Eugene Cho

guest post: may we all be egyptians

As you know, I’m hosting an occasional guest blogger for my readers. Today’s guest post is by Helen Lee, the author of a new book called The Missional Mom. I admit I have yet to finish the book but from what I’ve read thus far, I’ve been very encouraged – even as a Dad!

Let me also share how indebted I am to Helen. I’ve only met her once before (very briefly) but when she read from my Twitter account that I lost my jacket in Washington DC and was coming into freezing Chicago (her home), she found out where I was speaking at and sent her husband to greet me with an extra jacket!

Not only is she a missional mom but also a compassionate missional mom! Thanks Helen.

On another note, I’m incredibly grateful to Helen and her agent who are donating 10% of all proceeds directly to One Day’s Wages. Take a peek at her website.

Here’s her guest post:

Watching the recent events in Egypt unfold has been an incredible experience, to say the least. But of all the coverage, the article entitled “We Are All Egyptians”, by New York Times journalist Nicholas Kristof, affected me the most. Within minutes of reading it, I was surprised to find tears in my eyes. Here are some of the quotes that stuck with me: Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: , , , ,

new york times: do-it-yourself foreign aid

Got some really cool news to share with you. Literally…cool and inspiring news.

I had the most surreal phone call while I was fishing in Nebraska during my vacation. A guy named Nicholas Kristof called. For those that don’t know, Kristof is one of my favorite writers and he’s also a two time Pulitzer winning columnist for the New York Times. He and his wife, Sheryl WuDunn, are also the authors of a phenomenal book called Half the Sky. Somehow he had heard about our story and of One Day’s Wages and wanted to chat – without any promises – of a possible inclusion in a special feature he was writing for the New York Times Sunday Magazine.

That article, The D.I.Y. Foreign Aid Revolution, was published in today’s New York Times Sunday Magazine.

Every time someone mentions or writes about our story, I feel the importance of trying to share how ODW was so much of a community thing. We are not an island to ourselves. So many have inspired, encouraged, and prayed for us.

And so, I again want to extend to my blog readers, friends, and larger community – sincere thanks for your prayers, support and encouragement.

Thank you.

Your prayers, belief, and generosity in helping “seed” the vision has allowed ODW to move forward. Amazingly, we were able to raise $71,797 (mostly through this blog) to help launch ODW. And as I’ve shared before, Minhee and I are Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: , , , ,

religion and women

Nicolas Kristof has an article in today’s NY Times entitled, Religion and Women, that’s worth reading. Unlike some of his other pieces, it’s not super long so it’ll take one sitting but hopefully, it’ll sit with you for a bit.

I’ve written about this topic numerous times and will continue to do so. If you’re interested in some of them, here’s several to check out:

It is the oldest injustice for the simple reason that men are physically stronger and thus, can oppress the “weaker” half. And then you mix in the combustion of various religions and world ideologies that seek to elevate one half and suppress the other half and you’ve got a cycle of great devastation and oppression.

I’m not an expert on all world religions so I can’t speak with full authority but this is one of the reasons why I am captivated by Jesus: He liberates; Not oppresses. If anything, he liberates that which has oppressed.  He turned things UPSIDE Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: , , , , , , ,

what really happened with laura ling, euna lee, and north korea?

North Korea border

These are crazy times but I have a feeling that those words could have been said at every point in human history.  These are crazy times because, in my opinion, it reflects that reality that “something just isn’t right with the world.” But nevertheless, we keep working and moving forward towards restoration and reconciliation. I just hope folks comes to realize that God is the author of Shalom and thus, we need to return to Him for guidance in this journey.

I’ve been mulling the situation in numerous part of the world but also keeping tabs with American journalists Laura Ling and Euna Lee.  I have friends, even as I write this, that cross the border of North Korea and China on a weekly if not daily basis.  When the whole news broke, I was absolutely confused:

How do journalists accidentally cross over to North Korea?

You don’t.

My suspicion all along has been foul play – somehow, somewhere, and some folks.

The 12 year sentence?

Didn’t really surprise me – but it still saddened me.

So what will happen?

