Eugene Cho

“vacationing” in a place with the 4th highest murder rate in the world

Hey everyone. Thanks for your love, support, and prayers.

Minhee and I (and one of my ODW volunteer staff) are currently “vacationing” in an “urban ghetto” marked with the 4th highest murder rate in the world. We’ve taken some personal vacation time to travel to Guatemala as invited guests (for a few days) to do research, learn, and network with some NGOs for some possible future partnerships. We are spending the bulk of our time with an NGO called Lemonada International.

We’ve heard and partly witnessed some painful stories of violence, drug abuse, broken families, and the ugly cycle of extreme poverty.

There is an estimate of 60-100K people living in the urban ghetto known as La Limonada. It is an urban slum community built into a rhine that runs through Guatemala City…Many of the families live with no running water or electricity. The geographic location of the community and the sub-culture of extreme poverty have produced a lack of education and job opportunities, spiritual darkness, and unsustainable living conditions.

Having said this, we’ve witnessed some amazing stories of love, courage, and hope.  We are seeing what we’ve seen in so many places that give us hope in the fight against extreme global poverty:

Never underestimate the power of love – as it’s lived out in compassion, action, and justice.

Yes, while there are very visible expressions of poverty and brokenness, La Limonada is (as the Guatemalan founder, Tita, shared with us) a beautiful place because of the beautiful people – especially the kids. There’s no guarantee that ODW will partner with Lemonade International as we’ll need to do our due diligence but I have no reservations asking you to do me ONE BIG FAVOR and visit their website to learn more about their story.

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10 Responses

  1. Steve says:

    At your suggestion, I visited the website. There is a line on the site used to desciribe La Limonada that says: “Even Santa Claus doesn’t visit La Limonada.”

  2. Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by eugenecho: Why are we in a Guatemalan “urban ghetto” marked with the 4th highest murder rate in the world? http://bit.ly/9QwcCH

  3. danderson says:

    Eugene,
    Are you familiar with Agros? It’s an organization which works in the poorest rural areas of Mexico and Central America in agricultural and community development. They work at a grassroots level and are trying to find the root causes of poverty in the area. I think they have established close to 20 working sites in Guatemala.

    Also – just talked to the wife of a Honduran pastor friend who has gone down to Honduras on a medical mission. Even though he’s from the country, he’s amazed at the poverty and lack of basic health care in the area he went to. Near riots over medical supplies. But as the wife pointed out: poor economically but rich in spirit.

    • Eugene Cho says:

      yeah, i’m familiar with them. they’re based out of seattle and are doing some great things.

      my odw staffperson that’s on the trip with minhee and i was in guatemala three years ago to do some film shooting for a project with agros.

  4. Matt EHH says:

    Thanks for the info Eugene. Life changing stuff.

  5. […] said that, I was reading an article online on the airplane en route to Seattle from Guatemala (research trip for One Day’s Wages) about a 15 year old girl who ended up getting an abortion […]

  6. Steve says:

    I missed the last few days…and look to really pay for it.

    From the street here in Guatemala, I can assure you that Tita is the real deal, and worthy of support. Limonada is one of a number of ministries, where the wounded victims have become the nurturing healers….powerful…AND a rebuke to the powerful men in churches in Guatemala.

  7. Travis says:

    Speaking of Jesus… there’s a spirited conversation about to begin here about a controversial topic. Your opinions would be welcome there!
    http://www.reliefjournal.com/2010/03/29/does-it-matter-if-the-president-believes-in-jesus/

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One Day’s Wages

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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. I don't care if it sounds mushy but sunsets are one of my love languages. Seoul, Korea was amazing but WOW...what a breathtaking welcome back sunset by Seattle. Not ready to let go of summer.

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