on the island of Koh Yao we have the Marine Research Institute (where
we do marine aquatics research) and our ministry to the Muslim fishing
THAILAND AND COVENANT WORLD
is a country rich in tradition and culture. Predominately a Buddhist country
(ninety-five percent), it has relatively few Christians (less than one
percent). A main hindrance to acceptance of the gospel is a common belief that
Christianity is a religion for Westerners. The Covenant ministries in Thailand
are trying to break this barrier by using Thai cultural forms for worship and
Bible teaching. In addition to church planting, several transformational
ministries are operating across the country, including agricultural businesses,
community health and education, job creation for migrant workers, education of
children, and ongoing tsunami relief and development. The overarching goal of
these projects is to share the love of Christ and plant the gospel in these
If you have interest in being
part of the team or any questions about this trip, please contact Keith Tungseth, Keith@Tungseth.com 206-391-7951
We are well in to our second month of being open to the public at The Bridge Care Center. The daily stop-ins from our neighbors are steadily increasing. We advertise that our services include a clothing bank, computer center, and counseling/case management services. The clothing bank is the most popular reason for individuals stopping by. The Ballard Food Bank is especially excited to pass on the word that we offer this service since they no longer operate a clothing bank at their facility. We are more than a clothing bank. However, that, in itself, is meeting a great need, and it’s a starting point to building relationship with the homeless and low-income in our community. It’s amazing what a warm coat or an intact pair of shoes can do to bring some encouragement into a person’s life. It’s a statement that says, “hey, you are valuable and your needs are important to us”. Oftentimes this cues an individual that this is safe place where they can let down their walls. It’s incredibly beautiful to watch the volunteers at The Bridge listening to the stories of our friends.
From there we’ve had a few individuals who want more and will seek case management. For those who have asked for more help, many of the needs stem around medical, legal, financial, or housing needs. When you hear someone list off a number of difficult problems they are facing it’s easy to fall into that mode of either wanting to try and fix it right away or feeling completely helpless in being able to do anything at all. This is why I think it’s so important for us to come at these situations from the point of relationship. With this attitude it’s not about the immediate fix-it or forget it approach but about journeying alongside the individual.
Below are a few of the specific stories of people we have been privileged to assist. One gentleman had been struggling with making it to doctor’s appointments. He stated that he had short term memory problems and would just often forget to go to the appointments. We sat down and called his doctor to schedule a new appointment with him. To insure he would make the appointment, we arranged to give him a reminder the night before. He was able to make his appointment and is now seeking further assistance with us for other needs. There are a couple of individuals who have some medical needs and have been denied the assistance they need from DSHS. We have been assisting them in collecting the needed paperwork so that they can re-apply. Partnering with them to gather this paperwork seems to be helpful as they can often be overwhelmed with the grueling steps it takes to get the help they need. For some of our friends, just being able to sit in our space and read emails or a book can be the break that they need from their outdoor living. One man told me after spending a half hour in our space that it was the most comfortable and closest experience he has had to feeling like he had been back in his own home. All of these individuals began a relationship with us by first asking for resources from our clothing bank.
While none of these stories are as drastic as being able to say that we have “cured” and brought someone out of homelessness, they are very important. They are real stories of real people and people matter, whether homeless or not. We would like to invite you to be a part of these stories, too. Here are some ways that you can get involved: keep the work of our ministry in prayer, consider volunteering with us, and/or consider donating to our clothing bank.
Upon returning to the States after
2.5 years of living in China, I oftentimes wonder when I'll leave
again. Sometimes I would catch myself looking for cheap tickets to a
faraway land, fully knowing I wouldn't be able to take any time off
work. I think fondly of the freedom and adventurous life I led. Then I
remember, hey, I had an incredibly tough time in China too, and at
times I thought I would be perfectly content spending the rest of my
life in comfortable America.
