Exactly why are Korean missionaries flocking to Kenya?

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Exactly why are Korean missionaries flocking to Kenya?

A four-day Bible research extravaganza 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 bible that is four-day study have been building right here for days. Across Nairobi, Korean Pastor Ock Soo Park’s smiling face has beamed down from posters as Kenyan followers given out fliers that are inviting locals.

The big event had been the good thing Mission Church’s first African “National Bible Crusade,” held this week in Nairobi’s Nyayo Stadium to mark twenty years since Pastor Park first stumbled on Kenya.

In the arena, famous Korean and Kenya gospel vocalists done, and Kenyan spiritual leaders translated Korean sermons. Locals danced and clapped regarding the industry as Korean site site 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 roughly 2,000 Kenyans – nearly all whom are not evangelicals – from gathering on Thursday to dance and pray in a cool drizzle, or perhaps the 1,000 spiritual leaders who endorsed the “crusade,” or Park’s numerous Kenyan adherents.

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While the existence of US 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, together with national nation has grown to become a bridgehead for Korean missions to Africa. Because of this current revolution of missionaries, the goal is apparently less about transformation and much more about propagating their view of proper biblical teachings.

Kenya has drawn more Korean missionaries than other country that is african states Barnabas Ra, a Korean missionary that has 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 nation. About 40 percent remain in towns; the others fan out to more parts that are rural. Those working underneath the Korean Mission Fellowship, an umbrella group 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 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 African nations because well, Mr. Ra claims.

‘Wide, but shallow’?

Grace Muthungu, a program that is senior because of 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 claims. “They’re perhaps perhaps not attempting to bring a tradition that is international towards the individuals.”

And she acknowledges that Kenyan churches need 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 learn it deeper, you observe that Kenyan Christianity is shallow – 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 face by themselves. They you will need to remain away from social problems like tribal methods, although their objective has attempted to end the practice of feminine genital mutilation right right right here.

“Teach somebody simple tips to fish – that’s what the Koreans do for people,” claims Rev. Isaac Lugaka, whom traveled through the central Kenya town of Nakuru to go to this week’s occasion. “In the beginning they brought the Bible, nevertheless they didn’t show us simple tips to see clearly,” he claims, talking about missionaries that are early.

Cultural mismatch?

The distribution of solutions by Korean missionaries has established some mismatched objectives here. For instance, while a Kenyan church might expect the missionaries to go out of once they create a college or borehole, the missionaries usually note that as simply the start of partnership.

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Then you will find social miscues, records Good News Mission user Grace Muita. Koreans are relaxed, and revel in traditional instruments in their solutions, while Kenyans “are familiar with leaping and playing around,” she says, laughing. But Korean missionaries will also be learning Swahili to achieve off to Kenyans.

Muthungu regarding the nationwide Council of Churches states Korean missionaries could possibly be role models for Kenya’s vibrant Christian community. “The Koreans have now been bold adequate to visit Africa. Perhaps we must emulate them,” she claims. “If Koreans will come right right here, we to can deliver missionaries out.”

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