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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"He must become greater; I must become less." - John 3:30 We have to remind ourselves of this truth every day lest we forget:

Our greatest calling as followers of Christ is to be faithful. Not spectacular. Not glamorous. Not popular. Not relevant.

Be faithful.

PS: Also, it helps to get some Vitamin D especially if you live in the rainy Northwest Thank you, Brooklyn, for the reminder. Umm, @jlin7 is a Christian but he wasn't very Christlike with me on the basketball court. He muscled me into the paint, dunked on me, mentioned my momma, and then said, "Stick with preaching." Just kidding. Kind of.

If you haven't heard, Jeremy Lin is donating his one games wages (approximately $140,000) and an additional $100 for every 3 pointer made to support Girls' Empowerment and Education through @onedayswages. That game is this Friday vs the Boston Celtics!

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Did you know that 32 million girls of lower secondary school age are not enrolled in school.

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The answer to who you serve makes all the difference... It's the day after International Women's Day - and it's still important to celebrate the contribution of women in our lives, society, and world. As we honor women all around the world, I'm also reminded of how women and children are those who are most deeply impacted by injustice - especially poverty.

Sadly, I have witnessed this reality in too many places. ​In 2012, I traveled to a remote area in Eastern Kenya as part of a @onedayswages response to a famine that struck the Horn of Africa region. This famine impacted nearly 13 million people and according to some sources, took the lives of about 250,000 people. During my trip there, I had the chance of meeting many people but the person that still remains in my memory was a Muslim woman named Sahara.

She was so hospitable in inviting us to her small and temporary home. During our conversation, I learned that ​Sahara traveled 300 kilometers (a little under 200 miles) – some by cart and some by foot – as they sought to escape the worst drought that has impacted East Africa (Kenya, Somalia, and Ethiopia) in the past 60 years.

This is not a misprint.
200.

She traveled about 200 miles on cart and foot. ​And all along, she was ill. If you look closely ​at the photo, you might notice the large lump in her throat - likely a large cancerous tumor.​ She did not travel alone. She traveled with her husband who I was not able to meet because he was staying with one of his five other wives in this polygamist community.  She did not travel alone. She also traveled with her six children – the youngest being about 1 and the oldest being around 8. She had just given birth to her sixth child when they began her journey. Her youngest was severely malnourished when they arrived to this new settlement in a town called Benane. 
Sahara and her children all survived this journey. They survived because she persisted. 
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