Eugene Cho

so discouraged until i met jackie chan

About three weeks have passed since we began “our sabbatical.”  Don’t worry…I’m resting and enjoying my time with family and friends.  But the “side” work for the poverty organization has been much more difficult than I anticipated.  It doesn’t help that the weather here in Korea is amongst the worst I have experienced with its combination of heat and humidity.  It also doesn’t help that there are 8 people sharing a 600 square feet apartment on the 7th floor of our building. 

Anyway, as we try to share our vision with “movers and shakers,” you expect that God will honor that vision because we believe it is something that God has placed upon our hearts.  Why do I always manage to forget this lesson?  It’s never as easy as you envision in your head or heart.  Never. 

Couple days ago, I was having this “chat” with a friend and kinda poured out my frustration.  I deleted some phrases and words that would implicate me in bad ways.  Here’s a short clip of the G rated version of our conversation.

Sent at 11:32 PM on Monday

me:  hmm.  been feeling like everything is uphill

friend:  ok.  if it’s any encouragement, i have 1000% faith in you. you have the things that neither money nor time can buy: desire, drive, conviction, vision, heart. money and time will come and pass.

friend:  fb group will break 50k by tomorrow night

me:  i think it’s because 98% of folks are really “late adopters” to stuff.  people are so skeptical, cynical…

friend:  i’ve really enjoyed reading “how to change the world” that someone lent to me

me:  so it’s tough finding that 2% of folks that are interested

friend:  it gives me more confidence that you and your vision are on the right track

me:  and then you can whittle down than 2% by another 90% when giving financially to the cause is discussed.  people disappear when you ask them to give.  at places that i speak it’s usually, “you can speak but not about the organization or your vision at all.”  this has been the most painful.

me:  honestly, i just wish i heard only the first part of our conviction and just gave away our one year’s salary and be done with it.  i’m surprised at the quasi-criticisms we’ve been receiving- not just from strangers via fbook – but people we know.  some of the stuff i can’t even show to minhee.

friend:  many are short-sighted…

 

It’s discouraging because you have expectations.  There are “strategic” connections – people, churches, or orgs – you have in mind that you think will clearly or likely support our work but they don’t come to pass.  It’s strange how that often seem to happen.  When we planted Quest seven years ago, my wife and I made two lists:  “People who will support us financially” and “People who Might Support us Financially.”  Surpisingly, it was the people that weren’t on either of these lists that supported us in various ways. 

I don’t want to make that mistake again. I don’t want to depend on my lists, connections, and expectations.  I don’t want to depend on me.  If this is of the Lord, He will pave the way.  I want to work hard but I also want to trust completely in Him.  So, would you keep us in prayer. And thanks to many of you who have encouraged us from afar.

I was feeling a little down couple days ago for reasons I mentioned above re: the poverty organization.  But I was quickly encouraged when I discovered that Jackie Chan has his own restaurant in Seoul, Korea.  Three of them actually.  I don’t know why but it just cracked me up.  He’s 86 years old but he’s everywhere.  Not only does he do his own stunts but he makes his own food.

Seriously, these two things REALLY encouraged me:

The Luckiest Girl and One Goat

This year’s college graduates owe their success to many factors, from hectoring parents to cherished remedies for hangovers. But one of the most remarkable of the new graduates, Beatrice Biira, credits something utterly improbable: a goat.

“I am one of the luckiest girls in the world,” Beatrice declared at her graduation party after earning her bachelor’s degree from Connecticut College. Indeed, and it’s appropriate that the goat that changed her life was named Luck. [read full article]

Sale of 1 house will help 30 villages:

One day while driving with her father, Hannah Salwen noticed a Mercedes stopped next to a homeless man sitting on the curb.

“I said to my dad, ‘If that guy didn’t have such a nice car, then that guy could have a nice meal,’ ” the 15-year-old from Atlanta, Georgia, recalled.

And so began the tale of what the Salwen family calls “Hannah’s Lunchbox.”

It started as family discussions about what they needed versus what was enough. Hannah’s father Kevin, an entrepreneur, is on the board of the Atlanta Habitat for Humanity and is no stranger to community work, but he said this family conversation was life-changing.

“We stopped and paused and thought about what are the things in the world that could really make a difference, a little bit of difference in the world,” he said.

They talked about selling their cars or other things, but it was Hannah’s mother, Joan, who came up with selling their 6,500-square-foot house, donating half the proceeds and then moving into a house half the size.  [read full article]

Question:  What has encouraged you recently..besides Jackie Chan?

Filed under: family, religion

22 Responses

  1. HeeJ says:

    Your post, honesty, and passion most encouraged me today. Thank you. Fight the good fight.

  2. Teresa says:

    The resilience and creativity of ordinary people and community based organizations working in Burma….not waiting for governments or big organizations to do it, working around the obstacles with all the strength they can find in the face of great risk….
    People like you and Minhee, not just being satisfied with the difference you already make and the lives you already touch, but being compelled to take the heat and try to do more….
    Anyone who has a vision and doesn’t give up!

  3. Look on the bright side: You could be a rural Southern Baptist trying to do these things.

    Seriously though.

    Eugene, if it were easy, people would have already eradicated global poverty. But it’s not easy. People want to help but the problem seems so big that they don’t know where to start. That’s your niche. You need to show them the place where they can do something very effective and very tangible, AND THEN INSPIRE THEM TO GET STARTED.

    If this is going to work, your attitude [I have no idea what your attitude is, and don’t presume to know] can’t be: “Here is the need, help fill it.” That will never work. Your attitude MUST BE: “This is my vision, come and be part of it.” The difference between those attitudes is subtle, but it’s profound.

