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Ron A – letter to the Budiks

Letter written from Ron A of the Senegal Field Committee to the Miks and the Budiks after the Mik family determined they could not continue to board their children at Fanda, and were not permitted to live at the school. They were told they were in spiritual rebellion to the leadership and thus were dismissed from the field. This is right before they knew of their daughter’s abuse.

Today in 2009, Ron A of the FC says they made some mistakes and would have done things differently. Instead of allowing Miks to live on the boarding school base with their kids for 6 months they would be dismissed from the field immediately.

September 29, 1988
Dear John & Diane
The believers and others have been asking when you will be coining back to stay. At first we were able to say it would be by Christmas or that it wasn’t time yet. But now that we have sent your cupboards and other things out, people have really begun to say that for sure you are not coming back. We feel that we need to explain to the believers, at least, that you say that you have decided to not return to Chobo and why. What follows is what we are planning to tell the believers.

What we have to tell you today is hard for us to say. We wish that we didn’t have to say it. John has told us that he and Diane will not be coming back to Chobo to live and work. He said that he is not needed here in the work. He says that he needs to be with his children and that he can’t be here helping you and meeting the needs of his children both. He says that the Lord is leading him to do this, and that he is in fellowship with the Lord.
All of this is probably very hard for you to understand. The Lord used John in your salvation. Many of you first heard the Word of God through him. You probably feel he is really following the Lord. You love him as a friend and brother in the Lord.
We love him too. We feel that we need to explain something’s to you. John will not agree with what we are going to say. Even we whites who seem to be following the Lord can refuse to do what the Lord says. We feel that the Lord wants John and Diane here at Chobo with us. We want them here, too. John has the gifts and abilities to help you better in some areas than we can. We need all the parts of the body of Christ. We are all necessary.
We need and want John and Diane here even though they say that they are not needed at Chobo, Not only do we feel that John and Diane should be here, all of our field leadership feels this way as well. The field leadership talked and they all feel that John and Diane should be at Chobo with you Budiks. John and Diane refused to come back to Chobo. God leads through leadership. The field leadership feel that God’s place for John and Diane is with you. John says that God is not leading them back to Chobo. God does not lead in two different ways. He does not tell the leaders one thing and John and Diane something different.
John says that he can’t help you and meet his children’s needs both. The Lord expects us to take good care of our children and meet their needs. That is what God has said. He has also given us abilities to do His work here on earth, and with His help we can do both in a way that will bring honor and glory to Him. We believe that John’s own desires to be with his children and to do other things are keeping him from seeing and following what the Lord wants.

All of this could be very discouraging to you to see a believer you love not walking with the Lord. Each of you needs to decide that no matter what anyone else does you will follow the Lord. We love John and Diane and still want them to come back. Let’s pray that they’ll respond to the Lord’s leading and be willing to come and be used of God to build all of us up in the faith.
John and Diane we love you and you are needed here very much in the work. We are not in any way wanting to put you down by telling the believers these things. We feel that the believers need an honest answer as to why you are not coming back. We can’t tell them something that we don’t believe or not say anything at all.
Your Teammates

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  1. Mar
    October 22nd, 2010 at 11:45 | #1

    The most telling sentence in this is “God leads through leadership.” No mention of “God leads by His Holy Spirit” … such arrogance on the leadership’s part. Praying for healing from spiritual abuse for all involved … righteously angry at the battering of souls taking place. My heart is with you.

  2. JerryB
    September 16th, 2010 at 09:09 | #2

    I was going to make a caustic remark about people who would take this sort of action, but I think Jesus said it best:

    “But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.” (Matt. 18:6 – KJV)

    When I read the GRACE report, I thought the recommendations were rather harsh, but based on the verses following this one, I now think they are in line with the principles that Jesus set forth.

    (Perhaps that page is missing from their Bibles.)

  3. Lucy B.
    September 11th, 2010 at 01:17 | #3

    My heart is sick after reading this letter. The man who spoke for the FC to J&D in this letter is an emotional and spiritul abuser. I know how NTM leaders always spoke for God. They remind me of the Pharasies of Jesus day. They always lifted themselves above Him. The FC were in essence “religious” leaders not men of God who understand grace. How condecending to make the tribal people think that J&D weren’t being led by God. They were wonderful parents who felt there children had needs. I hope everyone in the family got counceling, because you all were abused.

  4. Older Sister
    September 10th, 2010 at 11:53 | #4

    What an arrogant misguided fool!! Who does he think he is—God! You’ve all said what I’m feeling!!

