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.
Quester Derek Sciba joined Pastor Leah for an interview this week about his work with World Concern. Derek has recently returned from visiting a number of World Concerns projects around the world. View the interview on vimeo here and check out the links below for ways you can be involved globally locally!
Quest has had the privilege of helping facilitate a new churchplant in the Kent, Washington area. But it's likely that these folks have never even heard of the word 'churchplant' and the numerous technical words that pastors like myself like to throw around. And to be honest, these folks probably don't care.
But they do care about one another, family, community, justice, their children, their people, and of course, they care about their faith in Christ.
Over a year ago, a group of friends including Rich and Teresa from Quest helped start a church community for refugees from Burma including the Karen and Chin people. The group has since grown to over 100 people the last time I heard including tons of young children. I've had the privilege of visiting and preaching there and I've been immensely encouraged by this community - even though I know there are numerous hardships and struggles. I was even greeted by a man who recognized me from my visit to Burma several years ago. I'm glad to report that this community has moved to another location that better accomodates their growing community. The last time I visited them, the kids were meeting in the janitor's room.
This isn't an official Quest plant but we are supporting them through our Quest Churchplanting Foundation. Years ago,I would have wanted this to have our 'label' but it's been liberating to let those things go. God's at work there and we want to just be a part of it.