Eugene Cho

when it rains, it pours

Sorry folks for being Missing in [Blog] Action.  It’s been a rough couple weeks.  Seriously.  How can you get robbed in two consecutive weeks?

Last year, for some reason I can’t really explain, was a tough year but the last couple weeks have been particularly tough.  No need for a pity party but I have had better stretches in my life.

  • Last week, as most of you know, Q Cafe was broken into and had stuff and money stolen.  Sucketh.
  • Today, I found out that someone somehow stole our ATM identity [if there’s such a thing] and pretty much drained our bank account through several days of visiting ATM machines around the Seattle and Bellevue area.  I checked my balance today and noticed, to my incredulous surprise, we’ve been robbed.  I have no idea how this happened since we still hold possession of our ATM cards!?!   Things were financially tough as it was but this was a low blow.  Been on the phone all day today with the bank’s fraud department and am hoping for a quick resolve.  Sucketh.
  • For whatever reason, I’ve been feeling a little discouraged by church and ministry – mainly because of poor leadership on my part.  We just had our church’s annual meeting and had lots of good news about ministry but every now and then, I wonder, “What in the world have I created?”  My biggest fear in ministry was never the question “Will it be viable?” but rather that Quest would grow to be something I never envisioned it to be.  But then again, maybe God has another agenda and I need to chill.  Still sucketh.
  • And the biggest blow to the stomach is that we finally heard from the IRS regarding our 501(c)(3) application.  Supposedly, they sent us two letters asking for more information  but the problem was that we never received those letters.  The one letter that I did receive recently said, “No,” to our application.  But they did give us 90 days to petition but now, we need to shack out some bucks and hire a lawyer that specializes in non-profit organizations.  And as most of you know, that costs a pretty penny.  Sucketh. [For those that gave, your donations were/are still tax-deductible – provided we eventually get the 501(c)(3) issuance.]

It’s been a rough start to a new year but still trusting that in the bigger picture, God has everything in control.  But sometimes, you still feel sucky.  And homie can’t lie, I’m feeling a little sucky.

So, yes, for those that are inclined towards prayer, we’d really love some prayer…for this, that, and protection over our family.

At least, I can feel good about the Seattle sports scene.

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36 Responses

  1. Jessie says:

    that stinks!! I will be praying for you and family 😦

  2. Bill Kirlin-Hackett says:

    hang in there, Eugene. Tough events, to be sure. I tend to recall Anne Lamott’s “Bird by Bird,”… which amounts to saying when faced with an enormomity of tasks and situations, the path lies in taking it “bird by bird,” from a story in her youth about how her brother could possibly finish his report on the birds of the wetlands near their house in Mill Valley CA,… bird by bird, and yes, prayers sendeth

  3. Beth says:

    prayer and good wishes coming your way from Texas…

  4. steph says:

    Pastor Eugene, I am so sorry to hear about all of this discouraging news. We will be praying for you, Quest, and ODW. I know a great nonprofit attorney in Seattle if you need a name. She’s pricey but worth it. Bless you.

  5. Ben C says:

    i had money taken out of my checking account at various stores up and down the west coast, had no idea how it happened since i never lost my card… but the bank handled it quickly.

    it’ll turn out ok.

    pls let me know if you want my donation now instead of waiting for the 501c3 deal

  6. Sean says:

    Be praying for you and yours Eugene

  7. BrianP says:

    ugh. that sucks, indeed. though there probably isn’t any appropriate consolation, I do admire your honesty.

  8. jchenwa says:

    Sorry, brother. Be praying.

  9. wayne park says:

    PE;
    man I’m hurtin here reading this.. it’s a blow by blow account. sucketh. just know that your investment and legacy has gone beyond organization / edifice / institution. It has had a sublime impact on the life of the individual, to which I can attest. hang in there big brother..

  10. Tom says:

    Sounds like sucketh squared.

