Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Difficulties in Helping Others

In one of the Catholic magazines, a priest-director of a diocesan counseling center for foreign workers recalls his experience with a Vietnamese worker who was near the end of his stay in Korea. Would he return to  Vietnam or become an illegal alien?  the priest wondered.

The young man entered Korea in 2005 and after working for just one month became sick. Afraid they would send him back to Vietnam, he dropped out of sight. It was in 2007, as an unregistered foreign worker, that he appeared at the counseling service to receive free medical treatment. We made arrangements, said the priest, for an operation at a government hospital. The exam showed there was blood in the brain so he was sent to a larger hospital for the operation. This required a lot of money and the counseling service had to ask for financial assistance to cover the costs.

After the operation, the young man's medical problems began to disappear, and although he had to continue taking medicine he only had to show up once a year for tests. His parents were invited to come to Korea to stay with him, and he was given a place to say while recuperating. His recovery was going well and our efforts on his behalf seemed justified.

But not everything turned out well. The relationship with his wife, who sacrificed in taking care of him, turned sour, and she left him to return to Vietnam.   His younger brother, who was in Korea,  also caused him problems with his erratic behavior.

Because the young man was an unregistered alien, the priest went to the immigration office to ask permission to continue with his therapy, assuring them he would stand as surety. He did this every year during the period of therapy, until he finally was given six months to prepare to leave the country. He agreed and said he would buy his own ticket. But from that day on he disappeared. 

No word has been received from him, and the priest has no idea what happened to him. He believes he is still in the country, but rather than checking with the office of immigration to find out for sure, he prefers to believe that he left the country. He admits to feeling at times like a fool, betrayed and used by  the worker, but most of the time he reminds himself that he didn't help the man to have him do his will. He  helped him because he believed he was doing the will of Jesus . He felt he learned a great deal from the incident and is convinced that he  loved in the way Jesus would have wanted.

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