2021 Newsletter - Diakonia Sisterhood in Korea
Mother House at Mokpo
We are entering the third year of the COVID-19 global pandemic. Amid the isolation, fear and despair brought to the world by the pandemic, we share the good news of peace and joy. Jesus is with us. God is with all of us anticipating a sign for hope and recovery.
At Diakonia Sisterhood in Korea, the year 2021 continued to be a time of internal growth and change.
During the general meeting in January, Sr. Jong Sook Ro was elected as the new Abbess and her official appointment started in March with an appointment service. We thank Sr. Young Sook Ree for her dedication in the position for the past 12 years.
Each month we hold an internal gathering program led by Rev. Hyun Joo Lee and spend two days reflecting upon us as individuals and also as a community of Diakonia. We also started “walking prayer” done individually once a day for about an hour, as a way of immersing in prayer, while walking in the world created by God.
Diakonia Family Community
At the end of December 2020, all members of the Family Community got together online. Although we could not meet in person, seeing others face-to-face online to share our lives gave us a much-needed chance to reconfirm the spirit of community.
We held two silent prayer meetings with all the Family Community members, one in January and the other in April.
Then in November, we held the 6th Annual General Meeting for the whole of Family Community at the ‘Shim-Full Stay’ (renamed from the House of Spirituality and Peace) in Cheon An. This had been the site of our Mother Center for 17 years before we moved back to Mok Po and visiting the place to meet our Family gave us much joy. For two days, we shared our lives, prayed, and participated in the Bible seminars led by Rev. Sang Ki Kim. It was a meaningful time for us to think about our journey in Christ in the context of the pandemic and seek new ways to continue our common efforts. 18 existing members renewed their membership. The pledge service also included 3 preliminary members but the admission of new members was postponed in consideration of the pandemic.
Despite the pandemic, many friends and volunteers came to our center to help us maintain our facilities. Mr. Chang Young Oh and Rev. Jong Won Kim helped us repaint areas around our prayer room.
Mr. Jeong Taek Ji and Mrs. Jeong Ran Koh installed a water pump to irrigate our vegetable garden in August and we had plentiful vegetables and fruits from the garden, enough to share with our neighbors. In September, other volunteers helped us arrange the forest around our center, making it more accessible, safe, and smart.
In August and December, we had online meetings with the members of the the Korea Community Movement Association.
In August, we were visited by the grandmaster Ko, Myong, and his wife from Shinson Hapkido(Korean martial art) in Germany. They have been supporting us for more than 30 years and every two years, a whole team of them came to our Mother Center to stay for days, sharing news and activities as well as providing financial support to our activities. Although only the grandmaster and his wife could visit today, it was an occasion to reconfirm our friendship and we also used this occasion to hold an online get-together to share greetings.
On Christmas day, Family Community members from In Cheon and Gok Seong surprised us with a visit making our Christmas celebration even more lively and joyful.
Diakonia Elderly Home
60 elderly people live in the facility together with about 40 staff and our sisters. External visits and activities have been severely restricted since the start of the pandemic and family visits have also been limited to a very short time, but we continue to maintain a comfortable environment with a variety of our own activities. We also frequently communicate with the family members through social media, sharing videos and messages to maintain contacts. Our sisters in Diakonia sisterhood were also there to prepare kimchi, one of our biggest annual events at the Diakonia Elderly Home. 300 pickled cabbages were mixed with a well-made sauce while listening to the joyful songs and laughter of the nursing home teachers and stored in the kimchi jar one by one. The joyful atmosphere made us forget about the pandemic.
What kind of joy can our sisters bring to the elderly this Christmas? “If we can’t sing, let’s dance,” he said, wearing protective clothing and dancing to the Christmas song. At first, they looked at us with curious eyes, and then they applauded and liked it to the upbeat music.
Low-income household support
Group meetings and consultation became difficult under the current circumstances but we still support North Korean refugee families, multi-cultural families, and other low-income support programs through individual visits, calls, and consultations. We also maintain contacts with the students receiving our scholarship through individual visits as well as through social media networks. There was an incident when a sponsor of our program sent fried chicken to all our scholarship students anonymously and surprised us when we received thank you messages from the students for the tasty encouragement.
Going into the third year, the global pandemic has influenced almost every aspect of our lives but we also witness a constant flow of love, love of God, and love of our neighbor, which enables us to continue our work of Diakonia with joy. We thank you all for your support and we join in prayers for our work in Christ.
Diakonia Sisterhood in Korea.
Sr. Jong-Sook, Ro(Oberin)