Senior citizens as respectable as the heavens, live peaceful lives!

A national holiday is a joyous day when all the family members gather together, but for some senior citizens the day makes them feel lonely all the more and miss their family even more. This is why the IWF members become busy prior to national holidays, being considerate of their unfortunate neighbors.

This party is the 12th Love Sharing Party, Greeting a National Holiday. On January 31, a few days before the New Year’s Day, the IWF members visited Beobwon village which is a beautiful rural region in the city of Paju, Gyeonggi Province, where they grow organic products. This region is closely related to the IWF; through the last New Life Concert which helped children suffering from heart disease and rare diseases as well as injured foreign workers, the IWF supported medical expenses for the unfortunate children living in this region. This time, the IWF members held a consolatory party for 100 senior citizens living alone or staying in facilities, at the multi purpose conference room on the 2nd floor of the village office.

At noon, traditional Korean dishes were prepared on the table: soup of chopped beef with various condiments, mixed dish of vegetables and sliced meat, Bulgogi (roast meat), sweet drink made from fermented rice, rice cake and fruits. When most of the invited were seated, Chairwoman Zahng Gil-jah gave an opening speech and the feast started.

“I know you have been saving everything for your children, so that they can grow up to be great citizens. You are the treasure in our society. We have prepared dishes for you with all our hearts to comfort you, so please help your self and live long and healthy lives.”

Chairwoman Zahng Gil-jah honored their devotion to their children and country, and expressed her thanks to them by reading a poem, wishing them to be comfortable and healthy. Kang Seok-jae, Beopwon Village Chief, also wished the senior citizens to live long and healthy lives. At the same time, he thanked the IWF for helping children in need last time and considering senior citizens this time.

While the elders enjoyed their meal, Chairwoman Zahng Gil-jah and the members served them and shared friendly conversations with them. The elders enjoyed the festive atmosphere and thanked the members for it. Hwang Gyeong-nan (78) who was living alone said, “It feels like today is my birthday.” And she wiped her tears, saying, “I’m very thankful that these young people comfort us. I can’t hold back my tears.” Another senior citizen Kim Jong-hak (78), who usually spent the national holidays by himself, expressed his appreciation to the members, saying, “I can see how much you’ve made efforts to prepare for this party. Even my children don’t treat me like this . . . I owe you a lot. Thank you so much, all of you.” The IWF members replied, “You don’t have to say thank you. Just regard us as your children.” They also gave them massages.

After the festive meal, the gift-delivery ceremony started. The gifts were mufflers and woolen gloves for a warm winter, rice and ingredients for dumpling soup along with rice cakes for the New Year Day. The members also delivered the gifts and food separately to the seniors who couldn’t attend the party for their health problems. The members felt warm as they saw the elders smile brightly, putting on the new mufflers.

Lee Geum-ok (37), a member from Adong-dong, Paju, said, “Parents’ love for their children seems to have no bounds. Whether their children don’t come and visit them, they don’t complain and just understand them. Instead, they appreciate our visit. I’m moved by the love of parents who are always giving love to their children.”

Today, the IWF members learned love from the senior citizens who are our great teachers of life. The elders held the members’ hands firmly and blessed them, saying, “God bless you, and be prosperous,” as they returned home. The IWF members wished them health and happiness, seeing them off.