Put your heart, mind, and soul into even the smallest acts . . . this is the secret of success.
I have a lot of good memories of Central Asia. At one time or another I visited all of the individual republics of the old Soviet Union. Their history is rich and colorful and includes such eccentrics as Genghis Kahn, Timor Tourmaline, Alexander the Great, Joseph Stalin and Khrushchev. Ancient tales of adventures along the Old Silk Road are still retold around Uzbek, Kazak, and Afghan firesides.
By 1904, the Japanese had invaded and occupied the Korean peninsula. Many Koreans escaped and migrated into the Russian province of Primorsky. By 1937, Stalin loaded the Koreans into railroad box cars and inhumanly shipped them as slave laborers into Central Asia. Thousands died en route without food and water. The survivors were put to work in Soviet industrial sites and agricultural operations in Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan. Many times the displaced Koreans had only grass to eat and infected water to drink. Since the death of Stalin, things have improved for them. Today, approximately 500,000 transmigrated Korean refugees still live in that part of Central Asia.
On one of my trips into Uzbekistan I met a Korean man and his wife and adult daughter. They made all the nasty and inconvenient travel into that ancient part of the world rewarding and very worthwhile to me. They unswervingly believed that success in life was determined by the enthusiastic dedication to helping other people become better off.
Dr. Chong Soo Kim started out his career in Seoul, Korea, as a neurosurgeon. He became very successful. In 1971, Dr. Kim packed up his family and moved them to Indiana University Medical School where he studied hard, graduated, and became certified as a US anesthesiologist. Upon completing his additional education in Indiana, he was offered a lucrative job in southern California as an anesthetist. In a short time the passion he had for his career and the willingness to tirelessly apply himself to his work all paid off. He became very wealthy.
Through the church they were attending in California, Dr. Kim and his wife heard about the medical plight of the Korean people in Uzbekistan. In 1994, they responded to the call. They sold everything they owned and with only a small amount of personal items they moved to Tashkent. Chong Soo Kim and his family found that Uzbekistan was a tough place to work. He put his heart, mind, and soul into even the smallest aspects of his new work. He became convinced that in order to be successful in Uzbekistan he would have to establish personal relationships with the people by doing free medical clinics.
There was a great shortage of medical training in the Tashkent Oblast, so Dr. Kim offered medical classes and taught Western medicine. Most medical textbooks in Uzbekistan were over 20 years old and written in the Russian language. Dr. Kim started teaching out of American textbooks. That required the students to learn English. Dr. Chong Soo Kim’s daughter, Soo Jin Kim, then moved from Evansville, Indiana, to Tashkent to teach English.
At my very first meeting with the talented and energetic Kim family, I determined that Project C.U.R.E.would come along side and help them. Their passion and dedication was both obvious and contagious. But it was going to take a miracle to get the Uzbekistan government to allow us to do what would be needed.
Dr. Kim drove us to the neighboring city of Amalyk, where he had determined to build a private clinic. He had purchased property with old and rundown buildings and a garden of weeds and debris. With passion, they had poured their lives into renovating the old facility and were now ready to open the clinic. But, they had gone as far as they could go. They needed Project C.U.R.E. to furnish the complex with medical supplies and pieces of equipment. They also needed the final approval of the government.
On our way back to Tashkent, I had Dr. Kim stop at the local Uzbek government hospital in Amalyk. It was a typical old Soviet facility, just barely keeping their doors open to the people for lack of everything. While there, I did a complete Needs Assessment Study on the hospital. Then, Dr. Kim and I met with the hospital administration and the Ministry of Health. The miracle happened. I promised them that if they would fully cooperate with honoring Dr. Kim’s passion and intent to help them with their medical needs in Uzbekistan, Project C.U.R.E. would be honored to also help them by sending additional medical goods to their hospital in Amalyk.
When the half million dollars worth of needed supplies and equipment arrived in the large ocean going shipping container from Project C.U.R.E., everyone in Amalyk celebrated. The newspapers had Dr. Kim’s story and photos on the front page. He was a hero. His efforts and passion had paid off. All the people in the Uzbek region were now better off because of Dr. Kim’s concern, diligence, and passion.