Eugene Cho

an update on global poverty organization

Things are s-l-o-w but moving forward.  After 7 years of Quest and 6 years into Q Cafe and enjoying the fruits of these labor, I confess that I had forgotten how hard it is to start something new.  I had forgotten how incredibly painful and arduous the first years were.  They were really hard.

I just assumed that with my vision and passion, a few letters, some of our connections, write to a few local papers, send out a few emails to friends and supporters and BAM – instant momentum and birth to a world class global grassroots organization that fights global poverty.

Sometimes, I can be so damn stupid & self-reliant.  Forgive me Lord.

Here are some stuff that’s going on and ways you can be praying for our family as we go through this transition:

  1. All documents are filed.  Now, we are just waiting word from the IRS regarding our 501(c)3.  We’re hoping that it will be issued to us in about six more weeks.  That’s the earliest we’ll get it.
  2. Fundraising has been really difficult and slow.  Mainly because of #1.  It doesn’t help that we’re going through some painful economic downturn – just like in 2000-2001 when we started Quest.  I tend to have horrible timing.
  3. We’ve selected a real estate agent and hope to have our home listed by the 2nd week of July and sold by the end of August.  Trying not to be anxious but the real estate market isn’t doing too well – even in Seattle. 
  4. We’re still trying to find someone to sublet the home we’re currently living in from the end of June to August 18.  Let us know if you know of anyone who’s looking for a furnished home for about 8 weeks.  Usually, we’d just ask couple folks to watch the home for us but we need the funds.
  5. Finally have the guts to sell my mid-life crisis car.  If you know someone who’s looking for a sweet first year 1989 Miata classic convertible, it’s advertised via Craigslist. 
  6. We’re still looking for office space for our organization.  Have not been able to hire any staff but I have couple of committed volunteers and they’ll eventually be recruiting the next tier of volunteers soon.  Know of any ideas for office space?  Any cheap or freebies? 
  7. Our first meeting to introduce our vision to people who are interested will take place next weekend.  More info to come.
  8. People have many questions and so I’ll attempt to answer some of them in a post next week.
  9. We’re leaving for our sabbatical on June 23 and heading off to Korea.  We were hoping to visit various countries but that’s looking like a no-go.  My trip to Haiti will be postponed to August or September and hoping to do another trip to Africa or India with Minhee.  But at this point, who knows?  Will try to rest a little and work passionately to launch this organization.  Not thinking and worrying about church for 3 months will be refreshing in itself.
  10. We’ll be fine.  But do pray for us and we genuinely ask for help as we get this started.  Soon, we’ll share 3 simple things you can do to help us launch this organization.

One of the most common questions I get is, “Why do you need to start another organization?”

Why?  Because I honestly believe we need to have thousands more – provided they are efficient and have integrity.  Why are people so disturbed about starting new organizations?  The issue of global poverty is so vast, complex, and arduous that many organizations – on many layers, from different angles, and with diverse philosophies need to be involved.

Seven years ago when Minhee and I planted Quest Church, nearly every pastor and leader kept asking the same question, “Why do you need to start a new church?”

Why?  Because Seattle needs hundreds of more churches…

 Why are so many so skeptical and cynical?  

How will you give?  Who will you give to?  Why do you give?  How do you determine?  What are your criteria?  How do you trust these people?  How can you make an impact?  How do you ensure integrity?  Are you just putting a band aid on?  Why are you doing this?  Yada yada yada. 

They are all good questions.  But this is what Minhee and I dream and pray about:

We want to raise funds by creating a global movement of simple generosity.  Raise awareness and connect people to stories around the world.  Raise funds.  Distribute those funds.

We believe that many local indigenous men and women [and ex-pats] are already on the ground doing amazing things to fight global poverty and restore human dignity.  Many of them are orgs and movements you have NEVER heard of.  But nevertheless, they are doing beautiful things. They have history.  They have credibility.  They have respectability.

