Eugene Cho

10 year anniversary

on february 1, 1997, at onnuri church in seoul, korea, a woman named minhee jin and i exchanged our vows as husband and wife under God’s covenant of marriage.  i was on staff at that church.  minhee was attending another church but on staff with a christian organization called duranno ministries.  i asked her out during my last week in korea; we had five very intense dates leading to a very long distance relationship.  during our wedding ceremony, i butchered the vows which was conducted in korean, my 2nd language.  embarrassingly, i mispronounced one syllable in one word during the last sentence of my vow.  the result: instead of saying, ‘i covenant my life,’ i said, ‘i will poison you…”  that may be the single most embarrassing moment of my life.

10 years, one big fat mortgage, one quasi-churchplant, one churchplant, 3 kids, and many memories later, we celebrated our ten year anniversary yesterday.  similar to my lame proposal where i dressed up in my best suit, got on my knees and proposed over the phone,  my (our) ten year celebration was a dud.

i was on my way back from chicago; picked up some near dead roses at QFC and arrived home at 7.30pm on our anniversary; wife and kids were all coughing, sneezing, and sick.  not the most romantic way to celebrate the day.  thankfully, we do have plans to take a week off near the end of this month to rest, reflect, and rejuvenate.

our journey thus far has been wonderful  but our marriage isn’t perfect.  jokingly, i often share that’s the case because she’s not perfect.  but honestly and brutally, what do you expect when two broken and depraved individuals converge together to share in the ultimate expression of ‘life together.’  the answer: combustion and explosion.  thank god for GRACE AND MERCY.

and so in that end, i can share that although our marriage hasn’t been perfect, it has been filled with Mercy and Grace.  minhee has certainly modeled those things for me.  she has exemplified jesus to me and compelled me to reciprocate His image unto her.  i admire her for many things but especially for leaving all that was comfortable and meaningful in her life in korea to live life together as my wife and life partner.  at the age of 27, she left her family, friends, church, job, homeland, and all things that resonated with her for a new life – culture, country, language – everything.  she only knew one person and that was me. 

thank you minhee.  i love you.

minhee2.jpg

Filed under: family

6 Responses

  1. chrismarlow says:

    congrats man, that is so awesome…and thanks for being honest.

  2. sunny says:

    pastor, congratulations!

  3. your friend from Korea says:

    God’s big and wonderful blessings upon you! I remember your wedding vividly and still see the BEAUTY everywhere. I did not hear your misspelled word… that is the blessing of not understanding Korean perfectly, so, my weakness was strength in that moment🙂

    By the way, I am 10 years ahead of you and confess: Love intensifies with the years.

  4. Jennifer says:

    Our 10-year was a dud too. Jeff was flying home froma work-trip, and his plane got grounded overnight in Salt Lake City.

    We celebrate 12 years next week.

  5. Blake says:

    Congratulations, Pastor Eugene.🙂 Here’s to another 10 years, and another 10 after that, and another 10 after that, and well, you get the picture.😉

    Blessings upon your marriage and your family. You’ve definitely been a great model for me in terms of being a good husband and father. Thank you for that, Pastor Eugene.

  6. Jason k says:

    PE congrats on your real 10 year anniversary. Thank you for always being “real”, not being afraid to show your vulnerabilities, that teaches me alot about how a christian man should be. God bless you and your family. JK

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It appears I brought a little Seattle to the NYC. Drizzle fest. 24 hour gathering with a small group of leaders from around the country. Learning. Listening. Asking hard questions. Head exploding. Heart trying to have hope. As I soaked in this breathtaking sunrise this morning above the clouds, I felt compelled to pray for so my places in America and around the world that are experiencing such pain, heartache, injustice, and violence. At times, it feels so overwhelming but in prayer, I was reminded of these words from John 16:33. As we keep striving, working, hoping, preaching, loving, truthtelling, reconciling, repenting, forgiving, dismantling, peacemaking, Kingdom building...may we fix our eyes on Christ: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” - John 16:33 Grateful for a very full weekend of ministry and preaching in Toronto, Canada (GTA). Such a privilege to partner with @worldvisioncan @wvcollective to advocate for the most vulnerable around the world. God is so gracious. A true honor to meet and encourage local pastors, lecture at Tyndale University & Seminary (photo), and preach at Richmond Hills Community Church, Compass Point Bible Church, and New City Church. Thank you, Lord, that you use broken and imperfect people like me to speak of Your love. Today, Minhee and I dropped off our eldest child at her college. We have been thinking and praying about this day for many years. On some days, we hoped it would never come. On other days, we couldn't wait for it to come. On some days, we prayed for time to stop and other days, we prayed with anticipation. 
After an entire summer of laughing it off, it hit us...hard...this week. Seeing all of her stuff laid out on the basement floor was the catalyst to a load of emotions.

After unloading the car and taking her stuff to her new home for this year and mindful that she might never live with us again; helping sort out her stuff, saying hello to her roommates...I wasn't sure what to do or say.

A flood of thoughts rushed my mind.

Is she ready?
Have we done enough?
Have we taught her enough? 
What if this? What if that?

And so we shared what we have shared with her the moment she began to understand words: "Remember who you are. Remember WHO you belong to. Remember what you're about. God loves you so much. Please hold God's Word and His promises close and dear to your heart. We love you so much and we are so proud of you." And with that, we said goodbye. Even if she may not be thousands of miles away, this is a new chapter for her and even for us. I kept it composed. Her roommate was staring at me. I didn't want to be that father. I have street cred to uphold. Another final hug. 
And I came home.
And I wept.
Forget my street cred.
I miss her. I love her.
She will always be my little baby.

I'm no parenting guru. I just laughed as I wrote that line. No, I'm stumbling and bumbling along but I'd love to share an ephiphany I learned not that long ago. Coming to this realization was incredibly painful but simultaneously, liberating. To be honest, it was the ultimate game-changer in my understanding as a parent seeking after the heart of God.

While there are many methods, tools, philosophies, and biblical principles to parenting, there is – in my opinion – only one purpose or destination.

Our purpose as parents is to eventually…release them. Send forth. For His glory. Met a friend and fellow pastor who I haven't seen in over 20 years. In him, I saw a glimpse of my future. While only 10 years older, his kids are married and he's now a grandfather of 3. His love for his wife and family were so evident and his passion for the Gospel has not wavered. It was so good to see someone a bit older still passionately serving the Lord with such joy and faithfulness. Lord, help me to keep running the race for your Glory. Happy wife.
Happy life. - Eugenius 3:16

I still remember that time, many years ago, when Minhee was pregnant with our first child. She had left her family and friends in Korea just two years before. Her morning sickness was horrible and when she finally had an appetite, she craved her favorite Korean food from certain restaurants in her neighborhood in Seoul, Korea. I had no way of getting that food from those restaurants so I actually said, "How about a Whopper? Big Mac?" Sorry honey. Eat away. You deserve it.

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