In 2018, Kelly Kosky had been actively carrying out Christian missionary work in the Transkei region of South Africa for more than 30 years.
At the time, his churches and organizations were responsible for positively changing the lives of thousands of native people throughout the southern tip of Africa. Even during the apartheid era and within the ensuing grip of rampant racism, Kelly Kosky’s ministry fought ardently to spread the Christian gospel to those who needed it most: impoverished, misled natives dealing with unimaginable daily suffering.
To say that Kelly Kosky had enough on his plate as it was would be an understatement. There were already enough enemies to contend with, not the least of which was the HIV/AIDS epidemic that was killing millions of Africans every year.
However, a new enemy would surface that would blindside Kelly Kosky and his ministry in a way that he could have never expected.
This enemy took the form of a spiritual wolf in sheep’s clothing. This enemy was a sexual predator who had set his sights on South Africa.
During a trip back to the United States, in 2017, Kelly Kosky was preaching at a small country church in Montana.
After delivering a powerful sermon, Kelly was approached by a young man in his early 30’s. This young man immediately endeared himself to Kelly with praises of all of the outstanding missionary work that Kelly Kosky Ministries was responsible for carrying out in Transkei, South Africa.
Not only was this man a huge fan of Kelly’s missionary work; he wanted to be a part of it. Over a period of 18 months, this young man (hereto after named ‘Marcus’—not his real name) convinced Kelly that he was prepared and motivated to move his entire family, consisting of a wife and six young children, to South Africa so that they may further the missionary work Kelly Kosky spearheaded more than 30 years ago.
This kind of commitment is exceptionally rare. To move to a third-world country with a large, young family in tow would have required immense resources, cultural adjustments, and plenty of prepared accommodations.
But, Marcus was earnest. He even went so far as to give Kelly Kosky a 30-year commitment; he was insistent on making this move.
There was only one request Marcus had: he wanted to be placed in the most remote area of the region—somewhere he could transplant his family as far away from civilization as possible.
After thoughtful consideration, Kelly Kosky convened with the leadership of the ministry, and the decision was made to proceed in sending Marcus and his family to South Africa.
This would prove to be the beginning of a horrific saga replete with abuse, deceit, manipulation, and mind-bending child victimization.
After all of the arrangements had been made, Marcus, his wife, and their six children were all flown down to South Africa to begin their new lives as dedicated Christian missionaries.
Kelly Kosky and his Christian colleagues had provided this young family with everything they needed to establish themselves in this new land. Food, shelter, local tribal connections…everything was handled for them. It’s safe to say that Kelly and his ministry trusted Marcus and did everything in their power to enable his success.
This is when things took a turn for the worse.
As soon as Marcus and his family hit the ground, they left with haste for the furthest, most remote village Marcus could find. Furthermore, Marcus’ communication with the ministry was concerningly sparse. Updates were rare. Emails and phone calls were even infrequent and vague.
What was going on, here?
Why would this young man and his family of six young children (all aged 9 or younger) suddenly fall off the radar and ‘go black’ without notice?
What happened to all Marcus’ promises of working tirelessly to spread the Christian gospel to the Xhosa people of South Africa?
The answers would come in the form of an email Kelly Kosky received from Marcus, after just a few short weeks of his move to the region.
One morning, Kelly Kosky awoke to find an email in his inbox. An email from Marcus.
Marcus regretfully confessed that he and his family had an ongoing problem with systemic sexual abuse and child molestation. At first, Marcus blamed what was happening on his children. As bizarre as that seemed, Kelly Kosky and other missionary leaders began pleading with Marcus to return to the United States to sort all of this out.
As Kelly Kosky’s ministry was reeling from this, Kelly realized that he had an obligation to protect those children in any way he could. As required by law, Kelly Kosky reported this child abuse to the authorities, both domestic and international, by disclosingMarcus’ situation including details of admitted child sexual abuse. It was first reported to Child Protection Services, then later reported to the US State Department.
Even the F.B.I. got involved.
This debacle had grown to become a toxic, frustrating distraction from Kelly Kosky’s goal of saving lives and spreading the gospel.
All because Kelly placed his trust in the wrong person.
Even though court-authorized authorities had removed the children from his custody, Marcus was able to avoid arrest and stay out of reach from law enforcement.
In the months leading up to 2020, Kelly Kosky Ministries found itself in the throes of an international sexual abuse scandal that no one could have predicted.
Even today, the fight rages on against Marcus and his deceptive practices.
There is an old African saying that says “You must trust and believe in people, or life becomes impossible.” Life in the tribal regions of Africa can be very difficult and dangerous. In African culture, ‘trust’ is a requirement for survival.
Dr. Sebe, the director of African Christian Ministries, tells Kelly Kosky that he needs to “be wise as a serpent, but harmless as a dove” (KJV; Matthew 10:16).
As a Christian missionary, Kelly Kosky maintains a trust that he has learned from the Xhosa people.
But, he is continually working on being wiser in leading the mission forward, even in light of such difficult trials. Today, Kelly maintains an ardent focus on the future, ever still committing himself to fightagainst Marcus’ ongoing efforts to bring down the mission by assassinating the character of the missionary.