We want to go to these small organizations all around the world that are working in the areas that UNICEF have long considered key factors in fighting global poverty and we want to ask them a very simple question:

“How can we help you?”

That question is not intended to sound like arrogant Westerners but to simple say: “You are doing great work.  How can we support what you are doing?  How can we help?”

That’s it.

Filed under: family, religion

7 Responses

  1. Mike says:

    I’ve been thinking similar thoughts for a while now… we’ll be watching with interest from north of the border.

  2. Kacie says:

    Hey Eugene, I know you follow the news from Burma with interest, and I just found this blog from one of the organizations that was in Burma pre-cyclone.
    http://blog.theirc.org/tag/myanmar/

  3. DK says:

    Hey. Take heart and be encouraged. Just as God has blessed your passion and labor at Quest, He will bless your passion with this new endeavor.

    Fix your eyes on Christ. Make sure that your heart is focused on Him and it’ll all work out.

  4. Jason says:

    I think behind the question of “why?” that you get is probably equal parts cynicism, skepticism, and just plain “overwhelmed by it all.” In regards to the last one, globalization has caused us to be aware of not only how many problems there are but also how many people want us to join their organization to help them.

    On the skeptical note, I think the underlying question, whether it’s a new church or a new non-profit, is “Is this going to just shuffle people/money around or is it going to bring in new people/resources thereby expanding the possibilities?” In other words, does a new church just siphon Christians from an already good church or does it reach a neighborhood or people that weren’t being reached before? I think it’s a legit question which is why it’s probably important to highlight that you do hope to mobilize people to give via your vision of social connection and transparency that weren’t already going to give to some other non-profit.

  5. Linda says:

    Praise God that He has moved you and Minhee to trudge through the tough stuff to be His hands & feet!

    Er… good luck finding affordable airfare when country-hopping in the midst of travel season… I think we can pray for you about that too.

    Thank you for the prayers for me, by the way. That was a first for me, but it was truly empowering. It helped me clearly sense (acknowledge) the Holy Spirit

  6. eugenecho says:

    linda: we’re going to miss you at quest. it was a joy to have you here – even for a short season. i’m so glad we had a chance to pray for you as you trek out to kenya and alaska.

  7. Graham says:

    Why do we need to have loads of organisations? Because big organisations get fat, loose dynamism and very often become image obsessed. Many of the biggest NGO’s out there have basically become multi-million pound/dollar corporations, and allow people to give their money to “the poor”, i.e. that homogenous, faceless existence.

    I’d back what Jason says, by the way. Its easy to pilfer people, but that doesn’t make the situation a whole lot better, unless they really were supporting a dud cause. I like charities which have a localised approach at the Western/Northern end, because you can really challenge everyone in that area to give, and be more intensive in your pursuit of new donors.

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stuff, connect, info

One Day’s Wages

My Instagram

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 Took a train to Busan. Did not encounter any zombies but I was ready just in case.

Busan. First visit to this city (couple weeks ago) and was blown away by its beauty. Also, shocked that it has become the fifth largest containment port city in the world. That's a lot of import and export.

#MyAttemptToBeTheBestSmartphonePhotographer 
#Pusan #SouthKorea

my tweets

  • 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. || 22 hours 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… || 2 days ago
  • Pray for Iraq. Pray for persecuted Church, minority groups (Yezidis) and Muslims alike who are suffering under ISIS: instagram.com/p/BZF2j6Ngrna/ || 2 days ago
  • "We don't call them refugees. We call them relatives. We don't call them camps but centers. Dignity is so important." - a local Iraqi priest || 3 days ago
  • I've been traveling through Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan. Meeting local pastors/leaders, NGOs, and refugees. Join us on IG… twitter.com/i/web/status/9… || 3 days ago
  • Seeking justice is part of our discipleship. In other words, seek justice not just to change the world...but to be changed more like Christ. || 6 days ago