Eugene Cho

reflections on south africa

Couple weeks have passed since my return from South Africa and I’m still processing the gift of the vision and research trip.  While our plans on starting our Poverty Organization has hit snags and increasingly difficult in light of the financial recession, I’ve returned with an increasing commitment to the vision.  Before things get even busier, I wanted to share some reflections and pictures with you.

Let me begin by thanking Peter A. who hosted myself and several others from around the country on this trip. He also connected me to the anonymous benefactor that allowed me to travel to South Africa for the purposes of learning, connecting, and researching.  I also want to thank the staff of Zimele – the non-profit organization we spent most of our time with. Zimele in Zulu means, “to stand on one’s own two feet.”

I spend most of my time in an area called Kwazulu Natal.  Here’s some info about the area:

According to the Wikipedia, Kwazulu Natal “has the largest population (about 8.6 million) of any state in South Africa, with resources, such as water, coal, minerals and agriculture, along with timber, beef, dairy products, maize, poultry and fruit. Durban is the largest port in Africa. The province also has the most comprehensive tourist infrastructure in the country.

However, despite the presence of these resources, Kwazulu Natal like much of South Africa faces the growing problem of HIV/AIDS and poverty which disproportionally impacts the blacks in the rural communities due to the lingering effects of the now former Apartheid system. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: travel, , ,

resting, growing, freezing, and jazzing in chicago

Jet lag sucks.  I can’t seem to get over it.  I sleep at a normal time but have been getting up around 2 or 3am – every day.  I look at Jason, one of my church staff, sleeping in the other bed in our hotel room like a peaceful lamb and want to punch his head.  But, I remind myself that Jesus wouldn’t do that so I let him sleep since he probably doesn’t get much at Seattle with their 4 month old baby.  But I digress.

RESTING:  I’m here in Chicago trying to get my body up to speed.  I don’t care how holy or spiritual you are:  If you don’t get sleep, everyone turns into a jerk.  Actually took a great nap yesterday and woke up like this:

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And interestingly or annoyingly, many folks at this conference have been telling my how ragged and “gray” I look. I tell them to ‘shut it!’  But it is true, I am getting some serious white and gray hair everywhere.

GROWING: Anyway, I’m also here learning.  Have enjoyed hearing from some of the featured speakers like Phyllis Tickle and will be hearing from Gary Haugen of International Justice Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: ministry, travel, ,

night and day: extreme poverty and wealth

This is my last night here in South Africa. Tomorrow, I begin my long trip back home that will take me from Africa to Europe and finally to Home, Sweet, Home.

My “research and relationship building” portion of the trip is now officially over and we’re chillin’ for two days in Capetown, South Africa – a city often regarded as one of the most beautiful cities in the world. These folks aren’t lying. It’s truly a beautiful city.  Breathtaking…

But as you might expect, I’m having a hard time juxtaposing the extreme poverty I saw and heard in an area of South Africa called Kwazulu Natal with the opulence of an area of Capetown we visited where Hollywood stars like Leonardo Dicaprio have their vacation homes. [Pictures below…]

Obviously, it’s not just the stars.  It’s really me as well.  I know I don’t need to sell everything I have but Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: travel, ,

a breathtaking safari

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As most of you know, I’m here in South Africa – at the grace of an anonymous benefactor in New York who also cares about global poverty and justice – enabling me to do some research and relationship building for the poverty organization/initiative we are hoping to launch this year.  I’ve seen some very intense and heartbreaking things – which I’ll share later once I return to the States.  Today, we took a half day to rest and relax at experience a safari.

I have one word to say:  Wow.

Such spacious land, beauty, and majesty.  The whole time, I kept thinking about the glory of God in His creation.  

And…I really wished international travel was cheaper and accessible to everyone.

Here are several pics below for your enjoyment.   Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: travel, , ,

a day in frankfurt, germany

En route to South Africa, I had a 10 hour layover in Frankfurt, Germany.  After it took a few hours to rendezvous with a few folks I’m trekking with in South Africa for research and relationship building, I took several hours to attempt to soak in Frankfurt, Germany and here are some photos below for your enjoyment.

One of these days, I’d love to just backpack thr0ugh Europe.  Seriously, why can’t travel more inexpensive and accessible to everyone.  

Who’s traveled to Europe?  Where?  Reflections? Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: , travel,

the book(s) you want to read this year?

I’m packing for a short trip and every time I pack for a trip, I bring  a book.  The intent is there but I rarely finish books from cover to cover.  I have the habit of reading couple books at the same time basically because my brain is wired or conditioned that way.  

