Eugene Cho

reflections on south africa

Couple weeks have passed since my return from South Africa and I’m still processing the gift of the vision and research trip.  While our plans on starting our Poverty Organization has hit snags and increasingly difficult in light of the financial recession, I’ve returned with an increasing commitment to the vision.  Before things get even busier, I wanted to share some reflections and pictures with you.

Let me begin by thanking Peter A. who hosted myself and several others from around the country on this trip. He also connected me to the anonymous benefactor that allowed me to travel to South Africa for the purposes of learning, connecting, and researching.  I also want to thank the staff of Zimele – the non-profit organization we spent most of our time with. Zimele in Zulu means, “to stand on one’s own two feet.”

I spend most of my time in an area called Kwazulu Natal.  Here’s some info about the area:

According to the Wikipedia, Kwazulu Natal “has the largest population (about 8.6 million) of any state in South Africa, with resources, such as water, coal, minerals and agriculture, along with timber, beef, dairy products, maize, poultry and fruit. Durban is the largest port in Africa. The province also has the most comprehensive tourist infrastructure in the country.

However, despite the presence of these resources, Kwazulu Natal like much of South Africa faces the growing problem of HIV/AIDS and poverty which disproportionally impacts the blacks in the rural communities due to the lingering effects of the now former Apartheid system. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: travel, , ,

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:

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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 Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: ministry, travel, ,

night and day: extreme poverty and wealth

This is my last night here in South Africa. Tomorrow, I begin my long trip back home that will take me from Africa to Europe and finally to Home, Sweet, Home.

My “research and relationship building” portion of the trip is now officially over and we’re chillin’ for two days in Capetown, South Africa – a city often regarded as one of the most beautiful cities in the world. These folks aren’t lying. It’s truly a beautiful city.  Breathtaking…

But as you might expect, I’m having a hard time juxtaposing the extreme poverty I saw and heard in an area of South Africa called Kwazulu Natal with the opulence of an area of Capetown we visited where Hollywood stars like Leonardo Dicaprio have their vacation homes. [Pictures below...]

Obviously, it’s not just the stars.  It’s really me as well.  I know I don’t need to sell everything I have but Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: travel, ,

a breathtaking safari

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As most of you know, I’m here in South Africa – at the grace of an anonymous benefactor in New York who also cares about global poverty and justice – enabling me to do some research and relationship building for the poverty organization/initiative we are hoping to launch this year.  I’ve seen some very intense and heartbreaking things – which I’ll share later once I return to the States.  Today, we took a half day to rest and relax at experience a safari.

I have one word to say:  Wow.

Such spacious land, beauty, and majesty.  The whole time, I kept thinking about the glory of God in His creation.  

And…I really wished international travel was cheaper and accessible to everyone.

Here are several pics below for your enjoyment.   Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: travel, , ,

a day in frankfurt, germany

En route to South Africa, I had a 10 hour layover in Frankfurt, Germany.  After it took a few hours to rendezvous with a few folks I’m trekking with in South Africa for research and relationship building, I took several hours to attempt to soak in Frankfurt, Germany and here are some photos below for your enjoyment.

One of these days, I’d love to just backpack thr0ugh Europe.  Seriously, why can’t travel more inexpensive and accessible to everyone.  

Who’s traveled to Europe?  Where?  Reflections? Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: , travel,

the book(s) you want to read this year?

I’m packing for a short trip and every time I pack for a trip, I bring  a book.  The intent is there but I rarely finish books from cover to cover.  I have the habit of reading couple books at the same time basically because my brain is wired or conditioned that way.  

So, here are some questions:  

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What’s the one book on your TO READ list this year?

My answers:

Filed under: travel,

most beautiful city in the world: san francisco?

As we embark on a new year, I’d love to ask a simple question to my readers in hopes that many of you would join in on the blog community.  In addition to “regulars” sharing their answers, I am especially inviting the lurkers and quiet blog readers to chime in and de-lurk. This is your chance to join in.  So, here’s two simple questions:

Question:  What’s the most beautiful city/place you’ve visited thus far in your life and why?  And share one place in the world you’d like to visit at some point in the future?

My answers:  Future visit - I’m excited that I get to visit one of the places I’ve always wanted to travel in the next couple weeks.  I’ll be flying to South Africa to do some research, praying, and relationship building for our poverty organization. 

As for one of the most beautiful places I’ve been to, Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: travel, ,

humbled by seattle’s snowpocalypse and tubing with our kimchee bowl

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Seriously, when I made my “Farewell Video” last week mocking Seattlites’ winter ineptitude and “the world is ending” local news, I really had no idea what we had in store. I’ve braved two memorable winter storms: one in Princeton, New Jersey where it snowed so much we couldn’t open our front door and the other being a Chicago wind/snowstorm that was so cold that it made me cry…literally.

