The Words of the Na Family

Looking Back at My 12 Years of Korean Life

Cheryl Pacis-Na
March 2011

This article was published in Bonhyang-in (roughly translated as Heavenly Citizen), a monthly newsletter of the Multiculture Blessed Missionaries.

Being employed as a local civil servant in Hampyeong County, Jeonnam Province, is an honor, a privilege, blessing and responsibility for me. I never thought of becoming one here in Korea because having a teaching license in the Philippines, I thought I could just work as an assistant English teacher.

It started when in August 2008, I received a call from Hampyeong mayor's office informing me that the Mayor would like to learn English from me. I was a little bit shocked but elated because I never imagined I am going to teach our own mayor. I immediately grabbed the opportunity and a meeting with the Mayor was arranged the next day. When I met Mayor Soek Hyeong Lee, he told me about the county's plan to hire me as a civil servant after he successfully helped Annabelle Castro, another Filipina blessed to a Korean from Worya myeon, of becoming the first Filipino Korean police officer. He would like to help me also because he saw how I have been sacrificing and working so hard for my family.

At that time, I still have a teaching contract with the Hampyeong High School which ends in December, 2008. Concerned school officials and teachers were not happy with my being hired as a civil servant because I'll stop teaching but they assured me that I will always have an available post if I choose to come back. The mayor promised them that I will work for the county office and teach at the school simultaneously. As an educational support project, the county will be responsible in paying for my salary.

On September 20, 2008, at 8:30 am, I took my official oath before Mayor Lee and received a certificate of employment in the presence of the Hampyeong county local officials. I was asked to speak impromptu before them not knowing that there were newspaper and TV reporters present. Caught unprepared, I just said that I'm so grateful with the opportunity and trust they have given me and vowed to do my best.

The next day, the school administrator showed me a news article about my being specially hired as a civil servant from the provincial newspaper Kwanju Meail Times. Some teachers and students said they also saw me on the TV morning news. I was really surprised because I didn't expect that my oath taking would create a lot of news in Korea! After that, some radio stations, magazines, newspapers, and TV stations called me to do some interviews or documentaries about my job and life as a civil servant. To name a few, I was featured recently by KBS 2 with the title "On the Spot: Migrant women, new emerging leaders in the local community." Mokpo MBC also made a documentary with the title "Straightforward Talking Lady: Pacis, Cheryl G." aired Feb. 2, 2009. Another feature about me was in the section of "People who do Challenge" with the title "Challenging Beginnings Through Patience and Perseverance" of Yeoeuju magazine published by Ssangyong.

I was assigned at the Administrative and Management Division to work as translator, multi-cultural family counselor and English teacher specially for Hampyeong High school in the first year and 6 months of my employment. I composed official letters in English for the mayor for international cooperation correspondence or translate letters in English addressed to the Mayor. I worked as the main translator, coordinator, tourist guide and emcee in the main programs when Hampyeong County invited Philippine Ambassador Luis T. Cruz to grace the celebration of multi-cultural day and during the 2009 Butterfly Festival wherein Hampyeong County invited 20 foreign embassies in Seoul in which 40 ambassadors, including our own Philippine ambassador, and their wives and their children came.

In January 18, 2010, I was transferred to the Hampyeong Expo Park, the site of the famous annual butterfly and chrysanthemum festivals. I work as a tourist guide for local and foreign visitors, translator for international correspondence and cooperation and consultant for the expo's English leaflets and advertisements. My job as a translator/tourist guide give me a lot of pride and satisfaction because I can meet foreign visitors, help promote Hampyeong County's image as the Asian Ecology and Culture Touring spot for Koreans and foreigners. Likewise, being an English teacher gave self-esteem to us Filipinos because we are helping the Korean people learn this global language. Becoming a teacher, a civil servant and being featured in multi-media coverages, is a great honor.

But allow me to look back 12 years ago and the main reason why I came to Korea, to remember the trials and triumphs that I have gone thru and how I tried so hard to keep and raise a blessed family life. I came to Korea in Oct., 1999, Just like any blessed member chosen by our True Parents, I came with the ideal goal of realizing a blessed happy family. I was so excited, hopeful and thought that my goal can be fulfilled. But I found out that it was easier said than done. And so the struggle to overcome many challenges and to fulfill that noble goal began.

