Eugene Cho

in loving memory of craig

Read Craig’s 7 Life Lessons!

If you’ve been reading this blog for some time, you know that we’ve been praying for a family at our church.  Craig [couple years my junior] was diagnosed – out of the blue – with brain cancer about 15 months ago.  The staff have been regularly visiting him.  But this past Saturday, his wife called and asked me to come over to pray with and over him.  His health has rapidly deteriorated in the recent months and in the recent days, he had grown unresponsive.  Honestly, it was chilling but I read the Scriptures to him and prayed over him – and sensed that while nothing about his expressions changed, he clearly heard our words – especially the words from his wife tearfully releasing him.

Couple hours later, Craig past away – his physical life over.  And while God did not grant our desire, he ultimately answered our prayer by restoring Craig completely into His hands.

My admiration for Craig has grown immensely over this past year.  His courage has surprised me.  His devotion to his wife and their two young children have been humbling and infectious.  While I saw him as a quiet and introverted person, I was overwhelmed by the support he received from every aspect of his community.  He was truly respected by so many people.

Craig was the only congregant I’ve ever met that gently rebuked me for being with him or at least spending too much time wit him.  He would often say:

“Pastor Eugene.  You need to be home with your wife and children.  They need you.  Go and be with them.  Cherish them.”

I don’t know what else to write.  While I rejoice in the truth and power of the gospel that nothing shall separate us from the Love of God, we mourn with those who mourn and ache.  You will certainly be missed Craig. Thank you for the privilege of being your brother in Christ and your pastor…

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Before Craig lost the ability to express his thoughts, he shared some of his struggles, fear, faith, devotion, and “life lessons” on his blog.  The following was one of them.  May it encourage you and remind you to Love God and Love People. Nothing else matters.

“Meaning is not something that you stumble across, like an answer to a riddle or a prize in a treasure hunt. Meaning is something you build into your life. You build it out of your own past, out of your affections and loyalties, out of the experience of humankind as it is passed on to you, out of your own talent and understanding, out of the things you believe in, out of the things and people you love, out of the values for which you are willing to sacrifice something. The ingredients are there. You are the only one who can put them together into that unique pattern that will be your life.Let it be a life that has dignity and meaning for you.” -Anonymous

As I sit here nearing the end of my own life, I have been reflecting on this quote that I found about 10 years ago……The things that I think about and cherish the most are my family and other loved ones; the most important thing in my life is Love and friendship, and my faith in God. Love gives meaning to my life.

There are many other things that can give meaning to your life, but without these three things, I think it is difficult to find true happiness and inner peace.

Love God. Love your family. Love your friends. For that matter, show love to strangers. Use your love to make a difference in people’s lives. It’s easy. 

My love for my wife and kids is what gets me up every morning. I have been completely overwhelmed by all the love that people have shown me over this past year – whether it be a caring email, a meal made with love, a visit, or a phone call. I’ve always known that I’ve had wonderful friends and family, but complete strangers have reached out to our family and have loved us and supported us. It has been awe inspiring. I am so thankful to God that he has put you all in my life.

I truly love you all. Your love gives me strength and helps keep me going.

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3 Responses

  1. queermergent says:

    Eugene,

    My thoughts, prayers and tears go out to you and Craig’s wife, children and other family and friends. May you all find comfort in an encounter with the Divine.

    Warmest Regards,

    Existential Punk

  2. korea says:

    To my precious sister in Christ, who lost her beloved husband,

    Lots of love in Christ from Korea! My heart aches and my tears flow. I have felt close through prayer, though I never met you in person.

    May the God of ALL comfort comfort you! (2.Cor.1: 3-4)

    When my heart was ripped apart in pain over my parting loved ones, there was no person and no word that could comfort me, what comforted me in this indescribable pain was GOD comforting me with HIMSELF.

    I would like to just sit with you, be still, just be there and pray quietly.

  3. Pam says:

    I only met Craig a few times when he picked up his little one from my class, but the absolute joy on her face at seeing him spoke volumes about the dad that he was.

    Craig, please know that we will do our very best, by the grace of God, for your family. We can never replace you, but we will care for them to the best of our ability.

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One Day’s Wages

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Collaboration.

col·lab·o·ra·tion
kəˌlabəˈrāSH(ə)n/
noun

the action of working with someone or a group of others  to produce or create something.

May we hold our logos, egos, and tribalism have their place. May we hold them loosely for they too shall pass. May we collaborate for the sake of the greater Kingdom of God ... which endures forever. 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)

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