Rev. Kenneth Bae


Nehemiah Global Initiative

Kenneth Bae was born in Seoul, Korea, on August 1, 1968. His family immigrated to the United States in 1985. Kenneth went to high school in California, attended the University of Oregon, and earned a Master of Divinity from Covenant Theological Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri.

Bae, a committed Christian Missionary, a licensed preacher in the Presbyterian Church in America, and ordained Southern Baptist pastor, spent several years as a missionary in China when, around 2010, he began conducting tours into North Korea for Christians around the world to join in fellowship, prayer and worship. On his 18th trip to North Korea, he was detained and charged with attempting to overthrow the government. Kenneth was sentenced by North Korea’s Supreme Court to 15 years of hard labor, becoming the first American imprisoned in a North Korean labor camp. He was released in 2012 after 735 days of detainment—the longest-held American prisoner since the Korean War.

Reverend Bae’s passion for service and compassion for the people of North Korea, including over a decade working with Youth With A Mission (YWAM), has led him to establish Nehemiah Global Initiative (NGI), an international NGO focused on aiding North Korean Refugees. Kenneth serves as founder and president. His book, “Not Forgotten”  was published in 2016 by Thomas Nelson.