  5. Diane Mikitson
    September 9th, 2010 at 11:26 | #5

    Our copy was signed by Ron and Debbie Abram
    Steve and Jessica Bastow
    Ken and Kathy Satorius@Kari

  6. curious
    September 9th, 2010 at 11:06 | #6

    thanks kari

  7. September 9th, 2010 at 10:54 | #7

    @curious
    Sure, there you go. Original is held at Sanford (where I obtained it) after Ron submitted it to our file back in the late 80′s.

  8. Tuti Hess
    September 9th, 2010 at 10:49 | #8

    In regards to Ron and Deb Abram I have mixed emotions. Ron and Deb in general were very nice to us and gave us gifts from time to time. Occasionally personally we saw a different side to Ron. We did see how others were treated by Ron and that was painful; we did not agree with several things he said and did. Personally I think the man is sick and needs help. I hope they do not have a big party; I think that would be inappropriate, kind of like building a mosque near the 9/11 memorial site in New York.

  9. Tuti Hess
    September 9th, 2010 at 10:40 | #9

    @Feelingleftout
    Hi feelingleftout person, Thanx for writing on this blog. I believe in regards to F. Stott that the correspondence referred to is the monthly Day of Prayer DOP letter. I’m in the process of trying to communicate with the present Senegal leadership to ask for clarification on this point. I was in Senegal from 97 to 07. I’ve been disturbed by the blanket silence from present Senegal leadership on what has come to light. I’m in the process of trying to talk directly to people there. I would encourage you to do the same. If you have questions please ask, don’t be afraid, God knows all about this mess it needs to be brought out into the light. As a former NTM Senegal co-worker recently said to me, “you leave the dirty laundry laying around for too long it starts to mould and stink”.

  10. curious
    September 9th, 2010 at 10:35 | #10

    Kari, please post a scan of the original letter if it exists. Thank you.

  11. Feelingleftout
    September 9th, 2010 at 09:20 | #11

    @a. mole
    So I am a missionary with NTM in Senegal right now. We just recieved the news telling all scheduled activities for the next two months and there is nothing about a party for Ron. Nor have I ever recieved the emails from Frank Stottlemyer that everyone was getting worked up about last week that were supposedly going to everyone involved with NTM Senegal. Either people are getting worked up about rumors, or I am constantly being sent decoy emails and being left out of the loop.

  12. Benjamin Quilliam
    September 9th, 2010 at 07:05 | #12

    @a. mole
    No idea whether this rumour is true but…

    It’s a tricky situation. Ron is not Evil Incarnate. I’m sure there are many fellow missionaries on the field who know a better side of Ron than many of us would. They may agree that what Ron did was wrong, and they may agree with the GRACE recommendation and NTM action of termination. But they still might want to say farewell. I think it is legitimate to provide a place for people to say their goodbyes and find closure to what may be a very long relationship.

    But on the other hand, you don’t want to be seen as minimising or disagreeing with the decision that’s been made. I think if it’s a huge celebration of all Ron has done over the years, that may be inappropriate.

    But let’s not jump the gun. This is all rumour still.

  13. a. mole
    September 8th, 2010 at 22:09 | #13

    So rumor has it that the Senegal field of NTM is throwing Ron Abram a goodbye party when he leaves Senegal after being terminated from active membership for his part in this travesty!!! Can this really be possible? Can anyone verify the accuracy of this?

    If this is true, New Tribes Mission loses all credibility in my book, regardless of future actions. What an effing joke.

  14. Jim K.
    September 7th, 2010 at 11:48 | #14

    Looks like John and Diane made the right call.

    Jim K.

  15. Bridgette
    September 2nd, 2010 at 19:07 | #15

    I would like to see NTM take a stand and shut down all boarding schools. They need to support their missionary kids with a better school plan and qualify those put in the school ministries. Don’t just investigate.. do something to stop this abuse.@Viv Palmer/Harvey

  16. shadowspring
    September 2nd, 2010 at 10:35 | #16

    Wow. The arrogance and slander in this letter are blatant. It is literally disgusting-my noes is wrinkled up and my stomach hurts. Sick, twisted religion. How can anyone ever come to a saving faith in a loving God through the “ministry” of this mission?

  17. Tuti Hess
    September 2nd, 2010 at 09:21 | #17

    very sad to read this so callous, insensitive, condescending and blind.

  18. jdg
    September 2nd, 2010 at 08:16 | #18

    Seeing examples of spiritual abuse like this out in the bright light of day really makes me flinch. As noted, the double move of emotionally blackmailing J and D and the utter condescension to the natives would be just laughable if it weren’t real. What an amateur this guy is.

  19. Daniela Amstutz-Wasem
    September 2nd, 2010 at 01:36 | #19

    I am so embarrassed to have been a NTM MK. I remember my sister (in preschool) and myself, a year younge,r got spanked for not coloring pictures in all the way. My oldest sister was abused by pathetic people who are so low down and unworthy they feel the need to attack young children. Unfortunately my grandparents and parents were NTM workers so the notion of “you don’t question my leadership and authority” as well as lots of punishment, frequently, was all too common. I can’t believe these people still defend there ways. They are so out of touch with reality!

