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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In our culture, we can be so obsessed with the "spectacular" or "glamorous." The Church often engagws in thia language and paradigm...but what if God has called many of us to small, ordinary things?

Will we still be faithful?
Will we still go about such things with great love and joy?

I recently came across this picture taken by @mattylew, one of our church staff...and I started tearing up: This is my mother; in her 70s; with realities of some disabilities that make it difficult for her to stand up and sit down...but here she is on her knees and prostate in prayer. She doesn't have any social media accounts, barely knows how to use her smartphone, doesn't have a platform, hasn't written a book, doesn't have any titles in our church, isn't listed as a leader or an expert or a consultant or a guru. But she simply seeks to do her best - by God's grace - to be faithful to God. She prays for hours every day inteceding for our family, our church, and the larger world.

Even if we're not noticed or celebrated or elevated...let's be faithful. Our greatest calling as followers of Christ is to be faithful. Not spectacular. Not glamorous. Not popular. Not relevant. And not even successful in the eyes of the world.

Be faithful. Amen. #notetoself (and maybe helpful for someone else)

At times, we have to say ‘NO’ to good things to say ‘YES’ to the most important things.

We can't do it all.
Pray and choose wisely.
Then invest deeply. May our compassion not just be limited to the West or to those that look like us. Lifting up the people of Iraq, Iran, and Kurdistan in prayer after the 7.3 earthquake - including the many new friends I met on a recent trip to Iraq.

The death toll rises to over 400 and over 7,000 injured in multiple cities and hundreds of villages along the Western border with Iraq.

Lord, in your mercy... We are reminded again and again...that we are Resurrection People living in a Dark Friday world.

It's been a tough, emotional, and painful week - especially as we lament the horrible tragedy of the church shootings at Sutherland Springs. In the midst of this lament, I've been carried by the hope, beauty, and promise of our baptisms last Sunday and the raw and honest testimonies of God's mercy, love, and grace.

Indeed, God is not yet done. May we take heart for Christ has overcome the world. "Without genuine relationships with the poor, we rob them of their dignity and they become mere projects. And God did not intend for anyone to become our projects." Grateful this quote from my book, Overrated, is resonating with so many folks - individuals and  NGOs. / design by @preemptivelove .
May we keep working 
on ourselves 
even as we seek 
to change the world. 
To be about the latter 
without the former 
is the great temptation 
of our times.

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