For now, it’s all a guessing game but one thing I am convinced of is that the blame does NOT fall on Laura and Euna.  We need to keep them in our thoughts & prayers; Continue to put pressure on our government and its officials to maintain dialgoue and pressure on North Korea. I am also convinced that they will return one day. And while it was not what they intended or planned, the words they will write and share will be more impactful than they can imagine. It will give the world a deeper glimpse of the darkness in North Korea and the change/revolution that needs to happen.  For now, I want to encourage you to check out Nicholas Kristof’s article (below) about Laura Ling, Euna Lee, and North Korea. I agree with much of his assessment.

My ancestors are from North Korea.  My father and mother was born in North Korea. Some of you have read my burden and heart for North Korea.  Couple years ago, my parents trekked back to this part of the China and North Korea border in hopes of seeing their homeland – even from across the border.  He was taking some pictures and captured the one above before he was “asked” to stop taking pictures.

Here’s the full article by Kristof. Read it: Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: , , , , ,

be very angry about slavery

photo by Nicholas Kristof of NY Times

First of all, Happy New Year.  I intended to put together a nice, happy, and joyful family letter but haven’t gotten around to it – and may not until 2010.  Who knows?  But as we embark on a new year, I want to personally commit myself to a deeper walk and work in Christ and in that process, not only be more hopeful, prayerful, grateful but also commit myself to a deeper anger.   Yes, you read that correctly.  

I personally think Christians don’t get angry enough at the grave examples of evil, injustice, and suffering around the world.  We see, observe, discuss – but mostly at a distance – a safe distance.  While my actions may be limited, I want to see the evil, injustice, and pain around me to impact me deep inside so that the Holy Spirit may use it to transform me and by His grace and power, compel me to be an agent of Hope, Grace, Faith, and Love.  

I have a postcard of Martin Luther King Jr. on my desk and it reads the following:

When evil men plot, good men must plan.  when evil men burn and bomb, good men must build and bind.  When evil men should ugly words of hatred, good men must commit themselves to the glories of love.  Where evil men would seek to perpetuate an unjust status quo, good men must seek to bring into being a real order of justice.”

Tonight, I read another article by Nicholas D. Kristof in the New York Times entitled, If This Isn’t Slavery, What is?  Stunning and f**k*n’ sickening Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: , , , , ,

The oldest injustice in human history is the way we treat women.

Couple years ago, I read and saw this video and it tore me up. While perhaps this case and this girl’s situation may be extreme, the mistreatment and abuse of girls and women are nevertheless still common. It is and continues to be the “oldest injustice in human history.”

Don’t turn away. Read this article and watch this video:

Nicholas Kristof/NY Times

In every culture and in every part of the world, this injustice is present.  What is the oldest injustice in the world?

It is the way that “we” view, treat, and oppress women.

It would be erroneous for me to say that Asian culture is entirely proned to be against women but I can share my personal experience that as a young Korean man, I was influenced – partly through the Confucian culture and worldview that women were born to serve their fathers as young girls, their husbands when they got married, and their grown sons when they were older mothers.  Their lives and purpose – in part –  revolved around men.

I know that others may not have had similar experiences but for me, as a person of the Christian faith, I learned – in bits and pieces (both in subtle and occasionally in direct ways) that women should be our “partners.” They should be quiet, submissive and know their place.  Obey and honor their fathers, love and submit to their husbands, and raise godly sons and daughters.

Why didn’t I learn that women and men are both created in the beautiful image of God?  Why didn’t I learn that while we have different roles, we are also created equal in the image of God?  Why didn’t I learn that through Christ, women and men can do all things through Him who gives strength and grace.

I still remember this email that I received from a congregant couple years ago after a sermon I gave at Quest regarding women:

But at one point today, you said, “Women, you were created equal to men in the image of God.” I mainly write because I don’t know if you realize how powerful that statement was. I don’t know if you realized what it would feel like to hear that statement coming from a man — what it would mean to me, and possibly to other individual women and men. You didn’t even say it to me individually…I have never been told by a man, Christian or not, that I am equal to him. I have never been told by a man that I am equal to him. And equal in that we are both created in the image of God…I cried all the way home. How is it that I’ve never been told by a male person that I am equal to him? That I am equally beautiful and broken? That we are both created in the image of God?

…Women are deeply wounded by living in this world, and wounded that men don’t fight for us. Instead, they fight to rule us, and we…sometimes we fight, but most of the time we believe them when they tell us we aren’t worth our weight (sometimes taken literally). Today I felt like a man was fighting for me, not because I can’t fight for myself, but because he recognized the wrongs in a world and a Church that have benefited him unfairly.

