(This story is also featured at Engage Magazine.)
They come for the 3-D jobs – Dangerous, Dirty, and Difficult. People from all over South-East and Central Asia are flocking to South Korea’s factories and manual labor jobs.
However, when they arrive, they have more adjustments than using chopsticks and eating kimchi (Korea’s spicy fermented cabbage). Korea is one of the most homogeneous nations on earth. With 98% of the population being ethnically Korean and a strong emphasis on homogeneity, being an outsider can be difficult.
Korea Nazarene University is reaching out to the growing multicultural community of Cheonan, South Korea. Last year, the Social Welfare department of KNU hosted a seminar on multiculturalism and ministry to people of different cultures living in Korea.
KNU International English Church, with people from 10 different countries, is a gathering place for international students, English teachers, international professors, migrant workers, and globally minded Koreans. They offer annual workshops on culture shock and support international students and teachers.
Cheonan Migrant Shelter, sponsored by KNU International English Church, serves the migrant workers and families of the Cheonan area. Because Moon-Shik Park, director of CMS, lived in Indonesia for several years, he knows firsthand the difficulties of living in a foreign culture, and because of his fluency in Bahasa Indonesian, CMS has developed a strong reputation for helpfulness among Korea’s Indonesian community. Moon-Shik’s wife, Jenny, works for the Indonesian Embassy in Korea and helps at CMS on the weekends.
CMS aims to help immigrants adjust to life in Korea and to share God’s love through simple acts of kindness and hospitality. CMS provides translation, cultural assistance, banking and postal services, Korean and English lessons, employment mediation, and Bible studies. Immigrants can even find a taste of home at CMS’s Asian food market, which stocks hard to find items like mutton, coconut milk, and peanut sauce.
In our globalizing world, the nature of missions is also changing. We still need people to cross oceans and national lines, but we can also reach formerly hard-to-reach people simply by crossing the street.