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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stuff, connect, info

One Day’s Wages

My Instagram

Back safely from Iraq, Lebanon, and Jordan. Thanks for your prayers. 
I have numerous stories to share but for now, the following came up in every conversation with Iraqi/Syrian refugees:

1 Have tea with us. Or coffee. Or juice. Or something with lots of sugar in it. Or better yet, all of the above.
2 We want peace. We want security. 
3 We hate ISIS. 
4 We just want to go home.
5 Please don't forget us.

Please don't forget them... Father, please bless and protect these Iraqi and Syrian "refugee" children that have already endured so much. Protect their hearts and mind from unfathomable trauma. Plant seeds of hope and vision in their lives. And as we pray for them, teach us how to advocate for them. Amen. "We don't call them refugees. We call them relatives. We don't call them camps but centers. Dignity is so important." -  local Iraqi priest whose church has welcomed many "relatives" to their church's property

It's always a privilege to be invited into peoples' home for tea - even if it's a temporary tent. This is an extended Yezidi family that fled the Mosul, Iraq area because of ISIS. It's indeed true that Christians were targeted by ISIS and thatbstory muat be shared but other minority groups like the Yezidis were also targeted. Some of their heartbreaking stories included the kidnapping of their sister. They shared that their father passed away shortly of a "broken heart." The conversation was emotional but afterwards, we asked each other for permission to take photos. Once the selfies came out, the real smiles came out.

So friends: Pray for Iraq. Pray for the persecuted Church. Pray for Christians, minority groups like the Yezidis who fear they will e completely wiped out in the Middle East,, and Muslims alike who are all suffering under ISIS. Friends: I'm traveling in the Middle East this week - Iraq, Lebanon, and Jordan. (Make sure you follow my pics/stories on IG stories). Specifically, I'm here representing @onedayswages to meet, learn, and listen to pastors, local leaders, NGOs, and of course directly from refugees from within these countries - including many from Syria.

For security purposes, I haven't been able to share at all but I'm now able to start sharing some photos and stories. For now, I'll be sharing numerous photos through my IG stories and will be sharing some longer written pieces in couple months when ODW launches another wave of partnerships to come alongside refugees in these areas. Four of us are traveling together also for the purpose of creating a short documentary that we hope to release early next year.

While I'm on my church sabbatical, it's truly a privilege to be able to come to these countries and to meet local pastors and indigenous leaders that tirelessly pursue peace and justice, and to hear directly from refugees. I've read so many various articles and pieces over the years and I thought I was prepared but it has been jarring, heartbreaking,  and gut wrenching. In the midst of such chaos, there's hope but there's also a lot of questions, too.

I hope you follow along as I share photos, stories, and help release this mini-documentary. Please tag friends that might be interested.

Please pray for safety, for empathy, for humility and integrity, for divine meetings. Pray that we listen well; To be present and not just be a consumer of these vulnerable stories. That's my biggest prayer.

Special thanks to @worldvisionusa and @worldrelief for hosting us on this journey. 9/11
Never forget.
And never stop working for peace.

Today, I had some gut wrenching and heart breaking conversations about war, violence, and peacemaking. Mostly, I listened. Never in my wildest imagination did I envision having these conversations on 9/11 of all days. I wish I could share more now but I hope to later after I process them for a few days.

But indeed: Never forget.
And never stop working for peace.
May it be so. Amen. Mount Rainier is simply epic. There's nothing like flying in and out of Seattle.

#mountrainier
#seattle
#northwestisbest

my tweets

  • Boom. Final fishing trip. Grateful. A nice way to end my 3 month sabbatical. #catchandrelease twitter.com/i/web/status/9… || 1 day ago
  • Christians: May we be guided by the Scriptures that remind us, "Seek first the Kingdom of God" and not, "Seek first the kingdom of America." || 1 day ago
  • Every convo with Iraqi/Syrian refugees included: 1 Have tea with us 2 We want peace 3 We hate ISIS 4 We want to go home 5 Don't forget us || 4 days ago
  • Back safely from Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan to assess @OneDaysWages' partnerships & to film mini-documentary on refugee crisis. So many emotions. || 4 days ago
  • Pray for Mexico. For those mourning loved ones. For those fighting for life - even under rubbles. For rescue workers. Lord, in your mercy. || 4 days ago
  • Don't underestimate what God can do through you. God has a very long history of using foolish and broken people for His purposes and glory. || 6 days ago