Eugene Cho

the power and privilege of opportunities

Please read this and watch the video below.  It’s about 7 minutes long but this excellent video [from my recent trip to South Africa w/ Peter Ahn] will give you a glimpse of what I’m talking about when I’m speaking of Privilege and Opportunities:

Over the years, I’ve been developing a deeper understanding of ‘privilege.’  God loves us such that He gave us free will and the amazing privilege to make choices and decisions.  Hopefully, choices to Love God and Love People.

You and I are privileged because we have the capacity to dream, create, and pursue opportunities.  While we have the tendency to wallow on occassions in our lackings, we are truly privileged.

But sadly, there are many without that human dignity – that capacity for decisions and opportunities; Or their circumstances are so dire that they have to choose one human essential for another.  An example would be a young child or teenager forsaking the privilege and necessity of education to be able to watch her young siblings because his or her parents have died or because they have to walk hours in order to fetch water for their families.

Our dream for the global poverty initiative is to work with people that are not giving handouts but creating opportunities. Opportunities for jobs, education, health, families, and on and on and on.  Hand outs can be dangerous as it creates a cycle of dependency but opportunities creates capacity for dignity, sustainability, and empowerment.

And that leads me to this question I am humbled by:

How are you and I – locally and globally – creating opportunities for others?

One of my friends, Peter Ahn, is one example of a broken misift and visionary who gets it.  He understands the power and impact of creating opportunities for others who don’t have those opportunities.  He was the one – knowing my personal vision for extreme global poverty – that  connected me with an anonymous donor in New York and then personally hosted me in South Africa.  He took a couple other folks to visit and experience his deep partnership with a smaller NGO called Zimele Community in South Africa.  Do me a favor and check out both Peter’s blog and Zimele.  I was so impressed with Zimele that our poverty initiative have asked them to apply for a grant to fund one of their projects.

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And if you’re reading this via a feeder, you can watch the video HERE.

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12 Responses

  1. ali says:

    Dear Eugene,

    Your words, piety and actions are inspiring 🙂

    Best regards

    Ali

  2. Tracy says:

    I am so happy to share in this inspiring journey of love, care and prayers for the poor. Now, I finally know this is one of my calling, to give and support ministries in such efforts.

  3. Tom says:

    Nice run.

    We all get the point.

    Move on.

  4. eugenecho says:

    @tom: i’m glad you’re smart and enlightened.

    but it’s still my blog. and so, i’ll keep sharing.
    peace.

  5. Brad Halverson says:

    Not giving handouts, but opportunities is the essence of living out missions. It’s showing true love for others. Yes, there’s showing love with the cold cup of water for those in immediate need. But helping a brother or sister create, define and sustain on their own terms, is where it’s at. Thanks, Eugene!

  6. Helen says:

    Thank you for sharing Zimele on your blog. The organization’s vision to give hand-ups rather than hand-outs proves to me that the cycle of poverty/dependence is broken from within, when the very persons affected get strong and cause change. We need more of this kind of change here and everywhere.

  7. Derek Sciba says:

    It’s remarkable how consistent everybody was about the concept of transformational mission. That’s the key – and I’m glad there are pastors like you (and your friends from the trip) who are signed onto the idea. For most Americans, the most easy thing to do with this kind of poverty – is to look away. Thanks for not doing that!

  8. Andy M says:

    As for your question, “How are you and I – locally and globally – creating opportunities for others?”, I would just simply say that we aren’t, in general. It is too often simplified down to either a “Get a job!” mentality, or creating dependancy by just endlessly giving people what they need. People look at the two extremes and don’t know what to do, so they don’t do anything.

    Initiatives like these are something that we all need to get behind, finding creative ways of creating opportunities for people to work and take care of their families, and hopefully build some relationships while doing it. The possibilities and the benefits are endless.

  9. larryboatright says:

    Praise God for your heart, Eugene. (My middle name is Eugene, you’ve made it awesome!)

    God has really hammered on me since The Idea Camp. He’s compelling me to consider a world I have ignored far too long. Scared but my heart is open. Thanks so much for sharing this.

  10. JRhine says:

    Hey,
    Cool video and sounds like a great project/organization/community/etc.

    Also just wanted to say, way to rep the FBR shirt in one scene, my college roommate works with them and I have a shirt just like it in my room right now.

    Peace.

  11. […] of my former pastors, Eugene Cho, has been very intentional about solving the problem of world hunger.  If you haven’t seen the rally cry on Facebook (or on his blog), I ask that you check it […]

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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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