As we celebrate the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, we unite our hearts with Jesus through union with those who have the least. In this spirit, the KOC JPIC Committee befriended and assisted Ajit, a worker who was injured at the hands of an unethical company. They met Ajit at the Pocheon Migrant Workers Center in the winter of 2022 and heard that he was in a difficult situation. They invited him to share a meal and talk. Spending time with him was a good learning experience and an opportunity to see the heart of Jesus more closely. Pastor Dalseong Kim, who is in charge of the Pocheon Migrant Workers Center, heard about the committee’s encounter with Ajit and wrote an article about it.
Province of KOC
Finding salvation through each other: the story of Ajit
by Pastor Dalseong Kim
The Ministry of Employment and Labor hired Ajit, who had a working visa, to work in a factory in Anseong. Ajit had no abnormalities in his health checkup when he entered the company. However, after eight months of working there, he developed a serious lung disease. This was the result of long hours of grinding work every day in a workplace with the fumes of thinner, a carcinogen, as well as a continuous vibration present all the time. The manager only provided Ajit with cotton masks, while he had to breathe in iron powder every day. He was mocked and insulted when he asked for an anti-dust mask. He worked while being deprived of the freedom to transfer to other workplaces, because of the laws and systems created by two right-wing political parties (People Power Party, Democratic), which are pro-capital and anti-labor. They take turns in power and deprive legal migrant workers of the freedom of changing their workplaces. Ajit underwent surgery at his own expense after contracting the disease. Afterwards, he refused to be obstructed by the manager and applied for workers' compensation. However, the management demanded the cancellation of the application and applied pressure. Ajit was not able to work and was being treated at his own expense for a year and a half while waiting for the results of the worker’s compensation review, yet management did not give him one penny.
Today, Ajit went to Seoul at the invitation of four people. The four of them welcomed him, treated him to meals, and exchanged life stories with him. They also financially supported Ajit, who was living in debt. These four people are not rich; they are the ones who have voluntarily chosen poverty and live very simply. They have vowed to serve the poor and the weak and to lead a celibate life.
The Bible leads man to salvation. Salvation does not mean to enter heaven in the afterlife, but rather a life of union, and union with Jesus in the here and now. However, Jesus identified himself with those who have the least (Matthew 25:40). Therefore, salvation means a life of union with those who have the least. The four of them welcomed and held hands with a person who had almost been killed by capitalists who only pursued profit and exploitation while receiving strong support from the state. This is the work of building up salvation. Salvation together with you and I.
Pastor Dalseong Kim
Pocheon Migrant Workers Center