Eugene Cho

the most difficult year of my life

Since everything is so current, I may be biased but 2009 has been one of the most (if not the most) difficult year of my life – and yet, incredibly formative for the reasons I share below.

How was this past year for you?

As part of our human inclination and disposition, we make plans and we do all that we can to pursue those plans. Things turn bad when some of those plans don’t come to pass. Things suck when everything feels it’s moving in the opposite trajectory of what you hoped for.

In their hearts human beings plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps. Proverbs 16:9

To list a few challenging things in 2009:

  • Absolutely bizarre but someone managed to hack into our ATM card and emptied out our account as we began 2009. We managed to work with the bank to get most if it back but it was so weird.
  • Two of my closest church staff moved on from staff. One is still at Quest but is traveling the world with his wife (lucky jerk) and the other moved on to greener pastures to plant her own church in Seattle (lucky jerkette). Thankful for them but emotional nevertheless.
  • I ruptured my Achillesthe other one. It really hurt – physically and emotionally. I officially retired from basketball and relinquished any ambitions to be the first 39 year old rookie in the NBA.
  • My wife practically became a full time student and that was exhilarating for me to see her soar, fly, and pursue her passions…but it was tough on our collective schedules. Really tough.
  • Financial pressures galore this past year as we sought to honor our pledge of donating our year’s salary to One Day’s Wages. Who in the world could have anticipated the financial crisis? The lowest point: Being quasi-homeless and couch surfing for 8 weeks. Thankfully, we had dear friends who took us in. Thank God for friends.
  • Had one of the scariest experiences of my life when our eldest daughter (food allergies) had a bad reaction and resulted in us doing what we feared the most: injecting her with an epi-pen and the ER when she began to have difficulty breathing.
  • It felt like numerous folks questioned my leadership, sensibility, and integrity or at least that’s how I felt. But then again, how could they not? But it was tough – really tough. And after awhile, I began to question myself until Grace sunk in again. In my weakness, He became my sufficience again.

Yeah, I think it was the most difficult year. But as the year winds down, I can’t convey how grateful and blessed I feel. Why?

We made it through. I feel like my family and I endured the eye of the storm but nevertheless, our love, respect, and care for one another has only grown. My faith, trust, and love for Christ not only endured these trials but only grew deeper. I was humbled this past year and learned to trust again, rest again, and rely again

I share all these things to give God glory for the ways that He works in my life – even the ones I dislike –  and in some way or another, to a be a source of honest encouragement to you.

And I have this strange feeling in my gut (that’s also hard to explain)…

that 2010 and beyond are going to provide some of the most abundant and fruitful years for me, my marriage and family, and my ministries and leadership.

A videographer from Recycle Your Faith swung by Seattle several weeks ago and interviewed me about life. It was a fairly long chat but here’s one of the clips about things not turning out as you expect…

Filed under: , , , ,

16 Responses

  1. Janet says:

    I agree. You had a pretty sucky year. May the Lord continue to bless you.

  2. luke says:

    i always appreciate the reflection process at the end of a year–something that quite possibly could be more important and impacting than any resolutions about the upcoming new year. at the very least your resolutions will be much richer coming out of significant reflection. thank you for the reminder to look back on the year.

    2008 was quite possibly the worst year of my life, and i remember sitting on the verge of 2009 literally cursing the past year. but now as i think over 2009 in hindsight, God has really shaped some things and made this year a true blessing. not only that, but much has happened that helps color 2008 in a better light because i understand more and see with greater perspective.

    i guess my question though is if things hadn’t have gotten better, would i still appreciate 2008? if things do not turn for you in 2010 will you still feel thankful and blessed? do we define our bad times only through the lens of future goodness? just questions i suppose–not too much sense to them.

  3. Wow. It seems that you and I as well as some of my closest friends have the same observation about 2009. This year was marked by hope and then crashed into grief and financial disaster. I just posted last night about trying to redeem the entire year by seeing what God has taught me throughout the year.

    You’re right: we made it through. To God be the glory when I don’t understand the story.

  4. Eugene,

    Thanks for everything. I had a great visit.

    Like I said, those shiny and spirit-lifting skyscrapers would not stand long if it isn’t for the depth of their foundations. Sounds like that’s what God has been doing with you in 2009. I am totally looking forward to praying with you throughout and enjoying with you your 2010.

  5. Matt says:

    your faithfulness to your commitments and convictions inspire. thank you.

  6. Kacie says:

    Eugene, I just want you to know that I find great encouragement in your blog and your ministry. You mentioned that you felt many questioned you, and you know, the more publicly active you become, the more those questions will come. You are human, you and your humanity will be on display.

    I personally find your honesty and your pursuit of truth and passionate service and sacrifice to be a huge encouragement and challenge. I DO see you as a person, with flaws. I’m glad, though. I’d much rather watch the example of a flawed person than a false facade.

    Thank you, brother.

  7. Rebecca says:

    There is always pain involved in bringing new things into being-just think of this year as labor pains! The blessings and fruit will come!

    2009 was a worst and best year. Obviously best because I met and married my husband, but health issues have been the worst of my life. Mono, allergies, eye infections, skin infections, you name it. Looking forward to good health in 2010!

  8. For me this year has been one of the most difficult, and yet the best of my life. There have been a constant stream of trials and problems, and yet God has shown Himself strong through it all, and brought me through it all. Glory to His awesome name!

  9. chrisbscott25 says:

    Thanks for your endurance and your faith in trusting your very family to God. Its been an inspiring and challenging story to watch from a distance (San Francisco), but please know Eugene, that through your story God is working…. Thank you, thanks to God. Kyrie eleison, Christi eleison!

  10. Kris says:

    These last two months have been personally difficult (and for Scot too as my spouse) as I have had two cancer scares which resulted in two biopsies (breast and uterine) and a day surgery. Thankfully, just today I have been given a clean bill of health with respect to these two matters and ultimately both biopsies came back cancer-free. It has given me a new respect and empathy for friends and acquaintences who are going through cancer treatment. The anxiety that goes along with this whole process of biopsy, waiting for the results, etc. is quite wearing on the soul.

  11. Tyler says:

    It has truly been amazing to see tough things come your way all year long and yet God’s provision has been steady as well.

  12. […] Last year was tough but I learned so much and look forward to the adventures and lessons for the upcoming year: […]

  13. […] Eugene Cho, author of the blog beauty and depravity.  I love reading his blog because Eugene is so transparent and open.  He is a courageous and compassionate person who is an inspiration to me.  I have to admit that […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

stuff, connect, info

One Day’s Wages

My Instagram

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)

my tweets

JOIN ME ON FACEBOOK

advertisements

Blog Stats

  • 3,442,760 hits