Eugene Cho

resting, growing, freezing, and jazzing in chicago

Jet lag sucks.  I can’t seem to get over it.  I sleep at a normal time but have been getting up around 2 or 3am – every day.  I look at Jason, one of my church staff, sleeping in the other bed in our hotel room like a peaceful lamb and want to punch his head.  But, I remind myself that Jesus wouldn’t do that so I let him sleep since he probably doesn’t get much at Seattle with their 4 month old baby.  But I digress.

RESTING:  I’m here in Chicago trying to get my body up to speed.  I don’t care how holy or spiritual you are:  If you don’t get sleep, everyone turns into a jerk.  Actually took a great nap yesterday and woke up like this:


And interestingly or annoyingly, many folks at this conference have been telling my how ragged and “gray” I look. I tell them to ‘shut it!’  But it is true, I am getting some serious white and gray hair everywhere.

GROWING: Anyway, I’m also here learning.  Have enjoyed hearing from some of the featured speakers like Phyllis Tickle and will be hearing from Gary Haugen of International Justice Missions tomorrow.  I’ve had the joy of being able to hear from others that are doing substantive work here, there, and everywhere.  Just this morning, heard from some local pastors and community development leaders from India that are turning things upside does – a la Acts 17 with Paul, Silas, and Timothy.

FREEZING:  I don’t like Chicago in the winter.  It is freezing.  It was about 9 degrees last night but thankfully the wind chill was mild.  But honestly, I don’t know how folks do it but then again, people ask the same from us Seattlites and the 362 days of rain we get.  

Question:  Coldest place you’ve ever been?  You like Chicago?

But I must seriously love my church. Instead of staying at the Hyatt Hotel where the conference is being hosted, Jason and I pricelined our hotel and are staying at another hotel at less than half the price.  During these harsh economic times, I’m glad we saved our church $200.  Granted, it’s closeby but it is da*n cold walking outside.

FRIENDSHIPS:  And lastly, it’s been good to also reconnect with friends.  Make new friends.  And be encouraged by many co-laborers in Christ.  On Wednesday night of this conference, there is no formal schedule so folks are free to do what they want.  We normally head into the city to chill.  And last night, several of us went into the city of Chicago to check out the gypsy jazz music at the infamous Green Mill – once the hangout of Al Capone himself.  Here’s some pics from the show featuring Alfonso Ponticelli and the Swing Gitan.  The first pic is my best impression of my gangsta look:




And for your viewing enjoyment, here’s the band on video.  They were amazing…even if the violinist scared me to death because he was staring me down.  

Filed under: ministry, travel, ,

18 Responses

  1. Matt says:

    Hey Eugene,

    How long are you in Chi-town for?


  2. Jason says:

    My wife and I chilled in Chicago for a couple days on our way to Portland for Christmas. We’ve been stuck in Grand Rapids for a year and a half now while I attend seminary. Thankfully I’m done in May and will hopefully be moving back to the wonderful rainy NW this summer to plant in Portland.

    I’ve enjoyed reading up on all your adventures. God bless, man!



  3. HC says:

    Love the Green Mill!

  4. Tyler says:

    coldest place….cooper landing, alaska- it was 22 below.

  5. Sarah H says:

    I was wondering if you were coming. I’ve only been out there a little, but will definitely be at the breakfast tomorrow. Hope to see you there.

  6. Rusty says:

    Fairbanks, Alaska. 46 below zero. I “burned” my fingers on the plastic car door when forgot to wear gloves when running out to warm up the car.

  7. eugenecho says:

    @matt: leaving tomorrow.

    and to be honest, glad to go home and stay home for a few weeks.

    @rusty: that’s just wrong.

  8. Matt K says:

    One Christmas I visited the in-laws up in Roseau, MN. 41 degrees below zero on the thermometer; I don’t even want to know what the windchill was.

  9. Cool post, Eugene… Thanks for the video. Love it.

  10. heya man, we’re doing an event TONIGHT in Chicago at ANGELS AND KINGS for a new non-profit Falling Whistles. FW is a campaign to support war-affected kids in Congo and build a coalition to bring the war to an end.

    We’d love for you to invite your friends! The night will be complete with Beatboxer Yuri Lane, Musician Andy Davis and Filmmaker Alex Beh.

    It’ll be a celebration of our ability to speak out on behalf of those who can’t. Come out and enjoy it w us. Peace.

