Eugene Cho

a difficult week

This past week was incredibly emotional and difficult.  The life of a pastor and shepherd is such that in some form or another, you go through the ups and downs – not only of your life but the lives of the men, women, and children you have the privilege calling “the body of Christ.”

In these recent days:

  • One of our community group leader’s mother past away.  She lived a long life but nevertheless emotional.
  • One of our pastor’s grandfather passed away.
  • One of our congregant’s cousin – at the age of 29 – passed away in a car accident.
  • One of our congregant’s father passed away.  Thankfully, she and her husband moved back to the East Coast this past month and was able to spend couple weeks with him before his passing.
  • The expectant couple [who I’ve blogged about before] had a difficult turn of events.  This past week, she again lost much of her amniotic fluid and was rushed to the emergency room.  I’m thankful I had an opportunity to spend some time with them at the hospital yesterday.  Things appear precarious as doctors expected the baby to arrive “any hour” since she was several cm dilated [she is only 23 weeks into her pregnancy].  Fortunately, the baby’s still inside her womb and needs to stay in for at least couple more weeks.
  • And then, last night…incredibly painful news as I heard the news of a young man at Quest  [recent college graduate] who lost his father yesterday in a tragic accident.  According to the Bellingham Herald:

A 59-year-old Glacier man died Friday after apparently falling off a cliff near the Mount Baker Ski Area.

Robert K. Lee was found unresponsive at the base of the cliff near Chair 1 by members of Mount Baker Ski Patrol at around 2 p.m., Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Doug Chadwick said. He was pronounced dead shortly afterwards.

Deputies examined footprints in the snow and believe that Lee was searching for skis at the top of the cliff when he fell, Chadwick said. It appears he was alone at the time.

Chadwick said the area where Lee fell is separated from the ski area by two rope barriers and signs advising of the danger of cliffs.

JL’s former college pastor in Bellingham remembers Mr. Lee who was a missionary in Thailand.  Deep condolences to JL and his family. 

My temptation is to want to “fix” things. I can’t fix them.  I can just be present to come alongside these moments of deep pain and questioning.  While it may not always soothe the immediate pain, our source of hope and meaning is in knowing that God through his son Jesus Christ ultimate has fixed things.

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Just as it is written, “For Thy sake we are being put to death all day long; we were considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.  Romans 8:36-39

Filed under: christianity, religion

5 Responses

  1. Dan Price says:

    Eugene,
    I’m a co-pastor with Noel Heikkinen at Riverview in Michigan, and I’m sorry to hear about all the loss. I feel the same way many times. I wish I could fix things for people, but that’s not my job and it’s not usually going to get “fixed” like we think it should.
    Hang in there. Praying for you this morning.

  2. Randall says:

    When I heard about JL’s father this past Friday, it was from others in our Cgroup. We’re all still kind of shocked and aren’t sure what to do or how to help apart from praying and voicing support through a card that was being passed around at last night’s Christmas party.

    To be honest, I’ve never really liked Christmas (the kitsch and the way everyone turns into retail animals) and this has made a difficult Christmas even harder but Advent is lovely because we are reminded to “rejoice, rejoice, Emanuel has come to thee, o Israel” (and to the rest of the world) and in his birth here on earth we are reminded (as you reminded us last week) that God left the splendor of heaven to commune with us on this dark planet. Because he loves us that much.

    No, we can’t fix things but you know, even though Christ could have fixed everything while he was here, he somehow saw that it was more important to just be here with us for a while. And maybe that’s a message for us – that being there (which is something we can do) is as important as miracle fixes (which we can’t).

  3. Jeff Mangum says:

    Eugene, my heart goes out to you and your church. Amazing how pain and suffering has this beautiful refining process…yet how painful that pain really is. Keep journeying through my friend.

  4. Mrs.K. says:

    Something else from Romans: Romans 5:3-5 “We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.”

    Pastor, you are dearly loved by God. I have greatly enjoyed getting to know you and your church through the internet, even though I’m sixteen hours away in BC. I grew up south of Seattle, so I feel a kindred spirit in some of your musings (the ones relating to Seattle…they make me miss it). Thanks for keeping up God’s work.

