Eugene Cho

film screening: ‘crossing’ into north korea

Simple invitation: Join me to watch this award winning film – Crossing – at Q Cafe.  Here’s the FaceBook Invitation.

Awareness can not be underestimated.  One of my goals in life is to raise awareness and then see if and how people respond.  I can’t control that response but I can work towards raising awareness.

There are certainly many issues but one that is still hidden to much of  the consciousness of the larger world is the grave suffering and injustices in North Korea.  And yes, it is close to my heart because North Korea is where my ancestors are from.

The special screening of the film – CROSSING – co-sponsored by Q Cafe and Quest Church on Monday, May 4 @ 7pm.  Every person that I know that have seen the film says it is incredible.  It was considered for an Oscar nomination for Best Foreign Film in 2009 and stars an actor I respect immensely – Cha In Pyo – not just for his talent but for his compelling altruism and humanitarian efforts.  Tickets are ONLY $5 and $3/students but if you can’t afford it for whatever reason, I will comp your ticket.  ALL proceeeds go to support the work compassion and justice in North Korea. You can buy the tickets here.  We are partnering with Liberty in North Korean [LiNK].  They will also be present at the film screening to introduce the film and conduct some Q/A.

Here’s the 2 minute trailer:

And a brief synoposis of the film:

Yong-soo lives in a small coal-mine village in North Korea with his wife and young son. Although living in extreme poverty, the family is happy just to be with each other. Then one day, Yong-soo’s pregnant wife becomes critically ill. Let alone medicine, Yong-soo can’t even find food for her in North Korea. So he secretly crosses the borders of China hoping to find the medicine for his wife. After many life threatening moments in China, Yong-soo is forced into South Korea, becoming an unwanted refugee prohibited to return to his family. Meanwhile, his wife passes away leaving their young son alone in desperation. With no one to turn to, his young son sets out to find his father not knowing where or how to find him.

photo56935

We are partnering with Liberty in North Korean [LiNK].  They will also be present at the film screening to introduce the film and conduct some Q/A.

For those that don’t know, my great grandfather was one of the first christians in a village nearby Pyongyang. God’s grace was poured over his entire family but they experienced intense persecution because of their faith. As a result of the persecution, his family “escaped” with his entire family from what it now known to the world as North Korea. My father was five during this time and the stories he shares don’t seem real. Not everyone in his family survived that journey southward that one chaotic night.

NK as some may know is one of the most isolated nations and subsequently, some of the gravest human rights violations and suffering go unnoticed – including approximately 200,000 Christians that are in prison labor camps simply because of their faith in Christ.

Some day, I will return to North Korea. Some day, I will return to the birthplace of my ancestors; the birthplace of my father and mother. We still have family in North Korea…that is, if they are still alive. We do not know. Some day, I will return with my wife and children to not only proclaim and demonstrate the gospel of Jesus Christ but the good news of human dignity that must be afforded to all people. 13 years ago, I climbed Mt. Baekdusan at the border of China and North Korea and prayed for an opportunity some day to return home. I echo that prayer again.

Some day, I will return to Korea but for now, I must pray and raise awareness. Please join me.

And while you pray, please keep Euna Lee and Laura Ling in your prayers as these American journalists were detained by North Korea couple days ago and are still in holding.

gview

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For those that are interested in helping me spread the word in the larger Seattle area, I have several promotional materials.  Please let a comment here and I’ll forward them your way.

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17 Responses

  1. myclue says:

    That movie is on my to-watch list now. It gave me shivers.

  2. john choi says:

    Hey Eugene, we (Tacoma Central Presbyterian Church) would like to get the word out here in the Tacoma area. Please send us materials to pass out and post it in our community.

    Thanks,
    john

  3. eugenecho says:

    @john: sweet.

    @everyone:

    don’t forget to keep euna lee and laura ling in your prayers. these are american journalists that were taken into custody and are still being detained by NK.

    http://www.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/asiapcf/03/19/n.korea.us.journalists/index.html

  4. leebenvic says:

    We would be very interested in helping to promote this…

  5. Chris says:

    Thank you for bringing this to our attention.

