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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In our culture, we can be so obsessed with the "spectacular" or "glamorous." The Church often engagws in thia language and paradigm...but what if God has called many of us to small, ordinary things?

Will we still be faithful?
Will we still go about such things with great love and joy?

I recently came across this picture taken by @mattylew, one of our church staff...and I started tearing up: This is my mother; in her 70s; with realities of some disabilities that make it difficult for her to stand up and sit down...but here she is on her knees and prostate in prayer. She doesn't have any social media accounts, barely knows how to use her smartphone, doesn't have a platform, hasn't written a book, doesn't have any titles in our church, isn't listed as a leader or an expert or a consultant or a guru. But she simply seeks to do her best - by God's grace - to be faithful to God. She prays for hours every day inteceding for our family, our church, and the larger world.

Even if we're not noticed or celebrated or elevated...let's be faithful. Our greatest calling as followers of Christ is to be faithful. Not spectacular. Not glamorous. Not popular. Not relevant. And not even successful in the eyes of the world.

Be faithful. Amen. #notetoself (and maybe helpful for someone else)

At times, we have to say ‘NO’ to good things to say ‘YES’ to the most important things.

We can't do it all.
Pray and choose wisely.
Then invest deeply. May our compassion not just be limited to the West or to those that look like us. Lifting up the people of Iraq, Iran, and Kurdistan in prayer after the 7.3 earthquake - including the many new friends I met on a recent trip to Iraq.

The death toll rises to over 400 and over 7,000 injured in multiple cities and hundreds of villages along the Western border with Iraq.

Lord, in your mercy... We are reminded again and again...that we are Resurrection People living in a Dark Friday world.

It's been a tough, emotional, and painful week - especially as we lament the horrible tragedy of the church shootings at Sutherland Springs. In the midst of this lament, I've been carried by the hope, beauty, and promise of our baptisms last Sunday and the raw and honest testimonies of God's mercy, love, and grace.

Indeed, God is not yet done. May we take heart for Christ has overcome the world. "Without genuine relationships with the poor, we rob them of their dignity and they become mere projects. And God did not intend for anyone to become our projects." Grateful this quote from my book, Overrated, is resonating with so many folks - individuals and  NGOs. / design by @preemptivelove .
May we keep working 
on ourselves 
even as we seek 
to change the world. 
To be about the latter 
without the former 
is the great temptation 
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