It takes a lot for someone to earn the description ‘remarkable’.
The same could be said for the words ‘iconic’ or ‘prolific’.
But, Kelly Koksy is a man who is deserving of all of these words, and more. In fact, there really aren’t any perfect words to describe the life of this religious warrior, consummate family man, and world-changing evangelist.
The life story of Kelly Kosky is a tapestry of incredible adventures and even more incredible risks. It is replete with stories of trial, loss, victory, redemption, and struggle—even up to this very day.
In this article, we’re going to explore the powerful, sobering story of Kelly Kosky, modern-day Renaissance Man and founder of Kelly Kosky Ministries.
Early Life and Education
Kelly Kosky was born into a staunchly Jewish family in Canada in the early 1950s.
Being raised in an orthodox Jewish household throughout grade school, Kelly quickly learned to speak both Yiddish and Hebrew. However, when he was just 13 years old, Kelly Kosky made a decision that would change the course of his life forever.
After Kelly’s Bar Mitzvah, he decided to go against the religious regimens and prescriptions in his life. He turned his back on Judaism entirely and began a phase of active rebellion that would last well into his mid-teens.
Even in the throes of this rebellion, Kelly Kosky managed to make excellent marks in school. He would go on to obtain multiple undergraduate degrees from San Diego State University only to then go even further in academia by doing his postgraduate studies at UCLA.
In the midst of his schooling—somehow, someway—Kelly managed to squeeze in a stint in the US Army as a member of the 160th Infantry Division. An honorable discharge from the service in June of 1970 eventually paved the way for Kelly Kosky to become a CPA and get married to his wife of 54 years, Kathy.
Another Kind of Rebellion
By the time Kelly Kosky had reached his early thirties, he had established a family, built a multimillion-dollar CPA firm, and found himself living an opulent, luxurious life in the Rocky Mountain region of Montana in the United States.
But, something was missing.
Kelly knew that there was something much grander and more important that he was meant to do, as if serving his country, starting a family, and becoming exceptionally well-educated wasn’t enough.
At the apex of his professional career as a CPA, Kelly Kosky began to cultivate an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ. Through this relationship, Kelly began to form a vision of improving the world in a radical, unprecedented way. While Kelly Kosky and his family were, by any estimation, living the “American Dream”, Kelly knew that there was something truly epic on the horizon.
Then, on April 1st, 1988, Kelly Kosky moved his entire family from their comfortable, well-appointed home in Montana to the Republic of Transkei, Africa.
It is here where Kelly Kosky would establish more than 1,400 Christian churches, the first-ever black-governed bible college, and Southern Cross Ministries, an organization dedicated to addressing the HIV/AIDS epidemic that had been ravaging the African continent for decades.
Transition Out of Apartheid
At the time of Kelly Kosky’s arrival in the Republic of Transkei, apartheid rule was rampant throughout South Africa. Throughout the early 1990s, apartheid laws forced racial segregation and institutionalized white supremacy throughout the region, adding a very tense social dynamic to an already struggling region of the continent.
Racism persisted throughout the end of the apartheid era, and Kelly Kosky found himself running a ministry in a third-world country where the Christian message was desperately needed.
As any Christian will tell you, there is no room for racism within the Christian worldview. Imagine how difficult it must have been as a white man with a white family trying to earn the trust, hearts, and minds of rural South African villagers who didn’t even speak a word of English (the native language is called ‘isiXhosa’).
And yet, Kelly Kosky persevered.
The Ministry Today
Over the last 33 years, the Kosky’s have established over a thousand Xhosa-speaking churches and have baptized over 40,000 individuals. In addition, they have built and run Gatyana Bible College; they’ve started and continue to manage Grace Children’s Center and Shelters, and they’ve established numerous remote schools and clinics that have aided the lives of countless thousands.
But all of this comes with a cost. The Kosky family has struggled with isolation and being alone with insurmountable needs all around them. They have been ostracized and persecuted by the white apartheid populace in their neighboring country of South Africa. They have endured disease and medical issues. Moreover, Kelly lost his right leg in an accident while serving in the mission field.
And, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and other situations out of their control, the Kosky family is struggling financially.
But, they have never stopped reaching out to the hurting and dying Xhosa people in the Transkei region. Now, over three decades later, they remain committed to helping the helpless in this remote region of Africa.
For more information, visit www.KellyKoskyMinistries.com.