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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stuff, connect, info

One Day’s Wages

My Instagram

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 Took a train to Busan. Did not encounter any zombies but I was ready just in case.

Busan. First visit to this city (couple weeks ago) and was blown away by its beauty. Also, shocked that it has become the fifth largest containment port city in the world. That's a lot of import and export.

#MyAttemptToBeTheBestSmartphonePhotographer 
#Pusan #SouthKorea

my tweets

  • 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. || 22 hours ago
  • Father, bless these Iraqi and Syrian refugee children that have already endured so much. As we pray, teach us how t… twitter.com/i/web/status/9… || 2 days ago
  • Pray for Iraq. Pray for persecuted Church, minority groups (Yezidis) and Muslims alike who are suffering under ISIS: instagram.com/p/BZF2j6Ngrna/ || 2 days ago
  • "We don't call them refugees. We call them relatives. We don't call them camps but centers. Dignity is so important." - a local Iraqi priest || 3 days ago
  • I've been traveling through Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan. Meeting local pastors/leaders, NGOs, and refugees. Join us on IG… twitter.com/i/web/status/9… || 3 days ago
  • Seeking justice is part of our discipleship. In other words, seek justice not just to change the world...but to be changed more like Christ. || 6 days ago