Eugene Cho

in memory of pastor ha yong jo

On August 2, 2011 (Korean time), Pastor Ha Yong Jo – founder and senior pastor of Onnuri Church in Seoul, Korea, passed away at the age of 65.

A life well lived…

While 99% of my readers will never have heard of this man. Pastor Ha was not only one of the most influential Christian leaders in Korea and Asia but perhaps (in a quiet and humble way), the entire world.

While many have influenced me, I have always seen and looked to him as my pastor and one of my mentors. It pains me not to be able to go to Korea directly to pay my respects…

하목사님과 대화했던 순간 순간을 떠올리게 된다. 늘 꿈을 꾸시고, 사랑하시고, 열정을 나누셨던 하나님 닮는 삶을 사신 목사님, 사랑합니다.

After my wife informed me of his passing, I just sat there in silence – mourning his passing and yet mindful and amazed by his legacy.  Minhee and I have deep respect for Pastor Ha for many reasons and one of them is simply because he was the pastor that officiated our wedding in 1997. Pastor Ha was also Minhee’s boss through a Christian company he founded called Tyrannus Ministry (Duranno in Korean).

In recent years, Pastor Ha had battled numerous health issues including an ongoing bout with liver cancer. But even despite his illnesses and what has been reported to have been 7 major surgeries in the past couple years, he continued to serve the Lord faithfully.

My Mentor

I first met Pastor Ha in 1994 when I joined his staff – first as an intern and then as one of the 35 full-time pastors (at that time). Pastor Ha – to be blunt – spoke firmly and directly into my life on several occasions. But he also always spoke lovingly.

Oh the stories I have…

Some of our conversations, truthfully, were painful at the time but as I looked back, I have grown to appreciate all of our conversations as I later understood how he was willing to invest and speak into my life.

When I joined the church in 1994, the church was then about 20,000 people. It has since reportedly grown to over 75,000 people.

But beyond numbers, I was always convicted by his passion for the one – both near and far. Read the rest of this entry »

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Invest in your soul.
Read the Scriptures.
Pray & listen. 
Embrace silence.
Go for a walk.
Laugh with friends.
Enjoy a good book.
Soak in God's creation.

#NatureIsMyLoveLanguage Final sunset.

Aloha. Mahalo. Hana hou. Ohana.

Thank you, Kona, the Whitlocks, YWAM, sea turtles, Nemo, Restorers DTS, and Scandinavian Shaved Ice. Our three children.

One will be heading off to college in one year. The 2nd in three years. In six years, Minhee and I will be empty nesters. As a young parent, my prayers for them often surrounded their purpose in life. While I still ponder those things, there are three things that I most pray for:

1. That they may love Christ and obey Christ. Not just the idea but to actually follow Christ and thus, to love people.

2. To hold God's Word - the Holy Scriptures - dear and near to their hearts.

3. To love one another and be there for one another for life. To be loyal to one another. To protect one another. To never allow pettiness, conflicts, jealousy,  money, or whatever to get between them in the future. Ever. 
May it be so. Amen. Kona sunset. #nofilter

Perhaps from the outside...things look great but this has been one of the most challenging years of our life. The most painful has involved one of our kids who've had to endure through a lifelong chronic illness. This year, we've gone to the hospital 3-4 times/week trying to get her better. Ups and downs. Emotional roller coaster. Parents will understand this but nothing hurts more than a sick child...especially when you can't "fix" the situation. We were praying that our trip to Hawaii would be a balm for her soul...but it has been hard. Really hard. Lots of tears hard. But soaking in this sunset with our kids is something we don't want to take for granted.

We continue to pray and hope. Hope is not that God promises us perfection or everything we want but that in all situations...God is with us. Believing - while faltering - in this truth for our child. My Hawaiian Seattle Korean queen. #kona @minheejcho A family that hikes together stays together. #kona #pololuvalley

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