This wasn’t the worst I’ve experienced but let me just say that I’ve been humbled by Seattle’s Snowpocalypse. I’m not making any more sarcastic videos for a while. And I think I can speak for the entire city and while I’m at it, for the entire Western Washington that this has been humbling.

Some humbling stuff: Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: family, travel, , , ,

seattle snowpocalypse – end of the world

I love Seattle.  Many things to love:  coffee, music, quasi-diversity if you look hard enough, the topography, ocean, the rain, teriyaki restaurants to rival Starbucks stores, etc.  But it doesn’t snow very often and so when it does, people go crazy.  Schools were delayed two hours earlier this week because of possible icy conditions.  Yesterday, school was shut down because of a pending snowstorm – which never came.  But alas, we get our “snowstorm” today that folks are jokingly calling the Seattle Snowpocalypse.

Seriously, it’s not that big of a deal but when you’re not use to it, local news stations cover it for hours as if it’s the end of the world.  But just case it is the end of Seattle as we know it, here’s my farewell address to everyone.  God bless you.  I hope to see you at the other side. :) Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: seattle, travel, ,

know and love your city

Minhee and I moved to Seattle in 1997.  We are entering our 12th year in Seattle but it was only about 8 years ago when I really began to grow in love with the city of Seattle.  I was kayaking in Lake Union when I just gushed over the beauty over the city.  And I just started praying for the city and the hope – someday – of being able to plant a church in the city.  God honored that prayer and on occasion, I’ll trek over to Kerry Park [few mins from Quest] and lift occasional prayers for the city and people of this city.

It isn’t a perfect city by any means:  I wish there was more diversity; city remains ethnically divided;  the road systems are wacky; a subway system would be nice; our sports teams are dreadfully cursed, we need more sun, etc.  But there are also some amazing things about this city:  the topography is absolutely breathtaking; the local music scene is alive and well; everything is green and wet; the city is a creative force and is the hub of numerous companies, etc.

How about you?  Where do you live and what do you like or dislike about your city or town?

One of the regular chats I give when I’ve had the privilege of speaking at conferences or churches has been the importance of knowing, loving, and engaging your city.  Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: church, churchplanting, family, leadership, ministry, quest church, seattle, travel

falling in love with nebraska

As I shared earlier, I spent about 8 days in the middle of nowhere recently to cap my sabbatical.  Where did I go?  Because of some connections with friends, I retreated in a small town you’ve never heard of in Central Nebraska.  Yes, you read that correctly…Nebraska.  And after my visit, I think I fell in love with Nebraska [check out the pics below].

The population of the town was 302 people according to some townspeople.  According to their census, Asians comprise .24% of town’s 302 people.  Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: family, travel

arrived and learning in haiti

The title of this post was supposed to be the title of a post that I was going to publish yesterday.  I was scheduled to fly out to Haiti on Monday to spend some time with connections, shadow and learn from some organizations for research for our poverty organization, hang with kids at orphanages, and learn about how the food crisis has significantly impacted the people of Haiti.  But because of the multiple storms that have hit Haiti and the surrounding countries – including the current “Ike” storm – I had to make a gut and prayerful decision to postpone my trip to another time. 

I have yet to step foot in Haiti but I have heard so much about its beauty and depravity.  Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: religion, travel,

our family trip to korea

Our family trekked back to the Korea for a six week excursion for various purposes but especially because Korea is our “heart home.”  We had a great time even despite the intense humidity.  Great memories that we hope our children will remember throughout their lives.  Here are some pictures and a video to give you a glimpse of where our shoes took us in Korea. 

Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: family, travel

solitude for the soul in seoul

We’re spending our last few days in Korea now.  If you don’t know much about Seoul, it is the capital of South Korea and one of the largest cities in the world.  It ranks from anywhere between 1 to 10 – depending on how people define the words: city, large, density, etc.  The city itself has about 10.5 million residents and the larger Seoul area has about 24 million people – plus or minus a few thousand.

In short, it is crowded but an amazing story nevertheless.  About 50 years ago, Seoul as we know it did not exist as it was toppled by the devastation of the Korean War.  However, it now stands as one of the emerging premier global cities.  It has hosted the summer Olympics [1988] and co-hosted the FIFA World Cup [2002].  And yet, with it’s fast paced growth has come its share of growing pains. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: family, travel

where is home?

Where is home for you?  Where is your heart home?  Let me explain.

