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NTM Abuse

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           Collectively we decided to speak in an era where it was impressed upon us in the name of god to hide our abuses and be silent.

What an insane society that has been built. It is our time now, let’s change it.

This is YOUR platform. It is all of ours. Be welcome.

Our (sexual, physical, emotional, spiritual) abuses occurred at the hands of New Tribes Missionaries in boarding schools around the world and headquartered in Sanford, Florida. What we wanted in speaking out was some humanity, some outrage, some caring. We did all the prep work for them we even had proof.

Turns out they already knew about it and had been covering it up for decades.

We were promised some degree of accountability.

And after so much hope, we wait.

          Thanks forum member, advocate and  Fanda Eagle THREEWILLOWS for these succinct, accurate and informative cartoons.

We will take levity when we can while not compromising our position. NTM DO THE RIGHT THING.

 

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.

 

 

I returned to Senegal in 2008 to explore the country of my childhood. While I was there I began hearing stories of sexual abuse at my missionary-run boarding school. This was my first inkling that the sexual abuse that I reported to NTM in 1989 did not happen to me alone.

Bonnie was one of the first MKs I contacted and she too was eager to find out the whole truth. As we began contacting other MKs and asking questions the stories of abuse snowballed. We took our findings to the current NTM Executive Board expecting outrage and sorrow. After several meetings with the EB and other members in leadership positions we realized that NTM did not care to find out what happened, and that they by their actions condoned the abuse in 1989 and still do today. For such a large mission who claimed to be acting in the will of God to have such a stance on pedophilia and physical abuse of children concerned us, to say the least. We feared for other children in NTM schools around the world.

In 2009 I received a letter from a New tribes Mission Executive member in response to our asking him that now that the current board knew of the abuse that happened at Fanda, what the Executive Board was planning on doing about it. He said, in part:

“I have to admit that I’m still not sure of all that you want to see happen and I’m not sure that we will ever be able to met your expectations. I hate what happened to you, but am not sure how to go back 15-20 years ago and take care of all this when most of these perpetrators are not with the mission anymore.

This blog began as a response to NTMs unwillingness to go back and find out what really happened.

Now many of us use this blog as our voice.

Use the links above to read the documentation dating back to the 80′s proving that NTM knew about the abuse and kept it covered up. Read the stories from other Fanda students, and use the forums to talk about whatever you wish. There have been many many reports from other New Tribes Mission boarding schools that will need to be investigated after Fanda. Let us know about them in the forums and through email.

 

Words are so inadequate, but those of us behind the fanda eagles blog want to publicly thank GRACE for their tireless hours and months of research required to deliver this stunning report.

We want to encourage all MKs from NTM who have unresolved abuse issues to contact GRACE at info@netgrace.org.

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  1. joie
    August 30th, 2010 at 14:35 | #1

    I must say that I am somewhat shocked at all of the comments here and on Facebook being afraid this will get into the press. If NTM reacts as it should by going above and beyond the recommendations listed in GRACE’s report, surely they have nothing to lose by that being broadcast to the world? Perhaps it would even separate them further from the criminal acts of the past leadership and result in helping to create a desperately-needed positive reputation? Obviously those of us who chose to talk to the press would only tell our own personal story, so no student names would be used and most importantly, many people may be protected by disclosing the details of Fanda’s terrible history of abuse and criminal leadership.

    Look at it this way – I genuinely feel we need to look beyond New Tribes Mission as an organization and think of the many other missionary schools around the world, both NTM-run and otherwise, and use this dreadful tale to wake everyone up to the dangers inherent in the missionary boarding school system. Those who are innocent have everything to gain by making sure this story is not forgotten or further covered up.

  2. shadowspring
    August 30th, 2010 at 14:30 | #2

    Broken :
    Fanda is not the only NTM boarding school with issues. To this day I deal with the trauma of physical and emotional abuse and brutality inflicted on me and those around me by the people who were supposed to be caring for me at a different NTM boarding school. I grew up in fear. I don’t know if I am able to revisit this again..I’ve spent so much of my life trying to forgive and “move on” but the scars are permanent. NTM should totally do away with boarding schools. If a person decides to be a missionary, the education of their children is one of the factors they need to consider and it should NEVER be at the hands of a NTM boarding school. NTM should no longer take on this responsibility / liability.

    Totally agree, and I added the bold type.

  3. Lucy B.
    August 30th, 2010 at 12:16 | #3

    I just want to say that as a survivor of childhood sexual abuse myself, I praise God for GRACE for being your advocate. You adult children who are survivors from abuse at Fanda are my hero’s. It has been 18 year since I was in NTM and since leaving I have worked on healing from my abuse as a child (not in NTM)but in my home. But in all of that healing I had to also heal from spiritual abuse that I encountered in NTM. I so relate to the Fanda Eagles. I just want you to know there is HOPE for you because you have already started on your healing journey when you spoke out about what has happened to you. I pray for you and have others who are praying too because you have a long road to travel. As GRACE said Jesus is watching and he wants to heal your broken souls.

