May 1, 2022: Worship Service Testimony Series No.4 "at the Starry Village"


Psalms 103:1-2 NIV
“Praise the LORD, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise the LORD, my soul, and forget not all His benefits.”


This story goes back and forth in time, but when I was a sophomore in college, we had "Social Education". I think this course was a part of the Saemaul Movement.


The Saemaul Movement
The Saemaul Movement (Saemaul Undong 새마을운동) is a regional development movement that developed in Korea by "diligence," "self-help," and "cooperation", and  It expanded on a nationwide scale in 1971.

It was used by the government to modernize rural areas that had been left out of economic development, and was accomplished by innovations to farmers' lives, improvement of the environment, and increase in income. The "새" in "새마을" means "new" and "마을" means "village," so "Saemaeul" translates as "new village”.

Ewha Womans University is an independent university.

Two students each from the Medical College, College of Social Sciences, and the Teacher's College were gathered, and a total of six students formed one group. During summer vacation, we entered a "family village" in Gangwon-do (강원도 Kangwon-do). The village had two parts, one at the foot of the mountain and the other at the bottom, and most of the villagers were farmers growing rice.


Our learning assignment was to educate the villagers, and each of us had to play two roles. I had decided to teach Shiatsu, which I had been interested in since I was a child, and soft doughnuts, which my mother had taught me. I had prepared for this by carefully reading the book "Shiatsu no Kokoro, Haha no Kokoro, Push and LifeSpring" by Tokujiro Namikoshi from Japan.

I also brought a donut recipe and stainless steel tools.



We rented a room in the corner of a farmhouse, but there was a barn about 2 meters away. We had to get used to the terrible smell. The night we arrived, we couldn't sleep because of the whispers of anguish of a mother cow giving birth, but we were very impressed to see her adorable calf the next morning.


By the way, our first problem was the lack of a toilet. 

We dug a hole by the side of the cowshed and placed boards at both ends to somehow make a primitive toilet. I had just brought a large furoshiki (wrapping cloth) from Japan, so we had to hide behind it and use it to do our business.


All of us got severely constipated.  

I did acupressure for constipation for them and myself. 

When it worked, gas came out. The girls were shy, and I told them, "Don't be embarrassed. Let the gas out!" I encouraged them. I thought that if I were too weak to do my business in this toilet, I would not be able to start my life here, so I prayed, "God help me," and stayed there until I succeeded.


Also, since it was summer, we took turns washing our bodies in a cold river to wash away any sweat we might have worked up. We stood guard, taking turns washing in the cold river, looking for a river surrounded by greenery.  

We said, "I wish I could take a warm bath! "

We gradually adapted to life in the countryside.


The next day, we started our activities. After returning from farm work and having lunch, I gave a cooking lesson to the ladies. I showed them a sample using eggs, sugar, flour, baking powder, and cooking oil that I had bought in Seoul. Everyone enjoyed the soft donuts that they ate for the first time. However, after about a week, we ran out of ingredients and could no longer make the doughnuts. The ladies insisted on making them, though, so they gathered sugar, flour, and oil and brought them to us. Eggs are precious in that village, so we could not use eggs. 

Perhaps they used strong flour instead of light flour. The doughnuts were very hard, and they could not be called soft doughnuts.


For Shiatsu(finger pressure massage), they gathered after a day's work and dinner, so we started at 9:00 p.m. 

We practiced for one hour. I asked in advance for a couple to join us. Being farmers, they had stiff shoulders and back pain, and since the couple took turns doing Shiatsu, they laughed a lot and enjoyed themselves. 


Early one morning, the landlord who had rented us the room, banged on the door and told me that her son was suffering from stomach pain. She asked me to treat him using Shiatsu. I went in immediately and found him wriggling his big body and groaning. 

I tried to adjust his gastrointestinal tract by applying Shiatsu, but it didn't work well.   I asked him what he ate yesterday, and he replied that he had pork. 

I remembered reading a Chinese book. The book said that moxibustion on the toes during food poisoning would relieve stomach pain. And I gave him moxibustion then, he was healed in a few minutes.


He was really lucky to be healed, but this became a rumor in the village, and the Shiatsu class became more popular, with people from upstream villages joining.

The one-hour class session was from 9 p. m. But the class was often extended after 11:00 p.m.

I was so exhausted and slept snoring so loudly that other students complained about losing sleep.


There was no electricity in the village. 

During the night, the village was dark, so the stars shone brightly and sparkled like scattered jewels.


On the last night of our stay, the entire village gathered for us, sat in a circle, and served us Makkoli (막걸리). 

We all sang songs and danced and had a great time. 

The taste of Makgeolli was so exceptional. It was fragrant and tasted great.  

At a restaurant afterward, I had a "fantastic Makkoli".


At the end of the meeting, a middle-aged man came to me and said, "My baby has a high fever. I beg you to take a look." 

It was impossible for me because I had never studied clinical medicine. Another medical student also told him that we are medical students, but we are not doctors, so we cannot see patients."

But he did not give up. 

I could not refuse him anymore, so I decided to go with him.


I prayed to ask God for help. 

I followed the man along the dark mountain road. 

When I arrived at a crumbling hut, a mother was holding her crying baby in her arms.  I put my hand on his forehead and knew that the baby boy had no high fever, so I watched him for a while and encouraged the mother to breastfeed him.


And guess what? 

The baby drank the milk with strong gulps and fell asleep quietly. 

The father put his hand on his forehead and said, "Doctor! The baby is cured! Thank you very much."

I was more surprised than he was. 

I explained to him, "I guess he was not sick. He just must have been hungry."  He said to me, "No, no, my wife tried to give milk to him many times, but he wouldn't accept it. His fever was too high."

I said, "Oh, I see. That's good. I'll leave you now."


He pulled out a precious egg from the back of the room and said, "Doctor, please drink the egg.”

I said, "Thank you for your kindness but I don't eat raw eggs." 

But he handed me the top and bottom of the egg with a small hole in it and urged me to gulp it.

I couldn’t refuse his kindness, so I drank it down. I was surprised to find that the raw egg tasted so good.

I felt both sorry and happy to have received such a precious offering.

I said goodbye to the wife and baby, and the husband brought me back to our lodgings.


I prayed, "Praise the Lord!! Thank you for healing the baby and for using me."


The next morning, we said goodbye to the villagers.  

When the bus picked us up, an elderly woman with a large bump on her throat came to us accompanied by a relative and asked, "Can it be cured?"  At first glance, it appeared to be a goiter, but I was not sure if it was combined with cancer. I thought there was nothing we could do in this village where there was no medical clinic, so I asked our professor if she could give the woman a checkup at Ewha Womans University Hospital. 

She immediately said yes, and we were able to depart for Seoul together with her. 


We found out that this lady had developed goiter due to a lack of iodine, and there was no cancer. She was discharged from the hospital and returned safely to her family village.


We finished our practical training in social education. 

I submitted my written report titled, "In a Starry Village”.

This experience in the family village was a precious treasure that I will never forget.


Praise the Lord!