    I’m reminded of a prayer that a wonderful and honest Christian mentor taught me to pray during those hard times:

    “God, why don’t you love someone else for a while?” :^)

    Good that we can speak honestly to God–who really does have our back–even if we can’t speak so honestly to some of the people around us.

    I wouldn’t worry too much about Quest becoming something you didn’t intend. All really creative folks end up wondering what became of their original intentions. God’s always got something else and better in mind–good contribution to shifting the results of our creative intentions–and sometimes people just want to hang onto the past–not such a good ‘contribution.’ That dynamic is just the reality of creative leadership. Doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be fierce about supporting your creative take, but most creative leaders I’ve known eventually have a sort of love/hate relationship with the results of their own efforts.

    Re the IRS, well, I wouldn’t be unduly concerned about that. Some friends and I started a new incubator for social justice organizations and we just got our IRS tax exempt status after 6 months of back and forth with the bureaucracy. We got the same letter you did asking for more information and threatening to turn us into a ‘for profit’ if we didn’t respond immediately :^). Their original letter went to the wrong address but we were able to catch it in time and they eventually gave us a thumbs up. Too bad you guys didn’t get the letter, because they just want to check you out–it’s the post 9/11, Bush driven IRS that sees a potential terrorist behind any non-profit effort to serve at risk poor folks in the developing world.

    Find out the name and contact info for the IRS agent that handled your case. Be very proactive in talking with them. Explain why you didn’t respond to their original letters. Might save you the entirely unnecessary lawyers fees.

    In our situation the case worker, a sweet and thoughtful woman in the Atlanta office of the IRS, had never heard of a legal and fiscal sponsorship organization of the kind we’re trying to create. She was very responsive once we got her up to speed and gave her the necessary documentation.

  11. Aaron says:

    PE, it sounds like you are having a rough week. I had a friend whose identity was stolen and it was a huge mess… I know that can be very tough.

    I just want to say a quick word to encourage you as far as Quest goes. I am not sure what circumstances there have you discouraged, but I will give a quick testamony. In a time when I was discouraged by church, when I was ready to ‘throw in the towel’… I visited Quest. Quest was truly the first church I ever enjoyed going to… the first time I felt both challenged and refreshed on pretty much a weekly basis… and the first time I really felt like I needed to be in Church. I have since moved away from the Seattle area, but am now plugged in at a Church that excites me in similar ways. I do not know how God would have worked if I had not gone to Quest… but in many ways I think I would be disengaged from the Church if it were not for my experiences at Quest. God used Quest to work in my life.

    Secondly, just remember… as far as Quest and finances and the non-profit, that all we have comes from God. I was recently reminded of Exodus 16 where God provides manna, then he destroys the manna the people store up… this reminds them that what they have comes not from their own strength/work/intelligence/will but from God. I know most of us get so caught up in trying to do as much as we can… I am not meaning to diminish the events of this week as they seem extremely discouraging…. but brother, have hope, God has provided for you and He will continue to provide for you!

    I will pray for encouragement t!

  12. That is some serious sucketh. My heart goes out to you Eugene. I hope the rest of 2009 is so good to you that January can be written off.

  13. Tyler says:

    ill be praying for you this week especially eugene. clearly God is doing great things through you and the church God has built through you.

  14. rich says:

    super sucketh! i will definitely pray for all of this. thanks for meeting today.

  15. BB says:

    Eugene, I got robbed in the same parking lot on my Anniversary with my wife 2 days in a row. They stole all our bags and my computer from my trip on day 1. It was a local “get away” weekend with my wife. So we decided to go home and repack. The next day, we had to go to the mall to replace a few needs we had stolen and they broke into our car and stole it all again, less than 24 hours apart. I had to pay twice cuz my insurance said it was two instances!!!!! AHHH. Maybe it’s just pastoral luck🙂 Praying for you.

  16. Michelle says:

    “What have I created?” God is working….never fear…..all will be well…..sorry you had such a bad week.

  17. Teresa says:

    Been robbed twice-once by stolen wallet, once by creative crooks using long dead ATM card in country I’ve never been to. Definitely sucketh! Will pray on all fronts….