  4. Broken
    August 30th, 2010 at 04:13 | #4

    Fanda is not the only NTM boarding school with issues. To this day I deal with the trauma of physical and emotional abuse and brutality inflicted on me and those around me by the people who were supposed to be caring for me at a different NTM boarding school. I grew up in fear. I don’t know if I am able to revisit this again..I’ve spent so much of my life trying to forgive and “move on” but the scars are permanent. NTM should totally do away with boarding schools. If a person decides to be a missionary, the education of their children is one of the factors they need to consider and it should NEVER be at the hands of a NTM boarding school. NTM should no longer take on this responsibility / liability.

  5. Doug
    August 29th, 2010 at 17:09 | #5

    What I undestand is that most if not all that were interviewed and found to be non repentent are included in the termination recommendations. If they are not terminated for whatever reason that would indicate that the present EC is also not repentent and willing to do what is right. I expect an immediate answer now that the Grace team has met with the NTM leaders in Sanford to clarify anything that was not clear in the document. There were some items I felt needed clarification at least for myself but those items would not effect the recommendations in anyway. I did read the ammended final report today which answered some of those questions. This next week will be very revealing as to the true attitude of the NTM EC. a href=”#comment-12256″>@jem

  6. jem
    August 29th, 2010 at 13:07 | #6

    Doug,

    Your point is reasonable. I was wondering what you think about the reports footnote on the accused state of repentence on page 46, that states, “it is very evident from the interviews conducted by GRACE that most of those who were responsible for failing to respond to the abuse at Fanda TO THIS DAY do not recongnize their sin and the need for repentance.

  7. Beverly Shellrude Thompson
    August 28th, 2010 at 18:58 | #7

    Benjamin,

    Are you implying that it is primarily the Fanda MK’s whose hearts need healing? I would like to suggest that the group
    who is in most need of deep and radical healing is New Tribes Mission as an organization. And of course the missionaries
    who abused children at Fanda and those who protected the abusers.

    Those who attended Fanda will probably be on a healing journey that is life-long. But it is clear that the alumni who had the courage and skill to initiate the investigation, and those who were able to report their experiences to GRACE, have already started their healing journeys.

  8. Walt Bertelsen
    August 28th, 2010 at 17:51 | #8

    @ph.d.
    Thanks, PhD for your action. That seems like a good start and answers my first question about news coverage. I also listen to NPR, and any coverage they give to it will be on npr.org

  9. Walt Bertelsen
    August 28th, 2010 at 17:38 | #9

    Thanks Tuti for your mini-report on the meeting at HQ. We’ll be praying for you as well.
    As I was reading through these comments, I was reminded of something Lincoln said in his Gettysburg Address: “It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced.” We must not allow what has been done so far–no matter what happens today–to have been done “in vain”.
    Tuti, I’m not holding my breath to see a sudden change, and I think it would be hurtful to all of us to make our own healing based on any indication that NTM will take to heart what seems so obvious to the rest of us. God’s work is to give life–not to suck it away, as those who have claimed to be doing God’s work have done. We’re talking about a culture of evil that the Enemy has perpetuated and continues to perpetuate. You may at some time have to pull the plug and move on, but for now, we’ll pray for you and others still connected there for your godly influence.
    Jesus’ words, “I am the resurrection and the life,” are not platitudes but have become in the mouths of many so much Christian BS. There is work to be done by “us the living” to help those who have had much of their life sucked away.

  10. August 28th, 2010 at 17:35 | #10

    @benjamin
    …AND give you justice.

    There is no excuse for how you were treated. If possible, there is even less excuse for how it was covered up. Readers of this blog need to understand that this report only came about because of the negative publicity generated by the Fanda Eagles. It’s not like NTM leaders got up from their quiet time one morning and said, “You know, maybe we ought to do something about sexual abuse of kids in our mission.”

  11. Doug
    August 28th, 2010 at 16:47 | #11

    I am a present member of NTM and quite upset at the cover up of the abuse. I want to know what leadership really wants to do. However I now think that I will never know since threats to take it to news agencies, forwarded to the U of Chicago may affect their decision. Those means would be appropriate if after their meeting with GRACE there is no real heartfelt change and acknowledgement of sin and doing what is right. If they do what is right becasue of pressure probably there is no repentence. But there seems to be so much pressure before their decision is made that will we ever know their true intention even if it is positive?

  12. Kati
    August 28th, 2010 at 12:42 | #12

    @Tuti Hess
    It’s very simple…supporters can cut off their support!

  13. benjamin
    August 28th, 2010 at 11:05 | #13

    There are many people praying inside of NTM and outside for the Fanda MK’s that God will work healing in your hearts.

  14. August 28th, 2010 at 10:14 | #14

    This pdf report has been submitted to our site http://www.akha.org and also put out broadly in our newsletter and on facebook.

    Matthew McDaniel

  15. Victoria Frayne
    August 28th, 2010 at 08:42 | #15

    @Victim 1986-1990

    As I read your comments, I am saddened. I must remind you though, YOUR story has not been published. As you remain anonymous.

    I love you unknown victim of Fanda.

  16. Tuti Hess
    August 28th, 2010 at 06:59 | #16

    Went to the meeting at HQ yesterday. Kind of discouraged with some of the comments and attitudes but that is out of my control. I was expecting more outrage and calls for quick action on this. To be fair there were some bright spots. The silent majority, I hope there is one, needs to start to make their voices heard. Chatted with a former co worker from Senegal online who has an idea that I’m meditating on. Will give the mission some time but really want something to be done soon. Maybe we will hear something Monday after the leaders meet with Grace today. I hope so.

