The start of summer of 2010 was spent working 9-to-5 shifts for two film internships in Los Angeles. I helped organize several premieres for movies such as Twilight: Eclipse and Despicable Me (where I met the love of my life, funnyman Steve Carell), and worked on the finishing touches of a documentary on Marvel Comics co-creator, Stan Lee. I then left to spend two weeks in Seoul, Korea.
It was a great experience to be taking full advantage of my summer in LA and to get in touch with my roots in Korea, but the most memorable part of the summer was my stay at Sarang House orphanage (literally translated is Love House) in Qingdao, China. I went with a small Christian Mission Team of about 15 people, where our main goals were to teach English, praise, and play with the kids. The mission trip was organized by International Care Community (ICC), a nonprofit organization that has been sending teams to the orphanage for the past six years. Much of our time in Sarang House was spent organizing crafts and activities, teaching songs and dance routines, creating colorful decorations for the main worship room and dining hall, and basically helping the director of Sarang House in any way that we could. The year’s theme was “Citizenship: How to Be a Good Citizen.” Through stories, activities, and discussions, we taught the kids about being responsible, fair, respectful, trustworthy, and caring. We wanted them to remember that the orphanage is their home and to treat it as such, and that all of them constitute one family.
The trip was truly indescribable. I was touched at how loving and happy the kids were, even though many of them suffered physical/verbal abuse and abandonment by their families. They treated each other like siblings, with the older kids constantly looking out for the younger ones. When we brought them candy and chocolate (rare treats for the kids at Sarang House), they would always offer some to us first before sharing amongst themselves. It is impossible to convey how life-changing this experience was for me. I definitely plan to continue volunteering at Sarang House every summer with ICC.