Eugene Cho

fight poverty 1 – an introduction

I’m writing a short series entitled, Fight Poverty, this week.  Here’s  Part II:  A Broken World and Part III: A Vision for Compassion and Redistribution.

These past couple years and especially recent months, my wife, Minhee and I have been challenged and convicted to do our part to stand against the injustices of poverty around the world.  As I share this short series, we’ll reveal a small glimpse of our conviction and the vision that we have to work with fellow humans to eradicate extreme poverty around the world.  We aspire to do a beta-launch of the non-profit in Spring 2008 and utilize our sabbatical during Summer 2008 to engage more deeply in this vision.  

It’s a crazy vision and idea.  Crazy enough that couple of the folks that I’ve shared this vision to expressed temptation to let go of everything in order to join in.  

Some of you may laugh and be tempted to unsubscribe to this blog. 

But no one should be laughing at what takes place every day around the world.  You want to know what’s crazy?  This is crazy:

Around the world, 27–30,000 children die every day.

That is equivalent to:

  • 1 child dying every 3 seconds
  • 20 children dying every minute
  • A 2004 Asian Tsunami occurring almost every week
  • 10–11 million children dying every year
  • Over 50 million children dying between 2000 and 2005

I’ll be sharing more statistics in the coming days that depict the broken, depraved, and painful world that we live in.  Sadly, I am part of the problem if I’m not willing to be part of the solution.  Check out the song and video below entitled, World on Fire, by Sarah McLachlan.  I first saw this several years ago and it still both inspires and haunts me…

Filed under: health

19 Responses

  1. Sam S says:

    Eugene,

    Thanks for this short but provocative post. I’m looking forward to hearing more of your thoughts!

  2. Randall says:

    That’s one of the smartest videos I’ve seen in a long time. Reminds me a bit of the Soul Asylum, “Runaway Train” video that highlighted missing kids.

    Can’t wait to hear your ideas because you know…I’ll be looking for something to do in a year if the band thing doesn’t take off.

  3. RyanBD says:

    Good to read this. One of my favorite experiences at ATW several years ago was preaching off this video. If you look carefully at around 2:49, there’s a woman being highlighted for working 2 jobs a week to send her kids to school, etc. The door of her home has Psalm 118:5-11 tagged on it – which blew me away when I read it as I realized how little I understand the meaning of its words:

    5 In my anguish I cried to the LORD,
    and he answered by setting me free.
    6 The LORD is with me; I will not be afraid.
    What can man do to me?
    7 The LORD is with me; he is my helper.
    I will look in triumph on my enemies.
    8 It is better to take refuge in the LORD
    than to trust in man.
    9 It is better to take refuge in the LORD
    than to trust in princes.
    10 All the nations surrounded me,
    but in the name of the LORD I cut them off.
    11 They surrounded me on every side,
    but in the name of the LORD I cut them off.

    It really challenged me to understand what being set free really means and that it really is better to seek refuge from the Lord instead of “man” and “princes”. It will be exciting to watch your work unfold. BTW, check out http://defeatpoverty.com/ to read one of the sharpest / creative minds I know personally on the topic of ending extreme poverty.

  4. kate says:

    I can’t explain how excited and encouraged your and Minhee’s vision makes me….welcome to the beginnings of the insanity involved in starting a nonprofit, you’re going to love it!

  5. e cho says:

    starting a church and a non-profit cafe in the past few years have certainly had its challenges and blessings. i’m looking forward to this journey as well.

  6. JB says:

    Go Eugene Go! Go Minhee Go!

  7. rexhamilton says:

    Eugene…Not knowing how far you are in your planning but it would be great to hear some of your plans with the non-profit while posting your thoughts on poverty.

  8. chrismarlow says:

    Nice Eugene,

    it’s quite interesting but I’m doing the same thing🙂

    It’s good to see the church responding to these issues.

    Shalom

  9. e cho says:

    Rex: kinda in the plans right now. The big picture is in place but working out the details. Will share the big picture here but can’t share the details until we wrap up our meetings with lawyers, file documentation, etc.

  10. […] fight poverty – a broken world This is part II of a short series entitled, Fight Poverty.  Read Part I – An Introduction. […]

  11. kszysiek says:

    That’s very sad that people are hungry in some parts of the world and nobody cares about it.

  12. […] the third and final part of a short series entitled, Fight Poverty.  If interested, you can read Part I [An Introduction] and Part II [A Broken […]

  13. […] and now he’s got a HUGE vision to be apart of of eradicating global poverty. So encouraging. Part I Part II & Part […]

  14. Darwin says:

    Hey PE,

    Still reading the rest of the series – just wanted to point out that the link at the top of part 1 that supposed to point to part 2 actually points back to part 1… just wanted to let you know in case you wanted other readers to have easier navigation.

    i’m not gonna lie, i cried watching this video.

    -darwin

  15. Roads says:

    Good for you – thanks for this post, and you’ve got my full support.

    I’ve been writing a series on poverty in Kenya recently. I’ve got one more post still to go, focusing on how we can do something to help. Little things, which can make a big difference.

  16. uenomurakami says:

    Great video.

    As we speak the conference of G8 nations are meeting in Japan. I think they need to see this video. Then again Bono and his crew of humanitarians have been beating down these doors for a long time, and a video like this is still being made.

    When we ever learn.

    God Speed

  17. […] the next season of my life to fight global poverty was when I read the my pastor’s first blog post on fighting poverty. The Sarah McLachlan video in that post had me in tears. 6 months ago I realized I wanted to start […]

  18. […] of Fighting Poverty | Part 1 | Part 2| Part […]

  19. […] addition, I used this blog to write a three / part / series on extreme global poverty and shared our personal commitment of donating our […]

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One Day’s Wages

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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. I don't care if it sounds mushy but sunsets are one of my love languages. Seoul, Korea was amazing but WOW...what a breathtaking welcome back sunset by Seattle. Not ready to let go of summer.

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