Few, if any, members of the Utah Oriental Mission Church have been to Kenya, a country in east-central Africa.
But they are learning more about the area as well as gaining in appreciation of the missionary work there through the efforts of Laura Raab, a Los Angeles woman who has corresponded with Sung-Yun Kwon, a deacon in the Salt Lake church.The church, which holds services in the Immanuel Reformed Church, 1240 E. 5600 South, and its women's association, will hold the annual Korean Food Bazaar from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, May 18, in the church yard.
Proceeds from the bazaar, which will feature a wide variety of Korean foods, will be used to help support Raab in Nairobi, Kenya, as well as missionary work on the Navajo Indian reservation in Arizona and a mission school in Australia.
Also, money will also be sent to Kang Wong province, a less-developed area in Korea, according to the Rev. Joo-Young Sohn, who has been pastor of the 135-member Salt Lake church for 31/2 years. The Oriental Mission Church has headquarters in Los Angeles.
The Rev. Sohn was born in Korea and graduated in 1977 from the Presbyterian Theological Seminary in Seoul. He and his wife, Young Yuk Sohn, and their two young sons, Moses and Joshua, live in Murray.
Church members like to think of the bazaar, which last year attracted several hundred people, as a cultural exchange that can be enjoyed by Koreans, Korean-Americans, former missionaries and military personnel and their families.
"It's more a means of introducing our culture and our gospel, rather than raising money. We spend a lot of time preparing food for the bazaar. Raising funds is not our primary purpose," said church member Susan Kwon.
All food to be sold at the bazaar will be donated by church members. Food items will include mandu (fried dumplings), kalbi (Korean barbecued ribs), kimbab (seaweed-rolled rice), bindaeduk (Korean pizza), kimchi (Korean cabbage), fried rice, japchae (vegetables and clear noodles) teriyaki chicken (soy sauce-seasoned chicken), yakgua (traditional Korean cookie dipped in honey) and Korean rice cake.
In a recent letter to Sung-Yung Kwon, Raab said that despite the cultural, language and other adjustments, she is certain that God called her to Kenya.
"It has has only been by the grace of God that I have been able to make many of the necessary adjustments to try to learn the culture," Raab said in her letter.
Raab, who has been in Kenya a number of years, explained the challenges of trying to learn Swahili, a difficult language spoken by many Kenyans.
"I am still far from the level I would like to be but can generally understand sermons now . . . Most of the time I am with people of the Kamba tribe. Even though the people I travel with are fluent in English, when they get together they speak Kimba," Raab wrote.
Although there are many problems in serving a mission in a faraway land, Raab said there also many rewards, "including a chance to get to know Kenyans and feeling fulfilled in God's service. It has not always been easy but it has definitely been worthwhile and personally fulfilling . . .I really appreciate your interest and prayers as well as the financial support," she wrote.