Dirty Hands

by Marj Pomoy

It has been raining these past few days here in Seoul, South Korea and I never thought that in some areas it had already caused calamities like landslides and floods which claimed lives of more than 40 people. 

One affected area was the Sahmyook Rehabilitation Center in Gwangju. Since it is an Adventist Institute, the ADRA volunteered to help clean the Center. When Jermilyn Ermita, a 35th batch missionary, knew about it, she invited missionaries to join and help. There were 14 of us who came and we were crowded in the vehicle.

When we arrived there, it didn’t look like a hospital anymore. You could see mud all over the place and smell mud all over the place too. Outside the buildings and even the church were things piled covered in mud like benches, chairs, bed sheets, blankets, appliances, gadgets, sound systems and other small stuffs you couldn’t recognize anymore.

As a group of 1000 MM missionaries, we were assigned in the Nutrition Center or the kitchen. We washed dishes which had marks of mud from spoons, chopsticks, bowls, lids and the appliances and the walls of the kitchen. We were working with some “ahjummas.”

After lunch, we were assigned in cleaning the floors and walls wet with water and covered with mud. Since there were few mops or wipers, we used our bare hands with dirty towels turned to rags to wipe the floors and walls. We got our hands dirty and it smelled like mud too.



As we were cleaning, we were impressed by this one guy whose right arm was already paralyzed and yet he still wanted to help in his own way by handing out washed rags from the ahjummas and giving it to us and getting our dirty rags to be washed again. This inspired us, missionaries, to even work harder having two active arms.

You see, he didn’t just stand or sit there looking at us because he had a paralyzed arm. He did what he thought he could do to help and he was actively doing it which made us smile at him every time he would come and hand out the rags.

This made me think of a text in the Bible which is found in Ecclesiastes 9:10. It says:

“Whatsoever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might…”

All in all, we had fun and we enjoyed the experience of having dirty hands for the sake of cleaning the floors and walls of the Sahmyook Rehabilitation Center.

The ending? hmmmmm. Eating three kinds of pizza as a reward for our volunteer service courtesy of Pastor Lee Song Su.

Missionaries here in South Korea are always on the go because if you’re a missionary, they say, we’re always ready!