Eugene Cho

what a weekend

What an incredible, interesting, and exhausting weekend.  I’ll share more in the days to come but for now, here’s couple funny stories:

Sunday worship.  One of our pastors welcomes the church at one of our services by accidentally saying, “We’re glad that you’ve come to worship us.”  Hilarious.  Everyone laughed.  It’s amazing how one word such as “with” makes such a huge difference.  This might be as bad as an email I sent out to all my pastors and leadership team.  I intended to write, “There’s a shift of momentum” but omitted the ‘f’ in shift.  You can figure it out.

Saturday fellowship with Interbay.   Now that the merger vote is official, we held a special event with Interbay as we prep to come together as one church in three weeks.   Seven folks from Interbay shared about their 65 years of history and ministry.  It was very meaningful and powerful.  During the evening, I had an opportunity to spend some time with two Interbay couples who are celebrating 50 years of marriage and another celebrating 64 years of marriage.  Wow.

Afterwards, folks got together at our Q Cafe space for dinner. As I was attempting to connect and make conversations, I had the most hilarious exchange.  An ‘anonymous’ Interbay congregant was a pentathete in the 1952 Helsinki Olympics which is impressive in itself.  For some of you that may not know, fencing is one of the events in the pentathlon.  I was excited for a “connection” since I was a fencer during high school.   I shared my highlight and lowlight as a fencer:  making it to the Under 21 United States Fencing Championships only to be crushed and humiliated by my brother in one of my matches [5-1]. 

He responds with his lowlight, “Well, when I was fencing in a qualifying match, I was pierced by a broken blade [which is very dangerous and can be fatal].  The broken blade went through my protective suit, and went through the scrotum of my penis…”

My response:  “Okay, your story wins…”

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4 Responses

  1. Dennis says:

    Hilarious. Both stories!

  2. Blake says:

    *Visibly cringes at the second story* Ouch. Ouch. Ouch.

  3. Esther says:

    You made me laugh, like so often before. Laughter is good medicine. Did I ever tell you the mix up I produced?

    I was interviewing E., who was interested in becoming our Sunday Schoool teacher. She just finished studying at Yale. During the interview, my senior pastor came in and I warmly introduced E. to him, but pronouncing the as , saying,

    Our senior pastor still wanted E. to teach at Sunday School, since he trusted me to make the right decisions regarding recruiting teachers. A pastor with a beautiful heart!

  4. Esther says:

    REPRINTING THE QUOTE:

    During the interview, my senior pastor came in and I warmly introduced E. to him, but pronouncing the Y as J, saying, This is E. She just came from Jail!

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One Day’s Wages

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Collaboration.

col·lab·o·ra·tion
kəˌlabəˈrāSH(ə)n/
noun

the action of working with someone or a group of others  to produce or create something.

May we hold our logos, egos, and tribalism have their place. May we hold them loosely for they too shall pass. May we collaborate for the sake of the greater Kingdom of God ... which endures forever. As we honor Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., don't forget the God behind the man. The one true God who deposited this dream into MLK is still speaking to us today. Are we listening?

Be courageous. Be brave.

Being invited by the King Family to speak at the MLK worship service at Ebenezer Baptist Church in 2016 remains one of the most unexpected honors of my life. On the right is his daughter, Dr. Bernice King and his sister, Dr. Christine King Farris. Walking throughstreet markets in different parts of the world is the best. Soaking in the culture. Listening to the local language and music. Enjoying the amazing cuisine. Meeting new friends. Praying for the Gospel to penetrate. #ChiangRai Blessed be the local, indigenous leaders for it is they who live in the very communities they seek to love. For it is they who understand their context and culture...better than a Westerner ever will. For it is they who will continue to tenaciously pursue a better world with hope, justice and love when visitors like me leave.

Yes, blessed be the local, indigenous leaders. What an honor and privilege to celebrate with the on-the-ground local @thefreedomstory team to celebrate the recent opening of their Education and Resource Center for the local youth in Chiang Rai, Thailanf. This was made possible through a partnership and matching grant by @onedayswages and The Freedom Story.

While it was an honor to be there to cut the cord and say a few words, this is an example of collaboration. Much love to the Freedom Story team including their co-founders Tawee Donchai and @Rachel Goble, to their staff who live in the community, who understand their context and culture, and who tenaciously pursue a better world with hope, justice and love. And of course, much love to the students themselves for they each matter. Finally, to each person that donated to @onedayswages to make this grant possible.

May hundreds and even thousands of youth be impacted, encouraged, and mentored. May they capture a glimpse of God's love for them.

Photo: @benjaminedwards Part 2 on my wrestling with the complex issue of human trafficking. In part, documenting my trip to Thailand for @onedayswages...to listen, learn, and visit one of our partner orgs @thefreedomstory. More to come.

There's such painful and poignant irony in pursuing justice...unjustly. One way we do this is when we reduce people into projects...and thus, propagating the dangerous power dynamic of US as heroes and THEM as helpless and exclusively as victims. So dangerous.

Human trafficking is not just an issue. It’s ultimately, about people. Depending on the sources of statistics, there are anywhere from 29-40 million people in some form of forced labor and slavery, including sex trafficking.

And one thing I’ve learned, personally, is how easy it is easy to reduce people into projects which is why mutuality, reciprocity, and dignity are so vital. These are critical because God never intended people to be reduced into projects.

We forget this and we indirectly foster a culture and system of victimization or worse, the pornification of the poor or in this case, "the trafficked." And when you start dehumanizing the poor or trafficked, you have no genuine desire to build relationships with them. You believe or build stereotypes in broad strokes, singular, black and white narratives that have been told about them. You believe the lie that they have nothing to teach us and are incapable of contributing to the larger society.

Lord, break our hearts for the things that break your heart. Give us eyes to see others through your eyes. Give us humility so that we acknowledge our own need to learn and grow. (Photo via @thefreedomstory)

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