After leaving Korea at age six and immigrating to the United States, I’ve often wrestled with the idea of “home.”

Growing up in San Francisco, I was often ridiculed and found myself in my share of fights – and usually on the losing end.  One comment I often heard was:

“Why don’t you go back home, Chink.  Go back where you came from.” Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: family, travel

land of the morning calm

Several folks have asked us why we have chosen to go to South Korea – also known as the Land of the Morning Calm – for our sabbatical. 

One of the reasons why we have decided to spend two months in South Korea is because Korea boasts some of the world’s most incredible beaches:  beautiful, intimate and not overcrowded, free of consumerism, and exclusive and private.  Check out these amazing pictures and don’t be envious. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: family, travel

low tide adventure pictures

Wow!  After some morning drizzle, it turned out to be a beautiful day here in Seattle and the low tides during midday did not disappoint.  So glad that Minhee and I took the kids out of school for couple hours to explore Golden Gardens Beach.  Our kids knew what most of these sealife were or at least, they had better guesses than I did. 

While the forecast calls for rain throughout the week, you can still enjoy the low tide throughout the entire week.  Check out these pictures.  I’m borrowing a Canon G9 from one of the best photographers I know. Best point and shoot that I’ve personally used.  The last photo was taken by MacHero.

* No animals were hurt in this photoshoot.

Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: family, travel,

low tide in seattle = adventure

Update:  Check out the pics from our adventure.

I’m really excited.  So excited that I’ll sneak my kids out of school for couple hours tomorrow [Wednesday, June 4] to head off to a local beach called Golden Gardens to enjoy the adventures of what experts are speculating to be the lowest tide in Seattle in about 20 years.

Years ago, I would have been strongly against the idea of our kids missing any school.  Nowadays, I’m always looking and wanting for the kids to take a day or two off school so that my wife and I can spend some extra time with them.  Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: family, travel,

stuff, connect, info

one day’s wages | video

My Instagram

It's a privilege to travel but there's something special about returning and your heart says, "Home sweet home." #seattle What a joy to celebrate Dr. John Perkins' legacy this week. Like many others, he has been a deep inspiration to me. 
When I finished the first draft of my upcoming book, OVERRATED, he was one of the first folks I showed it too. 
He wrote back with the following endorsement: "We are called to give ourselves to our generation, and Pastor Eugene's work here in OVERRATED is exactly that. This deeply personal narrative takes readers on a lived journey of wrestling through the realities of being a justice fighter today. I've given my fifty plus years to this fight, and his story is my story. I believe it may be yours as well. I encourage all believers to read OVERRATED. It lays a course for how we must proceed as humble but faithful justice leaders in an unjust world." Needless to say, I'm humbled by his endorsement and words of encouragement. It was painful to complete (and I'm still working on final edits)...but I CAN'T wait to share the book in September when it releases. Wow. Blessed are the artists that help others reimagine the Gospel. #HeIsRisen #questchurch Amazing Resurrection celebration service. Especially love celebrating Communion every Sunday. Today, hosted a super Feast with bread from many different countries. #HeIsRisen Don't rush too soon to the empty tomb. Reflect on the cross. Thank you, Jesus, for your life & love. Thank you, Jesus, for you have redeemed this day of injustice and violence to be "good." You are truly the Light of the world. #GoodFriday Layover. San Francisco. Having grown up here, my heart still flutters. No other city like it.

my tweets

  • Travel is a privilege but always special flying back & your heart sings, "Home sweet home." instagram.com/p/nMMPiUSWVy/ http://t.co/bm61XOe8h4 || 2 hours ago
  • "Don't mistake God's patience for His absence. His timing is perfect, and His presence is constant. He's always with you." - Deut. 31:6 || 7 hours ago
  • Beautiful. 29 churches have raised $128K. Amidst the Oso Mudslide tragedy, humbled by collaboration and generosity: wp.me/pT6R-2WC || 7 hours ago
  • About to preach in Minneapolis. Pray that in proclaiming the Gospel, I may honor God, be led by HolySpirit, & simply direct people to Jesus. || 11 hours ago
  • Be humble. Stay humble. Walk humbly. And kick butt. Then give God all the glory. || 23 hours ago
  • The book was painful to complete (and I'm still working on final edits)...but I CAN'T wait to share the book in September when it releases. || 1 day ago
  • I nervously showed @JohnMPerkins a draft of my upcoming book, OVERRATED. He wrote the following endorsement: instagram.com/p/nJoXdUSWQy/ #Humbled || 1 day ago
  • "Waiting time is not wasting time. Waiting patiently in expectation is the foundation of the spiritual life." ~ Henri Nouwen || 1 day ago

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