Eugene Cho

falling in love with nebraska

As I shared earlier, I spent about 8 days in the middle of nowhere recently to cap my sabbatical.  Where did I go?  Because of some connections with friends, I retreated in a small town you’ve never heard of in Central Nebraska.  Yes, you read that correctly…Nebraska.  And after my visit, I think I fell in love with Nebraska [check out the pics below].

The population of the town was 302 people according to some townspeople.  According to their census, Asians comprise .24% of town’s 302 people.  The closest market is 25 miles away.  And because my cellphone wasn’t working in that part of the country, I found myself completely disconnected: no TV, radio, internet, and personal phone access.  The first few days were incredibly difficult but after the 3rd day, it felt so refreshing to be disconnected – even while financial institutions were crumbling last week.  Perhaps, it was good that I had no idea what was going on in the “real” world.

What did I do?

  • I read.
  • I prayed.
  • I worked on the poverty organization.
  • I fished and fished; I have never caught so many fish in my life.  Must have caught and released over 150 bass [mostly largemouth].  On couple occasions, I hooked two fishes on 1 lure. 
  • I learned about farming, cornhuskers, millets, etc.
  • I helped cut some trees that were attacked my beavers.  I have a new found respect for loggers.
  • I hiked.
  • I captured some snakes.
  • And I fished some more.

Where’s the most obscure place you visited or vacationed? 

Filed under: family, travel

13 Responses

  1. goldfearsnofire says:

    hey eugene, i just want to let you know that i think you are cool. and that you challenge me to consider how to live rightly, healthily, and honorably. thanks for your example. wish you all of the best as you transition out of sabbatical. best, drew

  2. Tyler says:

    that is awesome eugene. i have family in nebraska. it makes for one boring drive though, i will admit that.

    most obscure place i’ve been is wildhorse canyon, oregon. it is a young life camp. 30 minutes away from anything.

  3. matt says:

    catch and release? no cooking up some fish for dinner?
    Although not obscure, I’ve taken a couple of Korean bus tours that decide that a random train museum is a great place to stop at on a tour of eastern Canada.

  4. Sue says:

    I was going to say the same thing. Long boring hours of senseless driving and it doesn’t help to have gas prices so high. Great pics.

  5. eugenecho says:

    @matt: ok ok. we did eat a couple of those fish. delicious. also caught crappie, smallmouth, northern pike, and catfish. but just ate couple big and smallmouth. pretty good.

  6. Nina Seong says:

    wow, i never knew nebraska was so beautiful & picturesque.

    the water looks crystal clear.

    and capturing snakes & catching fish.

    very symbolic & analogous to ministry.
    🙂

  7. Sara says:

    I never knew Nebraska could be so appealing. Thanks for the photos and the beautiful descriptions.

    Most obscure place visited… hard to remember… We’ve visited lots of out of the way places here in the Northwest (or at least, as out of the way as you can get with two small children). One of our favorite things, which we haven’t done for a long time, was to pick a place in the Waterfall Lover’s Guide Pacific Northwest, pack our boys on our backs and go find some gorgeous waterfall in the middle of the woods or in some odd roadside spot just outside of Shelton or some other podunk place.🙂 We’ve found some really beautiful places and spent some really fun moments together as a family by doing that.

    Maybe most obscure locations I can think of out of the country usually involve getting lost. There was the time that we got lost driving through Normandy in France trying to find a little town called Ville Dieu Les Poelles, where they sell fabulous copper pots. We saw some lovely farming villages and lots of lovely tumbledown, roadside, stone cottages on the way because we chose to take some back roads to get there. Once, as a whole family, we got lost in the jungle in Panama in a tiny Toyota rental car. That is too long a story for this comment space, but it involved, a scary spider, a large snake, unintelligible attempts at speaking Spanish, and a little bit of crying. It’s a funny story (at least NOW it’s funny).

  8. chad m says:

    being a Cornhusker myself i am pleased to see my people treated you well. it’s not washington, but i love my home state!

    you should consider working in travel and tourism for Nebraska on the side…go big red!

  9. eugenecho says:

    @chad: i wrote this post in honor of you cuz i knew you were a cornhusker.

  10. Jennifer says:

    I think the most remote place I have been is Haines Alaska. One local told us that the only industy there was the breeding and raising of children.

  11. gregwheeler says:

    Hmm, 0.24% of 302 is less than one person.🙂

  12. Kim says:

    Remote = Unalakleet, Alaska – According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 5.1 square miles, of which, 2.9 square miles of it is land and 2.3 square miles of it (44.25%) is water. Local overland travel is mainly by ATV’s, snowmachines and dogsleds in winter. It is an amazing place!
    http://www.kawerak.org/tribalHomePages/unalakleet/index.html

  13. queltica says:

    I grew up in Ecuador, so nothing there for me feels remote or obscure – but to me the most remote place I’ve visited was the Isle of Harris in the northern Hebrides. It was in October, and everything was gray rocks and gray skies and moors and cold beaches. It was beautiful. The standing stones at Callanais on neighboring Lewis was one of the most awesome wild old places I’ve ever been …however, the place that felt the most “obscure” was probably some hot sticky stanky pond/lake in southern Illinois one summer when I was a teenager at a church camp. Mosquitos and flatness and humidity and not much else.

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One Day’s Wages

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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. I don't care if it sounds mushy but sunsets are one of my love languages. Seoul, Korea was amazing but WOW...what a breathtaking welcome back sunset by Seattle. Not ready to let go of summer.

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