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.

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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 »

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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 »

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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 »

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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 »

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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 »

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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 »

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stuff, connect, info

one day’s wages | video

41 years ago today, our family immigrated to the United States from Seoul, South Korea. I was six years old; the youngest of three sons. My father, when he was also six, fled from what is now known as North Korea. Just recently, he shared with me that he and some of his family had been in a refugee camp when war and violence broke out on the Korean peninsula. It's emotional thinking about what my brothers and I went through coming to a completely foreign country. It wasn't easy. And then, I think about what my parents had to go through:

They fled their homes near Pyongyang which also meant leaving some of their extended families.

They experienced unfathomable hunger and poverty.

They experienced the pain of war.

They immigrated again to the United States as adults with minimal resources and a handful of English words.

All in hopes that their children would have the opportunities that were never afforded to them.

I'm thinking of my brothers today. I'm thinking of my parents and honoring them for their sacrifice and tenacity. And finally, I'm thinking of refugees and immigrants all around the world that are yearning for family, peace, hope, and opportunities. Don't reduce Martin Luther King Jr. to a yearly quote on social media. Live out the dream. Seek first the Kingdom of God. Confront evil. Be a truth-teller. Seek justice. Love mercy. Pursue reconciliation. Build bridges. Love your neighbors. Forgive your enemies. Pray unceasingly. Live a committed life of peace, love, and justice.

The God who deposited this dream into MLK is still speaking to us today.

Be brave. "Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that." ~ Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Here's the full context of his famous quote: "The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it. Through violence you may murder the liar, but you cannot murder the lie, nor establish the truth. Through violence you murder the hater, but you do not murder hate. In fact, violence merely increases hate. Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate. Only love can do that." An important word for the Church... Oh, how God loves the nations. The Scriptures make this so clear. No one - let alone, the leader of a country - should ever disparage other nations with such a disgusting comment.

To the beautiful people of Haiti, El Salvador, and of the many countries of Africa: We are so sorry. Please accept our apologies on behalf of President Trump.

I've had the privilege of being in Haiti twice and numerous countries in Africa including Kenya where I took this picture during an afternoon drive near Kijabe. In many of these visits, I witnessed such creativity, courage, leadership, hospitality and kindness. To follow Jesus without obedience, repentance, self-denial, and dying to self is an oxymoron. In other words, are we more in love with the idea of following Jesus than actually following Jesus?

Grateful for an incredible Sunday at @seattlequest of beginning our 21 Days of Prayer and Fasting. I hate this: “We love the truth when it enlightens us, but hate it when it convicts us” ~ St. Augustine Woah. Deeply encouraged and convicted by @jlin7's vulnerable post today on IG. We all have setbacks and some of them are ones that we can never imagine or predict. How we respond to these setbacks says much about our character. Thanks Jeremy for being honest and vulnerable about your pain and emotional devastation after your season ending injury...and yet, in the midst of this, to witness your hope, faith, perseverance, and hard work: "Adversity forces us to reevaluate, adapt, improve. It forces us to ask the tough questions, to go the extra mile and push our limits...and let's not forget God always has a sovereign, perfect plan." - @jlin7

I see you, bro. Cheering you on and praying for you. And also, here's a pic we took last year after a game. Don't misinterpret my awkward smile...I'm grateful for our friendship. Lol.

Most importantly, grateful for our partnership got  the whole Gospel. Can't wait to share with others about your 2018 campaign with @onedayswages. #neverdone #jlin7 #linsanity

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