Eugene Cho

A story of courage and generosity: Youth Pastor donates half of his salary to fight human trafficking.

* UPDATE: Amazing. Not only because Joon donated half of his youth pastor salary ($10,000) but in his attempt to get that matched through family, friends, and strangers…a total anonymous stranger (after reading his story) made a donation of $8,085 to help him reach $20,000 for the Human Trafficking Fund.

—————————————————–

You have to read this email I recently received. Crazy, radical, and an amazing story of courage and generosity.

First, let me set the table:

We all love our stuff. All of us. We all consume. We all get sucked into the lifestyle of  upward mobility. This is most apparent during the festivities that surround Black Friday, Cyberspace Monday, and Christmas shopping.

This isn’t a guilt trip but to simply state that which is obvious. What I do want to state is the importance of us also growing a culture of generosity in our lives. Generosity isn’t just for others…but also for us:

Generosity isn’t just merely for the sake of blessing OTHERS. Even more so, it’s to rescue US from the abyss of our greed.

Generosity is what keeps the things I own from owning me.

Let me share a crazy story of generosity and a reminder – once more – that you don’t have to be a rock star, a billionaire, or a celebrity to make an impact.

Recently, I received an email from a youth pastor named Joon Park  from Florida. I’ve never met him, don’t know him, and never heard of him. In his blog, he describes himself as:

I am a former atheist/agnostic, fifth degree black belt, recovered porn addict, and currently a youth pastor at New Light Church in Tampa, FL. Like every other dude with a laptop, I blog regularly. I can eat five lbs. of steak in one sitting. I have a German shepherd named Rosco. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: , , , , , , ,

thanks for believing in us…

These have have been tough but such meaningful years.

Minhee and I have been married nearly 15 years, have three incredible children, recently celebrated the 10 year anniversary of our church, pursued a dream to start a non-profit cafe and music venue, and recently celebrated Minhee’s graduation from grad school.

Today is also a very special day as we’re marking the 2nd anniversary of One Day’s Wages at our Annual Gala. It took us nearly 3 years to start ODW as that’s how long it took to save up the equivalent of our year’s wages. Numerous times, I kicked myself for going “public” with the vision here on my blog.

But here we are…

Since it’s launch, we’ve built a great following on Twitter and over 640,000 people on our Facebook Page. We’ve established some great partnerships with artists, musicians, small businesses, organizations, and with individuals. More specifically, we’ve had 7438 donors who have partnered with us to raise 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: , , , ,

inviting artists and musicians to help change the world


I’m a wanna be musician. I live in Seattle so I have to pretend that I’m in a band. I have a guitar sitting in the corner of my room and I also have drumsticks on my desk…and I don’t even play drums.

Because there’s something unique about artists and musicians. Yes, there’s vanity and narcissism but then again, who amongst us aren’t vain and narcissistic?

Hear this: No one gets a free pass so we’ll be sharing ways that everyone can join the movement of One Day’s Wages! But one of our strategies we’re sharing today is to partner with artists and musicians from all around the world that are interested in using their voices and platform to partner with ODW and our movement towards ending extreme global poverty.

We’ve just started this initiative and we’re pleased to announce our first partners including Seattle’s very own Rocky Votolato. If you’re an artist/musician, click on the image below to learn more about what the partnerships can look like. And PLEASE forward this to bands, friends, artists, your favs…for their consideration.

But here’s my question and your help is important: Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: , , , , , ,

how this blog community is changing the world…

Please read this as I want to take the time to properly thank all of you for your support, encouragement and prayers. If anyone has ever had doubts about the possibility of world changing impact of blogging…this is proof.

I started blogging about three years ago and eventually grew a rhythm to blogging: Why and How. I initially started blogging, amongst other reasons, to process some of my thoughts, struggles, and dreams. Most of these are just my vomitaceous thoughts but as a recovering extreme introvert, blogging was therapeutic but along the way, the blog not only drew an “audience” (ranked 28th amongst Christian blogs fwiw) but started forming a “community” of sorts.

My blog community is diverse – ranging from folks from my church, friends, curious inquirers from the larger blogosphere, other pastors and leaders, Christians, skeptics, and cynics, fellow Seattlites, and perverts with a fetish for “orientals” that search for “Korean Beauty” on search engines.

And while many of you know that the past 12-18 months were one of the most difficult times of my life, it was also a meaningful time as we heard, experienced, and felt – people encouraging us with letters, emails, prayers, scriptures, and acts of kindness.

In addition, I used this blog to dream, incubate and launch the vision of ODW. It began with this three / part / series on extreme global poverty and shared our pledge of donating our year’s salary. As we geared up for the launch of One Day’s Wages (that took a little longer than we anticipated), I invited (via this blog) people – in faith and trust – to give and help raise funds for the administrative costs of ODW and I was so humbled by the numerous that gave – especially the quiet blog lurkers and stalkers!