So, I ask you a simple question for dialogue:

Why is it that women – across cultures, religion, and history – are oppressed? Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: , , ,

stuff, connect, info

one day’s wages | video

My Instagram

People often ask, "How does one stand all that rain in Seattle?" Actually, it doesn't rain that much. I like the rain. Keeps everything "evergreen" and clean. Keeps our air fresh. What's challenging is the gray weather. Give me a few more sunny days. 99 more days to be specific. 
Regardless, still love this city. Checking out Canada in case I need to move up North after the presidential election. Just saying, eh.

Downtown Toronto. Fascinating architecture. Amazed by the diversity of this city. We desperately want our children to not just be captivated by the beauty of creation...but more importantly, to the actual Creator of all that is good and beautiful.

Actually, we want and need this truth for our souls, too. What a privilege. This isn't possible without all those who give, pray, and support the work of @onedayswages. This week, I signed and mailed grants to three partner organizations totaling over $170,000. These grants will empower people by supporting maternal health care, refugee relief efforts, access to clean water, provide education, etc.

Sometimes, the brokenness of the world feel so overwhelming but let's keep running the race with endurance. Let's keep pursuing justice, mercy, and humility. Let's be faithful and may we be spurred on to keep working for God's Kingdom...on earth as it is in heaven.

Again, thank you so much for your support for @onedayswages! My wife, Minhee, and I stand on the shoulders of praying mothers. I'd like to take a moment to honor my mother-in-law. It's hard to put words together to embody her life but she is a very special, anointed person. I'm so blessed to have her as a mother in my life.

She was a devoted wife until she lost her husband to cancer, mother to three daughters, and later became a pastor. She became a follower of Christ as an adult and as such, led her her family to Christ. In her late 50s, she obeyed God's calling to go to seminary and be a leader in the church. She graduated #1 in her class and reminded us that it's never too late to follow a new dream or calling.

As she'll soon celebrate her 80th birthday, I'm especially grateful for the ways that she poured into and prayed over Minhee and her other children.  Even though she's officially retired, I'm inspired that the concept of retirement is not in her vocabulary.  She continues to serve the local church, evangelize and bear witness to Christ, and goes to the early morning prayer meeting at 5am everyday to pray for our family, our church, and for others. 
Jangmonim, we love and honor you. 어머니, 사랑합니다.

Someday, I hope that when my kids speak of Minhee and I...above all, they would say with integrity that their parents prayed for them and kept pointing them to Christ. On this Mother's Day, I want to take a few words to honor mother.

There’s a moment from a few years ago that will stick with me until the day I die. It’s regarding Sung Wha, my mother.

Minhee and I were at a point of transition, between working at an ethnic Korean church in the northern suburbs of Seattle called Lynnwood and launching Quest in urban Seattle. As I shared earlier, I was in desperate need of a job. I had a mortgage to pay. A pregnant wife. A kid at home. 
Then, praise God, after months without work, I finally landed a job.

My mom was in between jobs at this point in her life. She was in her late fifties, but she had such bad knees and degenerative hips that it was, and is, difficult for her to walk. My mom is like a human barometer—when a storm is coming and when it rains, her hips throb. Although my parents lived in San Francisco, she was visiting us in Seattle to encourage us in this difficult season.

As I prepared to go to work one early morning, I walked downstairs to put on my jacket and shoes, and forgot that my mother woke up early every morning to pray. In fact, she had been praying for months that I would find a job. “Eugene, where are you going?” she said when she saw me.

I hadn’t told my mother the news that I had just recently been hired for the janitorial gig at Barnes and Noble. I chose not to because I thought she and my father would be devastated. I didn’t want them to think that after laboring, sacrificing, and doing so much for us over all those years that their son had failed them.

But I couldn’t lie to her, so eventually I told my mom that I got a job and was going to work. “Great! What job? What are you doing?” “Um, I’m working at Barnes and Noble as their custodian,” I said finally.

Without asking another question, my mother got up from the dining table where she had been reading her Bible and praying. She slowly walked slowly toward me.

She approached me, then walked past me without saying a word, and I realized she was headed toward the closet. She opened the closet door, put on her jacket, turned around and said to me (in Korean), “Eugene, let’s go together. I will help you.” This is my mother.

my tweets

JOIN ME ON FACEBOOK

advertisements

Blog Stats

  • 3,395,764 hits
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,409 other followers