Eugene Cho

my greatest fear and joy

When you turn 40 years old, you’re not sure if you should be looking back or looking forward. I know in my head that it’s supposed to be both as both the past and the future are significant and meaningful

But in doing so, I’ve also learned that if I’m not wise and careful, I can be so immersed in the past or the future that I may miss out on the gift of the present.

In fact, one of my constant reminders to myself – especially as a father and husband is:

to be present…

One of my biggest fears is waking up one morning and realize that I’m on my physical death bed.  And as I reflect on my life, I have regrets about my family – particularly with my children.  Or simply, that it all went by so quick – and I missed it – or rather, I missed them growing up.

There are days like this week when I cannot believe how big my children are and how fast they are growing.  Minhee and I feel so privileged to be the parents to our three children.  And this past weekend, we celebrated our 2nd child’s birthday.  TC is now into double digits as she marks 10 years.

Oh.my.gosh.

My oldest child is now 5 years away from college.

Oh.my.gosh.er.

We obviously love all of our children but TC has a special place in our hearts because she was born at one of the lowest points of my life. We had left our previous church months ago with the conviction and call to plant a church but we had no idea how difficult the new year would be:

  • I was unemployed and had been looking for work for several months
  • we were financially broke
  • the kids were on foods stamps and the WIC program
  • I felt like a failure for letting down my wife and kids since I felt like I couldn’t provide for them
  • the job I eventually got was working as a custodian at a retail store
  • I had grown increasingly angry and frustrated about not being able to get Quest Church off the ground

Mostly, I was angry because I had “lost” control over my life.

When TC was born, it was like a “miraculous” birth.  She was born in about 4 minutes after Minhee laid on the hospital bed.  There were no drugs, no epidural, and no doctor.  She experienced sharp pain, pushed several times, and the next thing you know, the nurse and I – in panic and frenzy – saw the crown, then the body, and then Minhee and I cried like we’ve never cried before.  We sensed God speaking to us so intimately:

I love you.  I am with you.  I have not forgotten you.

Enough of my existential ponderings and looking back.  No need to live in fear but to live in joy, contentment and to enjoy God and all of life’s blessings in the here and now.

Thank you God for the gift of our children.  Minhee and I want to treasure, nurture, and enjoy them.

And be fully present in their lives.

Thank you, T, for the constant reminder you are to us of God’s grace…

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12 Responses

  1. Daniel says:

    Thanks for this. I really needed to read this today.

  2. Sejin says:

    Loved it. Your child is beautiful!

  3. Ian Ebright says:

    Dude. i really, really relate. this season you’ve shared- your down and out years, has stuck with me over time. it’s incredibly raw and moving Story, and it preaches effortlessly, as does this post.

    really beautiful.

  4. teresa says:

    Beautifully put! A certain little grandbaby reminds me of many of the same things….
    Thanks for a beautiful glimpse into your heart and your very fortunate family.

  5. Wayne Park says:

    tho my kids are smaller, I can relate to a LOT in this post, specially those bullet points. Must be why we’re kindred spirits

  6. Laurel says:

    Oh man. The second photo of T, with her hand on her hat, is about the cutest thing ever, and she looks so much like Minhee. Awesome.

  7. Jason says:

    My oldest recently turned 7, and I had some of the same reflections.

  8. bnhickory says:

    Thanks Eugene, we are feeling like we are amidst one of the hardest times for us. It is always so much more beautiful to talk about the hard times than to go through them. Knowing God is still there, helps us to move forward, even if its a little at a time.
    B&N

    • Eugene Cho says:

      B&N, i’m sorry to hear that you guys are going through one of those “hardest times.” if i had a private jet, i’d be there in a sec. we’re so proud of you and are continuing to lift you up in prayers in tanzania.

  9. Kathryn says:

    Very special, PE.

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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… || 20 hours 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." || 21 hours 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 || 3 days ago
  • Back safely from Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan to assess @OneDaysWages' partnerships & to film mini-documentary on refugee crisis. So many emotions. || 3 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. || 3 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