Father John Lee Tae Sok: A selfless man

Wednesday 9 November 2011
Father John Lee was a South Korean Salesian priest who was the 9th of 10 children. His father died when he was young leaving a widow to carve out a living by running a small sewing business to feed her large family. Father John was not only musically gifted, he was also bright enough to be accepted into the medical school. However, he chose to give up a comfortable life to become a priest and practicing physician in Tonj, South Sudan, a poverty stricken area torn apart by inter-tribal war. Food is scarce and there were no doctors nor hospitals until the arrival of Father John.

I got a little teary eyed when the reporter interviewed a little boy who had nothing to eat save an unripe mango. That was his meal for the entire day. Due to lack of nutrition, his mother had no milk to feed her little baby. This South Korean priest often saw up to 300 patients a day. In fact, he was also the math and music teacher, a doctor and architect. Within a few short years, he'd built a school and hospital with solar powered generators. On a visit back to South Korea, he was diagnosed with terminal colon cancer and subsequently died soon after at 48. I strongly urge you to watch the video.

Though few of us have the medical training nor capable of giving up our lives to volunteer but we can do a little by helping those in need in our own neighborhood. It could be a kind gesture, a smile or perhaps make a meal for someone who's sick.


  1. Marlene, thank you again for sharing such a thought provoking post. I did watch it (although I missed the part about the boy and mango). It's amazing to learn about such a selfless man who dedicated so much of his life to Sudan. I really admire people like that. I signed up to go on the mission trip again -this time we are going to Nicaragua. I feel like I get more out of helping people than the actually people I'm helping. And you are right, any little thing will help - whether it's a smile or another gesture.

  2. These stories always make me wonder how is it possible that in the 21st century could people still live like this. I should do more to help people and realize that I have s much more to be grateful for.

  3. What a remarkable man and life. It might not be the fulfilling life some people expect (who are limited in brain capacity and understanding), but it was fulfilling in so many other ways. No one should be hungry in this world, without clothes or shelter. Man has created all of these classes of people. I truly believe GOD gave each one of us gifts and we should help one another. What's going on in the world is sad. It starts with each one of us. We all must do our best to remedy the situation. Thanks for sharing his story. Thanks for spreading his message. ((HUG))

  4. Some people do incredible things with their time here on earth, his time was short lived but he achieved more than any of will ever dream of.

  5. Sam, good on you! I'd love to hear more about your mission trip to Nicaragua. I think it's absolutely wonderful what you're doing.

    Bessie, Kim and Tabitha, it's sad to hear that there are still those who are dying of hunger when people are supposedly to be more comfortable these days. I suppose we can all contribute in our own way.



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