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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Thank you, Brooklyn, for the reminder. Umm, @jlin7 is a Christian but he wasn't very Christlike with me on the basketball court. He muscled me into the paint, dunked on me, mentioned my momma, and then said, "Stick with preaching." Just kidding. Kind of.

If you haven't heard, Jeremy Lin is donating his one games wages (approximately $140,000) and an additional $100 for every 3 pointer made to support Girls' Empowerment and Education through @onedayswages. That game is this Friday vs the Boston Celtics!

Join his campaign as he's inviting his fans to donate just $7. - http://onedayswages.org/jlin

Did you know that 32 million girls of lower secondary school age are not enrolled in school.

Did you know that every year of secondary school increases a girl’s future earning power by 20 percent.

Did you know that if all girls in Sub-Saharan Africa, South and West Asia had a secondary education, child marriage would fall by 64 percent.

We can't change the entire world but we can impact the lives of one, few, and in some cases...many.

#jeremylin #jlin #linsanity #onedayswages Don't be held captive to either praise or criticism.

Know who you are.
Know what you're about.
Know WHO you serve.

The answer to who you serve makes all the difference... It's the day after International Women's Day - and it's still important to celebrate the contribution of women in our lives, society, and world. As we honor women all around the world, I'm also reminded of how women and children are those who are most deeply impacted by injustice - especially poverty.

Sadly, I have witnessed this reality in too many places. ​In 2012, I traveled to a remote area in Eastern Kenya as part of a @onedayswages response to a famine that struck the Horn of Africa region. This famine impacted nearly 13 million people and according to some sources, took the lives of about 250,000 people. During my trip there, I had the chance of meeting many people but the person that still remains in my memory was a Muslim woman named Sahara.

She was so hospitable in inviting us to her small and temporary home. During our conversation, I learned that ​Sahara traveled 300 kilometers (a little under 200 miles) – some by cart and some by foot – as they sought to escape the worst drought that has impacted East Africa (Kenya, Somalia, and Ethiopia) in the past 60 years.

This is not a misprint.
200.

She traveled about 200 miles on cart and foot. ​And all along, she was ill. If you look closely ​at the photo, you might notice the large lump in her throat - likely a large cancerous tumor.​ She did not travel alone. She traveled with her husband who I was not able to meet because he was staying with one of his five other wives in this polygamist community.  She did not travel alone. She also traveled with her six children – the youngest being about 1 and the oldest being around 8. She had just given birth to her sixth child when they began her journey. Her youngest was severely malnourished when they arrived to this new settlement in a town called Benane. 
Sahara and her children all survived this journey. They survived because she persisted. 
In honor of Sahara...and so many other women who keep...keeping on. I have to remind myself of this every day...because I can forget every day:

Don't be lazy and make assumptions about people. Ask about their story. Then listen. Be humble. Be teachable. Be human. Be a good neighbor. It's a sad reality but our society runs on the currency of fear. Don't feed into this frenzy.

Rather, invest in faith, hope, and love.

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