News Articles

WMU launches Korean-English resources

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (BP)–A language barrier to missions education in Korean Baptist churches is being tackled by Woman’s Missionary Union and Texas WMU.

Leaders of the national WMU organization and Texas WMU have signed a three-year agreement to develop Korean-English missions education materials, following the success of a pilot project in 2007.

The initial focus addressed a specific need in Korean Baptist churches for missions education for preschoolers and children. After just one year of making bilingual missions resources available, Mission Friends and Children in Action organizations in Korean churches have grown exponentially.

“Most Korean churches are very much interested in missions today,” said Angela Kim, Korean consultant for both WMU organizations and editorial coordinator of the Korean curriculum project, “but they have not had the framework for ongoing missions education or materials where the children can grow [by] learning about missions. The concept is new to them and has been very well-received.”

Kim, explaining the initiative, said, “Most adults in cultural churches in North America speak their own languages; however, they are limited in English-speaking teachers, and usually the first-generation adults with limited English comprehension have to prepare the lessons using English curriculum.

“WMU has been sensitive to this need and responded with materials for the first-generation teachers [who are] teaching the second generation using both their own language and English,” said Kim, who worked with Carolyn Porterfield, former executive director-treasurer of Texas WMU, to develop a strategic plan to address the need.

The agreement to develop the Korean-English missions education materials, signed on Aug. 28, calls for Texas WMU to handle logistics, including layout and design, printing and distribution, while national WMU will lend its expertise in curriculum development and help fund the project with a $10,000 grant paid annually for the next three years.

“We are grateful for our partnership with Texas WMU and for the visionary leadership of Angela Kim,” said Wanda S. Lee, executive director/treasurer of national WMU. “The opportunity to couple our expertise in developing missions education materials with her expertise related to needs in Korean churches enables us to provide materials that are culturally relevant and eagerly used.”

Carol Causey, missions resource center director for national WMU, noted that bilingual resources for Korean adults will be developed in addition to preschool and children’s materials.

“National WMU remains committed to expanding missions involvement with emerging audiences, and this project provides us with a good model for other bilingual resources,” Causey said. “Our hope is that other states will join us with similar projects to engage a larger multicultural audience in missions.”
Julie Walters is Woman’s Missionary Union’s communications specialist.