  17. brutus
    August 27th, 2010 at 22:05 | #17

    Thank you to all the mks that shared their stories and extreme pain at Fanda w/ GRACE. What courage!! I am so angry that these perpetrators are not in jail and hope that they will be some day. We do serve a just God and he is grieved that his children have to go through that trauma and pain. I also related big time having served w/ NTM for a number of years about the control, and legalism of leadership. Just ridiculous and in the last 15 years of not being w/ NTM I have learned what Grace truly means from God’s word. Praying for healing for victims as I am sure more crap from other fields will come to light! I pray that it does!!

  18. August 27th, 2010 at 20:07 | #18

    Hi,

    I was a part of the Mamou MK’s (a Christian and Missionary Alliance school) who initiated the investigation into that school. When media reported on the Mamou story, at least two Mamou alumni thought we had told their stories and they too felt betrayed. It wasn’t until much later that they realized that we were telling our own stories, not the stories we had heard from other Mamou MK’s. (They were in their 40′s by then, and still thought they were alone in what they had suffered).

    I strongly suspect that GRACE also only documented the stories they heard directly from survivors. This is of course somthing GRACE can verify.

    When people ask about your experiences at Fanda, or want to talk about it, one way of proteceting your boundaries is to say that you did not report to GRACE so the report does not include your story.

    This does not protect you from some of the people around you knowing that you spent part of your childhood in a sordid place. But it might at least give you some privacy with your specific story.

  19. ph.d.
    August 27th, 2010 at 19:51 | #19

    Many more than the New Tribes Community are watching to see if they will quickly acknowledge and adopt all of the recommendations by GRACE. I have forwarded a copy of the GRACE report to University of Chicago Department of Religion and the American Psychological Association Division 36, Psychology of Religion and Spirituality. By Monday, this story will be well known and acknowledged by the tens of thousands of members in the Academy of Religion and the American Psychological Association. Let’s hope the leadership of New Tribes finally realize the gravity of their silence and swiftly adopt the recommendation of GRACE. Otherwise, the intense scrutiny and pressure upon them will be unbearable.

  20. August 27th, 2010 at 03:26 | #20

    @Victim 1986-1990
    My dear friend, I want YOU to know that my comments in no way at all were meant to imply/ mandate that all victims who have chosen to remain silent throughout this investigation are in fact as guilty as the perpetrators. I was talking about adult members of NTM who knew and kept quiet. I think I would except the parents of victims, too. But, certainly NOT any leaders or even members of the “rank and file” who knew and sought to “handle this ourselves.” I think we can see where that has gotten us.

    I fully support the anonymity of any and all victims of these terrible crimes. I admit that I deprecate those who would insult, demean or otherwise pour contempt on those who have chosen to speak out. But, I have nothing but support for those victims and/ or their family members who wish to remain in silence.

    I am sorry that I did not make that more clear in my posting, and I thank you for taking the time to post your thoughts. I’m sure this was painful for you, and I admire your courage and forthrightness. Please forgive me.

    Although the story of abuse of children at Fanda is now widely (and, I believe, belatedly)reported, names of victims nowhere appear in the GRACE report, not even names of victims who have come forward on this site and in other places. I do not think any names besides those few who have come forward appear on the website; if they do, I’m going to guess that the administrators would be willing to take them off.

    Your anonymity has been respected, protected and preserved by all. My guess is that any reputable news organization would feel and act the same on this. Most media outlets have very strict rules about releasing the names of child victims of abuse, especially sexual abuse.

  21. Carl Hagen
    August 26th, 2010 at 22:39 | #21

    My wife and I are currently in training to become missionaries and have been seriously considering NTM for quite a few reasons (which I won’t go into detail about here). We both read through the entire GRACE report and have talked to several people who knew/know many of the people who were directly involved.

    Let me first of all say that I am appalled at what was done by the perpetrators of the abuse and the completely unexcusable negligence (and at times intentional cover-up) demonstrated by the Field Committee, the Executive Committee and several other individuals involved. These atrocities should never have happened in the first place, or at the very least cut off with extreme measures at the first report, but the past cannot be repaired. For this reason my wife and I will not be considering membership with NTM unless clear and sweeping effort is made not only in the area of repentance toward the innocent MK victims, but also in reforming the leadership (here and abroad) as well as their policies regarding child protection.

    That being said, it is my sincere hope that those members of the mission who are devoted to God (and not at the expense of their families) will continue to be a reforming force within the mission bringing it fully into line with the ideals so wonderfully written down on paper and in this situation so poorly demonstrated in action. In many ways this process of renewal has already begun, the legalistic and dictatorial bents in teaching have been replaced by true and biblical grace in the Bible Institute and at the Missionary Training Center, and has begun to impact many fields abroad, but with an organization with as old a history and as wide a geographical base as NTM this change will take time to sweep through the whole mission. It is my hope and prayer that this report serves as fuel to speed up the process of reformation already taking place within NTM instead of killing it.

