By Pastor Lyn Rush
Lyn Rush serves Pinoy Van-Port Ministries in Vancouver, Wash. This new church start serves Filipino Americans and immigrants with a keen focus on social justice for all. In this two-part essay, Rush shares what it is like to be an immigrant Filipino, leading passionate movements, all while being a layperson in the PNW Conference appointed to a new church start.
Part I: Fulfilling our mission centering on Christ and our diversity
Matthew 6: 24-25 (BSB): Then Jesus told His disciples, “If anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.”
WHAT IS PINOY VAN-PORT MINISTRIES?
The Pinoy Van-Port Ministries started with a vision of a Filipino American gathering in the Portland-Vancouver area. When asked by the Church to lead this group, I asked myself, “What? Who, me? Why, me?” In the back of my mind I had doubts about a “Filipino group”. We come from backgrounds so diverse that it may be challenging to get people to come together. From that point forward, God guided this ministry in the best direction needed.
Pinoy Van-Port Ministries is the condensed name for Pinoy Filipino American Van-Port Multicultural Ministries. The word “pinoy” is a nickname for a Filipino person of either gender. We strive to be a new faith community with ministries that reach out to those in the Vancouver (Washington) and Portland (Oregon) areas.
Our vision and mission: to provide a Christ-centered, diverse community of Filipino Americans, Filipino immigrants and non-Filipino friends through inspiring and life-giving ministries, bridging intergenerational ages, cross-cultural backgrounds, and seeking transformational change through risk-taking, deep listening, and deep driven youth and young adults for social justice and for peacemaking without limits.
WHY SOCIAL JUSTICE?
Being a Filipino immigrant for about 12 years, I understand the exclusionary gaps and the challenges of not being a local. This ministry provides familiarity with a space where we are able to talk in our native language and meet new friends. Also, it promotes cultural awareness of different regional backgrounds; the Philippines is made up of many different people from different islands among 7,107 islands. People who come from different Filipino communities can find common ground and mutual understanding.
During the Laity Session of the 2017 annual conference in Portland, I shared that Pinoy Van-Port Ministries does church differently. It focuses much on social justice, yet still allows for bridging, accommodating, and accepting others as another important foci in the ministry of the church.
Pinoy Van-Port Ministries evolved to focus on social justice after connecting with Filipino second-generation youth and young adults. Working with them reminded me of my own church youth growing up in the Philippines. Their determination and passion to help oppressed people in the Philippines resonates with me. Putting aside our differences and prejudices, we walk alongside of the most oppressed and strive for no judgment as all are welcomed.
In my personal faith, I hold on to my favorite Bible verse in Proverbs 3:5-6 (NKJV):
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.
Pastor Lyn Rush is a layperson in the PNW Conference.