Helping Ginger Harvest

Choi Yun-hee from Daegu, South Korea


When it was still early in the morning, I went to Zion in a hurry because we planned to go to the city of Andong and help harvest gingers. Gingers are one of the essential ingredients of kimchi and are good for hot tea to prevent catching a cold during winter. We were excited at the thought of digging out the useful roots with our hands.

Since the brothers and sisters had already been there a couple of times, they seemed to be used to the ginger harvest; they were joyful as if they were going to their grandparents. As for me, I hadn’t been able to join them until this year because I had to take care of my younger child. I, too, was excited at my first volunteer service in a farm.

Andong isn’t far from Daegu, so I thought we would get there soon. However, although we left the highway interchange and the city area, the GPS was still showing quite a lot of time left until the arrival. As we left the city area, a countryside view was seen. After driving through the winding rural roads for quite a while, we arrived close at our destination.

Because the ginger field was located at the bottom of the mountain, we couldn’t drive all the way there. Carrying our lunch boxes and other bags in both of our hands, we walked to the field. The elderly farmer who had been doing the work before us welcomed us with a bright smile.

After listening to his guidance on how to dig out gingers, we gathered together by twos or threes in the ginger field which looked like a small version of a bamboo field.

First of all, we pocked the ground with tools that looked like iron poles so that the gingers could be pulled out easily, and then we pulled out the stems with all our strength. We shook the dust off the roots, cut the stems, and carefully removed the rootlets. Then they finally looked like the gingers that we normally saw at a market.

Just as potatoes grow from seed potatoes not from seeds, gingers grow from seed gingers. However, unlike seed potatoes which root down and are totally rotten until new potatoes are grown, seed gingers stay the same and become more valuable than new gingers, being used for making herb medicines, and so we carefully saved all the seed gingers in a separate sack.

More and more sacks were filled with gingers, but it seemed like there was no end. I had thought we would definitely finish the work if we all worked together, but it seemed hard to finish our work that day though there were almost twenty of us. Thinking that the elderly farmer did this hard work all by himself from early in the morning until late at night, I could fathom how hard it must have been for him. However, he was just so happy to see the harvested gingers, forgetting his past toil.

When the sun was about to set, we got ready to leave. We felt bad that we didn’t finish harvesting all the gingers, but we couldn’t help but leave. The farmer said he usually continued to dig out the gingers even until late at night with a lantern on, which kept lingering in my head on the way back. I kept thinking,

‘It would be better if I dug out more gingers.’

Burying all the regrets in my heart, I realized one thing from this volunteer service:

I must do my best with the Zion brothers and sisters to help take burdens off Heavenly Father and Mother. I want to bear a fruit of the Holy Spirit and be remembered as God’s precious child, just as a seed ginger that raises new gingers under the ground is treated as a valuable ginger.

My back and fingers hurt from digging out gingers all day, but my new resolution embraced my heart warmly and aromatically like the ginger tea. I don’t think I will feel cold even though biting wind blows this winter.