Eugene Cho

No one is a self-made person. Thank you so much for praying, believing, and investing in me.

Thank you.

No person is an island to themselves. There is no such-thing as a self-made person. Someone invested in you and that’s certainly the case with me. Many people invested in me and I hope that I can be a source of encouragement to many as well.

I’ve been blessed by your support, prayers, and encouragements.

I wanted to take a moment to thank you for your prayers for many things but for this post, to thank you for your prayers and support for One Day’s Wages, the organization that my wife and I started almost 3 years ago. Before the organization officially started, I felt like we hit bottom – starting the org was more difficult than I thought, we needed to move out of our home and was couch-surfing for couple months, I had ruptured my Achilles (the other one) and couldn’t afford surgery, and felt my leadership at Quest Church was in disarray.

But God remained faithful. Our friends remained by our side. Strangers – literally – came to our aid.

I just wanted to share a few updates that might encourage you as well – that your prayers and support have not been for naught.

Staff grows by 100%

OK. I’m just playing with numbers and it’s not as impressive as it sounds. 🙂

After having only 1 full-time staff for ODW for the first 2.5 years, we finally hired our 2nd full-time employee recently. Grateful for them and grateful for all our interns and volunteer staff.

New Office Space with a Little More Space

We’ve been meeting in a 250 square feet office since the beginning of our organization. You can imagine how tight the space must have been – especially for our monthly all staff meetings. After putting up a note on our social media channels, we were presented with several opportunities and eventually moved to a new office space.

Umm…slightly different:

  • Pioneer Square in downtown Seattle.
  • We went from 250 sq. ft. to about 25,000 square ft. Even if only have a corner of the space, it’s amazing to be in this wide-open space with a cafeteria, game room, and a table tennis room where I’ve crushed and discouraged all our staff and interns.
  • And oh…it’s free.

Iraq. Heart Surgeries. Training. Empowerment.

Yesterday, ODW launched our newest partnership. I believe it’s our 38th. This time, it’s a $10,000 matching grant with Preemptive Love to provide heart surgeries for 20 Iraqi children and 5000 hours of training for Iraqi medical professionals so that they can perform these surgeries in the future.

While I know folks will be critical about why ODW is getting involved with work and people in Iraq. My answer is very simple:

People matter to God

Turning 42. My Birthday Campaign.

Lastly, I’m turning 42 years old this Saturday. Yes, I said 42. Yes, my oldest just entered high school. Yes, I’ve ruptured both of my Achilles. Yes, there’s a a million strands of white hair growing on my face and head. Yes, my basketball playing, ankle breaking days are over.

But I’m grateful for life and for the gift of celebrating another birthday with my wife, children, parents, church, and larger community.

Thank you, anyone and everyone, who’s ever prayed for me, encouraged me, and believed in what God has been doing in my life.

If I’ve encouraged you in some way as well, I want to invite you to consider making a small contribution to my ODW Birthday Campaign. Because ODW donates 100% of all contributions to projects and partners, we raise funds separately for our operations. Thus far, we’ve raised over $1.3 million dollars and any gift you make will help us keep supporting our operations and growing our movement. Because my life philosophy is to never ask people to do something I’m not willing to do, I’m donating a week’s wages this year to the campaign.

Thanks for considering this.

But above all…

thanks for your friendship,prayers, and encouragement.

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7 Responses

  1. God is indeed faithful! Praise the Lord. He never ceases to astound us. Happy early birthday, and thank you for all of your encouragement!

  2. jonathanmontan says:

    Good updates. Keep up the great work.

  3. reJoyce says:

    FYI, when I click the link for your birthday campaign, it just goes to a page on how to create a birthday campaign.

  4. Thankful to call you a bro and friend on the journey. Happy birthday, man!

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One Day’s Wages

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Collaboration.

col·lab·o·ra·tion
kəˌlabəˈrāSH(ə)n/
noun

the action of working with someone or a group of others  to produce or create something.

May we hold our logos, egos, and tribalism have their place. May we hold them loosely for they too shall pass. May we collaborate for the sake of the greater Kingdom of God ... which endures forever. As we honor Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., don't forget the God behind the man. The one true God who deposited this dream into MLK is still speaking to us today. Are we listening?

Be courageous. Be brave.

Being invited by the King Family to speak at the MLK worship service at Ebenezer Baptist Church in 2016 remains one of the most unexpected honors of my life. On the right is his daughter, Dr. Bernice King and his sister, Dr. Christine King Farris. Walking throughstreet markets in different parts of the world is the best. Soaking in the culture. Listening to the local language and music. Enjoying the amazing cuisine. Meeting new friends. Praying for the Gospel to penetrate. #ChiangRai Blessed be the local, indigenous leaders for it is they who live in the very communities they seek to love. For it is they who understand their context and culture...better than a Westerner ever will. For it is they who will continue to tenaciously pursue a better world with hope, justice and love when visitors like me leave.

Yes, blessed be the local, indigenous leaders. What an honor and privilege to celebrate with the on-the-ground local @thefreedomstory team to celebrate the recent opening of their Education and Resource Center for the local youth in Chiang Rai, Thailanf. This was made possible through a partnership and matching grant by @onedayswages and The Freedom Story.

While it was an honor to be there to cut the cord and say a few words, this is an example of collaboration. Much love to the Freedom Story team including their co-founders Tawee Donchai and @Rachel Goble, to their staff who live in the community, who understand their context and culture, and who tenaciously pursue a better world with hope, justice and love. And of course, much love to the students themselves for they each matter. Finally, to each person that donated to @onedayswages to make this grant possible.

May hundreds and even thousands of youth be impacted, encouraged, and mentored. May they capture a glimpse of God's love for them.

Photo: @benjaminedwards Part 2 on my wrestling with the complex issue of human trafficking. In part, documenting my trip to Thailand for @onedayswages...to listen, learn, and visit one of our partner orgs @thefreedomstory. More to come.

There's such painful and poignant irony in pursuing justice...unjustly. One way we do this is when we reduce people into projects...and thus, propagating the dangerous power dynamic of US as heroes and THEM as helpless and exclusively as victims. So dangerous.

Human trafficking is not just an issue. It’s ultimately, about people. Depending on the sources of statistics, there are anywhere from 29-40 million people in some form of forced labor and slavery, including sex trafficking.

And one thing I’ve learned, personally, is how easy it is easy to reduce people into projects which is why mutuality, reciprocity, and dignity are so vital. These are critical because God never intended people to be reduced into projects.

We forget this and we indirectly foster a culture and system of victimization or worse, the pornification of the poor or in this case, "the trafficked." And when you start dehumanizing the poor or trafficked, you have no genuine desire to build relationships with them. You believe or build stereotypes in broad strokes, singular, black and white narratives that have been told about them. You believe the lie that they have nothing to teach us and are incapable of contributing to the larger society.

Lord, break our hearts for the things that break your heart. Give us eyes to see others through your eyes. Give us humility so that we acknowledge our own need to learn and grow. (Photo via @thefreedomstory)

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