Eugene Cho

my biggest fear

My biggest fear is waking up one morning and realize that I’m on my death bed.  And as I reflect on my life, I have regrets about my family – particularly with my children.  Or simply, that it all went by so quick – and I missed it.

There are days like today when I cannot believe how big my children are and how fast they are growing.  Minhee and I feel so privileged to be the parents to our three children.  And today, we celebrate our 2nd child’s birthday.  TC turns eight years old today.

We obviously love all of our children but TC has a special place in our hearts because she was born at the lowest point of my life.  We had left our previous church months ago with the conviction and call to plant a church but we had no idea how difficult the new year would be:

  • I was unemployed and had been looking for work for several months
  • we became financially broke
  • the kids were on foods stamps and the WIC program
  • I felt like a failure for letting down my wife and kids since I felt like I couldn’t provide for them
  • the job I eventually got was working as a custodian at a retail store
  • I had grown increasingly frustrated about not being able to get Quest Church off the ground

Mostly, I was angry because I had “lost” control over my life.

When TC was born, it was like a “miraculous” birth.  She was born in about 4 minutes after Minhee laid on the hospital bed.  There were no drugs, no epideral, and no doctor.  She experienced sharp pain, pushed several times, and the next thing you know, the nurse and I – in panic and frenzy – saw the crown, then the body, and then Minhee and I cried like we’ve never cried before.  We sensed God speaking to us so intimately:  

I love you.  I am with you.  I have not forgotten you. 

Enough of my existential ponderings and angst.  No need to live in fear but to live in joy, contentment and to enjoy God and all of life’s blessings in the here and now.

Thank you God for the gift of our children.  Minhee and I want to treasure, nurture, and enjoy them. 

Happy Birthday TC!

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18 Responses

  1. amanda says:

    what a beautiful story. and two wonderful pictures! happy birthday!!!

  2. westcoastswing77 says:

    i am saying a prayer for you and your family, that you will preach the word until you get very very old. may God give you wisdom to run the race

  3. JB says:

    So dang cute!!! I love that photo! She’s a special kid, and I know just how you feel.

  4. chad m says:

    i actually thought some of these same things about my daughter after reading your post on dong yun yoon the other day. i can’t imagine losing my wife and daughter. i cherish my time with them…blessings and peace to you and you family!

  5. Phyllis says:

    wow. thanks for posting that… happy birthday to your little girl!

  6. Man… can I relate to parts of your journey. Thanks for your vulnerability! Birthdays have such a potential of bringing great memories to mind… and hope for the future. I hope yesterday brought both for you and your family.

  7. keren says:

    oh happy birthday, tc! what a lovely father you are too…you’re totally making me cry.

  8. that was very touching and encouraging Eugene. Thank you for that.

  9. sis says:

    Happy Birthday TC from your aunt in Korea
    It was so good to spend some time with you this summer
    I love you

  10. Jim Chen says:

    Happy b-day TC!

  11. Scooter says:

    Children are so precious! Great post man! The huge challenge is keeping them ahead of the demands of ministry. So easy to justify ministry activity trumping them by telling yourself God’s work is more important. It’s a real easy lie to believe. Being an involved father has to be one of the greatest things any man can do to move God’s kingdom forward. God bless you Dad! Give all your children your B.E.S.T. every day!
    B- BLESS
    E-ENCOURAGE
    S-SHARE
    T-TOUCH

    love to all

  12. Wayne says:

    I know this story so well, almost point for point we identify… ‘cept for the happy ending. ours ended differently and while sad we can’t complain.. he is Faithful.

  13. Ben C says:

    I’m a fan of the Cho family.

  14. Pastor, thanks so much for sharing this. My hubby and I are broke right now, so this is an inspiration. Blessings to you and your kids and wife today.

  15. Well, for what it’s worth, I doubt there are many parents out there that don’t have some regrets about how they parented their children. Even people who have seemed to me to be excellent parents seem to be able to find flaws in how they went about it.

    Our kids are in their teens and early twenties. I was watching my three youngest laughing and walk along together when we were all out at the mall the other day and was struck again by the fact that they are not babies anymore. The thought just pops up every now and then. I have the feeling I will still be thinking that years from now. I guess I’m trying to say get used to it, the sensation doesn’t seem to go away.

  16. TC,

    i don’t know you or your family, but here’s wishing you a Happy Birthday!

    Wishing you joy in your childhood and a deepening bod with your family.

    Blessings and peace,

    Adele Sakler

  17. Joonmo says:

    Pastor Eu,

    She is beautiful.

  18. g. says:

    happy bday tc!!!
    love, uncle george…

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One Day’s Wages

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Bittersweet month but so much gratitude to my team at @onedayswages. January marks a major transition as 2 of our 3 full time staff move on to their next chapters.

@melissasarapack (2nd from left) has been with me for nearly 4 years - first as our Development Director and then our Communications Director. This was her 2nd stint with me as she was my Live Music & Art Director at @QCafe many years ago. Thank you, Cush, for your friendship and commitment. You embodied our values and it kept moving us forward.

@philipkeeton (far left) has been with me for nearly the entirety of ODW. That's a long time. We've had our shares of ups and downs but  he's one of a kind. He was my right hand person that provided great leadership for our scrappy team of staff, volunteers, and interns. PK: Brother, you're gonna be missed but so excited for your next season. I didn't say this enough: I appreciate you. Thank you. And I hate Alabama football.

Changes are tough but it's also an opportunity for introspection and going deeper. I'm excited to introduce our next Ops Director next month and we're still looking for the right Communications Director. And Kenzie: What a gift to have you on our team.  Thank you. Be humble.

The world is bigger than your view of the world. And certainly, God is much bigger than your view of God.

#RedwoodTrees
#Deeper #RootsMatter 41 years ago today, our family immigrated to the United States from Seoul, South Korea. I was six years old; the youngest of three sons. My father, when he was also six, fled from what is now known as North Korea. Just recently, he shared with me that he and some of his family had been in a refugee camp when war and violence broke out on the Korean peninsula. It's emotional thinking about what my brothers and I went through coming to a completely foreign country. It wasn't easy. And then, I think about what my parents had to go through:

They fled their homes near Pyongyang which also meant leaving some of their extended families.

They experienced unfathomable hunger and poverty.

They experienced the pain of war.

They immigrated again to the United States as adults with minimal resources and a handful of English words.

All in hopes that their children would have the opportunities that were never afforded to them.

I'm thinking of my brothers today. I'm thinking of my parents and honoring them for their sacrifice and tenacity. And finally, I'm thinking of refugees and immigrants all around the world that are yearning for family, peace, hope, and opportunities. Don't reduce Martin Luther King Jr. to a yearly quote on social media. Live out the dream. Seek first the Kingdom of God. Confront evil. Be a truth-teller. Seek justice. Love mercy. Pursue reconciliation. Build bridges. Love your neighbors. Forgive your enemies. Pray unceasingly. Live a committed life of peace, love, and justice.

The God who deposited this dream into MLK is still speaking to us today.

Be brave. "Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that." ~ Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Here's the full context of his famous quote: "The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it. Through violence you may murder the liar, but you cannot murder the lie, nor establish the truth. Through violence you murder the hater, but you do not murder hate. In fact, violence merely increases hate. Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate. Only love can do that." An important word for the Church...

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