The UPPC Story Project: Emily Bosh

From growing up as a religious minority to planting deep roots in an intentional community, Emily Bosh’s testimony is one of living life on mission.

Growing in faith and place

Emily Bosh grew up in Salt Lake City, Utah. Although she was raised in a Christian home with parents who both followed Jesus and together as a family attended a Presbyterian church, her faith experience was quite unique as she was situated in the heart of the Latter-Day Saints community.

“I felt very much the minority there. I am pretty sure we were the only Christian family on my street, which just gave me a different perspective on faith growing up,” Emily said.

One benefit from this experience was that Emily “grew up with an appreciation for interdenominational partnership.” Regardless of church branch or denomination, those who weren’t Mormon in Salt Lake City came together and supported each other.

When Emily attended college at the University of Puget Sound, she entered into a new season in her faith where she shifted out of being the minority to learning how to fight for her faith, which she viewed as a healthy step.

“On campus, I really just felt like I needed to be around people who would encourage me in my faith or I was going to drown. And, God provided,” Emily said.

Emily began to attend Lighthouse, a Tacoma College Ministries program, on campus. The leaders there greatly impacted Emily and introduced her to University Place Presbyterian Church.

In 2000, Emily graduated with a degree in biology from UPS and a year later married her college sweetheart, Jason. They live in Tacoma with their three children, ages 9, 11 and 13.

Doing Life Together

The Bosh family is one of five families that live together in an intentional community in Tacoma. This idea of living together as the Church in a neighborhood came about while Emily was still in college.

“There was a group of us that graduated together and really hungered for [intentional community] as we had such a rich experience of loving each other and worshiping together and growing together in college,” Emily said. ”We prayed about it and God made it happen, there is no other way to explain it.”

Four years after the group members graduated from college, the first couple was ready to buy a house. The group let them choose which neighborhood to start their project in.

“We all started looking at the houses in that neighborhood going, ‘God if this is going to happen then we need you to make it happen.’ And, it was less than a year later, I believe, that the house right next door to them became available.”

Over time, more houses became available in the area at the right time for the right family, and the group saw God answer their prayers in a tangible way. Emily and Jason were the last of the five couples to move into the neighborhood.

As of today, this intentional community is home to three families right in a row and two more families the next street over. The close proximity of the group allows them to be there for each other and their community at large.

“Living that close to each other means that we can be Church by finding ways to get to know our neighbors, finding ways to plug into the community around us and do it better because we can do it together because God can bring out our different gifts,” Emily said. “God does something in community that is really valuable to me and has taught me a lot about the communal part of who God is. He does something special and powerful with a group of people more than he could with just individuals doing their own thing.”

Learning from Global Ministry

At UPPC, Emily has been involved with the Cherish Ministry to Meru since day one. She is part of the U.S. team that works to find sponsors for students in Meru, Kenya. This side of the ministry works closely with the Kenyan side, Hope Ministries International, whose job it is to find kids who are destitute.

For Emily, reaching out to Kenya felt like coming home. During her junior year at UPS, she studied abroad in Kenya.

“I lived there and became part of a family. It was really a significant chunk of my life and God did some really good things in my life while I was there. So, I have been looking for ways to be a part of that country ever since coming home.”

Emily has traveled to Meru four of the seven times groups from UPPC have made trips to Kenya
since the Cherish sponsorship ministry began.

“As a team, every trip that we have taken to Kenya has helped us better understand how to better partner with what people are already doing over there. There, they tell us what their needs are and we don’t just fix the needs but instead come alongside them, just being the wind in their sails,” she said. “Looking at God’s family that way has really fundamentally changed the way I look at the work he has for me to do in the world. I don’t need to go fix stuff. Instead, I just need to watch for the work he is doing and then jump in and participate in a partnering way…I can’t save the world, that is his job!”

Having a Home base

Emily considers UPPC a launching pad for what God has called her to do.

“UPPC is a home base to do all of the growing work that God has wanted to do in my life since I started living in Tacoma,” Emily said. “If I was trying to grow in Christ on my own, I would not have the benefit of people who are older than me and have different wisdom or have people who are younger than me who also have different wisdom than I have.”

Whether she is at UPPC on a Sunday morning or visiting Meru, Kenya, Emily sees her purpose as bringing the hope and reconciliation of Christ to all.

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