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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41 years ago today, our family immigrated to the United States from Seoul, South Korea. I was six years old; the youngest of three sons. My father, when he was also six, fled from what is now known as North Korea. Just recently, he shared with me that he and some of his family had been in a refugee camp when war and violence broke out on the Korean peninsula. It's emotional thinking about what my brothers and I went through coming to a completely foreign country. It wasn't easy. And then, I think about what my parents had to go through:

They fled their homes near Pyongyang which also meant leaving some of their extended families.

They experienced unfathomable hunger and poverty.

They experienced the pain of war.

They immigrated again to the United States as adults with minimal resources and a handful of English words.

All in hopes that their children would have the opportunities that were never afforded to them.

I'm thinking of my brothers today. I'm thinking of my parents and honoring them for their sacrifice and tenacity. And finally, I'm thinking of refugees and immigrants all around the world that are yearning for family, peace, hope, and opportunities. Don't reduce Martin Luther King Jr. to a yearly quote on social media. Live out the dream. Seek first the Kingdom of God. Confront evil. Be a truth-teller. Seek justice. Love mercy. Pursue reconciliation. Build bridges. Love your neighbors. Forgive your enemies. Pray unceasingly. Live a committed life of peace, love, and justice.

The God who deposited this dream into MLK is still speaking to us today.

Be brave. "Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that." ~ Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Here's the full context of his famous quote: "The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it. Through violence you may murder the liar, but you cannot murder the lie, nor establish the truth. Through violence you murder the hater, but you do not murder hate. In fact, violence merely increases hate. Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate. Only love can do that." An important word for the Church... Oh, how God loves the nations. The Scriptures make this so clear. No one - let alone, the leader of a country - should ever disparage other nations with such a disgusting comment.

To the beautiful people of Haiti, El Salvador, and of the many countries of Africa: We are so sorry. Please accept our apologies on behalf of President Trump.

I've had the privilege of being in Haiti twice and numerous countries in Africa including Kenya where I took this picture during an afternoon drive near Kijabe. In many of these visits, I witnessed such creativity, courage, leadership, hospitality and kindness. To follow Jesus without obedience, repentance, self-denial, and dying to self is an oxymoron. In other words, are we more in love with the idea of following Jesus than actually following Jesus?

Grateful for an incredible Sunday at @seattlequest of beginning our 21 Days of Prayer and Fasting.

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