  20. July 28th, 2009 at 17:24 | #20

    a recovering Mk, now a grand mother , I can only offer my support and encouragement to you all,Fanda survivors and those from other places like Fanda and Mamou Alliance Academy..It is time for these ghastly places to be shut down and the Christianworld to rethink what it means to “spread the good news.” It is time for judgment to begin at the “house of the Lord”

  21. MK worker
    July 15th, 2009 at 21:42 | #21

    Thanks for the follow up Naomi and Phil. I lived through the mid and late 90′s NTM leadership dynamic in the training and am so glad to see changes. I know of one man who is championing the discipleship of leaders in the concept of “servant (or shepherd) leadership”. I am currently reading a good book on this by a former leader of OM called “Servant Leadership for Slow Learners”. I likely will not follow this discussion further as I am in Asia and out of the African education loop. I do want to be in touch with the issue and more importantly, the prevention of abuse. If anyone wants to contact me directly, please do so directly to jalanjalankt@gmail.com and I would be glad to correspond without pseudonyms. Just don’t feel comfortable doing that on a public domain like this blog.

  22. Bonnie
    July 10th, 2009 at 13:06 | #22

    M. Bacchie – Seriously? Ron was not asked to resign from NTM. He was asked to step down from the FIELD committee. Those are two very different things. Do you actually read this blog, or do you just read the comments and respond?
    I am beginning to see you now. And from what I can see, it appears that you have a very one-sided agenda. I can assure you, that because God is behind us, and behind this blog, Glory will be brought to Him.

  23. July 10th, 2009 at 13:03 | #23

    No, you are incorrect. Ron was asked to resign from the NTM field committee, (under duress by MKs adversely affected by him) 4 months before said committee was going to dissolve anyway. He has not been asked to resign from NTM.

    Also, I attended the NTM conference in Senegal in March, and this belief of “God leading through leadership” was reinforced.

  24. M.Bacchie
    July 10th, 2009 at 12:59 | #24

    According to a letter recently released on your documentation blog, Ron Abram was asked to resign from NTM. Again, another demonstration that NTM has changed their leadership style/leadership Theology.

    As for enlightenment, I am but an interested party wanting to see Justice meted, and in the end, the whole situation to bring Glory to the Lord.

  25. July 10th, 2009 at 11:49 | #25

    Um, Ron Abram is still with NTM and still stands behind all of his prior leadership actions including this letter.

    M Bacchie, who are you? You have a very strange obsession with this blog. Please enlighten us.

  26. M.Bacchie
    July 10th, 2009 at 11:46 | #26

    Dale,

    What you have to realize is that this thinking/theology does not exist in NTM anymore–The changes started happening around 1999, and currently, this style of leadership is almost non-existent in NTM.

  27. July 10th, 2009 at 11:42 | #27

    In my bible I read that the Holy Spirit will lead us. Our children and family are given by God and are our responsibily to love, protect, nurture and bring up in the love of the Lord. Apparently the leadership of new tribes mission feel that they have priority over God and His word. My bible says in James 1:5 “if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask of God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given him.” It does not say they should ask the leadership of the mission how they feel God wants them to serve Him.

  28. Naomi Cleaves (Quilliam)
    July 8th, 2009 at 14:12 | #28

    MK worker,
    You have a HUGE job and no-one here is belittling you. No-one takes your job lightly. What most are saying is that in the past we know that your job was belittled and undervalued by the leadership at fanda and that was what lead to all the problems. Some of us may believe that your job is more important than what the parents are doing. How manny missionaries went to save souls, and lost those of there own children who refused to believe in a God that abandoned his children into the hands of people that didn’t care. Your job as an MK ministries worker was undervalued at fanda. As a result the children felt like a burden to all and the people that wanted to prey on them had free range.

  29. Phil Mitchell
    July 8th, 2009 at 05:49 | #29

    Forgive me for my over-exuberance in expressing my personal sentiments (and I mean that sincerely). This blog is a forum for those MKs and their families who are seeking healing to have a voice, not for NTM bashing. The only point I would really like to make is to encourage NTM to scrutinize their view of leadership in general with the goal of understanding how it may have contributed to this sad situation. I would be surprised if they have not been.

  30. MK worker
    July 7th, 2009 at 03:03 | #30

    I write this somewhat anonymously as I work in a an area that frowns on missions in general. I am new to this blog and have browsed for understanding. As a full-time ntm member and a full-time MK ministries missionary and administrator the prevention of abuse resonates deep within me. After reading Wes Stafford’s account of abuse in “Too Small to Ignore”, I have been keenly aware of what can happen, and continues to happen.

