Eugene Cho

In prison or in freedom, the good news is that God has not abandoned us. Christ is with us…

Over two years ago on November 3, 2012, we heard about Kenneth Bae’s arrest in North Korea.

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Over a year ago on August 10, 2013, we held a special prayer vigil for Kenneth Bae and his family.

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Two weeks ago, we marked his two-year anniversary in North Korea and prayed for his liberation from captivity. His sister, Terri, shared some specific prayer requests and conveyed that it would take a miracle.

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Last Sunday, we celebrated the news of his freedom and safe arrival in Seattle to be reunited with his family. There’s something special about family reunions.

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Today, we had the joy of having Kenneth and his family worship with us at Quest Church. 10309029_301464550043658_4909089910111236367_n

While this was the first Sunday ever that Kenneth had worshipped with Quest and I’m not his pastor, it was a privilege to come alongside their family during these past two years. He took a few minutes to express his gratitude for support and prayers and to remind us that He never felt alone…never felt abandoned by God.

This is the good news we must share.

As followers of Jesus, the good news is that whether in life or in death, in our mountaintops and valleys, in labor camp or in freedom…we are not alone. Christ is with us. This is not to suggest that our journey through pain, death, or valleys are pleasant. Hardly at all. But to simply convey that God is greater than our circumstances.

For the time being, Kenneth and his family have decided not to do any further interviews but rather to embrace this season of rest, family, and reflection…

But there will come a time when he’ll share his story. I had a meal with him and his family this past week…and it was a true encouragement to hear some of these stories. Rather than anger or bitterness, he has chosen the Christ of hope, love, and reconciliation.

But this isn’t my story to tell but it will happen some day and it will deeply encourage the wider global Church…

My words for Kenneth were very simple:

“Thank you for remaining faithful.”

[photo credits: 1) AP 2) Seattle Times 3) Seattle Times 4) Quest Church 5) Derek Sciba 6) Quest Church]

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5 Responses

  1. Thank you Eugene. I appreciate you bringing this part of his story, and God’s story to the table.

    God is good indeed! Praying for His continued mercy and grace all the days of our lives. May we always give God the glory as Kenneth has done here.

    Your Brother in Christ,

    JUSTIN STONE

  2. missyscud says:

    God is good all the time.
    All the time God is good.
    Even in the deepest pain, He is there and with us.

  3. djchuang says:

    #hallelujah – praise to God for this, it’s a good Thanksgiving. Perseverance all around..

  4. […] drawing as much attention to themselves as possible. Instead, Eugene has been busy praying for a recently released prisoner and caring for a family battling childhood […]

  5. Stanley says:

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    The clearness in your post is just cool and i could assume you are an expert on this subject.

    Fine with your permission let me to grab your feed to keep
    updated with forthcoming post. Thanks a million and please carry on the gratifying
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One Day’s Wages

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It appears I brought a little Seattle to the NYC. Drizzle fest. 24 hour gathering with a small group of leaders from around the country. Learning. Listening. Asking hard questions. Head exploding. Heart trying to have hope. As I soaked in this breathtaking sunrise this morning above the clouds, I felt compelled to pray for so my places in America and around the world that are experiencing such pain, heartache, injustice, and violence. At times, it feels so overwhelming but in prayer, I was reminded of these words from John 16:33. As we keep striving, working, hoping, preaching, loving, truthtelling, reconciling, repenting, forgiving, dismantling, peacemaking, Kingdom building...may we fix our eyes on Christ: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” - John 16:33 Grateful for a very full weekend of ministry and preaching in Toronto, Canada (GTA). Such a privilege to partner with @worldvisioncan @wvcollective to advocate for the most vulnerable around the world. God is so gracious. A true honor to meet and encourage local pastors, lecture at Tyndale University & Seminary (photo), and preach at Richmond Hills Community Church, Compass Point Bible Church, and New City Church. Thank you, Lord, that you use broken and imperfect people like me to speak of Your love. Today, Minhee and I dropped off our eldest child at her college. We have been thinking and praying about this day for many years. On some days, we hoped it would never come. On other days, we couldn't wait for it to come. On some days, we prayed for time to stop and other days, we prayed with anticipation. 
After an entire summer of laughing it off, it hit us...hard...this week. Seeing all of her stuff laid out on the basement floor was the catalyst to a load of emotions.

After unloading the car and taking her stuff to her new home for this year and mindful that she might never live with us again; helping sort out her stuff, saying hello to her roommates...I wasn't sure what to do or say.

A flood of thoughts rushed my mind.

Is she ready?
Have we done enough?
Have we taught her enough? 
What if this? What if that?

And so we shared what we have shared with her the moment she began to understand words: "Remember who you are. Remember WHO you belong to. Remember what you're about. God loves you so much. Please hold God's Word and His promises close and dear to your heart. We love you so much and we are so proud of you." And with that, we said goodbye. Even if she may not be thousands of miles away, this is a new chapter for her and even for us. I kept it composed. Her roommate was staring at me. I didn't want to be that father. I have street cred to uphold. Another final hug. 
And I came home.
And I wept.
Forget my street cred.
I miss her. I love her.
She will always be my little baby.

I'm no parenting guru. I just laughed as I wrote that line. No, I'm stumbling and bumbling along but I'd love to share an ephiphany I learned not that long ago. Coming to this realization was incredibly painful but simultaneously, liberating. To be honest, it was the ultimate game-changer in my understanding as a parent seeking after the heart of God.

While there are many methods, tools, philosophies, and biblical principles to parenting, there is – in my opinion – only one purpose or destination.

Our purpose as parents is to eventually…release them. Send forth. For His glory. Met a friend and fellow pastor who I haven't seen in over 20 years. In him, I saw a glimpse of my future. While only 10 years older, his kids are married and he's now a grandfather of 3. His love for his wife and family were so evident and his passion for the Gospel has not wavered. It was so good to see someone a bit older still passionately serving the Lord with such joy and faithfulness. Lord, help me to keep running the race for your Glory. Happy wife.
Happy life. - Eugenius 3:16

I still remember that time, many years ago, when Minhee was pregnant with our first child. She had left her family and friends in Korea just two years before. Her morning sickness was horrible and when she finally had an appetite, she craved her favorite Korean food from certain restaurants in her neighborhood in Seoul, Korea. I had no way of getting that food from those restaurants so I actually said, "How about a Whopper? Big Mac?" Sorry honey. Eat away. You deserve it.

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