(adapted from Christmas 2020 letter)
Many things have been brought to a halt by Covid-19 and everything became unusual. This is how we lived 2020. We no longer meet as many people as possible and we, ourselves, no longer meet in person. We hold a video conference through Zoom, but such a conversation is still an uncharted territory. It is unpleasant and unusual to see how we are living such things.
“How shall this be?”
We say this when we encounter our expected events in our life. An unexpected event is something that we didn’t foresee, something out of the ordinary. Faced with the unexpected occurrence of Covid-19, we scrutinize the way. The moment in which an event, or something unknown comes along is the point in which our thoughts begin to act. In other words, we say that our thoughts are fundamentally the result of a “direct encounter” with an unexpected event. Previously unknown situations keep us awake. Distance from familiar things!
There are no holes in our thinking, in the framework of our life and in the laws governing familiar things. Whenever we live according to the rules, God cannot work. That which is really unexpected for us, is definitely there in order to invite us to God.
The birth of Jesus Christ toppled over our usual life, the life of the old human being. He comes to us in God’s own way, which surpasses our expectations. This is why, through the birth of Jesus, we change internally from a familiar to a new and different “me”.
If something unexpected happens to us, we say: “Let your will be done.” It is a capitulation. Just as Mary wished for “it to be done to her according to (the angel’s) word” (cf. Lk. 1, 38). If God allows us to leave behind our life as we knew it and to do new things, it feels weird, unpleasant, painful. However, it is certain that he invites us to a new life. We receive his invitation, in a most particular way, on Christmas Day in the Corona era.
2020 in retrospect
Throughout 2020, our Diaconal Sisterhood had to avoid meeting any outsiders and to give up any external activities in order to protect our nursing home from a Coronavirus infection. In the 40th year of its existence, the Diaconal Sisterhood had planned several events. But these were all cancelled. On the 1st of May, we just prayed softly. We remembered in our prayers all our friends and benefactors, both foreign and domestic, which have been at the side of the Sisterhood ever since 1980.
The Diaconal Family Community held retreats in August and November. The Divine Service for the renewal and registration of Family Community members took place on the 20th of November. In the morning of the same day, Professor Emeritus Cho-Nyon Kim delivered a lecture on hospitality for foreigners. In the afternoon, 14 members we renewed, 8 of whom became life-long members. Ahn Jung-mi, Oh Chang- young and On Jeong-hyun made their initial vows, entering the community. As a result, the Family Community, having a total of 12 life-long members and 9 potential members, has become a member of the community bound together in reciprocal trust. Because of the Coronavirus situation, the number of participants was small, but those unable to participate gave their renewal promises in writing and sent in their congratulations and greetings.
On the 29th of December at 8:00 p.m. we held the year-end Zoom conference of the Korea Diaconia Family Community. 14 persons participated. Sr. Ree Young-sook (Superior) read the words of praise and prayer and then spoke about feeling and living the presence of God which is acting in our lives.
On November 22, Noh Young-soon, the oldest sister in our Sisterhood returned to God’s embrace. She had been in Diakonia’s nursing home for the last 6 yet 6pm, she was called in peace by the Lord.
Diakonia Home Welfare continued to grant scholarships and to take care of the beneficiaries’ life. We also visit and care for poor families who migrated from other countries, including North Korean refugee families.
Diakonia’s nursing home was completely cut off from the outside world and had to rely mostly on its own programmes. Caregivers and personnel worked very hard, offering games, physiotherapy and nursing. We are thankful that, helped by the prayers of many people, we came to this day without experiencing any difficulty.
We thank you all for being close to us in prayer, even though physically you had to be very far away during this last year.