Exactly why are Korean missionaries flocking to Kenya?

Exactly why are Korean missionaries flocking to Kenya?

A Bible that is four-day study marking the twentieth anniversary of just one pastor’s arrival in Kenya has drawn thousands on the weekend. Kenya happens to be a bridgehead for Korean missions to Africa.

  • By Ariel Zirulnick Correspondent

Desire for a four-day bible research extravaganza have been building right right here for weeks. Across Nairobi, Korean Pastor Ock Soo Park’s smiling face has beamed straight down from posters as Kenyan followers passed out welcoming fliers to locals.

The function had been the good thing Mission Church’s first African “National Bible Crusade,” held this week in Nairobi’s Nyayo Stadium to mark two decades since Pastor Park first found Kenya.

In the arena, famous Korean and Kenya gospel vocalists done, and Kenyan spiritual leaders translated sermons that are korean. Locals danced and clapped in the field as Korean site visitors strummed guitars on phase and sang in Swahili.

The Good News Mission Church is controversial in some quarters, with many mainstream Korean Christian groups rejecting its unorthodox understandings of sin and salvation in South Korea.

But those details did not deter approximately 2,000 Kenyans – many of whom are not evangelicals – from collecting on Thursday to dance and pray in a cool drizzle, or even the 1,000 spiritual leaders who endorsed the “crusade,” or Park’s numerous Kenyan adherents.

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Because the existence of US and missionaries that are european waned in Kenya since its mid-1900s heyday, conventional and evangelical churches from Korea have actually trickled in. About 70 per cent of Kenyans are Christian, plus the nation has grown to become a bridgehead for Korean missions to Africa. The aim appears to be less about conversion and more about propagating their view of correct biblical teachings for this current wave of missionaries.

Kenya has drawn more Korean missionaries than some other African nation, states Barnabas Ra, a Korean missionary who may have worked here for 14 years. The missions started around 1981, and today you will find 130“units that are such – singles and families – in the united kingdom. About 40 % stay static in towns; the others fan out to more parts that are rural. Those working beneath the Korean Mission Fellowship, an umbrella team that doesn’t range from the very good news Mission Church, BlackFling raise $4 million to $5 million per year for Kenyan churches.

Korean churches are interested in Kenya by the prevalence of English, the general proximity to Southern Korea, and a current tradition of Korean missionaries. Their figures are gradually increasing various other countries that are african well, Mr. Ra claims.

‘Wide, but shallow’?

Grace Muthungu, a senior system officer utilizing the nationwide Council of Churches of Kenya, an umbrella company for nonevangelical churches, claims the rise in Korean missionaries is perplexing, given Christianity’s prevalence. However their motives appear good, she claims.

“They have doctrine that is sound. The Bible is the authority,” Ms. Muthungu states. “They’re perhaps maybe not attempting to bring a tradition this is certainly foreign towards the individuals.”

And she acknowledges that Kenyan churches require outside assistance. The early US and missionaries that are europeann’t complete completely teaching the Christian faith, she contends. Given that they’ve “gone quiet,” Kenyans need assist from somewhere else.

Ra agrees. “There is really a population that is big of Kenyans, however when you study it more deeply, you observe that Kenyan Christianity is superficial – wide, but superficial,” he states.

He views the task of Korean missionaries like himself as teaching Kenyans “proper” gospel and training pastors that are local and helping Christians to stand by themselves. They make an effort to remain away from social problems like tribal techniques, although their objective has attempted to end the practice of feminine genital mutilation right right here.

“Teach someone just how to fish – that’s what the Koreans do for all of us,” claims Rev. Isaac Lugaka, whom traveled through the main Kenya town of Nakuru to attend this week’s occasion. “at first they brought the Bible, nonetheless they didn’t show us just how to see clearly,” he claims, talking about very early missionaries.

Cultural mismatch?

The distribution of solutions by Korean missionaries has established some mismatched expectations right here. The missionaries often see that as just the start of the partnership for example, while a Kenyan church might expect the missionaries to leave after they build a school or borehole.

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Then you will find social miscues, records Good News Mission user Grace Muita. Koreans are calm, and luxuriate in traditional instruments in their solutions, while Kenyans “are used to leaping and playing around,” she claims, laughing. But Korean missionaries may also be Swahili that is learning to away to Kenyans.

Muthungu of this nationwide Council of Churches states Korean missionaries could possibly be part models for Kenya’s vibrant community that is christian. “The Koreans have already been bold adequate to visit Africa. Perhaps we have to emulate them,” she claims. “If Koreans will come right right right here, we to can deliver missionaries out.”