Although Ken was born in Asia to missionaries, he was not called to mission work until he returned to Korea after college. Called into the ministry at the age of 17, Ken majored in Bible at Bob Jones University. He taught in a Christian day school for a year and began to feel that the Lord wanted him in a teaching ministry. He returned to BJU for an M.A. in theology, and almost immediately the Lord opened up the door to go to Korea. His father had started a Bible institute two years earlier and invited Ken to join him. Ken was 23 years old at the time. After a few months in Korea, he was convinced this was God's calling for him.
Interestingly enough, Ken met Rhonda, his wife-to-be, in Korea in 1975. She and her husband were short-term missionaries at a servicemen's center. From time to time Ken was invited to speak there. After a year Rhonda and her husband returned to the U.S. so that he could attend seminary in preparation to be missionaries in Korea. Within one month of graduation, he fell over and died of an unknown cause.
The Lord brought Ken and Rhonda together, and 14 months later, in 1980, they were married. After a year of deputation with Rhonda and Cindy, the Korean daughter Rhonda and her first husband had adopted, the Johnsons returned to Korea. A few years later the Threlfall family joined them, and together they started Seoul Bible Church in 1984. The same year Ken and Rhonda adopted an eleven-day-old son, Kevin, and moved to Kwachon, a newly developing suburb of Seoul. Following a year of furlough, they adopted a second son, Keith, in 1986.
A year before the Lord laid it on the Johnsons' hearts to start a Christian day school, Korea's economic bubble burst, the banks went broke, and the country went to the International Monetary Fund for an 80 billion dollar bailout. Humanly speaking, perhaps this was not a good time. However Rhonda had a degree in education and some experience as a principal. Another missionary wife joined them, and they started a Christian school in 1998 with eight children; by the end of the year, they had seventeen.
The school grew, and the owner of the building they were in continued to raise their rent until they began thinking about buying. However, banks could not lend more than 50% of the value of the building, so purchasing facilities seemed like a financial impossibility. However, unbeknownst to Ken and Rhonda (but known to the Lord), the apartment they had bought in Kwachon 17 years ago was now worth more than 11 times what they had paid for it!
With the sale of that plus some other loans, they were able to borrow enough to purchase a very nice five-story building, which now houses Bob Jones Memorial Seminary, Seoul Bible Church and Seoul Christian School.
The day school now has 115 students and 11 missionary teachers. Bob Jones Memorial Seminary continues to have a fundamentalist impact on Korean society with its nearly 600 graduates.
Every Sunday Seoul Bible Church opens its doors and ministers the Word of God to the flock.
To view Ken and Rhonda Johnson's photo gallery, click the picture below.