    If we continue on with this mission every Fanda abuse victim, their families, and everyone else who was hurt by this travesty has my word that we will be undying advocates to see that the atmosphere of autocratic leadership that created an environment prone to abuse (and the subsequent cover-up) never returns to prominence so far as it is within our ability. The fact that this terrible sequence of nightmarish events has happened cannot be forgotten, or swept under the rug ever again. It will stand as a testimony as to what can happen when God is no longer the focus, but weak, fragile, and sinful men, and as a reminder that we cannot ever allow this to happen again.

    Our prayers are with the Fanda abuse victims and their families, let them receive the justice and closure they deserve, and may the Lord Jesus Christ be vindicated of the crimes which were so heinously committed by men claiming to be “His voice.”

  22. Diane Mikitson
    August 26th, 2010 at 22:16 | #22

    @Victim 1986-1990
    Dear Victim
    My heart aches for you. You obviously have learned a way to handle your pain and life is working for you. Perhaps you feel healthy and free. Perhaps you have put up the shield of protection around those painful places of your soul. My hope is you can continue to find peace.
    You say that your story is told without your permission. Perhaps you aren’t aware that observing abuse also becomes any observer’s story as well. Not only does the one abused become a victim but all of those who had to watch or observe in any way are also victims and damaged. As much as you may want your story to be just yours there are others who have been scarred as well.

    I stand by my comments to “Don’t Judge”. No empathy towards the victims is just plain wrong. Perhaps if “Don’t Judge” would have expressed anger at the abuse and anger at the cover-up, their comments might not have been so offensive.
    .

  23. jdg
    August 26th, 2010 at 22:07 | #23

    Hi, Victim. It’s only with an almost literally trembling sense of trepidation that I say anything in response to what you said. I would bet that of any of the people who have commented, I have as little to do with the actual events that transpired as anyone.

    And yet I find myself absolutely riveted by this whole sordid mess. I have been a Christian my whole life. I have been a parent for 2 months. I think those bona fides, along with my humanity, qualify me to have a voice in this tale, for the simple reason that the protection of children first, and the name of Jesus secondly, is all of our jobs.

    Thus I would ever so gently challenge you in your choice of the word “my,” as in, “my story.” It is, in one sense, truly yours–in ways so personal that I can’t even dwell on them for a moment. But it is also *everyone’s* story, in the sense that the tireless and righteous pursuit of justice is a task that falls on everyone.

    There is no way that I or any other reader can have been there for you or the other victims in that time or place. In that sense, you and the others truly were alone, for that moment. Speaking only for myself, that incites a grief and even a rage in me that I choose to cultivate. I cultivate it for the sad fact that these events didn’t happen in isolation, nor have they been fully recompensed for to this day. And thus, the burden for the future protection of all such children, and certainly for the execution of justice in this case, passes to me and to all readers. In that most human of senses, it becomes no longer just “your” story.

    I’m deeply sorry that I couldn’t get your back, or those of your fellow victims, 20 years ago. But by God, if there is anything I can do today (and tomorrow) to get your back in terms of justice, and more broadly, to protect all children, please, someone, tell me. I’ll be there. At least in part, on your behalf.

  24. Tuti Hess
    August 26th, 2010 at 21:12 | #24

    Dear fandaeagles. I’ve been reading your blog for a couple of days now. Words cannot express the sorrow I feel for you all. My husband and I were in Senegal between 97 and 07. I remember some of you, your faces now haunt me. The shock of the report is wearing off for people and now there is real disgust and outrage among many at HQ. My husband Dean and I are going to the meeting tomorrow for HQ staff we just joined the staff in Florida. We will be strongly urging the leadership to quickly follow through with the recommendations made by Grace. I pray that God will over rule and give clear direction on this. I for one will not remain quiet about this, now that I know the wicked details. I feel stained and dirty, my heart is broken, Gods name has been so horribly blasphemed. May God give us courage in the days ahead.

  25. joie
    August 26th, 2010 at 20:07 | #25

    @Victim 1986-1990
    As you have a right to have a voice in this, so do I. I genuinely regret that it may hurt you more if I choose to make this story public on NPR, but you are unfortunately not the only victim here. It may feel like further abuse to you to have to answer people’s questions, but to many of us it feels like further abuse to be forced into silence once again. This story belongs to more than you. If you have truly “made your peace” with your past abuses, surely you can gently tell everyone who asks you questions that you don’t wish to discuss the issue and let some of the rest of the victims find their peace too.

    Also, as far as I am aware, you’re the first person who has threatened to sue anyone on this blog because of a comment. You may find that suing someone for an opinion they express in a comment will do more to garner you attention than a story on the radio.

  26. Kent
    August 26th, 2010 at 18:27 | #26

    “Second, we reject as contrary to Scripture and plain reason the suggestion we have received from some that no action is necessary, that true forgiveness requires silence and feigned forgetfulness. Christian love demands more than this. If the love of Christ is in us, then that love will overflow for the wounded bodies and souls of the children of Fanda. If Christ is alive, and His love is present at any level at New
    Tribes Mission, then surely NTM realizes the urgency of doing all that it can to help those it has wronged and to take every action possible to prevent future abuse. Satan thrives on silence and passivity as he slithers through Christian institutions such as Fanda. We have seen what the devil does with silence and inaction and we reject it as the sin that it is.” Page 48

  27. Victim 1986-1990
    August 25th, 2010 at 20:39 | #27

    @joie
    Joie, as one of the victims who has chosen to be silent, I recommend that you do not allow your NPR reporter friend to tell my story which has now been told without my permission and which I would rather not see told on an even larger international stage to an even larger readership. Imagine how it feels for the abuse victim who wishes to leave her story in the past where she has made peace with it, to answer questions of her current friends, the students she teaches, the people she works with–and all without having made the choice to tell the story herself. If you can’t imagine how that feels, I’ll tell you. It feels like being abused all over again. It’s that same feeling of not having control and not being able to do anything about it. For many abuse victims, this is the feeling they spend the rest of their lives trying to escape. Please consider those of us who are victims, who do not wish to have our story told, before you place the “righteousness” of your cause in front of your actions.