So, here are some questions:  

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What’s the one book on your TO READ list this year?

My answers:

Filed under: travel,

most beautiful city in the world: san francisco?

As we embark on a new year, I’d love to ask a simple question to my readers in hopes that many of you would join in on the blog community.  In addition to “regulars” sharing their answers, I am especially inviting the lurkers and quiet blog readers to chime in and de-lurk. This is your chance to join in.  So, here’s two simple questions:

Question:  What’s the most beautiful city/place you’ve visited thus far in your life and why?  And share one place in the world you’d like to visit at some point in the future?

My answers:  Future visit – I’m excited that I get to visit one of the places I’ve always wanted to travel in the next couple weeks.  I’ll be flying to South Africa to do some research, praying, and relationship building for our poverty organization. 

As for one of the most beautiful places I’ve been to, Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: travel, ,

humbled by seattle’s snowpocalypse and tubing with our kimchee bowl

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Seriously, when I made my “Farewell Video” last week mocking Seattlites’ winter ineptitude and “the world is ending” local news, I really had no idea what we had in store. I’ve braved two memorable winter storms: one in Princeton, New Jersey where it snowed so much we couldn’t open our front door and the other being a Chicago wind/snowstorm that was so cold that it made me cry…literally.

This wasn’t the worst I’ve experienced but let me just say that I’ve been humbled by Seattle’s Snowpocalypse. I’m not making any more sarcastic videos for a while. And I think I can speak for the entire city and while I’m at it, for the entire Western Washington that this has been humbling.

Some humbling stuff: Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: family, travel, , , ,

seattle snowpocalypse – end of the world

I love Seattle.  Many things to love:  coffee, music, quasi-diversity if you look hard enough, the topography, ocean, the rain, teriyaki restaurants to rival Starbucks stores, etc.  But it doesn’t snow very often and so when it does, people go crazy.  Schools were delayed two hours earlier this week because of possible icy conditions.  Yesterday, school was shut down because of a pending snowstorm – which never came.  But alas, we get our “snowstorm” today that folks are jokingly calling the Seattle Snowpocalypse.

Seriously, it’s not that big of a deal but when you’re not use to it, local news stations cover it for hours as if it’s the end of the world.  But just case it is the end of Seattle as we know it, here’s my farewell address to everyone.  God bless you.  I hope to see you at the other side.🙂 Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: seattle, travel, ,

know and love your city

Minhee and I moved to Seattle in 1997.  We are entering our 12th year in Seattle but it was only about 8 years ago when I really began to grow in love with the city of Seattle.  I was kayaking in Lake Union when I just gushed over the beauty over the city.  And I just started praying for the city and the hope – someday – of being able to plant a church in the city.  God honored that prayer and on occasion, I’ll trek over to Kerry Park [few mins from Quest] and lift occasional prayers for the city and people of this city.

It isn’t a perfect city by any means:  I wish there was more diversity; city remains ethnically divided;  the road systems are wacky; a subway system would be nice; our sports teams are dreadfully cursed, we need more sun, etc.  But there are also some amazing things about this city:  the topography is absolutely breathtaking; the local music scene is alive and well; everything is green and wet; the city is a creative force and is the hub of numerous companies, etc.

How about you?  Where do you live and what do you like or dislike about your city or town?

One of the regular chats I give when I’ve had the privilege of speaking at conferences or churches has been the importance of knowing, loving, and engaging your city.  Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: church, churchplanting, family, leadership, ministry, quest church, seattle, travel

stuff, connect, info

one day’s wages | video

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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.

my tweets

  • Wow. Go Huskies. We're. Officially. Back. Go Dawgs. Pac 12 Football. || 15 hours ago
  • It appears I brought a little Seattle to the NYC. Drizzle fest. 24 hour gathering with a small… instagram.com/p/BK_409Ohzr1/ || 21 hours ago
  • Life has its share of pain but don't get down and cynical. Stay engaged. Self-care. Keep learning and growing. Remain hopeful. Be steadfast. || 1 day ago
  • The Gospel, not social justice, is our identity as believers but the Gospel compels us to love God/love people incl. work 4 the common good. || 3 days ago
  • Folks often ask me, "What is social justice?" "Social justice" are fancier words for "Give a Damn". || 3 days ago
  • RT @EugeneCho: Just met Edna, a sister-in-Christ. She's 90 years old. She met Jesus when she was 85. You're never too young or too old to f… || 3 days ago

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