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Serving Korea with Hand and Heart

By Susan Serrano

Families will have an opportunity to celebrate Thanksgiving in a unique way this year by giving thanks for their blessings from God and sharing those gifts with others on Dillon International’s Sharing Heart Mission Trip, slated for November 20-27.

Participants will journey to South Korea and engage in a variety of service projects to bless the women, children and senior citizens served by the programs of Eastern Social Welfare Society (ESWS), Dillon’s sister agency in Seoul. Examples of planned activities include:

  • Delivering lunch to homeless senior citizens and teaching English to after-school children served by the Sodaemun Community Center

  • Doing laundry at Anyang Child Welfare Center, a temporary care program for children

  • Making meals for pregnant women at Esther’s Home and Sharon’s Home, the shelters for unwed mothers

  • Teaching American songs to the preschoolers at Jacob’s Home, an orphanage for children age 6 years and under

  • Feeding disabled children at the Eastern Rehabilitation Institute, a facility for abandoned children

  • Holding infants at the Eastern Babies’ Home

“Although Dillon International’s mission trips to Korea have historically involved adoptive families of children from South Korea, who were seeking a way to give back to their children’s birth country, the Sharing Heart Mission Trip is open to anyone interested in serving the Korean people while learning more about the country’s culture, history and traditions,” said Dukkyung Um, leader of the mission trip and director of Dillon International’s Korea adoption program.

Past participants have reported that their experiences on the mission trip changed their outlook on life. “They feel a strong bond to the country and people of South Korea and to God,” Um explained.

“The mission trip is such a worthwhile project,” said Kim Lively, an adoptive mother who participated in an earlier service trip to Korea. “Eastern Social Welfare Society really reaches into the community they serve.”

After witnessing the needs of the children firsthand, Lively’s family has sponsored children under the care of ESWS through Dillon International’s child sponsorship program there.

“I was moved by the spirit and energy that these children (at the Anyang facility) possessed in spite of their uncertain fate,” she recalled. “They had such bright smiles. They probably gave us more joy than we gave them.”

The Sharing Heart Mission Trip will be mainly focused on service work; however, there will also be opportunities for sightseeing and cultural experiences. Korean adoptees and their families may also request to have access to information related to their adoption. For more information or to request a tour brochure or packet, families may visit the Dillon website or email tours@dillonadopt.com.

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