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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Checking out Canada in case I need to move up North after the presidential election. Just saying, eh.

Downtown Toronto. Fascinating architecture. Amazed by the diversity of this city. We desperately want our children to not just be captivated by the beauty of creation...but more importantly, to the actual Creator of all that is good and beautiful.

Actually, we want and need this truth for our souls, too. What a privilege. This isn't possible without all those who give, pray, and support the work of @onedayswages. This week, I signed and mailed grants to three partner organizations totaling over $170,000. These grants will empower people by supporting maternal health care, refugee relief efforts, access to clean water, provide education, etc.

Sometimes, the brokenness of the world feel so overwhelming but let's keep running the race with endurance. Let's keep pursuing justice, mercy, and humility. Let's be faithful and may we be spurred on to keep working for God's Kingdom...on earth as it is in heaven.

Again, thank you so much for your support for @onedayswages! My wife, Minhee, and I stand on the shoulders of praying mothers. I'd like to take a moment to honor my mother-in-law. It's hard to put words together to embody her life but she is a very special, anointed person. I'm so blessed to have her as a mother in my life.

She was a devoted wife until she lost her husband to cancer, mother to three daughters, and later became a pastor. She became a follower of Christ as an adult and as such, led her her family to Christ. In her late 50s, she obeyed God's calling to go to seminary and be a leader in the church. She graduated #1 in her class and reminded us that it's never too late to follow a new dream or calling.

As she'll soon celebrate her 80th birthday, I'm especially grateful for the ways that she poured into and prayed over Minhee and her other children.  Even though she's officially retired, I'm inspired that the concept of retirement is not in her vocabulary.  She continues to serve the local church, evangelize and bear witness to Christ, and goes to the early morning prayer meeting at 5am everyday to pray for our family, our church, and for others. 
Jangmonim, we love and honor you. 어머니, 사랑합니다.

Someday, I hope that when my kids speak of Minhee and I...above all, they would say with integrity that their parents prayed for them and kept pointing them to Christ. On this Mother's Day, I want to take a few words to honor mother.

There’s a moment from a few years ago that will stick with me until the day I die. It’s regarding Sung Wha, my mother.

Minhee and I were at a point of transition, between working at an ethnic Korean church in the northern suburbs of Seattle called Lynnwood and launching Quest in urban Seattle. As I shared earlier, I was in desperate need of a job. I had a mortgage to pay. A pregnant wife. A kid at home. 
Then, praise God, after months without work, I finally landed a job.

My mom was in between jobs at this point in her life. She was in her late fifties, but she had such bad knees and degenerative hips that it was, and is, difficult for her to walk. My mom is like a human barometer—when a storm is coming and when it rains, her hips throb. Although my parents lived in San Francisco, she was visiting us in Seattle to encourage us in this difficult season.

As I prepared to go to work one early morning, I walked downstairs to put on my jacket and shoes, and forgot that my mother woke up early every morning to pray. In fact, she had been praying for months that I would find a job. “Eugene, where are you going?” she said when she saw me.

I hadn’t told my mother the news that I had just recently been hired for the janitorial gig at Barnes and Noble. I chose not to because I thought she and my father would be devastated. I didn’t want them to think that after laboring, sacrificing, and doing so much for us over all those years that their son had failed them.

But I couldn’t lie to her, so eventually I told my mom that I got a job and was going to work. “Great! What job? What are you doing?” “Um, I’m working at Barnes and Noble as their custodian,” I said finally.

Without asking another question, my mother got up from the dining table where she had been reading her Bible and praying. She slowly walked slowly toward me.

She approached me, then walked past me without saying a word, and I realized she was headed toward the closet. She opened the closet door, put on her jacket, turned around and said to me (in Korean), “Eugene, let’s go together. I will help you.” This is my mother. I love all the free amazing views in our Evergreen State. #RattlesnakeLedge

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