On the occasion of the Day of Consecrated Life, we publish an interview with Ester Palma, a missionary of the Servants of the Gospel of God's Mercy

02 February 2024

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South Korea: A missionary among young people to show them the way to Happiness

Ester Palma, 48 years old, is originally from Spain and lives in South Korea. "I am a missionary of the Servants of the Gospel of God's Mercy. I arrived in Korea
eighteen  years ago and I am really happy to be here working for Jesus." The presence of Catholic missionaries in South Korea may be a surprise, since it is a first world country with technological and economic advancements and ideas. However, Esther explains, "in every country the love of Jesus is necessary and our mission is especially important here among the young people. Korean society is very demanding, and young people live in extremely competitive environments that produce high levels of stress and sadness. Young people do not have time to dream or think about themselves, or the meaning of their lives, since they are so busy studying to build a good curriculum vitae."

Ester's mission in Korea, and the mission of other consecrated people, is above all to be close to the young and to be willing to listen to them. "We are here to show them the beauty of God's plan for each of us," Esther said: "God wants us to be happy, to have a meaningful life. God wants us to discover our vocation in this world." She continues: "The missionaries have a great task: to show young people through their testimony that it is possible to find happiness when we give our lives totally to others, serving the poor and working for justice and peace in the world."

Ester decided to dedicate her life to the Lord as an adult: "Since I was 19 years old I have dreamt of a peaceful world in which all young people and children have the right to be happy. During my university studies, I learned about North Korea and the harshness of life in this country. I then began to study as a translator so that I could work for international human rights institutions in the Far East. One day I had the opportunity to attend a prayer meeting where I felt Jesus' heart full of compassion and tenderness for the people of North Korea. Jesus told me through His Word: "I have heard the cry of my people. Who should I send?" I understood from the meditation of Exodus that the love I had in my heart for North Korea was God calling me to dedicate my whole life to show His love to and share His happiness with His people." Ester has been a missionary for 25 years and continues to live in South Korea. "I pray to God that one day I can go to the North and live there, close to the young people and children as a humble servant of His mercy."