  5. […] service, I was surprised to run into JL and his mother.  I wrote a brief blog entry about them and the tragic loss of JL’s father.  They had trekked down all the way from Bellingham…with the hopes…of worshipping and […]

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stuff, connect, info

One Day’s Wages

My Instagram

Back safely from Iraq, Lebanon, and Jordan. Thanks for your prayers. 
I have numerous stories to share but for now, the following came up in every conversation with Iraqi/Syrian refugees:

1 Have tea with us. Or coffee. Or juice. Or something with lots of sugar in it. Or better yet, all of the above.
2 We want peace. We want security. 
3 We hate ISIS. 
4 We just want to go home.
5 Please don't forget us.

Please don't forget them... Father, please bless and protect these Iraqi and Syrian "refugee" children that have already endured so much. Protect their hearts and mind from unfathomable trauma. Plant seeds of hope and vision in their lives. And as we pray for them, teach us how to advocate for them. Amen. "We don't call them refugees. We call them relatives. We don't call them camps but centers. Dignity is so important." -  local Iraqi priest whose church has welcomed many "relatives" to their church's property

It's always a privilege to be invited into peoples' home for tea - even if it's a temporary tent. This is an extended Yezidi family that fled the Mosul, Iraq area because of ISIS. It's indeed true that Christians were targeted by ISIS and thatbstory muat be shared but other minority groups like the Yezidis were also targeted. Some of their heartbreaking stories included the kidnapping of their sister. They shared that their father passed away shortly of a "broken heart." The conversation was emotional but afterwards, we asked each other for permission to take photos. Once the selfies came out, the real smiles came out.

So friends: Pray for Iraq. Pray for the persecuted Church. Pray for Christians, minority groups like the Yezidis who fear they will e completely wiped out in the Middle East,, and Muslims alike who are all suffering under ISIS. Friends: I'm traveling in the Middle East this week - Iraq, Lebanon, and Jordan. (Make sure you follow my pics/stories on IG stories). Specifically, I'm here representing @onedayswages to meet, learn, and listen to pastors, local leaders, NGOs, and of course directly from refugees from within these countries - including many from Syria.

For security purposes, I haven't been able to share at all but I'm now able to start sharing some photos and stories. For now, I'll be sharing numerous photos through my IG stories and will be sharing some longer written pieces in couple months when ODW launches another wave of partnerships to come alongside refugees in these areas. Four of us are traveling together also for the purpose of creating a short documentary that we hope to release early next year.

While I'm on my church sabbatical, it's truly a privilege to be able to come to these countries and to meet local pastors and indigenous leaders that tirelessly pursue peace and justice, and to hear directly from refugees. I've read so many various articles and pieces over the years and I thought I was prepared but it has been jarring, heartbreaking,  and gut wrenching. In the midst of such chaos, there's hope but there's also a lot of questions, too.

I hope you follow along as I share photos, stories, and help release this mini-documentary. Please tag friends that might be interested.

Please pray for safety, for empathy, for humility and integrity, for divine meetings. Pray that we listen well; To be present and not just be a consumer of these vulnerable stories. That's my biggest prayer.

Special thanks to @worldvisionusa and @worldrelief for hosting us on this journey. 9/11
Never forget.
And never stop working for peace.

Today, I had some gut wrenching and heart breaking conversations about war, violence, and peacemaking. Mostly, I listened. Never in my wildest imagination did I envision having these conversations on 9/11 of all days. I wish I could share more now but I hope to later after I process them for a few days.

But indeed: Never forget.
And never stop working for peace.
May it be so. Amen. Mount Rainier is simply epic. There's nothing like flying in and out of Seattle.

#mountrainier
#seattle
#northwestisbest

my tweets

  • Every convo with Iraqi/Syrian refugees included: 1 Have tea with us 2 We want peace 3 We hate ISIS 4 We want to go home 5 Don't forget us || 2 days ago
  • Back safely from Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan to assess @OneDaysWages' partnerships & to film mini-documentary on refugee crisis. So many emotions. || 2 days ago
  • Pray for Mexico. For those mourning loved ones. For those fighting for life - even under rubbles. For rescue workers. Lord, in your mercy. || 2 days ago
  • Don't underestimate what God can do through you. God has a very long history of using foolish and broken people for His purposes and glory. || 5 days ago
  • Father, bless these Iraqi and Syrian refugee children that have already endured so much. As we pray, teach us how t… twitter.com/i/web/status/9… || 6 days ago
  • Pray for Iraq. Pray for persecuted Church, minority groups (Yezidis) and Muslims alike who are suffering under ISIS: instagram.com/p/BZF2j6Ngrna/ || 6 days ago