My husband, Seung Suk Na is the 5th child among 7 siblings (4 sisters and 3 brothers). He's the youngest son who lives with my mother-in-law and does farming. When we were personally matched, I was informed that he manages a piggery. However, when I arrived here in Korea, his business already went bankrupt. Worst of all, he incurred a lot of personal loans that even with all his annual earnings from his farm was not enough to pay the loan interests. That bankruptcy led him to become alcoholic and a smoker, dragging himself out from the context of a responsible blessed husband.

In the first year, I had a part time job as an English lecturer in a small academy at Hampyeong. At the same time, I helped in the farm like planting garlic, cabbage, sesame seeds, radish etc. Then I gave birth to our first son, Juyeong. One year after, our second son Juchan was born. In the first three years, I was a plain house wife serving my family, raising and taking care of my two sons and working in the farm. I felt at that time that though we are not so materially blessed, I would like to really feel the bliss of motherhood with my two sons.

Nevertheless, living below the average income created a lot of inconveniences such as not being able to pay even our electric bills, our land line phone and his cell phone were even disconnected every 3 months. If my son got sick, I can only bring him to the hospital after borrowing some money from friends. During winter, if we ran out of oil, my husband was hesitant to call the gasoline station, instead, he would ask me to do so only to find out that we already incurred balances and the oil dealer would asked me to tell my husband to pay immediately. I then realized that my husband was both materially and spiritually poor so I resolved to do something to overcome our miserable situation.

I returned to teaching (Mokpo) in September 2004. I tried to maximized my time by working in the kindergarten in the morning, doing tutorials in the afternoon and teaching at the academy in the evening. When I transferred to GNB Hampyeong Branch, I did a lot of extra curricular activities such as volunteer works during the butterfly festival, teaching free English at the Children's Center of Hampyeong Social Welfare Center, participating in different educational workshops and seminars like English Native Speakers Teacher Training for Foreign Wives, Cooking Korean Food, Korean Nursing Care Seminar to mention a few. During that three year period, I was so busy teaching at the academy, in the after school classes at the middle high schools and at the same time learning many things. It was in this period that I got pregnant with our third son. Before I gave birth to him on March 6, 2007, I stopped working at end of December.

When my son was still one month old, a lot of job offers came in. First, I taught as a basic English teacher at the Hampyeong Social Welfare Center. Then, Hampyeong High school hired me and while I was still in contract with the school, Hampyeong county hired me as a civil servant.

With all the trials and difficulties that I had to go through, constant prayers and perseverance were the best weapons. I still have a lot of shortcomings, but I am always grateful to God and True Parents because they always guided me and never abandon me. As long as we do our portion of responsibility, we can do and achieve many great things because we received the blessings and we are here to realize these great blessings by becoming mature in heart and character, raising a happy family and receiving heavenly fortunes.

I live a hectic life, but I always strive to do my best to attend to God and True Parents first by actively participating in church activities such as Sunday Services, ancestor's liberation and blessings, etc and let my children understand and practice our traditions as central blessed family. Though my husband is not very religious, I take both the great responsibility of letting my children know as well as encouraging my husband to recognize the value of a central blessed family by showing them the best tradition of attendance to God and True Parents. Gradually, my husband is now doing his best to change and become a better husband and father to our 3 children. Indeed, the goodness each every person has can expand and develop thru living for others and by investing true love.

Likewise, in my dealings with the Korean people and anyone I meet who are curious why I came to Korea, I always testify that the reason I am here is because of true love, that I am blessed to a Korean husband by the Rev. Moon. thru the International Holy Blessing with the aim to realize happy family centering on true love. It's my greatest hope that thru our blessed families who are sacrificing a lot and following True Parents sincerely, we can become living witness to all Koreans. That they will also come to realize the immeasurable value of our True Parents. Verily, with God coupled with patience, perseverance and right attitude, nothing is impossible! 

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