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The Long Journey to be a Global Leader

Registered Date January 12, 2015 Read 464
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Greetings from Seoul, Korea!

 

Hello all! I am proud and honored to have the opportunity to share my personal life story with you through Scranton Center’s new website! My name is Ji-eun (Esther) Kim, a global mission fellow of General Board of Global Ministries (GBGM) of the United Methodist Church (UMC). I was sent to Zambia, Africa by GBGM for a year and a half as my international placement site. I served with the ecumenical NGO named TEEZ which stands for Theological Education by Extension in Zambia. I was there as a gender justice support assistant. Currently, I am serving with the National Council of Churches in Korea (NCCK) in the department of Reconciliation and Unification as my domestic placement site. This is where I will serve until the end of my term.

 

I want to be a peacemaker, mediator and bridge builder for peace and justice. Time to time, however, I find myself as a person who lacks inner peace. This is not something to be shameful or humiliated about. Rather, I realize that these challenges must be overcome little by little through my efforts. So I am going to share you about my steps toward peace and justice. It has not been long journey. In fact, it just started! And surely, I will continue to move forward not by only myself, but also with you!

 

[STEP 1. Not Only Charity but Also Justice]

In January of 2010, I attended the Asian Young Women’s Leadership Training Program in the Philippines held and sponsored by Scranton Women’s Leadership Center and the United Methodist Women. We visited several offices of NGOs as a part of our schedule. During one of our visits, I saw a calendar for the New Year on one of the desks. Every month displayed a different picture of the poor around the world. Someone next to me was looking through and said very quietly, “Charity is not enough. We have to seek justice rather than just charity’.” This was my starting point in understanding the difference between justice and peace issues and mere charity. After the program, I wanted to learn and seek more about justice and peace.

 

[STEP 2A. Global Justice Volunteer]

In the same year, to expand my experiences of justice and peace issues in the world, I applied for the GBGM Global Justice Volunteer program. From June to August of 2010, I went back to the Philippines for the GJV program. For more than 2 months, I worked with a local NGO where they dealt with community development, children and youth education including disabled children, poverty, livelihood education for the poor, orphanage work, and scholarship programs for those in need. During my internship there, I faced and addressed many kinds of unjust and un-peaceful situations. Many people were fighting against the government and its corrupted policies. We participated in demonstrations, protests, and also peaceful rallies in the plaza with many people who were fighting for their rights for a better life and better world. Even though they were starving, living on the streets, and drinking dirty water, they still had smiling faces saying that they were blessed people. For me, it felt almost like a disaster and a tragedy, but I saw their bright faces. At that moment, I also felt very guilty about my life and of myself. I thought what have I done in my life and what am I doing now? How have I been living up until now? What is my life compared their lives? I felt shameful to even breathe the same air as them.

 

To be continued…