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Russell Jeung's spiritual memoir shares the difficult, often joyful, and sometimes harrowing account of his life in East Oakland's Murder Dubs neighborhood and of his Chinese-Hakka history.
On a journey to discover how the poor and exiled are blessed, At Home in Exile is the story of his integration of social activism and a stubborn evangelical faith.
Holding English classes in his apartment (which doubled as a food pantry for a local church) for undocumented Latino neighbors and Cambodian refugees, battling drug dealers who threatened him, exorcising a spirit possessing a teen, and winning a landmark housing settlement against slumlords with a gathering of his neighbors—Jeung's story is, by turns, moving and inspiring, traumatic and exuberant.
As Jeung retraces the steps of his Chinese-Hakka family and his refugee neighbors, weaving the two narratives together, he asks difficult questions about longing and belonging, wealth and poverty, and how living in exile can transform your faith:
"Not only did relocation into the inner city press me toward God, but it made God's words more distinct and clear to me...As I read Scriptures through the eyes of those around me—refugees and aliens—God spoke loudly to me his words of hope and truth."
With humor, humility, and keen insight, he describes the suffering and the sturdiness of those around him and of his family. He relates the stories of forced relocation and institutional discrimination, of violence and resistance, and of the persistence of Christ's love for the poor.