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서예나 (밴쿠버밀알봉사자)

Aug. 1, 2018

Ever since I was born, I was always around and exposed to people with special needs. The closest one to me was my older sister. My sister Hannah has had cerebral palsy since she was born. Through many years of my life because of her disability, I am more aware and experienced with special needs. For my whole life I felt special and different than others because of my sister. Many people in society view people with disability as weak and incapable of doing things. They tend to feel bad and pity them because they are not “able” to do certain things. However living with my sister has made me realize that even with her disabilities she is able to live a happy life as well as others. Whenever we’re in public I could always feel the eyes and stares from others and always felt embarrassed and when I was younger I never really liked talking about my sister to others but now I am nothing but proud and glad that I have my special sister.

Last September I decided to join Vancouver Milal because one of my best friends were already volunteering there. I always generally knew what Milal was because of my sister but I never knew exactly what is was about. When I started volunteering, I was pretty nervous and scared cause I thought I was experienced with special needs people but I realized each and everyone of our friends are unique and special in their own ways so there was so much to learn and know about their habits, what they like/what they don’t like, etc. After volunteering at Milal for over half a year, I could say that not only did i get to hangout with our friends but I was able to learn how to handle emergency situations such as tantrums or seizures. I always thought Milal was a place where you just do activities and hang out with your friends for the day but now I know that’s there’s so much more effort and love everyone puts into the program starting from our pastor, coordinators, volunteers even to the parents. I really respect all the work everyone does behind the regular ‘Class Agape’ times especially our meetings after every class where we discuss about the day and what were the problems or highlights etc. I believe that if it wasn’t for these extra work Milal wouldn’t be as great as it is now.

In conclusion, I truly believe that Milal is a place where we share our love and talents with one another and being able to see our friends smile and learn is the greatest accomplishment. And looking past the special needs and differences we have, it is a blessing to have all of us to come together as children of God. 저에게는 태어날 때부터 장애를 가지고 있는 언니가 있습니다. 그래서 저는 자라면서 장애에 대한 특별한 경험과 많은 장애인들을 만날 기회가 많았습니다. 어떤 사람들은 장애를 가지고 있는 사람들에 대해 약하거나 능력이 없을 거라는 편견을 가지고 있는 것 같습니다. 때로는 불쌍하다고 동정심을 갖는 경우도 있습니다. 어렸을 때는 사람들이 제 언니에게 보내는 시선과 눈길이 부끄러울 때도 있었습니다. 그래서인지 저는 언니에 대해 언급하는 것을 꺼리기도 했습니다. 그러나 저는 언니랑 같이 사는 삶에서 장애인도 기쁘고 사랑받으며 행복한 삶을 살 수 있다는 것을 깨달았습니다.

작년 가을부터 저보다 먼저 봉사하던 친구들을 따라 밀알에 조인했습니다. 밀알에서 언니와는 또 다른 장애를 가진 친구들을 만났고 seizures나 tantrums같은 응급상황을 처치하는 법을 배우기도 했습니다. 저는 친구들과 함께 웃고 배우는 것이 좋았습니다. 단지 놀아주는 것만이 아니라 친구들의 행동과 좋아하는 것, 싫어하는 것들을 통해 한 사람 한 사람이 유일하고 특별하다는 것을 느꼈습니다. 목사님, 코디네이터, 봉사자들, 부모님들이 협력하여 사랑과 은사들을 나누는 것이 대단하다고 생각했습니다. 사랑의교실을 위해 뒤에서 묵묵히 일하시는 모든 분들을 존경합니다. 사랑의교실이 끝난 뒤에도 더 나은 밀알을 위해 토론하느라 긴 미팅을 가집니다. 많은 분들의 이런 노력이 없었더라면 지금의 밀알이 없었을 것이라고 생각합니다. 밀알을 통해 소중한 경험을 할 수 있도록 기회를 주셔서 감사드리며, 장애를 떠나 모두가 하나님의 자녀로 함께 모인 밀알을 축복합니다.