A Concert Full of Love and Hope

At 7 p.m. on December 22, 2005, when snowflakes were falling, the 6th New Life Concert was held at the Jeongshimhwa Hall of the Jeongshimhwa International Cultural Center of Chungnam University located in Daejeon city. The hall was filled with over 2,000 members of the foundation. Like-minded organizations sponsored the concert: South Chungcheong Province Government, Daejeon Metropolitan City, South Chungcheong Province Police Agency, Chungnam University, Information and Communications University, Daegeon Munwha Broadcasting Corporation [MBC], Daejeon Broadcasting [TJB], Daejeon Ilbo, Save the Children Korea, Korea Association for the Prevention of Child Abuse Network [KAPCAN]. Eminent persons from various circles attended the concert despite their busy schedules: Lee Sun-jae the Sponsor Chairman of the New Life Welfare Foundation, Ku Non-hoi the Uri Party Lawmaker, Lee Bae-geun the Principal of Korea Youth Counseling Institute, Park Seong-hyo the Deputy Mayor for Political Affairs of Daejeon Metropolitan City, Yang Hyeon-su the President of Chungnam National University.

Chairwoman Zahng Gil-jah thanked the guests and the members for coming to “share love and give hope and courage to our lonely neighbors,” in spite of cold weather. She encouraged the members, saying, “Although our small efforts and labor cannot cure all the pains and sorrows in the world, if our small concern and love gather, it can give our neighbors great comfort just as little streams gather and form an ocean deep and wide. I believe today’s event, though small, will make this world beautiful.”

The New Life Welfare Foundation Sponsor Chairman Lee Sun-jae, who is gentle and generous enough to receive people’s love and honor, had willingly supported events held by the foundation for neighbors. He appreciated the members’ effort, saying, “Your heartfelt and devotional volunteer activities comforted our neighbors in despair and gave them hope to live. Next year, too, I wish you to deliver more courage to our neighbors through your many good deeds.”

The guests also complimented and valued the foundation members’ outstanding contribution to society through their diverse welfare activities—from helping unfortunate neighbors to national disaster relief efforts. Park Seong-hyo the Deputy Mayor for Political Affairs of Daejeon Metropolitan City said, “I’ve been very impressed by the members whose faces are like flowers. Thanks to the mayor’s busy schedule, I was lucky to come here instead of him. I was also deeply moved, seeing the members sitting in perfect order despite the rain and joyfully clapping with one mind.” He repeatedly expressed thanks on behalf of Daejeon citizens, saying, “Love is not word but action. The people who attended this concert are the ones who practice love.”

Yang Hyeon-su the President of Chungnam National University and Gu Non-hoi the Uri Party Lawmaker appreciated the members’ efforts, saying, “It was reported that we, Koreans, spend only one minute per year on the average on volunteer service. However, the New Life Welfare Foundation members help others all year around with various activities. I truly thank them for even doing the unmanageable duties of the government.” Chungnam Province Governor Shim Dae-pyeong and other figures of various social standings, who couldn’t attend the concert owing to unavoidable circumstances, delivered their gratitude through the messages of congratulation, whishing for a successful concert.

At the donation delivery ceremony, a total of 13 children with heart disease and parentless households received donations and heartfelt gifts; the foundation members themselves had chosen and wrapped the gifts, wishing their neighbors to go through cold winter healthily. Moreover, they promised the beneficiaries constant concern and support, not an instant material aid. The beneficiaries smiled brightly when Chairwoman herself handed them donations and gifts.

After the delivery of donations, the participants watched a video containing the past activities of the New Life Foundation. The members’ hearts were full, being reminded of their neighbors who were moved to tears or smiled brightly for their volunteer services.

The concert started with the New Life Children Choir’s dancing to cartoon song medley. As a mascot of the foundation, they also performed a traditional coronet dance in Korean costume, Hanbok. The beneficiary children’s eyes twinkled when they watched great performances of the children their age.

After that, the foundation members Eom Tae-gyeong and Kim Dong-hyeon, who are new singers, sang songs “Dear Friend” and “You Raise Me Up,” and received a thunderous round of applause. They said, “This is the first time for us to be on the stage at the New Life Concert, so we were really nervous. But through the members’ encouragement, we could do. We are so happy because of their heartfelt encouragement.” They added, “We wish that the sick children and our neighbors in need will be happier and healthier, having hope. We will see you next year.”

The foundation members Eom Tae-gyeong and Kim Dong-hyeon

The concert hall became more excited with the songs of the foundation members Cho Min-hyeon, Park Ok-hui, O Hae-ee and Yun Ji-hun. It reached the climax when the members Kim Jae-hun, Bae Gyeong-seop and Kim Gyu-min (who was the host of the concert for years) sang together. All performers and the members made a grand finale of the concert by singing a song “We Love You” together.

