Half Korean and African American football player, Hines Ward admitted his faith in God at a press conference in Seoul, Tuesday.
Ward also spoke of the hardships he endured as a mixed-race child, and that the "grace of God" gave him the strength to persevere.
"My happiest moments were when I was voted as the Super Bowl MVP, when my son was born, and when I arrived in Korea. My hardest times were when I was teased for my mixed background," Ward told the press.
He received the MVP (most valuable player) title at the Superbowl game, after his team the Pittsburgh Steelers won last year. Ward became an overnight sensation after his heritage was soon discovered. Originally, the 30-year-old receiver planned a vacation to Korea as a birthday present for his mother.
This marks the first time the Ward has returned to Korea, where he was born to Korean mother, Kim Young-Hee, and a Black father. He and his mother plans will tour the country for ten days, after arriving to with much fanfare at Seoul airport, Monday.
Ward’s mother met his servicemen father while working at a store near a US military base. She moved to United States in 1977 with her husband and son when it became clear that her son would face discrimination for his dark skin. Her black husband abandoned the family shortly after their arrival in America, leaving Kim to fend for her two-year-old son.
To make matters worse, kids from the all-African American neighborhood would ridicule Ward for his half-black, half-Korean heritage, and his mother’s inability to speak English. At that time, Kim and her son turned to the church for comfort.
"Because she had no cousins and she could not speak the language, the only one my mother could lean on was God," Ward said. "My mother went to church from the moment she arrived in America. Looking at my mother, I also leaned on God and I learned what it meant to live a life with God."
Ward also visited South Korean President Roo Moo-hyun at the Blue House, and received honorary citizenship for Seoul.
The Superbowl star said that conclusively he would like to visit Pearl S. Buck Foundation International Korea to meet mixed-race Korean children whom still face discrimination to “give them a line of encouragement.”
"Everyone is God’s child. Isn’t the ideal world one where everyone loves one another despite the color of the skin," he asked. At the beginning of the press conference, Ward bowed his and prayed in front of the media.
He plans to set up his own foundation that will be affiliated with the Pearl Buck Foundation, which helps more than 5,000 mixed-race children, mostly born to US soldiers and Korean women.