    Diane, please stop telling other people that their choice to feel empathy for others is a distorted, self-righteous attempt to be more spiritual than everyone else. Your angry response, as well as Bonnie’s and Gene’s only solidifies the point he/she was trying to make about the overall judgement being placed on NTM and its missionaries in general.

    Gene Long, I want you to know that in your comment you effectively mandated that all victims who have chosen to remain silent throughout this investigation are in fact as guilty as the perpetrators. I think I’m going to find out if I can sue you for writing that. Be careful in your anger of making these blanket statements that you may not completely be able to understand. GRACE themselves have made it clear that they understand and respect the choice of victims who have chosen to remain silent. It seems if you had any inkling of the ramifications of being a victim of abuse, you would have understood the necessity of such respect and refrained from degrading the rest of us. We are finding and have found our peace in other ways. Some of us did not want our story told. Some of us have just read our story in a 67 page document, not once having been interviewed or answered any questions.

    Many of you may want to respond in anger to my comments. Please keep in mind that, unlike many of the people adding input to this situation, I have a right to have a voice in this, whether it’s the voice you want to hear or not.

  28. Cathy
    August 25th, 2010 at 19:41 | #28

    I cannot express enough my deep anger at the depth of the abuse (of all kinds) that took place in the evil place called Fanda, described in the GRACE report. As a parent that left (against her will) 3 deeply loved children in the dorm, my mind cannot comprehend how we were deceived by NTM Senegal. Rather than being a “safe place- your kids will love it”, it was the very pit of evil. We will never know the depth of pain and damage that was done to our children, and those of others. We cannot comprehend, nor can we ever apologize enough. We can only pray to our God that he will heal ….in time.
    I am also outraged that we, as dorm parents ourselves in Fanda in the mid-90′s were not informed of the landmine field that we were asked to work in. OUTRAGED. ABSOLUTELY OUTRAGED.
    It did not take us too long after we began to work at Fanda to determine that there was somehting very very wrong and rotten/smelly about Fanda school nnd about NTM leadership style in general. Of course when discussions were “attempted” about these things with “Leadership”, we were immediately labelled as rebellious and bad apples.

    HOW DOES ONE REGAIN THE CHILDHOODS THAT WERE LOST AT FANDA? I weep and gnash my teeth ……. I agonize in prayer for those sweet, precious lives that were so crushed and still are crushed.
    I am so thankful for this credible and accurate report that GRACE has put together. If NTM does not honour their recommendations, I do not think they can survive as an organization.
    Other NTM “parents” out there – ask the Lord for courage to be honest with others and yourselves. Honour the lives of these damaged and hurt children -be part of what it takes to attempt to see justice done. It is the least we can do.

  29. August 25th, 2010 at 18:12 | #29

    Joie posted this: According to NTM’s members-only site, “the Executive Board wants to take time to process [GRACE's] recommendations, to discuss the recommendations with GRACE, and to determine the best way to implement them.” They also state in the same letter “Please refrain from sharing the report, in part or in full, outside of New Tribes Mission while the Executive Board is evaluating the report and how to best implement the recommendations. It will likely be early September when that process is complete.”

    On their publicly accessible website, NTM said they wanted to be “publicly accountable for [their] past actions.”

    “Publicly accountable” but “refrain from sharing the report, in part or in full”? You mean they can’t just share the report with their supporters NOW and say, “We are still evaluating how many more people we might have to fire, but while we are doing that, here is the report for you to read”?

  30. jdg
    August 25th, 2010 at 14:26 | #30

    Joie you are exactly right. From the corporate perspective we apparently share, this sluggishness, this arrogance is breathtaking. Wherever you work, you have no doubt taken hours upon hours of training in avoiding this type of thing and much else beside–anything that can leave a stink on your company, anywhere across the spectrum between a criminal or just reputational stain. The reasons for all of this training can be answered narrowly–to avoid lawsuits–or broadly–the very viability of the company is at stake. I feel like a seasoned lawyer compared to these goofs.

    From that perspective and my admittedly limited knowledge, what we are looking at is, from a secular perspective, an irretrievably broken organization. From a spiritual perspective, it’s if anything worse–because as far as I’m concerned, secular unsuitability disqualifies you organizationally from any kind of spiritual fitness–i.e., if you can’t fulfill the basic requirements, the discussion is over. And that’s before you look at the higher Biblical standards as caring for the weak, etc.

    FYI: I was taken aback by the retroactive firings myself. I suspect we’re talking about either or both of: the mission symbolically distancing themselves from these criminals, and/or covering themselves in the case of a lawsuit. In my mind I can imagine the GRACE team, which includes attorneys, just aghast at the legal clumsiness and negligence continuously displayed by the mission and just couldn’t help themselves from maybe slipping them some free legal advice. Without resorting to saying, “y’all are toast. get some lawyers.”