After the concert, 13 children, who received new life and hope by the members’ love and care, looked a little bit tired, but smiled brightly, saying, “It was great. We’ll try our best to get better.” A-mi (8) who watched the concert along with her younger sister A-bin said like a grown-up, “I was sad because my sister was sick, but now I’m so happy because the foundation helped my sister. Thank you very much.”

The members also delivered their impressions. Koh Yeong-shin (25, Taepyeong-dong, Jung-gu, Daejeon) were deeply impressed and said, “I was heartbroken as if my siblings had been sick, seeing the children suffering from disease. I hope that they will get up from their sickbeds and play with their friends soon.” Lee Eun-ju (31, Gagyeong-dong, Heungdeok-gu, Cheongju) said, “It is amazing and the most rewarding that our small love gathers and can give hope for new life to children. I want to share love with more our neighbors.”

The members from Yuseong-gu, Daejeon, made a great effort for preparing the event. They swept, scrubbed, even painted the floor, seats in the hall, the stage, bathrooms and a waiting room. University officials who saw this admired them and said, “I wish the New Life Welfare Foundation to hold an event here every day.” Such an after-talk made our hearts full. After the concert, they cleaned the hall until late at night.

It was still snowing when we came out of the hall after the concert. Snowflakes didn’t avoid dirty places or ignore lower seats, but came down to every place impartially—on the lower ground or on the heap of garbage; it looked alike the members who went everywhere if their help is needed. Just like the small snowflakes coming down without rest and making the world clean and white in the end, our love will be piled up little by little and fill the world with happiness.

[Interview at Concert]
New Life Welfare Sponsor Chairman Lee Sun-jae / Beneficiaries & Members

Interview at Concert ① / New Life Welfare Sponsor Chairman Lee Sun-jae
“Share love diligently in the year 2006, too, as you always have done.”

Q. What did you feel to see the 6th New Life Concert?
It was really touching. Whenever I attended an event held by the New Life Welfare Foundation, I was impressed because the members always kept order and were enthusiastic. Today’s concert was more touching and beautiful; the members were united with one mind. The most impressing moment was the donation delivery ceremony when Chairwoman herself delivered the donations, full of love and hope, to the children in difficult situations. I believe it will be a great help for children, who are sick in both body and mind from intractable disease, so that they can live with dream and hope. What the children received was love, not just formal material help. I thank the Chairwoman as well as all the members, who always help our neighbors through their good deeds.

Q. The New Life Welfare Foundation carries out various activities to share love. Seeing the events held by the foundation, did you find anything different from other organizations’ charity events?
Different from other organizations, the New Life Welfare Foundation carries out all its activities only by the members’ goodwill, voluntary participation, devotion and love. The activities of other organizations are limited to one or two areas and actually they find it difficult to have interest in other areas, but the New Life Welfare Foundation stretches out its helping hand to various areas with great interest: helping children with heart disease and parentless households, holding a blood drive, a consolatory visit to the military or the police, disaster relief efforts and so on—they even do the things that government should undertake. I truly appreciate the members’ efforts to give real help both physically and spiritually to our unprivileged neighbors.

Q. Where do you think the power to bind the members’ enthusiasm and their minds into one comes from?
The fundamental spirit of volunteer activities of the foundation is “love.” Every activity starts from love for mankind. It is not easy to practice love in our everyday life. When we have a strong commitment and a resolute spirit of volunteer service, we can practice love. The foundation members’ hearts are filled with such kind of love, and the firm will to take part in volunteer service is deeply rooted in them. They are full of that kind of love, so they can willingly participate in the volunteer service with one mind.

Q. More members are joining the foundation. What do you think of the reason?
The reason people are getting hardhearted and stingy with helping others is because of the lack of concern about others. Of course, it is natural to become stingier when economy is difficult. But I don’t think only the rich can help our neighbors in need. Actually, people who live in difficulties are more active in helping others, sympathizing them with fellow sufferers. In the same way, the foundation members, though they are not rich, put their minds together to help their neighbors in need and make society brighter. They faithfully help others with true love. That’s why people who have the same mind gather more and more.

Q. What is your plan for the foundation as the Sponsor Chairman?
I’ll do positively whatever I can do as the Sponsor Chairman. I agree to the foundation’s fundamental idea to help our neighbors, so I will diligently follow the staff and the members and willingly help them if they need my help.

Q. Is there anything that you wish members to do or any message for them?
They can’t do better. I only hope that they will be rewarded to see people whom they helped happy, and that they will greatly contribute to make the world a better place with their constant love. I hope that they will be a big hope in our society and to our unfortunate neighbors, by spreading love continually in 2006 as ever. Thank you.

