Eugene Cho

When your daughter’s name means “Joy of God” and yet, joy becomes the biggest challenge. #HappyBirthdayJubilee

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It’s hard to believe but it’s true. Time doesn’t stop for anyone. While I think I still kinda sorta wanna look young, I’m reminded how old I’m getting when I see my children. Today, my eldest child celebrates her 16th birthday.

Her name is Jubilee and her name means the “Joy of God.”

Jubilee also has a very powerful Scriptural meaning. It’s referenced in the Book of Leviticus where it is to “occur every fiftieth year, in which slaves and prisoners would be freed, debts would be forgiven and the mercies of God would be particularly manifest.” We pray that our daughter lives into both of these meanings.

It’s been particularly hard because joy has often become the biggest challenge for her. It would not be appropriate for me to broadcast her life story because it’s not for me to tell and I know that when she’s ready, she’ll share her story with the rest of the world…and it’ll be raw, painful, honest, and beautiful. But without going into much details, she has struggled through an illness (along with severe food allergies) through her entire life. It has been painful and difficult. We have been to the hospital more this past year than in recent years combined.

Yet, she has wrestled to find that joy and rest in God. Yes, she has wrestled with God. There are good days and there are bad days.

But this is why her faith in Christ … has such honesty and realness – and it humbles and inspires me. It’s real.

And I’m especially proud of her that as she celebrates her 16th birthday, she’s chosen to create her own birthday campaign to help raise funds for those around the world that don’t have clean water. In her own words:

This year has been one of the most difficult years of my young life so far; I have my reasons. But despite the hardships, I’ve had several highlights. In June, my youth group and I went to Portland to support our broader community. We created relationships, expressed our love and  served. As a result, I felt a passion for helping others. July of 2014, I began a four week internship at One Day’s Wages. I researched potential schools for partnerships, I wrote one short short blog post and labeled lots of letters. Most importantly I was able to research about extreme global poverty. I thought I knew a lot about it, I thought wrong. The painful reality of this broken world was hard to accept. But, I fell in love with the One Day’s Wages mission statement and vision. I wasn’t able to finish my internship due to health problems, but the learning I experienced there was incredible. I seek to bring hope and justice to our world, little by little.

I am turning the big SIXTEEN on Halloween. I want to donate to the One Day’s Wages Clean Water Fund. 100% of your donations go straight to the cause! Together we can alleviate extreme global poverty!

Would you consider making a $16 donation to her birthday campaign?

Even if you aren’t able to make a donation, please leave her a note of encouragement in the comments.

And I know all Dads and Moms brag on their children. We do, too. Our kids are incredible and special. They can also be cranky and whiny. They are beautiful and handsome. They also have bad breath in the mornings and pick their noses. But we love them so much and feel so honored to be their parents.

But speaking of bragging on your kids, I love Jubilee’s sense of empathy and her artistic, creative spirit. In the last couple years, she taught herself to play the ukulele, found confidence and joy in singing, learned to take photographs and shoot/edit video.

Then, she created this video for a school project and my wife and I were shocked. She took hundreds of photos, played the ukulele, sang a mashup of songs, and created this video entitled, Modern Day Revolution/Total War Song.

What?! Who’s your Daddy?!

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10 Responses

  1. Michael D. says:

    Thank you for sharing, Eugene. I really enjoyed her video, too.

  2. Israel says:

    My daughter’s name is Jubilee too! God bless you sir, Praying for Jubilee!!

  3. JFH says:

    Wow, what a blessing. So proud as a parent to read this. Thank you Jubilee for sharing your heart!!! Keep shining for Jesus ☆. He hold you when you have bad days. I’ll be praying.

  4. Amy says:

    Thank you for sharing a bit of your precious self, Jubilee. May you find that sharing (at the right time and in your own way) helps you on your journey.

  5. Lindsey DuBois says:

    Happy Birthday Jubilee! As I read a bit of your story, I was reminded of a song that encouraged my heart when I too have wrestled with God – it’s call “The Wrestling” by Travis Ryan (from his album “Fearless”)! I hope it can encourage you too as you continue to follow Jesus in the midst of illness! Romans 5:3-5

  6. Bruce Strom says:

    Wow! You are a gifted woman – must get that from your mom! Encouraged by your passion for justice and the least of these that I know you share with your dad. Pray you have a blessed birthday and that you find your voice for the future God has for you.

  7. Jennifer Gorman says:

    Jubilee, your story has inspired and encouraged me. I have lived with two autoimmune diseases for 16 years now, I am Behcet’s Disease, but went into remission after a few years. When my son was almost a year old the second autoimmune kicked in, Mixed Connective Tissue Disease. Anyway, my point is being chronically ill is hard. But Jesus has never left my side, not one moment. And even though the physical pain and fatigue are so very hard, I also look back and I know I would not have the trust and love I have with Jesus if I hadn’t gone through this journey, and I wouldn’t have met many of the people who have shaped my faith and heart, and my relationships with my family and church and friends are so much deeper, and I have grown so much and my heart and soul have seen so much all that would not be the same if I hadn’t gotten sick. God has truly made beauty from ashes in my life, and I am stopping right now to pray the same for you.

  8. Moses Cho says:

    Jubilee 누나,

    Happy birthday!!!!!!!!!! I miss you.
    See you soon.

    Love,
    Moses 동생

  9. hope2rise says:

    What a beautiful video…her testimony is beautiful and I see real joy reflected here. The joy of the Lord is your strength, Jubilee.

  10. Wendy Mengel says:

    Happy Birthday, Jubilee! I know I’m late but wanted to share how impressed I am with her movie – such creativity and compelling words and thoughts. She’s awesome! Can’t believe she’s 16. We miss you guys! Love from CO.

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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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  • To support both the equality of women & the dignity of the unborn feels like a very lonely place to be but we're not alone. May we press on. || 13 minutes ago
  • Going to the Women's March in Seattle bc as a Christian, I believe women are fearfully and wonderfully made and are to be heard & respected. || 3 hours ago
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