  31. Son of a survivor
    August 25th, 2010 at 14:10 | #31

    @Recent Comments

    I struggle to understand what is so repulsive about a request for proper focus. It seems a good reminder, even should the warning not apply at this time. A painful situation sometimes causes us to see the worst possible interpretation in any statement, and there is no clear indication in the ‘don’t judge’ comment that this person views themselves as a higher moral authority than anyone else. Neither would I place myself in that position… how could I? How could any of us?

    For what it’s worth, I don’t see that commenter minimizing the Fanda tragedy in the slightest, or excusing the culpability of NTM as a whole. Certainly they did not explicitly express outrage over what happened there, but a one paragraph response is a very short window into their thoughts. This person simply offered a reminder that many individuals affiliated with NTM were not part of the mission during that time, or had no way of knowing about anything in Senegal, or held no position of leadership. Are these individuals therefore uninvolved? Of course not! They are part of an organization dealing with its own sin, and even if personally they have not sinned they must deal with the corporate sin. Those individuals now need to hold NTM leadership accountable if that leadership will not do so themselves – absolutely, and unquestionably! If they do not, then they personally become implicit in Fanda as well. That is the responsibility they bear by continuing to affiliate themselves with NTM at this time.

    However, would it be just to consider these people the same as the abusers, the leadership who failed to respond, or those who responded insufficiently when they learned of what was going on? That is the question I think I see ‘don’t judge’ asking… not denying the responsibility of any individual in New Tribes to hold the right people accountable, but reminding us that not everyone is equally culpable, either in what happened or even in the structure that allowed it to go unchecked for so long. If I have correctly interpreted that person’s comment, then that is a reminder I can support.

    I would hope to see ‘Don’t Judge’ joining the ranks of those demanding accountability from NTM leadership to the GRACE recommendations… and to ensure that this despicable situation can never be repeated within New Tribes. I would also hope this person’s heart is breaking for the victims of this terrible sin, as I know my own does. My father suffered similarly to those at Fanda when he was an MK in a different mission, and this hits far too close to home for me. Yet with these thoughts in mind, I am at least content to see nothing in this person’s words which cause me to doubt either them in these areas. I would therefore exhort anyone reading those comments to accept them in the apparent spirit offered, rather than as a blanket defense of NTM as an organization.

  32. joie
    August 25th, 2010 at 13:10 | #32

    According to NTM’s members-only site, “the Executive Board wants to take time to process [GRACE's] recommendations, to discuss the recommendations with GRACE, and to determine the best way to implement them.” They also state in the same letter “Please refrain from sharing the report, in part or in full, outside of New Tribes Mission while the Executive Board is evaluating the report and how to best implement the recommendations. It will likely be early September when that process is complete.”

    Um, I don’t get the rocket science behind retroactively firing people who have been proven by the report to have participated in a criminal cover-up of this magnitude and seriousness, or the need to “decide what to do” or to hide it for any amount of time. I am starting to seriously doubt NTM’s ability to even protect the reputation of its own organization intelligently. Genuine repentance aside, it appears NTM’s “leadership” can’t even act in its own best interest, which would be to come to the meeting with GRACE on Saturday having not only already carried out the recommendations but willing to go above and beyond to show their culpability and repentance over this grave issue.

    I have a friend who is a reporter for NPR. They have asked to do a story on this whole NTM/Fanda/Abuse cover-up fiasco. I have asked her to hold off until after the meeting this weekend, but my leanings now are that we will need such support. It seems perhaps that exposing the whole travesty publicly may be the only language NTM will understand, since they appear to believe that any sin that happened was in the past and committed by “other people.” As a business woman, the sheer stupidity of such corporate inaction amazes me on multiple levels, and I see no reason why a Christian organization which has so many sincere and good people as members should miss this clear opportunity to protect them and what is left of its ‘good name’ around the world.

  33. Elijah III
    August 25th, 2010 at 11:26 | #33

    @Don’t Judge ALL by SOME
    Sometimes we forget the teaching of headship is Scripture. Romans 5:12 is very clear: “Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned.“ Let us paraphrase here to make things clear: Therefore, just as sin entered Fanda by the immoral actions of men and women, and far-reaching consequences to these sins, so in this way a grave outcome came to ALL of NTM–especially its leadership–because of the result of this gross wickedness.

  34. Diane Mikitson
    August 25th, 2010 at 10:07 | #34

    @don’t judge all by some
    Your comments have lifted yourself up above everyone and everything on this blog as the spiritual one. You know better than the GRACE team; you know better than the professionals; you know better than the victims who have survived.

    Page 5 footnote 11 The GRACE team consists of two former child sexual abuse prosecutors (Basyle Tchividjian, JD and Victor Vieth, JD), one clinical psychologist (Diane Langberg, PhD), one professional counselor (Janet Brown, PhD), and one teaching elder (Duncan Rankin, PhD).