    I am a bit disappointed though in the point of view expressed by Phil Mitchell namely, “….only (ONLY!) reason any of them were there at FMS was to serve God by serving us who were in the trenches and our children.”

    Teachers in MK schools are indeed there as part of the Big picture of tribal (or other) evangelism. They are there to serve the parents or rather “partner” with the parents. They are there to minister and disciple and protect young people (MKs or other expats/nationals). MK teachers are also indeed in the trenches as much as a tribal missionary. I understand the “in the trenches” concept but it hurts that there is an implication of teachers are only here to “serve” the “real missionaries” in the tribes. Although our teachers are indeed here to server, it is hard to be treated as second class missionaries by the “real missionaries”. Honestly, I have never ever felt from any of our parents before reading Mr. Mitchell’s comment.

    All said, we need to expose abuse and be proactive in preventing abuse but we must not allow the pendulum to swing to a point where present teachers, administrators, or dorm parents are the enemy. Wes Stafford mentions in his book that missionaries who could not succeed in the church planting setting were the ones asked to serve in the school. That was a mistake and perhaps one of the things that went on at Fanda but I have no idea. Thus we need to promote MK ministries as a valid, appreciated, important part of the effort to fulfill the great commission.

  31. r kamara
    July 3rd, 2009 at 07:12 | #31

    The ‘flawed view of leadership that persists to this day’ can really be summed up by asking – Where is the fruit?

    30 yrs in Senegal and barely a handful of believers (some of whom were recently determined not to even have a grasp of salvation by ntm members). How do you like them apples?
    I believe this disparity comes directly as a result of flawed leadership from the very top levels of ntm-senegal.

  32. Phil Mitchell
    July 2nd, 2009 at 19:15 | #32

    Herein lies the fundamental (irony intended) problem with NTM in my view, and the reason I and my family left after one term. And my guess is that this well-intentioned but flawed view of God and leadership persists to this day. Of course “mistakes were made”, but until NTM’s self-delusional, self-propogating view of “God leading through leadership” goes down in flames (and that may be what’s happening here), spiritual and psychological abuse will continue. It is this paradigm that allowed the tragic experiences of the Fanda MKs to go on so long.
    I once made a trip to Fanda from the bush for the express purpose of challenging one of my daughter’s dorm parents with the notion that the only (ONLY!) reason any of them were there at FMS was to serve God by serving us who were in the trenches and our children. If the way we wanted our children to be treated made them uncomfortable, well, sorry, too bad: we and our kids had to live with the discomfort of being separated for weeks at a time. Surely they could live with a bit. The response was “huh?”

    Dear NTM, instead of firing those members who make you uncomfortable, how about recognizing that these are the people that you might want to consider for leadership?

    Bless you, Fanda Eagles.

  33. R Kamara
    July 1st, 2009 at 13:51 | #33

    A classic “you must obey us as we are the leadership and therefore in contact with God’s will”. That sort of thing went on all the time.

  34. Anonymous
    July 1st, 2009 at 13:50 | #34

    This letter is sickening. Just appalling. Ron needs to write the Budik believers an apology letter, and fast. This has gone on too long. Where were John and Diane to defend themselves against Ron’s words to their friends in the village?

  35. A Friend
    July 1st, 2009 at 13:50 | #35

    as Ron says in his own words “God leads through leadership. The field leadership feel that God’s place for John and Diane is with you. John says that God is not leading them back to Chobo. God does not lead in two different ways. He does not tell the leaders one thing and John and Diane something different.”

    Apparently Ron was wrong, since John and Diane found out their daughtr was being abused at the school. So who exactly was leading the field committee then? Dare we ask?

  36. Anonymous
    July 1st, 2009 at 13:50 | #36

    “even we whites” can sin? how condescending and racist.

  37. KC
    July 1st, 2009 at 13:50 | #37

    Wow, really…. Ron… you really think that…maybe no God but you do… Your pride in your ability to dicern the heart of God will be your downfall.. be carefull or you will soon see the true heart of God showing you the door out of HIS ministry. Why do you think that John and Diana were disobaying God by loving their children are not the family the metiphorical picture of our relationship with God… Are we not the bride of Christ, and in that does not the Prodigal son gain more attenion then those with less afliction.. Do you think that God would ignore his own children, or to ignore His ministry simiply because He chose to take away John whom had a Gift God gave him.. You of little faith then… If God can give you gifts then He should knows where they are needed and that He can bless others with the same gifts… The fact that you told these people the very ones that John and Diana spoke words of life to the words that bring enternal joy and the ability to see God face to face… To tell them what you did was a smake in Gods face. …. I highly doubt you will be in a leadership role much longer.

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