But things back home haven't been as peachy as I had
imagined. I had high hopes of returning to the wonderful community I
left behind. I thought I would once again experience the stability I
had craved so much. But honestly, I have been overcome with
disappointment. I don't know how to reconcile the extremely different
world that I was in and the world that I'm in now. I don't lean as
heavily on God as I did in China, and I miss that intimacy so much. And
what happens when you live out something you've dreamed about for so
So one day Sarah Ryer, Megan Espinoza and I were
sharing lunch and chatting about our overseas experiences. We all
agreed that returning home after an intensive time overseas is one of
the most difficult things ever. It does take a long time to truly feel
settled again and resources for reverse culture shock/ re-settlement are
very limited. We missed the communities we were a part of so much and
thought, would it be possible to create a similar community here? Would
we be able to form a community where we are not too busy for each
other? Can we provide a space to share stories and be a support and
encouragement to each other as we figure out how to adjust back to life
in the U.S of A again? Then the vision of Quest Wanderers was born.
We hope to provide a regular space to swap stories
and learn from each other. We strive to be a support and encouragement
to each other as we struggle with regaining our sense of belonging. So
let's re-live our overseas experience together through words and maybe
action (We can be spontaneous and go on adventures together!). Let's
try to blend our old and new worlds together. Let's learn about God's
heart not only for the people we served overseas but also for those here
(I am guilty of favoritism towards the Chinese) =). And maybe you
could even teach me how to plan ahead again. =)
We don't have all the answers, but we can certainly
listen and relate. If you've had any sort of overseas experience and
are struggling, come! If you have any advice to impart upon us, we
would love for you to join us. If you simply just want to come and hang
out, you are welcome too. The next Quest Wanderers meeting is
scheduled for Tuesday, May 24th, Q Cafe, 7pm. Dinner will be provided.
Please email me, email@example.com or Megan Espinoza, firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions.
By Jill Vance (TTS Volunteer and QJC Advisory Team member)
Being a part of “To the Streets” is exciting for me! I enjoy getting be a part of a ministry for which I’ve always had a great passion. One of the ways I’ve been helping is by making sure our clothing closet is stocked up for our monthly distribution out at 15th and Market Street. While folding clothes, I often daydream about how a sweatshirt or a tube of toothpaste is going to be beneficial to an individual who is in need. I have grown accustomed to the appreciation our regular homeless attendees give us when we show up. And I must say, I love that they always want to help us unload our supplies when we get there. What a great picture of unity!
However, even though I preach about the importance of giving the homeless our love, attention, resources, and most importantly our respect, I, too, have avoided an interaction or two with a homeless individual. Just last week I was at an Arco gas station and was about to get out of my car when I saw a man walking around to ask other gas patrons for money. I decided to sit in the car for a couple of minutes and look like I was busy. The man even walked by my car, stood in my peripheral vision and waited for me to notice him, but I just kept on “looking busy”. I don’t usually like to hand out money and would prefer to give resources like food. I had neither with me that day, but I believe another human being can always benefit from the respect of acknowledgment. In that brief moment, I decided that this man was inconveniencing me and I chose to give him nothing, including my attention.
Let’s face it, loving people is a sacrifice and sometimes it is just down right hard! It’s easy for me to decide to love a homeless person when it is on my time schedule. But opportunities to extend love don’t always present themselves just when I find it convenient.This also reminded me that homelessness isn’t a part-time job. An individual on the street doesn’t get a break from this lifestyle. They aren’t just doing this during the week and then going home to a plush house on the weekends. And while we may judge them for the different reasons why they ended up in their situation, or make assumptions as to how they will spend their money, the fact is, they are in need. And my question is, "What am I going to do about it?"
Fall has come upon us here in Seattle, which means the winter months of seeing nothing but cloudy skies and walking around in warm winter coats, is almost here! While most of us have the luxury of turning on our heaters or cozying by a fire after a day out in the rain, our homeless neighbors have to continue to fight through the dreary weather outside. As you prepare for this winter, we would love to invite you to clean out your closets and donate your last season winter coats, as well as jeans and blankets, to those in need. These items mean so much to a person living on the street! And if you are like me, you have a pair of jeans in the back of your closet waiting until you are “that” weight again. Save yourself the heartache and just get those “out of sight and out of mind”. We could use both men’s and women’s sizes in coats and jeans.
So here’s the breakdown: What: Coat, jean, and blanket drive When: Sundays, October 10th and 17th Where: drop off all of your donations in a bin located in the church lobby. Why: Well, because it is our desire to follow the teachings of Jesus, who has called us to clothe those who need clothing. Sounds like a good enough reason to me!
Your help and donations is what makes this ministry possible, so thank you for partnering with us during this time of giving!
