Pale pink in the spring, gorgeous green in the summer, ombre orange during autumn and wishful white come winter, Kkottongnae, or the Flower Village, located in South Korea is not only a beautiful place where its hills and fields are always resplendent; Kkottongnae is also a place where true love is alive.
"It is the most beautiful thing in the world to welcome love-starved people with open arms and to help and take care of them," said Father Oh Woong-Jin, Kkottongnae's founder. Kkottongnae is a village filled with beautiful people and deeds; Father Oh chose the name to represent the ideal form of love, not just for sentimentality.
One member of Kkottongnae's four supporting arms came through such love. A father's dying wish and undying love introduced Brother James Sin, assistant general of Kkottongnae Brothers of Jesus, to the organisation. "My son, I ask one thing of you," said Brother Sin in recollection. "Though I'm dying, I want you to finish your medical training and for you not to live for yourself, but for the poor and abandoned people." Faced with the inevitable, he agreed to the last words.
Unknown to him, both of his parents had donated to and joined Kkottongnae before his father's death from lung cancer. After his father's death, Brother Sin found the newsletter and decided to visit the place. Upon witnessing pure and selfless love in action there, Brother Sin realised that his father had given him one of the greatest gifts in his life and decided to join the congregation. “Only true love can transform one’s life,” said Brother Sin. “And true love, here, means unconditional love.”
Since its inception in 1976, Kkottongnae has sown, reaped and spread love in four other countries; Indonesia is next on the list. To know more about the organisation, its expansive work and the inspirational story behind it, plus how Kkottongnae came to find a place in Indonesia and met one of its newest family members, read the upcoming April issue of Indonesia Tatler magazine.
Photo by Kkottongnae & Heri B. Heryanto