Updated : 2017.3.15 Wed 15:43
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Missionary Oh Eun-joo spreads love in Philippines through Livelihood Program
2017년 02월 28일 (화) 16:08:11 Kim Ka-young gyroses@ewhain.net
   

Oh Eun-joo spent the last 23 years as a missionary in the Philippines. Her devotion continues beyond the bible, as she educates the children as well as creates programs that help local communities economically. Photo provided by Oh Eun-joo. 

Oh Eun-joo, a graduate of English Language and Literature, has been spending her life as a missionary in the Philippines for the past 23 years. She recalled the time at Ewha when she shared memorable experiences with Miss Crane, an American missionary who taught in the department in 1969.
“Miss Crane shared her thoughts on the beauty of Korean landscapes during our trip to Chuncheon at a time when people looked down upon underdeveloped countries,” Oh recalled. “Her respectful attitude towards modest things allowed me to grow a positive impression of missionaries.” 
Although Oh is now successfully supporting others both financially and psychologically, she had to overcome numerous difficulties along the way. After graduating, she worked at Japan Airlines for a while, but not long after quitting, her husband’s business went bankrupt.
“After his bankruptcy, my husband became interested in missionary works and went to a mission center in the Philippines, to which I followed,” Oh said. “It was around that time that I got a response for one of my prayers, and with a brilliant certainty I was chose to live the life of a missionary.”
During her 23 years of missionary works, Oh has established five churches in the Philippines and has been conducting educational programs to help younger locals to become leaders in their communities. Besides the Bible, she has also taught music and dance to children with the belief that these were the best ways to approach youngsters.
“The children I met in the beginning grew up to be educators of the next generation,” Oh remarked. “I have learned so much in return from the youngsters through watching them overcome their poor circumstances and carry out faithful lives.”
Oh is currently conducting a “Livelihood Program” to help people earn sustainable profits. The program aims to create jobs that can make marketable products with local ingredients. One example includes using dried flowers to make cards, calendars and frames.
“People here often used to find themselves in violent situations, depressed from their poverty,” Oh explained. “However, these people have now become artists, picking flowers and sharing creative artwork with each other.”
Another project of the Livelihood Program creates jobs for unemployed youth where they bake school lunches for local children. All of these programs help people stand on their own and build a brighter future.
Despite her vast achievements in the past 23 years, her life has not always been easy as there were times when local Christians caused trouble, making Oh doubt their capability to live trustworthy lives. She also had to overcome the loss of her son from an endemic disease.
Nevertheless, she continually strives to help people find new ways to live their lives, while continuing her journey as a missionary. She is now developing a new program that renovates old stores into bakeries that deliver bread by tricycle, a traditional style of transportation in the Philippines. This program had previously failed once when some of the members she trusted stole the investments saved for the bakery, but Oh hopes it will be successful on its second try as it has the potential to expand to new bakeries in other areas, bringing employment opportunities for more people.
“We are all privileged people,” Oh said. “I hope that the students of Ewha learn to appreciate the values of truth, goodness and beauty on their mind regardless of their position.”

   

In her ending remarks, Oh advised Ewha students to always acknowledge their privileges, and keep in touch with their values. Photo provided by Oh Eun-joo. 

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