  6. Jin says:

    My parents also are from what is today North Korea. My mom’s grandfather was also an early Christian from Pyongyang, my grandfather a minister. My own father grew up in Wonsan, and as a 16 year old fought in the North Korean army during the war. He was badly injured in an attack by American planes, and ironically his whole family was saved and safely brought to South Korea by a generous American officer. Some unbelievable stories of grace I’d love to share someday.
    Korea is a nation of one, not two. We are not a people divided on ethnic or cultural lines, but simply split by the 38th latitude N. But I have to say as the years pass, people have forgotten especially South Koreans. Most South Koreans really don’t care anymore as I’ve experienced in my time there. Most don’t consider the North to be part of the family, more like the black sheep that is a burden to the rest. Not all their fault, 55 years of empty threats and cynicism could do that to you. I hope, though, we continue to hear the cries, spread the message, and show the love.

  7. Vince says:

    Count me in for support, that is a very moving story. As a father I can’t imagine having my family going through even half of this struggle for survival.

  8. Samuel Son says:

    I feel that the NK issue will be the defining “call” for us 2nd Gen Korean-Americans. Our bi-cultural experience (having u.s. citizenship and resources with a yellow skin-to put it crudely) can potentially make us more more responsive as well as more responsible and effective with our responses. Rev. John Parker who was at NK last summer noted that the NK people and officials were more responsive to 2ndGen K-A because we were not americans and we were not South Koreans (both enemies of the state). Ironic that it is what we are not (which caused our identity crisis in the first place) is what comes to define us (what might help us with out identity, an identity connected with mission). But then, when you consider the call of Moses, we see this paradox and irony as the divine logic, that God answers the plight of the Israelites through Moses, himself an Egyptian-Jew who was hiding from that conflict in the desert only to be called for that very reason.
    we are putting together some showings with LiNK here is Phoenix area too…

  9. Alex Oh says:

    Pastor Eugene, do you know if Link will be selling the DVD after the showing? I’d like to purchase a copy for my parents to watch.

  10. Charles Lee says:

    Glad to hear that you will be showing it. Our church will be hosting a screening in LA on May 9th.

  11. eugenecho says:

    @alex oh: yes, i believe so.

    @everyone: the best way to help us promote this event is to invite people or post the event via Facebook or Twitter:

    http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=66135062018

  12. eugenecho says:

    @jin: thanks for sharing your story. i haven’t stopped thinking about what you wrote.

    @samuel son: i agree. it’s not the only but certainly the onus is on us. we are absolutely and clearly failing. and sadly, it’s worse in south korea.

    resources to promote the event here in Seattle:

    here’s my blog entry:
    https://eugenecho.wordpress.com/2009/03/25/film-screening-crossing-into-north-korea/

    here’s the event link:
    http://www.seattlequest.org/civicrm/event/info?reset=1&id=11

    here’s the FB event:
    http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=66135062018

    thanks. look forward to seeing you there.

    e

  13. daphne says:

    Pastor E
    If you have any more promotional info, I’m happy to pass them around to places in West Seattle. If so, Jason and I can pick them up this Sunday at the 9am service. I’ll also put it on my facebook.

  14. Dan Hwang says:

    Hey Pastor Eugene: long time no talk. I saw you a few years back at Quest. We kept in touch since you left Princeton Seminary. I’m still in Seattle area. I’ve ALWAYS wanted to see this movie and finally my wife is bringing a copy as she flies home from Korea tomorrow. I’d like to support you on this in whatever way possible. Let’s email/talk (310-469-3718) or we could meet up for lunch/breakfast etc. Blessings: Dan

  15. Ariana Yuen says:

    Dear Eugene,
    I am organizing a charity art auction (in Hong Kong) in which all the proceeds will go to help one of LiNK’s older projects, SEEDS. I also wanted to show a film and was planning on showing a National Geographic film called “Inside North Korea” before I heard about this one, the crossing. I tried to buy “Crossing” before I left the U.S. (4 days ago) but it must have already sold out on the LiNK store website. Do you have any extra copies you could possibly send me? I can pay for express shipping if needed. If it’s possible, I would like to have the dvd asap (sometime in the next week) because the art auction is nearing! Please e-mail me at ariana.yuen@gmail.com if you can help. Thanks!

  16. Seon Park says:

    Hi There,

    I’m writing from WakingUp Media, producer of Crossing.

