Eugene Cho

change the world

One of the greatest gifts that we have as human beings is the ability to dream.  So, I ask you this simple question: 

However small or large, simple or complex, organic or organizational, local or global, how are you dreaming to change the world?

Don’t be afraid or timid.  Please share your thoughts so that we can inspire one another to keep dreaming…and personally be compelled from dreaming to doing.

In addition to living out my calling as a pastor of this glocal church, leading this neighborhood cafe and music venue, loving my wife, and nurturing my three children, Fighting Global Poverty is what my wife and I are dreaming about.  3 billion people live on less than $3/day and about 27,000 children die every day due to the complexities of global poverty.  That = a child every 3 seconds = 20 children every minute.  1.1 billion people do not have access to clean water.200,000-300,000 are forced into “labor” as child soldiers.  Nearly 2 million children are in the commerical sex trade.

Staggering.

If you’re anywhere close to the Seattle area, I’d like to invite you to join my wife and me this Saturday, June 21 as we dream about changing the world.  We are hosting the first “Info Meeting” for the birth of our grassroots global humanitarian organization. The meeting will be held at Q Cafe from 10am-11.30am.  We’ll have some light snacks prepared for you.  We’re excited to reveal the name and vision of the organization. 

Please join us and invite anyone who might be interested.  Questers:  Because of different reasons, we’re unable to “advertise” this at church or the church website so please forward this to those who’d like to learn more or come to the info meeting.

Whenever I get discouraged, I love to crank up this song, Change, by Sean Kingson.  Check it out.

Here’s the lyrics:

Change Change Change
Change Change Change
Oh I wish I had the power, the power to change the world
But im just one man trying to do it on my own
Oh I wish I had the power, the power to change the world
But im just one man trying to do it on my own
Can someone help me change the world
Can somebody help me change the world
Everyday I saw you there chillen on the corner
Puffin on crack and marijauna
Because I know how your life is
Nobody just be guidin, no
Hope to see black people living longer
Also less kids without fathers
We should all come together
Please stop fighting and killing eachother
Its what happens when your living in the street life
Its so dark and you dont get sunlight
People seeing why you dont get treated right
But im uh try to change it
Oh I wish I had the power, the power to change the world
But im just one man trying to do it on my own
Oh I wish I had the power, the power to change the world
But im just one man trying to do it on my own
Can someone help me? change the world
Can somebody help me? change the world
Many people living off welfare
Hoping things get better next year
But I’m covered in tears
So many sick without health care
Too many innocent people dyin
And I dont know why
You gotta keep your eyes open even when your rollin’
As days go by
Its what happens when your living in the street life
Its so dark and you dont get sunlight
People seeing why you dont get treated right
But ima try to change it
Oh I wish I had the power, the power to change the world
But im just one man trying to do it on my own
Oh I wish I had the power, the power to change the world
But im just one man trying to do it on my own
Somebody change the world
We’ve got little boys and little girls
Growing up on this sinful earth
Oh whats happening
I dont know, but please tell me
We’ve got all these criminals and discretes
Killin people for no reason
I dont know why
Oh I wish I had the power, the power to change the world
But im just one man trying to do it on my own
Oh I wish I had the power, the power to change the world
But im just one man trying to do it on my own
Can someone help me? change,change, change
Can somebody help me? change,change, change

Filed under: family, religion

28 Responses

  1. Sue says:

    My dream is to write books that will help shape influence people’s worldview. Words are so powerful. The books may be long coming so I may want to start with starting a blog soon.

  2. anonymous says:

    I dream to change the world by being loving and kind to everyone I meet. (It’s not easy.)

  3. johnmccollum says:

    Great stuff.

    I’m not a Quest-er, but I wholeheartedly endorse your efforts.

    May God bless you, your community and the world through your efforts.

    — John McCollum

  4. Kacie says:

    It’s my dream to change the lives of the refugees that arrive in Dallas. I want to provide them with the encouragement AND resources to adjust to American life, become financially self-sufficient, and find a community to grow in.

    If I can do that… that would be awesome….
    first step… (which I’m working on) find a refugee organization that will actually hire me….

  5. Eugene,

    Big question. Got me thinking. Your questions often do.

    Here’s my answer.

    Grace and Peace,
    Raffi Shahinian
    Parables of a Prodigal World

  6. radf says:

    Very nice post, I guess my dream would be for people to put aside their differences and try to fill in the gap that exists between many of us. I think that the only way that we can start changing is if we stop judging each other and start helping each other out. It hurts me so much when I see innocent kids paying for the problems that we created, children deserve peace- “We’ve got little boys and little girls, Growing up on this sinful earth”
    That was a bit long but anyway very nice post, a question that we should all sit down and think about it
    Take care.
    -radf

  7. dmowen says:

    @Kacie- My sister’s mother-in-law Alyssa Marx runs a group called refugee resources in Dallas. You might be interested in checking them out: http://www.refugeeresources.org/
    I don’t think they have any paid positions but I’m sure they could use some volunteers.

  8. gaius says:

    I dream of starting a school in the middle of nowhere where inner-city kids can attend and escape the brutality of the streets.

  9. gar says:

    Good song choice… best of luck to the launch this Saturday!

  10. Mark Shaw says:

    I want more people to learn about Thomas Merton, the famous spiritual writer who believed in the inclusiveness of all religions and spiritualities. Only by bringing people together with the common denominator being love is there a chance for the world to survive. More about Merton at my weblog – http://www.mertonandfriends.wordpress.com.

