Her given name was Chung Yoon Kim, but most (an underestatement as you will soon read) refer to her as Sister Kim.
If it were possible, I would love to write an entire six part blog post describing Sister Kim. I would tell you that she is incredibly selfless, hospitable, intentional, prayerful, hilarious, driven, energetic, resilient, beautiful, and every other positive adjective that when combined only scratch the surface of her character. But Sister Kim wouldn’t like this because, well, she really is that selfless. [I consider it a minor accomplishment that I was able to spend four plus hours interviewing her, as this required that she talk about herself.]
Instead, I will tell you about Sister Kim (still in the form of a series) via voices from the gamut of communities, projects, and individuals who have been transformed in the last 30 years.
“To be honest, I did feel fear,” she explained. “But the very moment I descended from the plane’s staircase and stepped onto the red soil, I was overcome with a sense of peace – and this peace hasn’t left me since.”
Sister Kim attributes this peace entirely to God. It is a peace that has kept her through Uganda’s 20 year civil war. A peace that has caused her to remain in a very rural village when other missionaries fled. A peace that pervades so much of her being that for 30 years, Sister Kim has lived and worked in a culture that’s not her own, learning to speak an entirely new language (among endless other cultural nuances), all the while living alone – without any immediate family or a husband.
“I never feel fear,” she pragmatically promised. “Why would I feel fear when I know why I’m here?!”
Indeed, Sister Kim, beyond a shadow of a doubt, knows why she is still living, working, and thriving in a very remote Ugandan village.
Located in Nebbi, a district in northwest Uganda that is situated between Gulu (an area known by many due to its recent history involving the Lord’s Resistance Army) and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (one can literally see the DRC from the town’s center), Goli village is home to Sister Kim and the level three (soon to be four) Goli District Health Center.
When she first arrived in Goli, the so-called health center consisted of a couple of thatched-roof huts. Inside these semi-permanent structures, doctors dealt with everything from fistula to leprosy, all while a variety of critters crawled overhead.
“There was a time I saw a cat crawling above us while we were administering surgery. But I prayed, and the patient never became infected.”
For the last 22 years, Sister Kim has woken up at 4:30 am to attend a 5 am prayer service. Every. Single. Day.
This ritual is both a reflection and causation of Sister Kim’s unprecedented selfless nature. She prays because she knows and believes in the one who made her – and this is the reason why she is in Goli.
Sister Kim prays because, she will tell you until her face turns blue,:
“I cannot do anything.”