Eugene Cho

a breathtaking safari

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As most of you know, I’m here in South Africa – at the grace of an anonymous benefactor in New York who also cares about global poverty and justice – enabling me to do some research and relationship building for the poverty organization/initiative we are hoping to launch this year.  I’ve seen some very intense and heartbreaking things – which I’ll share later once I return to the States.  Today, we took a half day to rest and relax at experience a safari.

I have one word to say:  Wow.

Such spacious land, beauty, and majesty.  The whole time, I kept thinking about the glory of God in His creation.  

And…I really wished international travel was cheaper and accessible to everyone.

Here are several pics below for your enjoyment.  Please note that most of these pics were taken from our tour van.  We were rarely permitted to be outside that van. The highlight was seeing two pride groups of lions [groups of 9 and 6] and one group feasting on their hunt – a wilderbeast.  It was frightening, amazing, and breathtaking.  Also, please continue to pray for me during the remainder of the trip.  On Sunday, I have the privilege of sharing a word of encouragement from the Scriptures to a local Zulu church…

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Filed under: travel, , ,

21 Responses

  1. gar says:

    beautiful! i hope the trip is as restful as it is productive.

  2. Becky says:

    Hey PE!

    Gorgeous pictures! Many blessings on your adventure. You are such a testament of God working in our world – God will speak through you to our brothers and sisters in Zulu!

    We’ll be praying for your journey (and the fam back home).

    Lots of Love

    Beck and the boys (and soon to be girl too)

  3. Becky says:

    Wow, this is amazing! My dream to go on a safari trip someday. I hope your time in Africa is a blessing to you and those that you will encounter. Be safe.

  4. Moi says:

    P E –
    Great to know about this wonderful opportunity to see more of God’s creations!
    We pray for your safety and may you continue to be blessed and WE, thank you for sharing your wisdom and the Glory of God with us.

  5. wow is right. so excited for you that you were able to have this experience.

  6. J. P. says:

    I think I see at least two wild animals in the last photo…

  7. david says:

    say hello to mufasa for me

  8. Kin says:

    inspirational takes Eugene. that’s an amazing shot of the cheetah. It’d be great to chat soemtime and exchange stoires, idea, and experiences in faith….
    take care.

  9. J. P. says:

    It would be really cool if you had geotagging on your camera… then we could see exactly where you were when you took those shots!!

  10. Jusified says:

    Just a fyi:

    Obama , yesteray, signed an executive order that will alow our tax dollars to go overseas to fund abortion…and here I thought he was all about lowering abortion rates and ending the recession.

    Shhh. Obama Repeals the Abortion Gag Rule, Very Quietly

    http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1873794,00.html

  11. cho mama says:

    did you meet simba jedi? miss you!:)

  12. Tom says:

    Cool shots.

    Gotten some time on reserves in Africa too so I know how overwhelming and exciting it is to see that wonderful stuff up close and in real time. You’re blessed.

    A word to the wise.

    Some supporters in the US may not be excited to see you on safari in the first online pics from a research tour re poverty in the developing world.

    Though all of those supporters would have jumped at the chance to see what you saw, some of them will expect you to be different and a cut above. Particularly in these hard economic times.

    You’re trying to do wonderful stuff. But sometimes bigger picture is better.

  13. Rachel says:

    It’s great that you get to see animals that aren’t caged. Thanks for sharing the photos.

  14. Jessica says:

    Great pictures. We started coming to South Africa a few years ago from Florida and have since toured Kenya, Malawi, Botswana, Lesotho, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe by road – taking materials to school children – and have never really gone back to the States except for brief visits. You will find that if you learn Zulu – the most widely spoken language here in South Africa – that your communication lines and friends will instantly triple overnight. You can buy a CD and book at CNA and its an easy language to become fluent in fairly fast. Our base is near Johannesburg and we have had the most fantastic wilderness and human rights/social betterment experiences for the past few years. The Zimbabweans are particlularly great people and if you can, do go to Zimbabwe. Kind regards,
    Jessica

  15. Rachel says:

    Tom, you’ve overlooked the details. He said that a benefactor paid for his trip. If a benefactor wants to send him to S. Africa and throws in a safari–that’s their business.

  16. eugenecho says:

    for the record, the cheetah was not in the safari but in another trip to a cheetah farm. they were still wild and it was a little scary.

    @tom: i understand what you’re saying but i’m a guest of the group that’s hosting me and i’m just going w/ the flow. whether or not it’s wise to share these pics is up to the individual i guess. i choose to share my journey as much as possible.

    @ric wild: no. i was at the Hluhluwe-Imfolozi.

  17. Jessica says:

    Out of 15 responses – of course you will get one harping critic! It would not be Planet Earth without the 2% trying to bring the rest of society down! Look at your Hit Stats: Over 704,000 hits – that’s incredible!!

    Just a little, harmless dig – WITH A KNIFE!! I say the big picture is respecting and tolerating the religious beliefs and actions of others.

    The mere act of interacting with new and lesser priviledged people makes the world a better place, and you definitely cannot come to Africa and not see the wild game. Promoting it is even better!

  18. My beautiful Imfolozi! We spent a wonderful time at Mpila camps last September. I am so jealous of your cheetah sighting, we did not get that close to one.

    I am sure your visit to SA opened your eyes to poverty in ways that you never imagined. I don’t believe there is a global solution, the only sure one is people helping people, one life joined to another, in relationship.

  19. eugenecho says:

    @jessica: thanks for the comment. regarding the “one harping critic”, tom is a not a critic but a friend of the blog. as far as i know, his comment wasn’t intended to be harping and wasn’t received as such. really, no biggie.

  20. […]  I was prepared to see the extreme poverty but I couldn’t picture the beauty.  And the safari was pretty dang amazing as […]

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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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