Eugene Cho

what really happened with laura ling, euna lee, and north korea?

North Korea border

These are crazy times but I have a feeling that those words could have been said at every point in human history.  These are crazy times because, in my opinion, it reflects that reality that “something just isn’t right with the world.” But nevertheless, we keep working and moving forward towards restoration and reconciliation. I just hope folks comes to realize that God is the author of Shalom and thus, we need to return to Him for guidance in this journey.

I’ve been mulling the situation in numerous part of the world but also keeping tabs with American journalists Laura Ling and Euna Lee.  I have friends, even as I write this, that cross the border of North Korea and China on a weekly if not daily basis.  When the whole news broke, I was absolutely confused:

How do journalists accidentally cross over to North Korea?

You don’t.

My suspicion all along has been foul play – somehow, somewhere, and some folks.

The 12 year sentence?

Didn’t really surprise me – but it still saddened me.

So what will happen?

For now, it’s all a guessing game but one thing I am convinced of is that the blame does NOT fall on Laura and Euna.  We need to keep them in our thoughts & prayers; Continue to put pressure on our government and its officials to maintain dialgoue and pressure on North Korea. I am also convinced that they will return one day. And while it was not what they intended or planned, the words they will write and share will be more impactful than they can imagine. It will give the world a deeper glimpse of the darkness in North Korea and the change/revolution that needs to happen.  For now, I want to encourage you to check out Nicholas Kristof’s article (below) about Laura Ling, Euna Lee, and North Korea. I agree with much of his assessment.

My ancestors are from North Korea.  My father and mother was born in North Korea. Some of you have read my burden and heart for North Korea.  Couple years ago, my parents trekked back to this part of the China and North Korea border in hopes of seeing their homeland – even from across the border.  He was taking some pictures and captured the one above before he was “asked” to stop taking pictures.

Here’s the full article by Kristof. Read it: Read the rest of this entry »

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one day’s wages | video

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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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