  11. cho mama says:

    waiting, waiting and waiting…good for you. let’s take turns. :)

  12. chomama says:

    waiting, waiting, and waiting. good for you. and let’s take turns. :)

  13. Megan says:

    Coldest place I’ve ever been: my current hometown of Seeley Lake, Montana…-26 with -46 wind chill this past December.

  14. Thanks for letting us follow along on your travels Eugene. Our hearts are with you and we hope you get much needed peace and rest. Thanks for all your struggle.

    And about the hair: I’m beginning to suspect this blog’s secret intention is to try to market you as the next big Korean photo model. If your next trip is described as a “church leadership prayer seminar retreat symposium” but primarily consists of photoshoots with G.Q. NONE of us will be surprised. Just sayin’.

  15. Kacie says:

    I love, love love Chicago’s culture, and I desperately miss it. I don’t know if Dallas’s suburban cowboys qualify as culture. However, Chicago in the winter is like Hell frozen over, and I did it for six years (granted, Moody Bible Institute has tunnels between the buildings, thank God), so I’m still counting my southern blessings in that respect!

  16. Capt Ralph says:

    I’ll never forget the first time, coming out of my dorm in Chicago, and the nose hairs freezing. Happens about zero F. Coldest – beautiful morning on Lake Louise, Alaska – not a cloud, not a wisp of wind. 50 degrees below zero. Don’t try this at home (I am a professional, scientist) you can drop a burning match into a large open pan of gasoline and the match will go out – like in water. Seattle is too hot for me………….

  17. Darwin says:

    I saw the TV in the background of that photo. Waking up after “sleeping,” or just watching lots of sportscenter. Not that I would do any different…

  18. Pooba~ says:

    I think my wife would think the L@@K is kinda sexy!

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One Day’s Wages

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The Western Wall in Old City of Jerusalem (aka The Wailing Wall) - from the Second Jewish Temple.

I'm hoping to share a few stories of people that I met (Jewish, Muslims, and Christians) in the Holy Land in the days to come. One of our Palestinian tour guides said to me, "You will leave with more questions...and that's a good thing." He was absolutely right. We want everything so nicely packaged but if we're honest, it's very rare in a broken, complex world...and I can't think of too many things more complex than the situation in Israel and Palestine.

While I certainly understand and resonate with Israel and its history and its need to protect itself from harm, one can't deny the history and existence of Palestine as well. 
Is peace possible? This was the focus of my trip to the Holy learn more about the conflict and those that are working towards peace. My friend, Scott (and other pastor), Mae (our guide) and I had the privilege of going to a Jewish synagogue this past Friday. We were then hosted by a local rabbi and his family for a Shabbat meal. It was marvelous. Incredible. Illuminating. Delicious. A true honor to be invited to his home with his wife and three children. To pray, learn, share, and ask questions. 
What I loved the most was the story of how Rabbi Daniel and his wife rented a bus to take 15 of their friends to the West Bank ... to see for themselves the impact of the wall and the Israeli policies. Some of their friends had never even entered the West Bank...don't personally know a Palestinian. It's impossible to work towards peace when we don't know anyone from the other side...when we don't understand the other side.

Thank you, Rabbi Daniel. Old Jerusalem. So many stories. So much history. The synagogue in Capernaum (Galilee) where Jesus began his public ministry. He taught with authority... Pray for your pastors and teachers...that they may teach with courage, conviction, humility, and ultimately, directing people to Christ - the Word made flesh.

Speaking of, so excited to be teaching at @Quest Church tomorrow. If you're in the Seattle area, join us. A glimpse of Jordan River where John baptized Jesus. "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased." What amazes me most about this event is about...timing and patience. For Christ, it wasn't about "if" but about "when." In a world of supersonic pace,  impatience, quick results, hurry and now and NOW...Jesus waited for the Father's timing. He was patient and faithful. I need to learn that waiting on the Lord in itself isn't apathy but rather an act of faith. The town of Bethlehem and at the site of the cave (aka manger) of the birth of Christ.

One of the highlights was a class of Palestinian Muslims and Christian kids in a local public school singing a Christmas carol for us in Bethlehem...just across the Shepherd's Field. Galilee. Surreal to be at the mountainside where Jesus delivered "The Sermon on the Mount" ... aka The Beatitudes. Walking around praying for Paris, Beirut, Istanbul, Nigeria, Mali, Palestine/Israel... This verse is so particularly important in light of all the violence in the world. "Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the children of God." - Matthew 5:9

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