Eugene Cho

resting, growing, freezing, and jazzing in chicago

Jet lag sucks.  I can’t seem to get over it.  I sleep at a normal time but have been getting up around 2 or 3am – every day.  I look at Jason, one of my church staff, sleeping in the other bed in our hotel room like a peaceful lamb and want to punch his head.  But, I remind myself that Jesus wouldn’t do that so I let him sleep since he probably doesn’t get much at Seattle with their 4 month old baby.  But I digress.

RESTING:  I’m here in Chicago trying to get my body up to speed.  I don’t care how holy or spiritual you are:  If you don’t get sleep, everyone turns into a jerk.  Actually took a great nap yesterday and woke up like this:

img_3312

And interestingly or annoyingly, many folks at this conference have been telling my how ragged and “gray” I look. I tell them to ‘shut it!’  But it is true, I am getting some serious white and gray hair everywhere.

GROWING: Anyway, I’m also here learning.  Have enjoyed hearing from some of the featured speakers like Phyllis Tickle and will be hearing from Gary Haugen of International Justice Missions tomorrow.  I’ve had the joy of being able to hear from others that are doing substantive work here, there, and everywhere.  Just this morning, heard from some local pastors and community development leaders from India that are turning things upside does – a la Acts 17 with Paul, Silas, and Timothy.

FREEZING:  I don’t like Chicago in the winter.  It is freezing.  It was about 9 degrees last night but thankfully the wind chill was mild.  But honestly, I don’t know how folks do it but then again, people ask the same from us Seattlites and the 362 days of rain we get.  

Question:  Coldest place you’ve ever been?  You like Chicago?

But I must seriously love my church. Instead of staying at the Hyatt Hotel where the conference is being hosted, Jason and I pricelined our hotel and are staying at another hotel at less than half the price.  During these harsh economic times, I’m glad we saved our church $200.  Granted, it’s closeby but it is da*n cold walking outside.

FRIENDSHIPS:  And lastly, it’s been good to also reconnect with friends.  Make new friends.  And be encouraged by many co-laborers in Christ.  On Wednesday night of this conference, there is no formal schedule so folks are free to do what they want.  We normally head into the city to chill.  And last night, several of us went into the city of Chicago to check out the gypsy jazz music at the infamous Green Mill – once the hangout of Al Capone himself.  Here’s some pics from the show featuring Alfonso Ponticelli and the Swing Gitan.  The first pic is my best impression of my gangsta look:

jazz4

jazz1

jazz2

And for your viewing enjoyment, here’s the band on video.  They were amazing…even if the violinist scared me to death because he was staring me down.  

Filed under: ministry, travel, ,

18 Responses

  1. Matt says:

    Hey Eugene,

    How long are you in Chi-town for?

    Cheers,
    Matt

  2. Jason says:

    My wife and I chilled in Chicago for a couple days on our way to Portland for Christmas. We’ve been stuck in Grand Rapids for a year and a half now while I attend seminary. Thankfully I’m done in May and will hopefully be moving back to the wonderful rainy NW this summer to plant in Portland.

    I’ve enjoyed reading up on all your adventures. God bless, man!

    Shalom,

    Jason

  3. HC says:

    Love the Green Mill!

  4. Tyler says:

    coldest place….cooper landing, alaska- it was 22 below.

  5. Sarah H says:

    I was wondering if you were coming. I’ve only been out there a little, but will definitely be at the breakfast tomorrow. Hope to see you there.

  6. Rusty says:

    Fairbanks, Alaska. 46 below zero. I “burned” my fingers on the plastic car door when forgot to wear gloves when running out to warm up the car.

  7. eugenecho says:

    @matt: leaving tomorrow.

    and to be honest, glad to go home and stay home for a few weeks.

    @rusty: that’s just wrong.

  8. Matt K says:

    One Christmas I visited the in-laws up in Roseau, MN. 41 degrees below zero on the thermometer; I don’t even want to know what the windchill was.

  9. Cool post, Eugene… Thanks for the video. Love it.

  10. heya man, we’re doing an event TONIGHT in Chicago at ANGELS AND KINGS for a new non-profit Falling Whistles. FW is a campaign to support war-affected kids in Congo and build a coalition to bring the war to an end.

    We’d love for you to invite your friends! The night will be complete with Beatboxer Yuri Lane, Musician Andy Davis and Filmmaker Alex Beh.

    It’ll be a celebration of our ability to speak out on behalf of those who can’t. Come out and enjoy it w us. Peace.

    http://www.fallingwhistles.com

  11. cho mama says:

    waiting, waiting and waiting…good for you. let’s take turns.🙂

  12. chomama says:

    waiting, waiting, and waiting. good for you. and let’s take turns.🙂

  13. Megan says:

    Coldest place I’ve ever been: my current hometown of Seeley Lake, Montana…-26 with -46 wind chill this past December.

  14. Thanks for letting us follow along on your travels Eugene. Our hearts are with you and we hope you get much needed peace and rest. Thanks for all your struggle.

    And about the hair: I’m beginning to suspect this blog’s secret intention is to try to market you as the next big Korean photo model. If your next trip is described as a “church leadership prayer seminar retreat symposium” but primarily consists of photoshoots with G.Q. NONE of us will be surprised. Just sayin’.

  15. Kacie says:

    I love, love love Chicago’s culture, and I desperately miss it. I don’t know if Dallas’s suburban cowboys qualify as culture. However, Chicago in the winter is like Hell frozen over, and I did it for six years (granted, Moody Bible Institute has tunnels between the buildings, thank God), so I’m still counting my southern blessings in that respect!

  16. Capt Ralph says:

    I’ll never forget the first time, coming out of my dorm in Chicago, and the nose hairs freezing. Happens about zero F. Coldest – beautiful morning on Lake Louise, Alaska – not a cloud, not a wisp of wind. 50 degrees below zero. Don’t try this at home (I am a professional, scientist) you can drop a burning match into a large open pan of gasoline and the match will go out – like in water. Seattle is too hot for me………….

  17. Darwin says:

    I saw the TV in the background of that photo. Waking up after “sleeping,” or just watching lots of sportscenter. Not that I would do any different…

  18. Pooba~ says:

    I think my wife would think the L@@K is kinda sexy!

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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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