    You are naive if not deceived to think that you are bringing a new perspective to this. You are exactly the same old fear-based person who this investigation exposes. You focus on the institution and how to protect it rather than side with the victim. You show no outrage for the victims; no outrage for the cover-up; no outrage for the sin. You show the signs of the “blasphemous” response as pointed out in the report.
    .
    Why did you feel you had to say what you did? What are you afraid of? Are you so insecure about New Tribes that you are going to be “the voice of reason”? What motivates you? One thing for sure, it isn’t godly righteous anger at the wicked, evil pattern of sin and cover-up. If you are with NTM and they don’t respond 100% to what GRACE has outlined what will your response be? Godly missionaries who hear and obey the Holy Spirit will NOT be silent. Godly people will stand up for the victims. Godly people will not pretend this isn’t the scandal it is. Godly people will require NTM to stand for justice – finally. Who will you choose to follow? Fear-based cover-up religion that is fake and lifeless? Victorious Christian living that brings all things into the light?

  35. Bonnie
    August 25th, 2010 at 10:06 | #35

    @Don’t Judge ALL by SOME
    As GRACE said: “Even when child abuse within the church is revealed, there is a great
    temptation to blame the situation as the work of an isolated group of men and
    women with devious, deluded or criminal minds who cunningly snuck themselves in
    among the faithful. If this is the conclusion that New Tribes Mission takes from this
    report, it would be sadly misguided. Instead, NTM must realize that through its
    actions and inactions it created an environment where child abuse was not only
    predictable but also perpetrated. If NTM looks only at those who inflicted abuse or
    allowed it to happen and fails to see the centrality of its own sin, little good will
    come from this report, and we fear the past will prologue future dangers.”

  36. Bonnie
    August 25th, 2010 at 08:14 | #36

    @Don’t Judge ALL by SOME
    I would like to point out your “when this occurred” bit – you speak as though it is a long-ago thing that happened. The fact is, abuse at Fanda began in the 70′s, and continued up until the time that Fanda closed down. As far as we, the mk’s from Fanda know, it is still occurring now, at the cover-up stage. NTM leadership destroyed incriminating documents! They kept everything as secret as possible! They defended the perps, and pointed to the victims as the guilty ones! They sympathized with a confessed pedophile and offered prayer for him! This is YOUR leadership. How does it make you feel?

  37. August 25th, 2010 at 01:57 | #37

    @Don’t Judge ALL by SOME
    I don’t think there has even been a HINT of anyone judging everyone based on the actions of a few. Maybe you could explain why you felt you needed to make this plea? “Judge the entire mission” indeed!

    I would like to suggest that people be judged on how they respond to these revelations. Are they quiet, passive and uninvolved? Do they seek to “keep these things quiet” and “handle them among ourselves”? If so, they are guilty of the same crimes of coverup that were perpetrated by past leadership.

    On the other hand, are they outraged? Would failure by NTM to deal honestly and openly with these sins/ crimes mean they would seek new and different avenues of service to the Lord? Are they callling for the resignations of ALL who knew about these things and did nothing?

    I agree that NTM has a majority of very good people, sincere in their efforts to reach the lost with the Gospel. However, NTM has been given a pass based on the many good people in it for too long. “Come out from among them, and be ye separate” should have been put into play a long time ago.

  38. Don’t Judge ALL by SOME
    August 25th, 2010 at 01:12 | #38

    We need to be careful not to judge the entire mission based on the acts and attitudes of some. There are many who are genuinely serving their Lord, with a pure heart. Many who have been dorm parents that were and are above reproach. Many have allowed their children to live in the dorm – and we loved our time there, and grew socially, spiritually, and academically. Please don’t judge all of the current missionaries (some of who were not even part of the mission when this occured) based on the sin of others. It’s like condemning all of America because of the crimes and abuse commited by some of the people who live there.

  39. anonymous
    August 24th, 2010 at 15:36 | #39

    Blasphemous Pattern Repeated – page 66 of report
    When faced with the reality of
    abuse, however, the church is slow to side with the victim and quick to protect the
    perpetrator. In doing so, the church inflicts further pain on the child, and
    emboldens the perpetrator in his or her sin. Throughout this investigatory review,
    GRACE observed this blasphemous pattern repeated.

  40. Elijah III
    August 24th, 2010 at 14:56 | #40

    “As long as this world endures, the lessons of Fanda must never be forgotten…”

    Quote from GRACE–Final Report for the Investigatory Review of Child Abuse at NTM Fanda Missionary School–08/23/2010

    How Profound…How Eloquent…How Noble…How True…!!! Thank you Fanda Eagles and GRACE for Persevering. You continue in our prayers!

  41. Diane Mikitson
    August 24th, 2010 at 10:25 | #41

    So many thoughts. So many tears. So much relief. So much anticipation. So many thoughts about NTM Senegal missionaries still there. Will you remain silent STILL? If NTM is truly different I can’t help but think that by Saturday when they meet with GRACE they will already have the termination letters written and have called some pastors. Will they AGAIN delay and not act swiftly?
    GRACE – God has certainly used you to weave this thread of deceit and evil and expose. The enemy tried to cover up and destroy documents but you were wise. There was enough information to uncover the wrong. You were not swayed by smooth words or self-righteous, arrogant leadership. The Senegal leaders showed you their true colors and you saw them in their sin and unrepentant.
    Yes, we knew the wrong but were never able to explain it well or expose it. We gave up the hope of vindication in this life. It took Kari’s visit to her childhood to ruthlessly not give up; even as NTM missionaries in Senegal inssisted she “forgive” and “move on.” Kari, you did not drop the pursuit of TRUTH, against all odds. Not only do I love you dearly, but I respect you so much!

