Eugene Cho

this is the reason why i am in ministry…

If I am truly honest, there are times – every now and then – when I wonder, “Am I making a difference?”

Do you ever have doubts?

Should I continue with ministry?

[insert your questions here…]

But somehow by God’s grace, He sustains you and reminds you that despite our insufficiencies and insecurities, God can still work through your life.

I received this email this week and with permission, I share it with you in hopes of encouraging anyone who’s reading it – either because you are going through something gut wrenchingly similar to this person or if you’re wondering if your ministry, prayers, counseling, or teaching might be in vain.

To the person in deep pain:

  • Despite what you may have heard or been shown, “You are loved. You are not alone. God loves you. God is with us.”

To the pastor or ministry leader drowning in doubt:

  • Your ministry is not in vain. Keep loving, serving, teaching, and encouraging. “Feed my sheep.”

Being a pastor can be so overwhelming but it is so amazing to see Hope Restored.

This is the reason why I am in ministry:

My name is _______, and I’ve been coming out to Quest for _______.  I just wanted to email you and tell you how much your sermon today on family relationships meant to me; and I just wanted to briefly tell you of my story behind why I connected to today’s sermon so much.

I’m in my second year at the University of Washington, and I have been living with my parents all my life.  I really related to your story when you talked more about your family; perhaps I could relate because I come from a Korean background as well. Even still, I have never really heard my parents apologize to me or even tell me the simple but meaningful phrase of “I love you.”

My mother has criticized me for as long as I can remember about my body image and the appearance of beauty – she always told me (and still continues to tell me) that I am not quite “beautiful” yet and how I have much work to do to get myself to “beauty”; There hasn’t been a day where I haven’t been reminded about how I’m not as “skinny as other Korean girls.” My father criticizes me about the career choice I am studying for and always reminds me how disappointed he is about me giving up my previous hope of going into the field of pre-med; I have heard from his own mouth that I am a failure countless times.  I’ve held onto every negative thing they have thrown at me and eventually found myself feeling guilty as if perhaps I just wasn’t good enough.

In the past month and a half, the anger, guilt, and sadness inside of me had been increasingly building up because the hurtful words seemed to escalate even more.  I was so blinded with these negative feelings that I never once asked God to help chip away the hardness that I had created in my heart.  I tried to handle all the negative feelings I had kept inside on my own and it backfired; a week ago, I took a bottle of sleeping pills and I tried to end my life.  At the time I felt as though there was just too much sadness and hurt for one person to handle.

However, now I realize that we’re never alone; God has been with me the whole time – I just failed to take a closer look.  I thank God that my attempts failed since I am here today writing you this email.  When listening to your sermon today, the part that hit me was when you said that we needed to reconcile our relationships even though it may take a lot of time.  So for the first time in a while, I fell to my knees and prayed to God that he would chip the hardness of my heart away.  And I can say with all honesty that I feel him working within my heart.  I just wanted to thank you for your message today.  I also was wondering if you would pray for me and my journey of reconciliation and healing…

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13 Responses

  1. your friend says:

    I was trying to help a friend with very similar pain. As I prepared MY OWN PAIN from the past came up! That made me feel incapable of being able to help my dear sister in pain. Then God spoke to my heart that I should not attempt what on GOD can do. All I can do is to point to the HEALER! And doing this together is a comfort in itself.

  2. Ben says:

    Simply awesome. Thank you for sharing this e-mail. I pray that as a future father I may not exasperate my children, but love them for who they are. I just prayed for the person who sent the e-mail.

  3. Eric says:

    Eugene, such a great story! Thank for sharing!

  4. Colleen says:

    Thanks Eugene, what an excellent reminder.

  5. Wow. Thanks, PE. In Henri Nouwen’s book, “The Wounded Healer” he talks about how as Christians, as ministers of the gospel who “proclaim liberation [are] called not only to care for [their] own wounds and the wounds of others, but also to make [their] wounds into a major source of [their] healing power.” It sounds like God is already redeeming the story of the author of this letter.🙂

    Sister, whoever you are: Know that I am and will be praying for you. Praise Him for your life, your story, and your testimony to his transformative power. Peace be with you.

  6. Mark says:

    That’s a good reminder for doing what we have been called to do. Thanks for sharing.

  7. Josh says:

    It seems that these sorts of things always tend to find us at just the right time….good stuff.

  8. Angela N says:

    I can understand her pain. Sometimes life can be so overwhelming that you feel like there is no reason to continue. But God always finds a way to show you he is till there & that he loves us even in the midst of our pain.
    Thanks for sharing this w/ us.

  9. […] this is the reason why i am in ministry… […]

  10. Thank you for sharing this, what a powerful response to God’s power. What a great reminder to all of us, in ministry or not, that we must continue to share God’s love with others. Only He knows where and how it will work.

  11. […] this is the reason why i am in ministry… […]

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One Day’s Wages

My Instagram

Father - daughters bonding (and freezing) time at the Seahawks game. Grateful to the Panthers organization for the tickets. Now, go Hawks. Pound the Panthers. The family that karaokes together stays together. #ChoFamilyKPopFamily Family time in one of my favorite cities in the world - especially when the exchange rate is so favorable. Thank you, Vancouver, for being such a great refuge for our souls for the past 20 years. #QuestVancouver It's the day after...that day.
Be grateful. Again.
We woke up. We're alive.
Breathing. Dreaming.
Pursuing. Embodying. Loving.

It's never that perfect or easy but that we get to try to do these things is reason enough to be grateful to the One who gives us life.

Yes. Be grateful.
That you, Jesus.
#PreachingToMyself This is what real life looks like after a crazy couple weeks. Grateful for this woman. I love her. She's gonna scream at me for posting this pic. #ThoseSocksThough Grateful for the opportunity to encourage 2500 youth leaders & pastors at the @youthspecialties conference in Cincinnati, Ohio. Had prayed for wisdom to encourage leaders and courage to navigate a word for leaders post election about empathy and compassion for the unseen, marginalized, and those experiencing real fear.

Also, what a joy to have my church's youth pastor, @cobycagle, also here teaching. Some years ago, I was a youth pastor for several years in California, Korea, NY, and NJ. They were meaningful years but filled with challenges and loneliness. Sometimes, I felt unseen and insignificant - in comparison to "real" adult ministry. As a lead pastor now, I want to make sure I don't make those mistakes of overlooking our youth and children's ministry and their volunteers and staff. 
Pastor Coby, Pastor Katey, Pam, Jalle, and Jasmin: We see you. We appreciate you. We are grateful for your presence and leadership at Quest and beyond. Thank you and all of our amazing volunteers

my tweets

  • Father/daughters bonding time at the Seahawks game. Grateful to the Panthers organization for the tix. Now, go Hawk… twitter.com/i/web/status/8… || 4 hours ago
  • "Genuine hope is not blind optimism. It is hope with open eyes, which sees the suffering and yet believes in the future." ~ Jürgen Moltmann || 15 hours ago
  • They play against my Seahawks tomorrow but who cares. What a privilege to preach the Gospel at the Carolina Panther… twitter.com/i/web/status/8… || 1 day ago
  • We wait for Christ to return to restore all things but while we wait, we join and partner with God to work towards that restoration. #advent || 1 day ago
  • Washington Huskies. 2016 PAC-12 Champs! #WOOF || 2 days ago
  • If the grass feels greener on the other side, it might be the Holy Spirit reminding you to water the grass you're standing on. || 2 days ago

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