Guest / Limited Access /
South Korea's Travel Bans a Blessing in Disguise for Missions

Missionaries in South Korea—once the world's second-largest sender of such workers—can resume work in Yemen because their government lifted a travel ban this August. But four other majority-Muslim countries remain off-limits.

South Korea banned citizen travel to Afghanistan, Iraq, and Somalia in 2007, after Taliban operatives kidnapped 23 Korean missionaries in Afghanistan. The captors executed two before the missionaries were released. Travel to Yemen, Syria, and Libya was banned in 2011 (though the Libyan ban was lifted later that year).

Korean missions leaders have pushed to lift the bans, saying the government should grant greater flexibility to missionaries for their humanitarian work.

South Korea's government has been reluctant. "The duty of the government to protect its citizens is greater than the rights of a few ngos to go abroad for missionary activities," Chun Woo-seung, second secretary at the Foreign Ministry's Overseas Korean National Protection Division, told The Korea Herald.

Korea Crisis Management Service, a nonprofit launched after the 2007 kidnapping, has been editing a lengthy report on the hostage situation which will be released this fall to help churches avoid similar situations in the future, said Kim Jin-dae, its general director.

Dongsu Kim, a Korean professor of Bible and theology at Nyack College in New York, says some churches want the government to support missions work, while others want to work independently. Part of the challenge: the century-old Korean church has never navigated government-missionary relationships before, he said.

"Government learns, and churches learn, and they're on a learning curve," said Kim. "They ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

From Issue:
Read These NextSee Our Latest
Also in this IssueSarah Young Still Hears Jesus Calling
Subscriber Access Only Sarah Young Still Hears Jesus Calling
Not since “My Utmost for His Highest” has a daily devotional enraptured the English-speaking world, from cynical intellectuals to sweet grandmas, across the theological spectrum. How Young might change how we think about prayer.
RecommendedHow Mother Teresa Changed Missions
How Mother Teresa Changed Missions
Every outreach-oriented believer should know the secret of the 'Saint of Calcutta.'
TrendingOld Hollywood’s Abortion Secret
Old Hollywood’s Abortion Secret
What a culture of death tells us about a culture of life.
Editor's PickTen Christian Athletes Who Were Tebowing Before Tebow
Ten Christian Athletes Who Were Tebowing Before Tebow
Christian sports stars have a long history of using their public platform to display their private faith.
Christianity Today
South Korea's Travel Bans a Blessing in Disguise for Missions
hide thisOctober October

In the Magazine

October 2013

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.