Do you know how much you gave and raised? Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: , , , , , ,

odw featured in the seattle times!

picture by Jim Bates of the Seattle Times

Thanks for your support. Only together – literally – can we ensure the end of extreme poverty. I know there are so many worthwhile causes.

Let’s celebrate, support, and cheer on these efforts and the people behind them.

We’re not here to compete w/ others. We want to celebrate the work and efforts of so many different causes and the people and communities behind them. And so with that, I hope you can help support, cheer on, and even celebrate the work of One Day’s Wages.

Here’s the article: Local Charity Based on Donating a Day’s Salary (or click on image above).

The compelling aspect of ODW is that 100% of your donations (minus transaction costs) go to projects on the ground YOU CHOOSE to fight extreme global poverty. While we may not be able to fix the world, our investments can help change the life of a child, a mother, a father, a family, and even a village.

Here’s three other 5 PRACTICAL things you can do to give us “a bump’: Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: , , , , , , , ,

we finally did it and excited for the future

We’ve received our share of criticism about our public pledge to donate our 2009 salary to fight extreme poverty. Everything ranging from “Stop boasting” to “You’re lying” and

How about Matthew 6:3 and “…when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing.”

For the record, I have no good response to people rebuking me with that scripture.  I know some of you are sick of me mentioning it but this will be the last time I mention it (although I know that this is what most of the media and bloggers will focus on as we get started).

I need to share it because there were many (mostly anonymous Facebookers) that doubted our pledge. While we weren’t able to honor the pledge by the October 20, 2009 launch date as we had hoped, I went to the bank yesterday and walked out with a cashier’s check for $68,000.

When we made our pledge, we had a plan to make it work but the year proved to be much more difficult than we had anticipated.  But after this past year+ of saving, scrimping, subletting, saving, borrowing, and other creative things, we were finally able to make the donation.

And while it was a difficult year, we learned much; grew more in love and respect for my wife; experienced many teaching moments with our children, and are excited for all that is in store…

There are two main reasons why we did this: Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: , , , ,

couch surfing is not what i envisioned

Eights years ago, I endured through one of the most difficult seasons of my life.  I left my (then) current pastorate in hopes of planting a church called Quest but everything I had envisioned didn’t immediately come to pass. Instead of planting a church, I was working as a custodian scrubbing toilets, vaccuuming and struggling to provide for my (then) one child and pregnant wife. I still remember bitterly sobbing in my room one night and saying  a few choice words to God:

I am so angry at you. I feel like I lost control of my life.
(the PG version)

I learned through that experience that (again) I don’t have ultimate control over my life and prayed I would never go through anything like that again…

Well, I guess life has its seasons of unexpected turns. Nearly two weeks ago, I had to make one of the most difficult decisions of my life. It was a painful decision but consulted with my wife, and then informed our kids that because of some financial situations (and investment with One Day’s Wages), Dad & Mom had chosen to sublet our furnished home for couple months to some strangers and within 72 hours, we’d have to pack up some stuff and stay with some friends.

And for the past couple weeks, we’ve been “couch surfing” Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: faith, seattle, , , , ,

introducing: One Day’s Wages

One Day's Wages: a movement to end extreme global poverty

After years of dreaming and conspiring, we’re very excited to share the name and vision of our poverty organization:  One Day’s Wages.

What is our vision?

One Day’s Wages is a grassroots organization and movement by which we hope to inspire millions of people to give their “One Day’s Wages” to fight and end extreme global poverty. 100% of your donations will go directly to fund grants, projects, & organizations that are doing amazing work amongst the poorest of the poor. Our purpose is to promote greater awareness about global extreme poverty, invite simple financial giving, and to provide sustainable relief and empowerment through strategic collaborations. Our vision is to change global issues of injustice affecting millions of people, regardless of race, culture, sex, age, or religion.

Here’s our two minute video intro & vision:

What is our commitment?

We are committing our one year’s salary ($68,000) to launch this movement and invite you to join us by donating one day’s wages. Other donations to help with the initial operations fund are needed and appreciated. Imagine what we can accomplish together! [Here’s why we’ve gone public with our pledge.]

What can you do to join the movement? Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: , , , , , , , , ,

stuff, connect, info

one day’s wages | video

My Instagram

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. I don't care if it sounds mushy but sunsets are one of my love languages. Seoul, Korea was amazing but WOW...what a breathtaking welcome back sunset by Seattle. Not ready to let go of summer.

my tweets

JOIN ME ON FACEBOOK

advertisements

Blog Stats

  • 3,418,688 hits