    Be encouraged brother, and God bless you and your family.

  4. Jackie Chan says:

    Look on the bright side. Over 50,000 people have joined your Facebook group even if the high students are kicking your ass. 🙂

  5. janowen says:

    meeting some others in ministry last Sunday. It was good to sit and talk. I had coffee with Anne Jackson since she’s moved nearer me now and the connection was just healing for me since I’ve had so many “church issues” in my life. God knows what we need, even if it’s Jackie Chan. And he is not REALLY 86 is he?

  6. eugenecho says:

    @jackie: that was cold man.

    @janowen: yes, God knows what we need. and no, jackie is not 86 but he’s gotta be close.

  7. amy powell says:

    eugene…i am proud of who you are. taking risks. doing the stuff only jesus can make happen. that’s the real deal. some people thrive on criticism: they thinks it’s their role/calling to be sandpaper in the lives of other christians. yawn.
    i am with ya, bro. ~amy

  8. Wisdom Moon says:

    Jackie Chan is running restaurants!? That is hilarious! It’s also pretty cool. When I visit Korea I will have to check it out.

  9. daphne says:

    P.E.
    Trusting God is the hardest thing I’ve ever done. It’s probably too simplistic, but reminding myself of all the times in the past when God has been faithful helps me a lot. Jason and I will keep you and Minhee in our prayers.
    d

  10. Melissa says:

    Jackie Chan is one of my heros. Another one is you.

    Keep it up.

  11. Jenny says:

    Your post has encouraged me today. That God gives individuals vision and passion to reach that vision is encouraging. The two articles were…yes, encouraging. I hope that in encouraging others (as is obvious by the comments), you yourself have been encouraged in the Lord.

    If God has placed this dream in your hearts, He will make a way for it to happen. Just keep surrendering it to Him…it is His dream that He has placed in you and your family.

    God bless you as you and your family continue to rest and recreate!

  12. joynice says:

    Hello!
    I am a lady of 22, I found you hear and picked interest in you.
    My name is Joy .I wish to be in love relationship with you
    and may be discover ourselves as real partners for life. Please send your email address in my inbox ;; And not site please
    With this email adderss( joy200muoka@yahoo.com )
    Thanks from my heart;
    Yours in love,
    Joy.

  13. eugenecho says:

    @joynice:

    super. first jackie. now you. life is good.

  14. tenchimouse says:

    This great and not only that you gained some fans too. Keep up the good work and I’ll try and do the same even through this hard times. I have to move out and by next week and have no place to go. I have to close my http://www.crazybruns.wordpress.com and just move on. I will be strong and this page I came across gave me some courage. Take care and Aloha!

  15. Ray says:

    Actually, Jackie Chan should be 54 by now. That means 32 to go to 86, which means you added about 60% to his age.

  16. I have been suffering from severe depression ever since my child was born, but ESPRESSO and MUSIC help. Seriously. 😀

  17. young c-m says:

    PE, your post reminded me about how we sometimes have lots of expectations of people that they don’t meet…because they are MY expectations, not who they really are…and I need to remember to embrace who they really are….not my expectations….saves me a lot of grief if I remember this…

  18. leahklug says:

    i don’t think anything worthwhile is ever easy, FWIW. remember b & g sharing? we’re not called to be ‘successful’, we’re called to be faithful. please be encouraged by the MORE THAN 50K on your facebook site, and other signs of support like that. that’s not something to take lightly. oh, and quit stealing stuff from my blog. 🙂

  19. eugenecho says:

    @young c-m: true true.

    @leah: ok. i get that. and i kinda agree but i still think that’s a little off. is that even biblical? let’s do both. let’s be faithful and successful – without judging success merely through human eyes.

    @everyone: i’m fine. jackie chan encouraged me immensely and the Lord is near. but so is this heat.

  20. Michelle says:

    Jackie Chan is cool. It is obvious he follows his heart in how he does things and doesn’t expect to do things the status quo way. He is inspiring….

    I am reading, “The White Man’s Burden” by William Easterly and it is encouraging me right now……

  21. mmechels says:

    Love your words and your honesty. G-rated just isn’t effective sometimes! 🙂 God’s faithfulness has encouraged me lately…His complete sovereignty allows me to get up when I fall. And fall I have. And do. And will…

  22. karpik says:

    How was the food? Is it a nice place?

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One Day’s Wages

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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 Part 2 on my wrestling with the complex issue of human trafficking. In part, documenting my trip to Thailand for @onedayswages...to listen, learn, and visit one of our partner orgs @thefreedomstory. More to come.

There's such painful and poignant irony in pursuing justice...unjustly. One way we do this is when we reduce people into projects...and thus, propagating the dangerous power dynamic of US as heroes and THEM as helpless and exclusively as victims. So dangerous.

Human trafficking is not just an issue. It’s ultimately, about people. Depending on the sources of statistics, there are anywhere from 29-40 million people in some form of forced labor and slavery, including sex trafficking.

And one thing I’ve learned, personally, is how easy it is easy to reduce people into projects which is why mutuality, reciprocity, and dignity are so vital. These are critical because God never intended people to be reduced into projects.

We forget this and we indirectly foster a culture and system of victimization or worse, the pornification of the poor or in this case, "the trafficked." And when you start dehumanizing the poor or trafficked, you have no genuine desire to build relationships with them. You believe or build stereotypes in broad strokes, singular, black and white narratives that have been told about them. You believe the lie that they have nothing to teach us and are incapable of contributing to the larger society.

Lord, break our hearts for the things that break your heart. Give us eyes to see others through your eyes. Give us humility so that we acknowledge our own need to learn and grow. (Photo via @thefreedomstory)

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