SUNDAY | Father's Day Picnic for all
Ministry Leaders. Say
hello to summer at Ella
Bailey Park in Magnolia, 12:45pm. We'll provide the
hot dogs, you provide the potluck sides. Rainy day plan- reschedule for
June 26- Sacred Intimacy, 4-8pm. A fun
afternoon/evening is planned for kids, and I want to encourage all the
married couples of our children's ministry to consider participating in
this great class. Nothing can speak louder to the children of our
church, than vibrant & healthy marriage relationships! Register online today.
13-17 Renew VBS!!!! We will be sending out a simple email and
flyer that you can forward on to friends and neighbors. What a
fantastic week it's
going to be. Even if you can't be there for the week of camp, join us
on Saturday for the family service day. Register your kids here. We are still looking for small
group leaders! Volunteer here
24- AquaSox game |7pm @ Everett Memorial Stadium. Group
tickets available soon, $9/person. Contact Pam to reserve
Program- we want to encourage the kids to be reading over the
summer, but not just anything- THEIR BIBLES TOO! We'll be sending home
information about our summer reading program next week. Kids will have
the chance to keep track of family and personal devotional times,
Christian books read, and scripture verses remembered. This is not a
reward-based program, but we will celebrate the journey with
milestone momentos for everyone who participates!
Summer Sundays are here!
Preschool through Kindergartners will have classes together
beginning June 27 at both services. Check out the summer series for
Kids will be bringing home M.A.P. Books to engage the lessons
throughout the week. Take some time to talk to kids about what they are
No more snack food during fellowship.
Fellowship time will continue after the 9:15 & 11am service, but
there will be no snacks provided after the 11. As a reminder to
parents, all kids through Kindergarten receive a snack during Sunday
School. Since service goes into the lunch hour, we will have an
optional snack for 1st-5th grade during service as well. This is a
great time to update your child's teacher about any known food allergies
(lists are posted in all classrooms).
Volunteer Leader positions
Nursery Leads (2x a month), 2- 1st-5th Large Group Teacher (2x month),
3- 1st-5th Small group leaders (every week), Substitute teachers (any
age group, 1x month)
Grade Changes- Kindergarten & 5th Grade kids
will move up the first week of September- we can't wait to celebrate
these milestones with kids!
Group- is still meeting through the summer. Kids are watched by
qualified childcare providers in Toddler classroom. Moms meet for
coffee and fellowship at Q Cafe- Thursdays from 10am-12.
peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in
one body; and be thankful. Let the word of Christ richly dwell within
you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms
and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts
to God. And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the
Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.
To all the Quest
moms and dads: I can think of no better way to spend a Saturday, than to
wake up early in the morning, buckle the family up in the car, and
spend the day at church hanging out- kids with kids, and parents with
parents- learning from one another and being encouraged that we are
not alone, in this thing called parenting!!!! Quest Children's
Ministry is not just about sharing God with kids on Sunday. We
recognize our role is to mainly support parents in the 24/7 spiritual
mentoring that takes place in the home. But if you are anything like
me, you could use all the SUPPORT you can get! That's why equip2010 is
so important to me, and I hope that you take the time to come be with us
next Saturday. Whether you are certain you've got this parenting thing
down :), or your head is spinning just weeks into the adventure, there
will be something for EVERY PARENT. www.seattlequest.org/equip2010
22- equip2010 9am-12pm + lunch for the family. Free parent help.
Free childcare. Free lunch. It's not too late to invite a friend or
June 20 [father's
day] GlobalVillage Picnic for all Families
Ministry Leaders. Say
hello to summer at Ella Bailey Park in Magnolia. We'll provide the
hot dogs, you provide the potluck sides. Rainy day plan (@ GlobalVillage).
13-17 Renew VBS 9am-12pm preschool thru 6th
grade. It's going to be Tuesday through Friday a traditional VBS
schedule and Saturday
is our first
Service Day & end of camp BBQ at Q! What a fantastic week it's
going to be. Register your kids, link the website to your FB, or
sign-up to Volunteer all at www.seattlequest.org/renewvbs!
18- the fun doesn't end after camp. Please join us for the
all-church Picnic at Manolia Park West down in the valley. Fun games
for kids and the beloved water balloons just may make another
24- Family Ministry Event. Let's go to an AquaSox game together!
