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Why are Korean missionaries flocking to Kenya?

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 has grown to become a bridgehead for Korean missions to Africa.

  • By Ariel Zirulnick Correspondent

Fascination with a four-day bible research extravaganza have been building here for days. Across Nairobi, Korean Pastor Ock Soo Park’s smiling face has beamed straight 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 stumbled on Kenya.

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

In Southern Korea, what’s promising Mission Church is controversial in a few quarters, with numerous mainstream Korean Christian groups rejecting its unorthodox understandings of sin and salvation.

But those details didn’t deter approximately 2,000 Kenyans – nearly all 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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Since the presence of American and European missionaries has 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, 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 virtually any country that is african claims Barnabas Ra, a Korean missionary who has got worked right right here for 14 years. The missions started around 1981, and today you can find 130 such “units” – singles and families – in the united states. About 40 % stay static in cities; the remainder fan out to more rural components. Those working beneath the Korean Mission Fellowship, an umbrella team that doesn’t range from the great news Mission Church, raise $4 million to $5 million per year for Kenyan churches.

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

‘Wide, but shallow’?

Grace Muthungu, a program that is senior with all 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 says.

“They have sound doctrine. The Bible is their authority,” Ms. Muthungu claims. “They’re maybe maybe maybe not attempting to bring a culture that is international to your individuals.”

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

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

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

“Teach somebody simple tips to fish – that’s what the Koreans do for people,” claims Rev. Isaac Lugaka, whom traveled from the main Kenya city of Nakuru to go to this week’s event. “at first they brought the Bible, however they didn’t teach us just how to see clearly,” he claims, discussing missionaries that are early.

Cultural mismatch?

The distribution of solutions by Korean missionaries has generated some expectations that are mismatched. 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 relaxed, and luxuriate in instruments that are classical 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 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 now been bold adequate to visit Africa. Perhaps we must emulate them,” she claims. “If Koreans may come right here, we to can deliver missionaries out.”

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