    Please note, if you would like to purchase a copy for your organization to host a public screening, you must be granted permission from WakingUp Media and you must purchase an institutional copy of Crossing for $250.00. If you would like to purchase a private copy please go to our website at http://www.crossingnk.com.

    Thank you,

    Seon Park
    WakingUp Meida

  17. Connie Kim says:

    Hey Eugene. LiNK actually held a screening @ my university last year. and i remember having one of the promotional cards that had the picture above on the front and a picture of the military’s portion to rice compared to the children. and i am actually doing a speech on starvation in north korea. and i was wondering if you could possible send me a link or a picture of both sides to the promotional card for the crossing? i think it would make my speech a whole lot better. thanks so much!

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It appears I brought a little Seattle to the NYC. Drizzle fest. 24 hour gathering with a small group of leaders from around the country. Learning. Listening. Asking hard questions. Head exploding. Heart trying to have hope. As I soaked in this breathtaking sunrise this morning above the clouds, I felt compelled to pray for so my places in America and around the world that are experiencing such pain, heartache, injustice, and violence. At times, it feels so overwhelming but in prayer, I was reminded of these words from John 16:33. As we keep striving, working, hoping, preaching, loving, truthtelling, reconciling, repenting, forgiving, dismantling, peacemaking, Kingdom building...may we fix our eyes on Christ: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” - John 16:33 Grateful for a very full weekend of ministry and preaching in Toronto, Canada (GTA). Such a privilege to partner with @worldvisioncan @wvcollective to advocate for the most vulnerable around the world. God is so gracious. A true honor to meet and encourage local pastors, lecture at Tyndale University & Seminary (photo), and preach at Richmond Hills Community Church, Compass Point Bible Church, and New City Church. Thank you, Lord, that you use broken and imperfect people like me to speak of Your love. Today, Minhee and I dropped off our eldest child at her college. We have been thinking and praying about this day for many years. On some days, we hoped it would never come. On other days, we couldn't wait for it to come. On some days, we prayed for time to stop and other days, we prayed with anticipation. 
After an entire summer of laughing it off, it hit us...hard...this week. Seeing all of her stuff laid out on the basement floor was the catalyst to a load of emotions.

After unloading the car and taking her stuff to her new home for this year and mindful that she might never live with us again; helping sort out her stuff, saying hello to her roommates...I wasn't sure what to do or say.

A flood of thoughts rushed my mind.

Is she ready?
Have we done enough?
Have we taught her enough? 
What if this? What if that?

And so we shared what we have shared with her the moment she began to understand words: "Remember who you are. Remember WHO you belong to. Remember what you're about. God loves you so much. Please hold God's Word and His promises close and dear to your heart. We love you so much and we are so proud of you." And with that, we said goodbye. Even if she may not be thousands of miles away, this is a new chapter for her and even for us. I kept it composed. Her roommate was staring at me. I didn't want to be that father. I have street cred to uphold. Another final hug. 
And I came home.
And I wept.
Forget my street cred.
I miss her. I love her.
She will always be my little baby.

I'm no parenting guru. I just laughed as I wrote that line. No, I'm stumbling and bumbling along but I'd love to share an ephiphany I learned not that long ago. Coming to this realization was incredibly painful but simultaneously, liberating. To be honest, it was the ultimate game-changer in my understanding as a parent seeking after the heart of God.

While there are many methods, tools, philosophies, and biblical principles to parenting, there is – in my opinion – only one purpose or destination.

Our purpose as parents is to eventually…release them. Send forth. For His glory. Met a friend and fellow pastor who I haven't seen in over 20 years. In him, I saw a glimpse of my future. While only 10 years older, his kids are married and he's now a grandfather of 3. His love for his wife and family were so evident and his passion for the Gospel has not wavered. It was so good to see someone a bit older still passionately serving the Lord with such joy and faithfulness. Lord, help me to keep running the race for your Glory. Happy wife.
Happy life. - Eugenius 3:16

I still remember that time, many years ago, when Minhee was pregnant with our first child. She had left her family and friends in Korea just two years before. Her morning sickness was horrible and when she finally had an appetite, she craved her favorite Korean food from certain restaurants in her neighborhood in Seoul, Korea. I had no way of getting that food from those restaurants so I actually said, "How about a Whopper? Big Mac?" Sorry honey. Eat away. You deserve it.

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