Eugene Cho

i left my heart in guatemala

As most of you know, Minhee and I spent several days in Guatemala last week to do some research and networking for our personal growth and for ODW. Even despite my brief time and limited exposure, I think I left my heart in Guatemala.

Guatemala is a beautiful country but like every place, it has both examples of beauty and depravity. During our few days there, we spent the majority of our daytime with an NGO called Lemonade International and our evening with a host family who treated us to some amazing Gautemalan food and company. For a few hours on one day, we had a chance to visit Antigua.

Here are some pictures:

Bullet holes in so many places in the “urban ghetto slum” we were visiting called La Limonada. Zones 4, 5, and 6 has the 4th highest murder rate in the world. Here’s an example of one bullet hole in someone’s door.

This picture is from a photographer from Lemonade International as I didn’t take a good shot of the barrios that give a perspective of  La Limonada.

Beautiful children. Seriously…they had so much joy. [Notice another bullet hole in the background]. Lemonade International was running two after school programs in 2 barrios. Minhee and I enjoyed our time in the classes. Keep the kids off the streets – away from harm, violence, and drugs.

Okay, I was trying to get my photographer thing going on since I’ve mentioned that I want to enjoy photography as a new hobby. With the exception of the first picture, the rest were taken in Antigua.

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10 Responses

  1. YEAH! I got to read this whole post in my RSS Reader! WOot WOot!

    And such beautiful pictures to boot!

  2. koo says:

    you’ve definitely got an eye for it! nice stuff PE!

  3. danderson says:

    I understand that 80 percent of Guatemala’s rural indigenous population lives in severe poverty. It’s an incredibly beautiful land with great people who are industrious and work very hard. Lake Atitlan has been a very large tourist destination, including many “hippy” types from the Europe and the U.S. There are pockets of wealth, but the overwhelming majority live out their lives in quiet desperation.

  4. Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by lemonadeintl: RT @EugeneCho: I ain’t no @EstherHavens @jeremycowart @coreyhage or @chenleo but here are my pics from Guatemala: http://bit.ly/dthLS2

  5. Jeff says:

    Tita is an amazing women and her team of teachers is awesome. The work they are doing there is a true witness to the the grace and love of God. My wife has been there 3 times and I have been there 1. We support Tita and her schools by sponsoring 2 girls through Lemonade International.

  6. Doug "dad" Holderman says:

    Eugene, I enjoyed being in the Quest 9:15 service with my son Nick. Thanks for greeting us! Quest is a great church and God is present and at work in a big way. We celebrate His grace with you, Doug

  7. Eugene, thanks so much to you and Minhee for investing your “vacation” in a community we love so much! Our team was honored to host you and we look forward to the possibility of a partnership with ODW. Regardless we are very excited about the work you are doing and look forward to supporting ODW and spreading the word about the grassroots movement. Great news on reaching the $100K goal!!

  8. […] i left my heart in guatemala Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)Craig S. Keener on the Historical Jesus and the GospelsSailhamer’s Magnum OpusCraig Blomberg In Search of the Historical JesusThe End of the Road for the Historical Jesus Quest […]

  9. […] been an eventful couple months already with a trip to Haiti and Guatemala but each year, my church’s Elder Board graciously allows me to travel a certain amount of […]

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One Day’s Wages

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Grateful. Still reflecting on the letters that I've received from classmates and students that have come before me and after me. Never imagined all that God would have in store for me. Lots of humbling things but in the midst of them, there were literally thousands upon thousands of daily decisions and choices to be faithful. That's what matters. Seen or unseen. Noticed or unnoticed. You do your best and sometimes you stumble and fumble along but nevertheless, seeking to be faithful.

Also, you know you're getting old when your school honors you with a Distinguished Alumni Award. Lol. 47 is the new 27. Or something like that. Here's to the next 47. 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

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