Interview at Concert ② / Beneficiaries & Their Famiies
“Our loving neighbors, whose injured hearts have been healed by love and concern through the 6th concert.” We wish them to grow like barley which overcomes winter.

Through the 6th New Life Concert, 13 children who live in Daejeon city—three children with heart disease, five children with intractable diseases and five parentless households—received the true love from the foundation members.

Cheol-wu and Yeong-jun who were suffering from medulloblastoma, Seung-myeong who had been diagnosed as neuroblastoma and was planning to receive anti-cancer treatment, and Yeong-geun and Na-ra who were suffering from heart disease attended the concert with excitement. Gyeong-tae, who had had a heart surgery two times, had to be in the hospital because of a relapse so he didn’t attend the concert.

Eun-hee, the youngest of the beneficiary children, looked alike other children outwardly, but she was suffering from blood poisoning, renal insufficiency and tremor of the hands. A-bin, who got sick with a rare disease—essential thrombocythemia—first in the country and fifth in the world, had been nowhere except for her home and hospital, but she visited the concert hall, taking her mother and her elder sister by the hand.

So-hui living with her younger sister, Jin-gang living with his aunt, Ye-jin, Dong-gil and Da-mi living with their grandmothers and their younger brother or sister are parentless households. Although they live in difficult situations, they are honest and faithful, doing well at their schools.

Children with heart disease and intractable diseases and parentless households, who gathered at the 6th New Life Concert, laughed heartily in a long time. At the place full of hope and joy, they watched the performances which the members had prepared wholeheartedly. The beneficiary children smiled with twinkling eyes when they saw the dancing and singing of the New Life Children Choir members their age.

Tears gathered in the eyes of some beneficiary families after all the programs finished. The families of sick children all smiled and said, “It was really touching concert. I will live with the courage, love and hope you gave us today.”

Restoring pure smiles to children who are fighting against diseases with their little bodies . . . delivering hope to parentless households who are living in harsh situations . . . “Practicing love” is not giving some of our belongings to others, but “filling us with something valuable.” The foundation members ruminated upon this teaching once again.

Thanks to the New Life Concert that had been held annually, around 100 children, up until now, received new life through the members’ love and care, and now live happier and healthier lives. The members earnestly wished children to grow strong by their “love practicing,” like the barley which sprouts out all green after going through winter.

※ We interviewed with beneficiary children and their family. Receiving love and concern from the members, they promised to live with hope. Having a time to think how much our small love can give comfort and courage to our neighbors, we hope that we will practice love more in the year, 2006, too.

Q. Was the members’ love and concern helpful to you?
Sure. I don’t know how to thank you. When I was hopeless, you gave me help. Now I can live with hope and courage. I was really thankful to hear that the members of the foundation, whom I hadn’t met before, would help my daughter, A-bin. I thought they were better than my own family. After meeting them here, I feel like they are really my family. I’ve never been to this kind of place, and never known that there is an organization in Korea which does many good activities for others like this. I feel sorry that I neither knew that these many people are doing good work, nor I helped others until now. A-bin is happy today, and I’m also happy to see her happy. I will take good care of my daughter, so that she will receive medical treatment well and restore her health. Thank you for your help.
(A-bin’s mother)

Q. It must be hard for your son to come here because of his illness. How could he come?
It’s not a common thing for us to go and see a big event or a performance like today. Thank you very much for inviting us. Yeong-jun is sick, so we’re not free to go anywhere. Even a cold can do critical harm to him, and he should keep away from crowds. But he wanted to come here today and the members of the foundation gave us a ride. They were so considerate of us. Their volunteer service was very outstanding. I truly give thanks to you for inviting us to this wonderful concert and giving help.
(Yeong-jun’s mother)

Q. Is there any new goal of your life or realizations, which you came to have through this event?
I want to give love as much as I received here. The foundation members gave me help not only materially but also mentally. I’ve received the most valuable things from the members such as love, happiness and hope. In other words, they gave my family new life. I, too, want to give my neighbors love and new life. It would be nice if my daughter, Eun-hee, would grow to be an adult who is able to give love as much as she received. Maybe she, too, knows well about this.
(Eun-hee’s mother)

Q. Is there any message to the members of the New Life Foundation?
I realized that the members of the New Life Foundation are warm-hearted people. This was a special experience to my daughter, Na-ra, and me. I have been encouraged, receiving love from many people and seeing them face to face who gave us help. I think the best way to repay you for your love is to take good care of my daughter, so that she will receive operation well and grow healthy. I’ll do my best as her mother with courage. Thank you very much.
(Na-ra’s mother)