  18. korea says:

    I will pray!

    One thing I know (and experienced myself) in times like these, it does not feel like God being on the move, BUT HE IS, and all the apparent opposition is a sign that God will use you more significantly (and the evil one tries to stop you through discouragement etc)

  19. Just Meee~ says:

    Regarding obtaining a 5013(c) or whatever it’s called… I contacted the renouned law school in our area and there are senior students that DO that for you… fill out all the paperwork and do the leg work… they do it as an internship. AND they do it for little or no $$$….

  20. Blessings to your days ahead, brother.

  21. Allie says:

    Amen. Sucks to get kicked in the butt like that twice. Prayers to you.

  22. Karen Claassen says:

    May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing…

    praying in E. WA

  23. Eugene! I am so sorry. I am praying that God will open some doors and pull some strings for you all. But getting in touch with “han” is just not fun😦 I do understand!

  24. jak says:

    brother–

    i know you know this, but remember that it isn’t what you create, it’s what He creates… it’s not about your best laid plans, but about the unfolding of His mysterious and unanticipated will and methods. He has given you great vision, but He has also provided challenges and obstacles for a reason.

    and take comfort. so many people are with you and encouraged by your heart in each of these matters. more importantly, i believe God is honored by your faithfulness as well as the honesty of your frustration.

  25. eugenecho says:

    thanks everyone for the kind words.

    seriously, just a particularly sucky day yesterday. it’s all good.

    @tom: yeah, i’m ok with the initial ‘no’ from the IRS since about 90% get that letter. but since we hadn’t heard for so long, we thought we were good to go for some reason. it just takes more time…

    @aaron: thanks for sharing that. that was refreshing for the soul…

    @jak: for sure.

  26. mwalcher says:

    yeah, be proud of the seattle sports scene.

    nothing to lose at right now….

  27. Capt Ralph says:

    Praying for you daily……………………….

  28. neu says:

    Praying for ya. Man, that’s rough. Reminds me of how my money order was stolen and cashed last summer.😦

  29. chad says:

    take heart, sir.
    i know the Bible is contextual and all, but i think this is appropriate: “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9
    and i second Tom on the Quest thing – if it feels out of your hands now, that may be a blessing – it may allow you to focus some energy elsewhere. I wouldn’t worry about Quest too much in any case, last I checked you have got some awesome people on board there who truly have hearts for God and share the same core vision.

  30. Matthew says:

    I’m really sorry to hear about that, Eugene. You’ll be in my thoughts and prayers. With at least one young, shrewd pastor on board, I feel confident that Quest will definitely see better days.

    Peace, and stay strong,
    Matthew

  31. joanne says:

    when it rains it pours. i feel you. the past few months for us have been so difficult and the new year has brought us more obstacles rather than a new start. but its times like these when you HAVE to have faith that God IS taking care of you, and may be using your struggles for something greater than you know, that you feel closer than ever to Him. when it feels like everything/one has failed you, its the BEST feeling to have that unconditional love and comfort that was always there and always will be.

  32. anni says:

    i appreciate that you shared your heart. praying God’s presence will be close to your heart and mind.

  33. Elizabeth says:

    Re: 501(c)(3) stuff — there’s a local organization of Washington attorneys (Washington Attorneys Assisting Community Organizations) who volunteer their time on behalf of non-profits for business- and tax-related matters. I’m on the board of the U-District Food Bank and we’ve had a great experience with our WAACO attorney (check out waaco.org). Good luck!

  34. Pete Wilson says:

    Praying. I’m really sorry.

  35. […] things I shared on my last post – When It Rains, It Pours – are stuff that sucked that I could share.  The stuff I couldn’t share were the real sucky […]

  36. […] I’m praying for good health, good attitude, future partnerships, and God to deepen our vision to join others in fighting extreme global poverty.  Please also keep my family in prayer.  It’s been an intense couple weeks with some wacky stuff happening… […]

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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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