7pm @ Everett Memorial Stadium. We will have a limited amount of group
tickets available soon, $9/person. Mark your calendar now.
into the world: Trooper Buckingham, Isaiah Rust, Augustine Hurtado,
& Bjorn Beckstrom!
positions available: 9:15/11am
Nursery Leads (2x a month), 2- 1st-5th Large Group Teacher (2x month),
3- 1st-5th Small group leaders (every week), Substitute teachers (any
Summer Sundays are just around the
corner. Preschool through Kindergartners will have classes together
beginning June 27 at both services. Kindergarten & 5th Grade kids
will move up the first week of September- we can't wait to celebrate
these milestones with kids!
May you be reminded that you reflect the
light of Christ as you soak in the sun this week!
Have you ever seen one of those nifty can openers that takes the lid off a can without those nasty sharp edges? What a great invention!!! Actually, if you happen to have one, and you have some open cans & their lids, would you bring the lids in? Crazy I know, but we are going to turn them into a cool craft project. Are you intrigued?
Quest VBS, formally known as 'kids camp' is going green this year, with a great theme to renew the earth with Godly stewardship and plant seeds of faith in the hearts and minds of children. But this VBS cannot happen without the efforts of the WHOLE community this year!!! Would you take a minute to check out our donations/borrowers page and see if you have something you may be able to loan or recycle to us? Everything from milk jugs, to paper towel rolls, to old flower seeds that you never planted.
Thanks for contributing and making this the best quest vbs yet!
Every year we give our c-groups 200 bucks and ask them to get creative in simply blessing their neighbors and the city. The impetus for the "Good Neighbor Fund" came from Jesus' parable of the good Samaritan where his followers are told to follow the example of the Samaritan in extending mercy, funds, and effort to anyone they come across who is in need. From the Tukwila c-group comes a project to spend some time in an urban garden, as documented by LaVerne:
On a beautiful sunny Saturday, our Cgroup grabbed shovels and working gloves, and headed over to the Danny Woo Garden, a 1.5 acre, terraced, urban park in the International District of Seattle. Over 100 community plots are tended by both elderly Asian immigrants, as well as younger generations of gardeners who live within the Chinatown community. Karen’s friend Jon, the lead managing director of the garden, gave us a brief history of the garden, and then quickly put us to work on a variety of tasks. He also told us that our Good Neighbor Fund would be used to buy some new rasberry bushes, supplement materials for the chicken coop, and make some additions to the new Children’s Garden within the park.
Gryffin and Sophia start the first chapter of the FFTC- Future Farmers of the Tukwila Cgroup.
The Paes and the Rusts take on worm duty in the compost bin.
Then, Sophia heads up the wheelbarrow team, moving dirt from one end of the garden to another.
Jordan and Lee follow her lead.
Belinda and Brianna are on the “Search and Rescue” squad- they had to dig up struggling herbs and veggie plants from the tangles of weeds and bramble, and transplant them to cleared plots of fertile land.
Nicole takes a break and enjoys the sunshine with Nance and Gryffin.
Nicole and I show off the trellis that we made for future pea vines. Took us way longer than it should have, but we were pretty proud of ourselves!
Karen explains the project that she’s working on with Arree and Kelly in this video…
Belinda and Brianna clear out the morning glory and dandelion invasions from some neglected plots, and get their rescued veggies ready for transplant.
Shane, Jack and Jon had the super macho task of chopping up plant matter for compost with 2 foot long machetes.
It was wonderful to be working alongside some of the elderly gardeners, a few of whom were watering their vegetables, walking the stone pathways, or sitting on a bench and soaking in the view. Several neighborhood families also strolled through, admiring the lush landscaping, and offering friendly greetings to the volunteers.
At the end of our day, we left with a renewed sense of the importance of a place like the Danny Woo Garden in fostering community, particularly in elderly, Asian immigrants, many of whom are accustomed to farming for their food in their native countries. It offers a safe place for them to continue doing an activity that they’ve done their entire lives, while giving them the space to partner with their neighbors in a productive and enjoyable way.
But more than anything, projects like this reinforce the bonds within our own community group, building relationships through a day of working towards a common goal, intertwining our lives for this brief moment, and creating shared experiences that will be remembered for a lifetime.
The Tukwila Cgroup at the Danny Woo Garden, May 8, 2010.