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!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

stuff, connect, info

One Day’s Wages

My Instagram

As we honor Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., don't forget the God behind the man. The one true God who deposited this dream into MLK is still speaking to us today. Are we listening?

Be courageous. Be brave.

Being invited by the King Family to speak at the MLK worship service at Ebenezer Baptist Church in 2016 remains one of the most unexpected honors of my life. On the right is his daughter, Dr. Bernice King and his sister, Dr. Christine King Farris. Walking throughstreet markets in different parts of the world is the best. Soaking in the culture. Listening to the local language and music. Enjoying the amazing cuisine. Meeting new friends. Praying for the Gospel to penetrate. #ChiangRai Blessed be the local, indigenous leaders for it is they who live in the very communities they seek to love. For it is they who understand their context and culture...better than a Westerner ever will. For it is they who will continue to tenaciously pursue a better world with hope, justice and love when visitors like me leave.

Yes, blessed be the local, indigenous leaders. What an honor and privilege to celebrate with the on-the-ground local @thefreedomstory team to celebrate the recent opening of their Education and Resource Center for the local youth in Chiang Rai, Thailanf. This was made possible through a partnership and matching grant by @onedayswages and The Freedom Story.

While it was an honor to be there to cut the cord and say a few words, this is an example of collaboration. Much love to the Freedom Story team including their co-founders Tawee Donchai and @Rachel Goble, to their staff who live in the community, who understand their context and culture, and who tenaciously pursue a better world with hope, justice and love. And of course, much love to the students themselves for they each matter. Finally, to each person that donated to @onedayswages to make this grant possible.

May hundreds and even thousands of youth be impacted, encouraged, and mentored. May they capture a glimpse of God's love for them.

Photo: @benjaminedwards Part 2 on my wrestling with the complex issue of human trafficking. In part, documenting my trip to Thailand for @onedayswages...to listen, learn, and visit one of our partner orgs @thefreedomstory. More to come.

There's such painful and poignant irony in pursuing justice...unjustly. One way we do this is when we reduce people into projects...and thus, propagating the dangerous power dynamic of US as heroes and THEM as helpless and exclusively as victims. So dangerous.

Human trafficking is not just an issue. It’s ultimately, about people. Depending on the sources of statistics, there are anywhere from 29-40 million people in some form of forced labor and slavery, including sex trafficking.

And one thing I’ve learned, personally, is how easy it is easy to reduce people into projects which is why mutuality, reciprocity, and dignity are so vital. These are critical because God never intended people to be reduced into projects.

We forget this and we indirectly foster a culture and system of victimization or worse, the pornification of the poor or in this case, "the trafficked." And when you start dehumanizing the poor or trafficked, you have no genuine desire to build relationships with them. You believe or build stereotypes in broad strokes, singular, black and white narratives that have been told about them. You believe the lie that they have nothing to teach us and are incapable of contributing to the larger society.

Lord, break our hearts for the things that break your heart. Give us eyes to see others through your eyes. Give us humility so that we acknowledge our own need to learn and grow. (Photo via @thefreedomstory) May our hearts break for injustice and exploitation - whether abroad or in our own backyard. Spending a few days for @onedayswages in Thailand. Along with one of our board members, I'm traveling with a group of 10 others to learn, listen and visit a few NGOs including one of our partners, @thefreedomstory. Couple days ago, we spent an evening walking through Soi Cowboy. On a given night, about 10,000 people are in the ring of prostitution in Soi Cowboy, Nana Plaza, and Patpong. Much of this is driven by the consumer demand. Approximately 70% of male tourists go to Thailand for the sex industry.

Human trafficking is complex. Anyone that says otherwise is lying or selling you something. 
To reduce it to simple terms, or simple problems, or simple solutions…cause harmful consequences. While we can all agree that it is sinful, egregious, evil, and wrong…there are many nuances and complexities. It would serve all of us to grow deep in the awareness not just of the larger issue but the nuances and complexities.

When people speak of human trafficking, they tend to be ‘attracted’ to the issue of sexual exploitation. Dare I say it, human trafficking has become trendy as a justice issue.

Clearly, it’s evil and egregious. But to reduce the entire issue of human trafficking into one form is not helpful. Because the mission is to fight the entire injustice of slavery. And if that’s the commitment, we have to not only combat sexual exploitation but engage in issues of poverty, forced labor, commercial exploitation in tourism, land rights and power abuses, organized crime networks, cultural and economic realities, etc.

Oh, it's so complex but we have to be engaged whether in Thailand or in our own backyards. May our hearts break for the things that break the heart of God... More thoughts to come.

my tweets

JOIN ME ON FACEBOOK

advertisements

Blog Stats

  • 3,441,978 hits