Oregon was good because I got to see a lot of relatives I haven’t seen in a long time. My family is not good with keeping in touch with other relatives. In fact, we rarely see them. The most exciting thing was seeing my cousins. There are three of them in Oregon, Marshall, Peter, and Maggie. Marshall. Named after John Marshall. His full name is Marshall John Cho. At any rate it was good to see them. In my memory, they had just come from Korea, so they couldn’t speak English well, so hearing them speak English was good. In fact, they live in Eugene, which is really white, so they’re actually a little white-washed. But it’s all good.

The most encouraging thing was seeing how they’ve grown in Christ. Recently, there have been various people who came up to me saying how they know my cousin. It started with Heidi at Stanford. She met Marshall at some retreat. Like I said, our family doesn’t keep in touch too well, so that was the first sign I got that they had grown spiritually. I felt happy about that. And then some people from KCPC, whom I never talk to, met Marsh in Korea and they told me about that. With all these people it’s odd because they’d ask how he’s doing and I mean they knew way better than me. I hadn’t even spoken to him in English.

So I found that Marsh really has grown a lot in Christ, and that was encouraging. Here’s why. The last time I went to Oregon, a long time ago, we visited the church they went to and it was depressing. First of all, it was really small, since there are very few Koreans in that area. But the youth group just seemed so weak. I’ve always been involved with pretty strong youth groups, so it was sad to me. I just felt like it was hopeless, the kids there I mean. I guess basically what I was saying is that it was nothing like my youth group. I just felt so sad that all the kids there weren’t getting fed, and were a lost cause.

But I was wrong. Actually, about them not getting fed back then, that was mostly accurate, but it’s amazing what God does. Like my other cousin Susan. She came from that church and went to Occidental, and later became IV staff there and is coming to Stanford this fall as staff. That just amazes me, given that church. I remember when my family first started getting missions support letters from her while she was at Oxy, and we were all so encouraged. That she was growing so much in her faith, despite the church she was raised in. Same with Ann, her sister, who went to Stanford. Marshall has also grown a lot, and I am proud to be his cousin.

So it’s amazing to me how God works. It makes me think, because in my mind I always feel like I know what a group needs to be strong and for its members to do well, but I’ve so often been wrong. Like God so often takes people from these groups I think are weak and really builds them up, like my cousins. Also my church in Houston. When I first came here, I thought it was such a dead youth group. But then they all went to college and became leaders in their campus ministry. It just really surprised me. And I look at the groups I think are strong and they don’t all turn out like you would think. On the one hand, it’s depressing, because you see how little control you really have. But overall, for me it’s encouraging to see that most things are up to God. I can do what I think is good for a fellowship, and that does things, but in the long run, it’s God who works in people’s lives.

So maybe this all sounds lame, but I can’t express how happy I was to see how God has built up my cousins. I guess there’s another reason for it. In my family, on both sides, our entire extended family has never really been totally into God. They all go to church, and I think many truly believe, but they’ve never really sold out their lives to Jesus. So at times when we did get together, it was a little lonely. As similar as we are to the world, still, Christians really are different, and it’s noticeable. At any rate, I sometimes despaired of my generation even going to church, much less believing. So when I see my cousins growing in Christ, it’s just so cool. Not only have I gotten in touch with family I have not seen in a really long time, I’ve gained a real brother and sister in Christ, and there really is a special connection there. Again, I’m sorry if this doesn’t make sense, but seeing my cousins growing in Christ just made me deeply and profoundly happy. I hope you can share in my joy.

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