Eugene Cho

hawaii trip highlights and lowlights

The family and I are now back from our week work/play trip to Hawaii.  We had a good time but it’s actually good to be back home.  All is good except two things: 1) learned one of our older congregants broke her hip at church last Sunday and 2) Lance Armstong and Kate Ashley Olson are supposedly dating.  I go away for a week and this is what happens!

Here are some highlights, lowlights, and random information from our excursion to Hawaii to aid you for your future trip to the 50th state:

  • Andy and Diana had a great wedding at one of the most beautiful backgrounds of Turtle Bay at North Shore.  I’m not sure if people were looking at me or the view behind me.
  • During their wedding, I had my first experience of a small bug flying into my mouth during the sermon.  I took one for the team and just swallowed the bug and continued on.  No joke.
  • Peter and Lotus had an incredible wedding celebration as well.  All stories are unique and amazing but theirs is truly incredible.  Their celebration was very authentic Hawaiian!  Haoles, packies, chang, choke, ono and whatever other slang they used.
  • George and David were wedding crashers.  They showed up at both weddings and just because they helped play/sing the wedding songs, they must have thought it was ok to eat all the food.  Chris ate too but she has good excuse since she’s eating for two.  The all-you-can-eat sushi bar one of the weddings was nice.
  • We arrived on Monday and it poured like crazy.  For about an hour, it poured like we’ve never seen.  Thought for a sec that we brought the rain from Seattle.  For our kids, it was no problem.  They were swimming in the pool during the rainstorm – the only kids in the pool.
  • Weather turned beautiful after that.  Every day – just perfect weather.  Mid 80s, low humidity, nice trade winds – every day.   Did I say – Every Day?
  • We’re not really fanatical tourists that go to every attraction.  We just did five things:  eat, sleep, beach, swim, and marry people.  But one thing about Waikiki I hated:  all these fancy name brand shops. And also, everybody speaking to me in Japanese.  Arigato.
  • The beaches were great.  We enjoyed playing in the ocean but Christine nearly destroyed my vacation when she left a comment that she heard that the Hawaiian sand is imported from Australia.  What the Beelzebub?  Heck, might as we go directly to Australia then.
  • Why were there so many Questers in Hawaii?  Yes, several were there for the weddings but we ran into 6 more Questers randomly in Hawaii including my wife running into two of them in the women’s bathroom in Hanauma Bay.  We could have had our own Sunday church service…
  • Speaking of Hanauma Bay, what a letdown.  Snorkeling there is just not the same as the experience 10 years ago.  Where did all the fish go?  What happened to Nemo?
  • Speaking of snorkeling, Leo was gracious enough to drive us around for a day and took us to Hanauma Bay.  Leo grew up in Oahu.  While I had my snorkel gear, Leo snorkeled with nothing – not even goggles.  He was going up and down the water.  I was tempted to just grab his bald head and let him take me everywhere under water.  He’s Flipper.
  • One place that I’ll highlight that Leo took us was Leonards where they sell the most incredible and delicious pastry called malasadas.  This is a must eat…along with Spam, Eggs, and Rice for breakfast at your local McDonalds.
  • You think traffic in Seattle is bad?  Honolulu and Waikiki area is crazy. 
  • $264 for a round trip ticket?  What a bargain.  Need to do this more often.

Filed under: family, travel, ,

12 Responses

  1. leochen says:

    I think the bold head might be a little too slippery to hold on to. ha! =)

  2. Jessie says:

    Pastor Eugene. What are you doing spreading false rumors?? Lance Armstrong is dating Ashley Olsen, not Mary-Kate. (Please see last week’s People for info on Lance’s conflicted emotions about the situation…) 🙂

  3. Wayne Park says:

    Hmm.. Hanauma Bay was about the only snorkeling we ever got.. Ash LOVED it. What chon-noms we are. Oh yeah the sand thing was crazy.. imported. and I felt the same way about Waikiki..

  4. Tommy says:

    You went to the wrong island for relaxation. Waikiki is so overrated. They built it for Japanese tourists. But yes, Leonards…yummy.

    I’d recommend Maui for better rest.

  5. e cho says:

    Jessie: Sorry for the wrong facts. But let’s talk about the real dilemma: why are you reading People Magazine?

    Wayne: Happy Birthday bro.

  6. insipid "g" says:

    you’ll have to snorkel/snuba off of maui (molikini) next time!

  7. Jessie says:

    i don’t know, i don’t know! i’ve been reading it for years and i just don’t know how to stop……

  8. Ben says:

    Yes! My ex-gf Ashley grew up in Honolulu and took me to Leonard’s. I believe you’ve met her before. So good. Ruined Krispy Kreme for me.

    After my 2 week stay in Honolulu, I realized that I wanted to buy a vacation home sometime in the Hawaii Kai (sp?) area.

    The air smells sweet and all you want to do is just chill out all day, everyday.

  9. Eugene,
    Sorry I almost destroyed your trip for you but yes next time go straight to Australia. I can guarantee you will not be disappointed with the fish on the Great Barrier Reef. Of course I might be prejudiced.

  10. Melissa says:

    Lance Armstrong is dating Ashley Olson?

    Ew.

  11. Andy says:

    Thanks for taking one for the team! I saw the bug for a little bit and then saw it disappear, didn’t see where it ended up 😉

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One Day’s Wages

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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) May our hearts break for injustice and exploitation - whether abroad or in our own backyard. Spending a few days for @onedayswages in Thailand. Along with one of our board members, I'm traveling with a group of 10 others to learn, listen and visit a few NGOs including one of our partners, @thefreedomstory. Couple days ago, we spent an evening walking through Soi Cowboy. On a given night, about 10,000 people are in the ring of prostitution in Soi Cowboy, Nana Plaza, and Patpong. Much of this is driven by the consumer demand. Approximately 70% of male tourists go to Thailand for the sex industry.

Human trafficking is complex. Anyone that says otherwise is lying or selling you something. 
To reduce it to simple terms, or simple problems, or simple solutions…cause harmful consequences. While we can all agree that it is sinful, egregious, evil, and wrong…there are many nuances and complexities. It would serve all of us to grow deep in the awareness not just of the larger issue but the nuances and complexities.

When people speak of human trafficking, they tend to be ‘attracted’ to the issue of sexual exploitation. Dare I say it, human trafficking has become trendy as a justice issue.

Clearly, it’s evil and egregious. But to reduce the entire issue of human trafficking into one form is not helpful. Because the mission is to fight the entire injustice of slavery. And if that’s the commitment, we have to not only combat sexual exploitation but engage in issues of poverty, forced labor, commercial exploitation in tourism, land rights and power abuses, organized crime networks, cultural and economic realities, etc.

Oh, it's so complex but we have to be engaged whether in Thailand or in our own backyards. May our hearts break for the things that break the heart of God... More thoughts to come.

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