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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One Day’s Wages

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To support both the equality of women and the dignity of the unborn feels like a very lonely place to be but I know we're not alone. May we press on. And may we lead with hope.

I'm at the Women's March in Seattle to show my solidarity with my wife, my mothers, my daughters, and the female congregants of my church. I'm also here to model for my son what we believe in our home. Many people have already expressed their disappointment, dismay, and disgust with my decision. Such is life. We will always disappoint someone. And that's also a lot of words that begin with "d." I'm here not because I agree or disagree with every single statement or sign at this march (although I really liked this one) but because as a Christian, I believe in the fundamental truth that women are fearfully and wonderfully made in the image of God. They are to be valued, heard, and respected.

And because I believe we can't be a flourishing society without the flourishing of women. And because the Church cannot be the Church without the gifts and voices of women. All the gifts of women.

And in doing so, may we together honor the sanctity of life - from womb to tomb. Collaboration.

col·lab·o·ra·tion
kəˌlabəˈrāSH(ə)n/
noun

the action of working with someone or a group of others  to produce or create something.

May we hold our logos, egos, and tribalism have their place. May we hold them loosely for they too shall pass. May we collaborate for the sake of the greater Kingdom of God ... which endures forever. 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

my tweets

  • Really loved this sign from the women's march from one of our church congregants. Counter cultural. Subversive. L… twitter.com/i/web/status/8… || 4 hours ago
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  • To support both the equality of women & the dignity of the unborn feels like a very lonely place to be but we're not alone. May we press on. || 8 hours ago
  • Going to the Women's March in Seattle bc as a Christian, I believe women are fearfully and wonderfully made and are to be heard & respected. || 11 hours ago
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