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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stuff, connect, info

One Day’s Wages

My Instagram

Father, please bless and protect these Iraqi and Syrian "refugee" children that have already endured so much. Protect their hearts and mind from unfathomable trauma. Plant seeds of hope and vision in their lives. And as we pray for them, teach us how to advocate for them. Amen. "We don't call them refugees. We call them relatives. We don't call them camps but centers. Dignity is so important." -  local Iraqi priest whose church has welcomed many "relatives" to their church's property

It's always a privilege to be invited into peoples' home for tea - even if it's a temporary tent. This is an extended Yezidi family that fled the Mosul, Iraq area because of ISIS. It's indeed true that Christians were targeted by ISIS and thatbstory muat be shared but other minority groups like the Yezidis were also targeted. Some of their heartbreaking stories included the kidnapping of their sister. They shared that their father passed away shortly of a "broken heart." The conversation was emotional but afterwards, we asked each other for permission to take photos. Once the selfies came out, the real smiles came out.

So friends: Pray for Iraq. Pray for the persecuted Church. Pray for Christians, minority groups like the Yezidis who fear they will e completely wiped out in the Middle East,, and Muslims alike who are all suffering under ISIS. Friends: I'm traveling in the Middle East this week - Iraq, Lebanon, and Jordan. (Make sure you follow my pics/stories on IG stories). Specifically, I'm here representing @onedayswages to meet, learn, and listen to pastors, local leaders, NGOs, and of course directly from refugees from within these countries - including many from Syria.

For security purposes, I haven't been able to share at all but I'm now able to start sharing some photos and stories. For now, I'll be sharing numerous photos through my IG stories and will be sharing some longer written pieces in couple months when ODW launches another wave of partnerships to come alongside refugees in these areas. Four of us are traveling together also for the purpose of creating a short documentary that we hope to release early next year.

While I'm on my church sabbatical, it's truly a privilege to be able to come to these countries and to meet local pastors and indigenous leaders that tirelessly pursue peace and justice, and to hear directly from refugees. I've read so many various articles and pieces over the years and I thought I was prepared but it has been jarring, heartbreaking,  and gut wrenching. In the midst of such chaos, there's hope but there's also a lot of questions, too.

I hope you follow along as I share photos, stories, and help release this mini-documentary. Please tag friends that might be interested.

Please pray for safety, for empathy, for humility and integrity, for divine meetings. Pray that we listen well; To be present and not just be a consumer of these vulnerable stories. That's my biggest prayer.

Special thanks to @worldvisionusa and @worldrelief for hosting us on this journey. 9/11
Never forget.
And never stop working for peace.

Today, I had some gut wrenching and heart breaking conversations about war, violence, and peacemaking. Mostly, I listened. Never in my wildest imagination did I envision having these conversations on 9/11 of all days. I wish I could share more now but I hope to later after I process them for a few days.

But indeed: Never forget.
And never stop working for peace.
May it be so. Amen. Mount Rainier is simply epic. There's nothing like flying in and out of Seattle.

#mountrainier
#seattle
#northwestisbest Took a train to Busan. Did not encounter any zombies but I was ready just in case.

Busan. First visit to this city (couple weeks ago) and was blown away by its beauty. Also, shocked that it has become the fifth largest containment port city in the world. That's a lot of import and export.

#MyAttemptToBeTheBestSmartphonePhotographer 
#Pusan #SouthKorea

my tweets

  • Every convo with Iraqi/Syrian refugees included: 1 Have tea with us 2 We want peace 3 We hate ISIS 4 We want to go home 5 Don't forget us || 6 hours ago
  • Back safely from Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan to assess @OneDaysWages' partnerships & to film mini-documentary on refugee crisis. So many emotions. || 6 hours ago
  • Pray for Mexico. For those mourning loved ones. For those fighting for life - even under rubbles. For rescue workers. Lord, in your mercy. || 6 hours ago
  • Don't underestimate what God can do through you. God has a very long history of using foolish and broken people for His purposes and glory. || 2 days ago
  • Father, bless these Iraqi and Syrian refugee children that have already endured so much. As we pray, teach us how t… twitter.com/i/web/status/9… || 4 days ago
  • Pray for Iraq. Pray for persecuted Church, minority groups (Yezidis) and Muslims alike who are suffering under ISIS: instagram.com/p/BZF2j6Ngrna/ || 4 days ago