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

My Instagram

Window seat. For the win. As leaders, we must not see ministry and family as competing commitments.  We must not sacrifice our marriage and kids for the sake of "ministry." How can we? Loving our families IS ministry & good leadership.

And on a side note, we took this goofy photo for Mother's Day last Sunday at @seattlequest. I was shocked! What in the world happened to our kids? Our 13 year old son blocked four of my shots on the basketball court yesterday. He's since been grounded... I fear that we ask God to move mountains, forgetting that God also wants to move us.

In fact, it's possible that we are that mountain. Time flies. The eldest is wrapping up her 1st year in college and the college tours have begun for the 2nd child. The youngest enters high school in the Fall. Can't say enough about how proud Minhee and I are of the kids - not just of their accomplishments but the people they are and are becoming.

But...man...we can't wait to party it up when we're emptynesters. Party at our house. It's going to be epic. Humbled. Grateful. Mindful of God's grace and faithfulness in my life. It's all grace... It's an unexpected honor to be invited back - even with some mini-drama - to @princetonseminary to receive the 2017 Distinguished Alumni Award - exactly 25 years after starting my journey there as a student in 1992. Wow.

Princeton isn't necessarily for everyone. And to say that I loved everything about my experience would be misleading but it was very formative. Ir challenged me to examine why I believed in what I believed. It reminded me that God could handle my questions. It prepared me for a post-Christian context where I am not entitled to be heard but I had to earn the right to be heard, and of course, it taught me that all is good with a Philly cheese steak at Hoagie Haven.

No one is an island to themselves and I am certainly an example of that. Many people - women and men, young and old, and of many backgrounds - prayed, encouraged, mentored, and loved me along the way. Grateful for my professors at seminary, my many classmates, and the numerous fellow staff and co-laborers I've had the privilege of serving Christ with past and present. And of course, I'm forever inspired by my parents, my children, and my wife, Minhee. Thank you for your faith, hope, and love...and oh, for your patience. Only your family will know and see both the best and worst of you. They've seen my worst...and keep on believing in me.

Thank you again, PTS and President Barnes, for this honor. Then, today, and tomorrow...by God's grace, just striving to be faithful to my Lord and Savior...to preach and live out the convictions of the whole Gospel. Amen. So humbled and grateful to be with @catalystleader in Cincinnati to encourage leaders from all around the country about the invitation to Uncommon Fellowship.

Preached from John 4. We can talk, preach, sing, philsophize, liturgize, and spit rhymes about Samaria...but we still have to talk through Samaria.

my tweets

  • "They got money for wars but can't feed the poor." ~ Tupac #trumpbudget || 2 days ago
  • Heartbroken. Praying for Manchester & the UK. For those mourning loved ones. For those injured and fighting for life. Lord, in your mercy. || 3 days ago
  • Window seat. For the win. https://t.co/yG66Sm2bvu || 5 days ago
  • As leaders, we must not sacrifice our family for the sake of ministry because loving our family IS good leadership: instagram.com/p/BUVAGVwg-5z/ || 5 days ago
  • We long for a Gospel that comforts but resist the Gospel that disrupts. Having the former without the latter seduces us into complacency. || 5 days ago
  • Love wins in the end but in the meanwhile,it fights for things that matter. Love isn't sentimental. It's both gentle & fierce. Love endures. || 1 week ago