  11. Great post! Simply writing down your dreams can make them suddenly seem more attainable and real.

    I dream of marrying a great man, writing a few books, adopting kids, and doing something to improve opportunities for women around the world.

    One down (my husband), one on the way (book in progress), two more to go!

  12. eugenecho says:

    @rachel: thanks for sharing some of your dreams.

    @everyone – i have two concerns:

    1. we’re afraid to dream because we’re fearful
    2. we’re afraid to dream becuase we’re afraid to be judged if don’t attain them

    as i engage with many in the 18-40 age group, i’m surprised how idealist this group is [we’re dreamers] and yet so cynical and skeptical that we fall into 1 & 2.

  13. Teresa says:

    I’m with Kate on the “little by little…” working with many small groups to address huge needs…sometimes afraid to dream ’cause the needs are too big and what we can do seems like so little, but going to the familiar story of the girl throwing starfish back into the water who were stranded on the beach….it makes a difference to that one you help even if you can’t help them all…Working and dreaming with the rest of the network at http://www.worldaidinc.org

  14. Mike says:

    My dream is that those of us who take on the name of Jesus would take on his actions too.

  15. BC says:

    I’m not a Q-ster…but I really appreciate the vibe of what you’re doing…our dream here in Eugene, Oregon is called ECHO “a church for people who don’t like church”
    Join the discussion if you like http://www.echo-of-hope.blogspot.com

    God’s best to you & through you to others!

  16. Donna says:

    Working to help build families through adoption, both domestically and internationally. Donating a regular amount monthly to help give grants to families that can’t afford the often astronomical costs associated with adoption.

  17. Aaron says:

    Currently going to Paramedic school… so I guess out there on the street with people in moments of desperation!

    I hope to continue my education in the medical field… not really sure what it will bring (RN, PA, MD?) in the future, but I would like at some time to work in the medical field in a lesser developed country.

  18. Randall says:

    Shh…I have a secret. I want to change the world. How? I’m not exactly sure yet but I know it has something to do with the arts. So not only am I naive enough to believe that it’s possible for this world to change (for the better), I’m crazy enough to believe that it can happen through artists and creativity.

    Please don’t ask for specifics because I don’t have them yet. I gots ideas and they’re getting clearer but not clear enough to share yet in any specific way.

    And here’s another secret…don’t tell anybody. I and a couple others might be starting up a writer’s group soon. But the first rule of Write Club is, don’t write about Write Club.

  19. […] changing the world with peanut butter If each person does their part, if each person pursues their convictions, if each person lives with kindness and generosity, if each Christian not only believes in Jesus but follows the Way of Christ, can you imagine the difference we can make?   We can do our part to change the world. […]

  20. Kacie says:

    @dmowen, thanks for that info, I have been to their site and become familiar with their resources, it is a fantastic help! I currently volunteer with world relief, and love it… I am hoping to invest myself full-time in refugee work now.

    @ Eugene, I agree with you that we’re afraid to dream. So many people I know care deeply about the world but in the end say that while they’re willing to help, things will never change. Problems will only shift from one place to another. And… I think that may be true, but I don’t know. How to we respond to that?

  21. tim says:

    first, thanks eugene for your thoughts. i always enjoy your posts.

    in considering the question, frederick buechner’s quote comes to mind: “the place God calls you to is the place where the world’s deep hunger and your own deep gladness meet.” something along those lines.

    so as far as i can tell, that place for me will involve some marginalized/forgotten people in some corner of the world, the church being the hands and feet of Jesus right where they are, and me being some sort of a connector/raconteur/provocateur in the whole thing, helping western and nonwestern christians bridge the gap. of course, my plans don’t mean much.

  22. Rachael says:

    i want to change the world by never being a Christian stuck inside the walls of the church. Never being inward and always others focused. i never want to be comfortable-always want to be used and stretched. I don’t care how He does it-if it means cleaning toliets for Jesus-I don’t care…..!

  23. By inspiring Christians to take responsibility for the stopping the injustices around them, rather than leaving it to the government, to see themselves as part of the change process, taking direct action on the key issues of our day, whether environmental, economic, militaristic or human rights issues.

    So right now my dream is to see over 50 Christians providing a cafe at the Climate Camp in Kent, UK this year, serving other activists and seeing what this kind of direct action camp is all about and how their faith can inform their involvement in it. But I wouldn’t be able to do it if I hadn’t got people together and created prayer-i58 3 years ago (www.i58.org.uk), so its starting to feel like a pretty long term thing.

  24. eugenecho says:

    @randall,

    your secret is safe on this blog.

  25. […] crazy ideas do you have to change the world? Posted under Uncategorized […]

  26. […] Cho on Changing the World – I like this […]

  27. Michelle says:

    My dream was to follow the Lord and he gave me the dream to be a missionary in Ukraine so I came here and then he gave me the dream to help street children and help them change their world and now I am doing that with a wonderful church and organization and now my dream is to help people understand the global problem of street children and how they can help them. I don’t know that we can truly “change the world” or abolish poverty completely. The bible teaches us that this world is on a specific path and Jesus said we will have the poor with us always. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t have this dream or try or help less fortunate people. We all have to start with ourselves. It is risky to be idealistic but I think if we as Christians are submitted to God he will give us very amazing dreams to follow and help us carry them out for his glory! Thanks for your great blog!

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One Day’s Wages

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It appears I brought a little Seattle to the NYC. Drizzle fest. 24 hour gathering with a small group of leaders from around the country. Learning. Listening. Asking hard questions. Head exploding. Heart trying to have hope. 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.

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