Date:                        May 5, 2022 


Chen Jingjing at her new job
(Photo: Chen Jingjing)

Work with value and dignity

      “Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to curry their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord. Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. Anyone who does wrong will be repaid for their wrongs, and there is no favoritism.” (Colossians 3:22-25 )

        I have never left China and, I only speak Chinese. I lived in Shenzhen, the most prosperous city in China, for more than ten years. Came to Jeju with absolutely no knowledge of Korean. The jobs I could find here I have never done before.

        For example, pulling radishes, cutting soybeans, pulling weeds, cutting oranges, and so on, all work in the ground. I got up before dawn and went to work until 5:00 pm.

       Since I had never done agricultural work in China and the hours were long, I was tired and my whole body was sore, and my hands were blistered after working all day. My hands and feet were shaking with pain. Sometimes when I got home, I was so tired that I couldn't even eat, so I went to bed. Although it is very tiring, the pay is not bad.

       I left everything at home, including my relatives and elderly parents. In addition, I dealt with various kinds of heartaches that cannot be described in words when you first arrive in a foreign country. I hid under the covers and cried, not letting my husband and children know.

       Just two months after we left China, there was a pandemic. All traffic travel stopped, the border was closed, and it was as if everything had changed.

        Thanks to God's preservation, unconsciously, I have now spent more than two years in a plague. My views of a country and work shifted in those two years. I have also seen the influence of different cultures in different countries on the concept of work and the ritual forms and personal qualities of their work.

       My current job is working at a driving school where I clean and wash dishes every day. I go to work at 9:00 am and leave at 3:00 pm. It's a ten-minute drive from home to the office. The monthly salary is enough to cover all the expenses of our family of 4. My job is enough to support my family, and I feel very valuable and satisfied.

        When I first came to work here it was very uncomfortable because, in China, people and jobs are divided into three, six, and nine classes. The cleaning lady and the migrant workers are the most discriminated against. But in Korea, I feel respect for people. People in the company don't ignore me because I am a cleaner, instead, they greet me warmly every day.

One of Chen's coworkers
(Photo: Chen Jingjing)

          The boss of the office knew that my children were also in Jeju, so he gave me a big bag of his children's toys. I often get a lot of food or toys to take back to my children. People in the company give me something to eat or use.

        They would tell me they were sorry for accidentally spilling coffee on the table. They would say sorry for making my work more difficult. They say thank you when I clean, and they thank me for my hard work.

         Every day I was the first to leave work, and everyone in the company would tell me they had worked hard when they saw me leaving work. Even I think they are too polite. This is my job— I should do it! However, this shows respect for human rights and respect for the members of the workforce. Even I, a humble janitor, was respected and treated with kindness, which also made me feel that my job was worthwhile and willing to serve.

         I have worked in China for many years and have even been a manager. I did not get respect from others, and I did not know how to respect others. Although I couldn't speak the language, I could feel that the original cleaning aunt in this country is not discriminated against. I am very grateful

Chen Jingjing of Mayflower Church

April 26, 2022

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