Partner Highlight: Hesed Home (Karen Lim)

Karen Lim has been working in orphanage ministry for nearly a decade since she first moved out to South Korea. In 2017, Karin started Hesed Home, a ministry housed in her own home that provides a safe space for orphaned kids to hang out, enjoy home-cooked meals, and celebrate special occasions together. Read on to find out how she began ministering to orphans in Seoul...


What brought you to Korea?

I was born in Korea but at the age of 2½ my brother and I were adopted to the States. I went through this art therapy program, which had a very profound personal impact, that brought a lot of healing from my past and early trauma. I had a dream that I wanted to come back to my orphanage...that I used to live in before I was adopted. I always had a curiosity about Korean culture and my roots, so in 2007 I decided to come out here.


How would you describe your time in full-time ministry?

There have definitely been some ups and downs, some challenges... but I feel it’s definitely brought me closer to Christ. It’s taught me to be more dependent on Him and I really have to seek daily what He wants me to do and be more connected to Him.


What do you envision for the kids that you work with?

I was adopted to an American family in the States, and I experienced the comfort and security of a home. I feel like the kids get support in the orphanage while they grow up, but once they graduate high school, there is very little support for them. I really hope this home can provide a safe place for them to know that they always have somewhere to come back to, celebrate holidays, have a place to hang out, and have dinner. I want this home to be a place where they can always come back to if they are in trouble or in a bind so that they know they always have a home.


What is the meaning of the name of the ministry?

Hesed Home has a very significant and personal meaning. When I was brought back to God I could just really feel His love. Hesed love is that unfailing covenant steadfast love of the Lord. And I really pray that these kids can really taste and experience a love that is deeper than anything that they know or anything that they have experienced. That they really can feel and know their Father's love.


How would you define 'mission' and how can people be involved?

I have heard it said that [mission is] finding out what is on God's heart and joining what He is doing. If I were to take that a step further, I would describe it as finding those areas and places that we are gifted and using those things that God has given us to help a group of people or person that could just benefit from something that you have. When I am painting, cooking, or doing something really creative, I feel God’s heart and I have found that now I can use it to really be able to spend time with these kids and build relationship with them. Sharing life with them just doing what I love and in that showing love to them and just spending time together.


What is the 'orphan spirit'?

I feel like it’s for any of us that don’t feel our Father's love and don’t know our true identity in Christ. I think for me and for true orphans that didn’t have parents to speak those affirmations and identities to us, we grow up with fear of rejection, abandonment, lack of trust; we can’t trust people and it's hard to build relationships. Not being able to receive love is very difficult. I know that I went through it myself.


Are there any stories of transformation that you have experienced with the kids?

I really sense the orphan spirit at the orphanage where I volunteer, there was one girl in particular who was very withdrawn. She never really smiled and never really acknowledged me. Over time as I kept going there, I would show her extra attention. I would always make a point to say, "Hi!" to her, smile, and show her extra love. It took years, but over time I could sense that she would come out sometimes to see what I was doing. One summer in particular, as I was going to go back to the States for a couple of weeks, I said, "Bye" and, "See you next time!"--she would never respond--but this particular time I got a reaction from her. I got a response, and she said “See you next time,” and waved. I felt like that was a real breakthrough with her, that she would even acknowledge me and talk to me. I felt that I really reached that level of trust with her, that she really believed that she would see me next time.


Do you have any prayer requests?

I would like to ask for prayer that the kids would really be covered in their Father's love. That they don’t believe the lies that they are not loved, that they really know their place in the Kingdom. Jesus says that the least of these are the greatest in the Kingdom, and I pray that these kids know that and that they have a place in God’s heart. Even if they experience discrimination and stigmas in this life, that they know their true place and their identity in God’s home. I just really pray that this home is a taste for them of their mansion waiting for them in heaven, that they really know that they are the most special in God's heart and most valuable.


Where would you direct anyone to get involved here in Korea?

You can find my project page on the Footstool website and I can post my email and other contact info on there as well.