Exactly why are Korean missionaries flocking to Kenya?

Exactly why are Korean missionaries flocking to Kenya?

A four-day Bible research extravaganza marking the twentieth anniversary of one pastor’s arrival in Kenya has drawn thousands on the weekend. Kenya is actually a bridgehead for Korean missions to Africa.

  • By Ariel Zirulnick Correspondent

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

The function ended up being what’s promising Mission Church’s first African Bible that is“National Crusade” held this week in Nairobi’s Nyayo Stadium to mark two decades since Pastor Park first stumbled on Kenya.

In the stadium, famous Korean and Kenya gospel vocalists done, and Kenyan spiritual leaders translated Korean sermons. Locals danced and clapped from the industry 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 weren’t 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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Whilst 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 % of Kenyans are Christian, as well as the national nation happens to be 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 just about virtually any country that is african states Barnabas Ra, a Korean missionary who has got worked right 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 % remain in urban areas; the others fan out to more rural components. Those working underneath the Mission that is korean Fellowship an umbrella team that doesn’t range from the very good news Mission Church, raise $4 million to $5 million per year for Kenyan churches.

Korean churches are interested in Kenya by the prevalence of English, the proximity that is relative Southern Korea, and a preexisting tradition of Korean missionaries. Their figures are gradually increasing in other African nations because well, Mr. Ra claims.

‚Wide, but shallow‘?

Grace Muthungu, a senior program officer aided by 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 says. “They’re maybe maybe not attempting to bring a tradition that is international to people.”

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

Ra agrees. “There is a big population of christian Kenyans, nevertheless when you learn it deeper, you observe that Kenyan Christianity is superficial – wide, but superficial,” he claims.

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He views the work of Korean missionaries like himself as teaching Kenyans „proper“ gospel and training local pastors – and helping Christians to face on their own. They attempt to stay away from social dilemmas like tribal methods, although their objective has attempted to end the practice of feminine genital mutilation right right here.

“Teach somebody just how to fish – that’s what the Koreans do for people,” claims Rev. Isaac Lugaka, whom traveled through the Kenya city that is central of to wait this week’s occasion. “at first they brought the Bible, nevertheless they didn’t show us simple tips to see clearly,” he claims, talking about very early missionaries.

Cultural mismatch?

The distribution of solutions by Korean missionaries has generated 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 can find social miscues, records Good News Mission user Grace Muita. Koreans are relaxed, and revel in instruments that are classical their services, while Kenyans “are familiar with leaping and playing around,” she claims, laughing. But Korean missionaries will also be learning Swahili to attain off to Kenyans.

Muthungu associated with 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 may come right here, we to can deliver missionaries out.”