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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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

  • Boom. Final fishing trip. Grateful. A nice way to end my 3 month sabbatical. #catchandrelease twitter.com/i/web/status/9… || 1 day ago
  • Christians: May we be guided by the Scriptures that remind us, "Seek first the Kingdom of God" and not, "Seek first the kingdom of America." || 1 day ago
  • 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 || 4 days ago
  • Back safely from Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan to assess @OneDaysWages' partnerships & to film mini-documentary on refugee crisis. So many emotions. || 4 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. || 4 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. || 6 days ago