Eugene Cho

dong yun yoon: the man who lost his family in the san diego jet crash

Dong Yun Yoon cries while talking about losing his wife, two daughters, and mother-in law after an F/A-18D fighter jet crashed into his house in the University City neighborhood of San Diego, California December 9, 2008. The victims were identified as Dong Yun Yoon's wife Young M. Yoon, and their daughters 15-month-old Grace and 12-month-old Rachel. Young Yoon's mother, Suk Kim, who was visiting from South Korea also perished in the crash. The family had moved to the neighborhood a month ago. Dong Yun Yoon was at work at the time of the accident.

Part II:  Why aren’ t we drawn to Don Yun Yoon?

The story is brutally painful.  As a husband and father, I can not imagine a more painful thing.  Dong Yun Yoon [English name is Don Yoon], 37, was at work at his cafe when he discovered the horrible news of a F/A-18 jet crashing into a residential home – his home.  His wife, two young babies, and his mother-in-law who had recently arrived from Korea to help take care of the babies [a Korean custom] all were killed in this tragedy.  But in the midst of such deep anguish and pain, Dong Yun Yoon asked people to pray for the surviving pilot of the crashed jet and shared:

“I know he’s one of our treasures, for the country, and I … don’t blame him. I don’t have any hard feelings. I know he did everything he could.”

I listen to the Dong Yun Yoon’s video interview on CNNand couldn’t stop crying.  Regardless who’s involved, it’s an utterly painful tragedy but looking at him is like looking at a familiar face.  As a Korean immigrant myself, his story his familiar.  His voice and broken English is familiar.  His comments and words are familiar.  The people standing around him all are familiar.  In many ways, I feel like he’s my younger brother or cousin.  He was doing what many Korean immigrants do – work their tails off to provide for their family.  He was working at his coffee shop nearby.  Yoon immigrated to the United States in 1989 with his brother and sister while his parents remained in Korea [something all too familiar with many Korean immigrants] all in hopes and pursuit of the great American dream.  Dong Yun later became a U.S. citizen.

He married his wife, Young Mi Yoon [a nurse], four years ago and had two children: Grace [15 months] and Rachel [2 months].   They had just moved into this house one month ago.

“My wife — it was God’s blessing that I met her about four years ago, and we got married,” he said quietly. “She’s just such a lovely wife and mother, who always loves me, and (the) babies. I just miss her so much.” Read the rest of this entry »

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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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