Eugene Cho

“You are part of an imperfect family with imperfect parents…and where the foundation is God’s grace.”

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Dear Son: Happy Birthday to you, J!

Today, you turn the big ten. 10 years old! Double digits. Goodness gracious.

Mom and Dad love you so much. It’s difficult and perhaps impossible to fully articulate the depths of our love for you and your sisters.  We are so blessed to be your parents and I am so proud and blessed to your father. I am so proud of who you are and who you are growing to be. While I am proud of your accomplishments and how you seek to honor your parents, I am simply proud of you: The person that you are and not just what you do. Your love for God and your desire to serve Him with your life – even at such a young age –  brings so much joy. Your sisters love you. Your grandparents love you. And of course, God loves you. His love for you is vast and deep.

My hope is that through our love for you, we can give you a glimpse of God’s love for you.

Yet, you are part of an imperfect family with imperfect parents – including and especially your father. You know this very well. You’ve seen me be impatient, not be fully present, lose my temper, be moody, and the list goes on. You’ve seen me at my best and seen glimpses of my worst. In other words, you’ve seen be get angry and scream at you  for nothing you’ve done, fiddle with my smartphone while I’m talking with you, forget things and details you’ve shared with me, and sometimes, even forget my promises. You also are not perfect but I don’t have to list them here…because…well…it’s your birthday. 🙂 What I want you to know – and to know deeply and clearly – is  that despite our imperfections and selfishness, we are a family where:

We say “I’m sorry”.
We ask for forgiveness and forgive.
We reconcile and harbor no record of wrongs.
We shower each other with love and affection.
We laugh, play, and pray.
We cheer each other on.
We love one another with words and affections.
We believe and trust in God.

As clear as it is that you are in an imperfect family, it is as clear that you are in a family where God’s grace is our cornerstone and foundation.

Don’t worry…We have a nice gift for you but this – a home where God is honored, pursued, and glorified – is our ongoing gift for you (and your sisters) and we pray that you will commit this gift to your wife and children some day.

You are truly blessed because so many have poured into your life and will continue to do so. Because you have been blessed, may you learn and be compelled to live a life of blessing to God and to the nations.

I love you.

~ Dad

PS: Remember this? One of my favorite games with you. I’m sorry I choked you.

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4 Responses

  1. Steph Chang says:

    Happy Birthday J! I just love that picture… God’s blessings as you raise these beautiful children. We love your family!

  2. Penny H. says:

    Ten is one of my favorites. Happy 10.

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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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