  42. August 24th, 2010 at 07:05 | #42

    If NTM doesnt know what to do ask them to check with the C@MA HQ to see the report about the abuse at Mamou. Their report and commitment to counseling etc would be the least after a wholesale cleaning of all leadership past and present and an open letter of not only acknowledgment of but a commitment to outlined changes in policy. If this is not possible find students who will boycott their missionaries appearances in churches to bring the pressure forward. Hit them where the money is. Stand firm. those from Mamou did it. they will i think give you both support and advice if asked. there is NO EXCUSE.

  43. August 24th, 2010 at 06:57 | #43

    As i read the posts i want to respond to those who think that parents would not wantonly put their children in harms way. With my parents the issue was a catch 22. If they said no they would fight the norm and finally when they had their own (a stepchild to me)they did exactly that. But as we grew up the issue was their image in the eyes of the Church and their commitment to missions, or calling. To stop what they were doing or fight the rules they would not have known what to do. They were to be left in the cold. So Yes they would and did wantonly continue putting their kids in abusive situations because the whole circle of love was based on greed for image, ignorance of scripture, and an absolute lack of spiritual leadership of both church and mission. GMU has never apologized or taken responsibility. They just changed names. I wrote Ultimate Sacrifice as my story and the start of healing. i have been told to hide the issue, move on, and more. The only way to heal is to let it out. It has cost me my marriage and a career but I am moving forward and God has done His part. But healing is a lifetime of understanding yourself and developing personal strategies to lift others up and out.

  44. August 23rd, 2010 at 21:34 | #44

    @Beverly Shellrude Thompson
    Regarding your comments, Bev,
    I continuously wonder why it is that Christian organizations aand said leaders have neglected the criminal aspect of these abuses and sexual assaults.
    It is bewildering to me, a law abiding citizen, who as the Scriptures teach,make every effort to obey the laws of the land.
    So, why is it that these Christian leaders have no word in their vocabulary for criminal behavior, or predator, or crime.. you get the picture.
    What does this negligence and really, enablement of in-house crime say about Christian organizations? What does it say about a Christian ministry?
    What does it tell us about the belief system and priorities of said Christian ministries?
    What does it say about the children who are subjected to these crimes? Will they forever be made into victims on these places and under the silent assent of the Christian missionary leadership?
    I know too many good and decent people who are trashed by this denomination and parental blindness, who are making strides forward in stopping abuse.
    however, these individuals should not have had to do so with attack from
    people who are so determined to defend the indefensible, that the family ties exist no more.

  45. Amnesia
    August 23rd, 2010 at 21:25 | #45

    I was in the Little Dorm from 1985-1988, when we (thankfully) returned to the USA. I have tried, on numerous occasions, to recall everything that happened in the dorm. I have only faint glimpses of memories from those years, and the time with “Uncle Dave”. I frequently read through the forums, trying to remember, and praying that I don’t. When I was interviewed by GRACE, I remember praying that I would remember things that would help with their investigation, and then praying that I wouldn’t remember anything at all. Still, when reading though some of the stories posted, I get this terrible feeling in the pit of my stomache. It is like I’m reading something that inspires a deja vu, but then my mind suppresses the thought. I do remember pretending to be asleep at night, hoping that Dave would keep going. I remember a closet outside of the girls’ rooms (a dark place), but I cannot remember what happens in that room. I remember being beaten terribly, and not being able to walk well afterwards. However, all of these memories are fragmented into little pieces. There are other memories that are even more vague. I remember being allowed to use Dave’s shower, and that it had running water. Sadly, I also remember “somehow” knowing that if I were to squat under the water, it would be pleasurable. Being 6-7 years old, I’m not really sure how I knew that. Everything else is dark for me. Sometimes I wish I could remember, thinking that perhaps it would shed some light on decisions I’ve made throughout my life. Of course. knowing doesn’t always bring with it the results that we want, and I am afraid that if I remember, my life may not be the same.

  46. J Wheeler
    August 18th, 2010 at 20:55 | #46

    Keep going Bonnie! Many people are applauding these efforts and want the New Tribes to acknowledge and respect the cries of the MKs, I just wanted you to know that. Our God is a God of justice :)

  47. August 17th, 2010 at 17:20 | #47

    It is great that GRACE has by all reports professionally and responsibly conducted the investigation into abuse by NTM missionaries and staff. However, I think that in addition to the use of the terms “sin” and “repentance” in the July, 2010 and August, 2010 blog updates written by Boz Tchividjian, it is necessary for the report to reflect the criminal nature of the abuses. Sexual assault, physical, emotional, spiritual abuse and severe neglect are indeed sin, and repentance is one of the appropriate responses to these sins.

    However, sexual assault is not just sin. In U.S. and Canadian jurisdictions, sexual abuse, physical abuse, emotional abuse, severe neglect, and allowing perpetrators to continue having access to children are crimes. I hope the recommendations of GRACE reflect the criminal nature of the abuses, and not treat them only as sin.

    From all accounts, the NTM culture appears to have allowed systemic abuse of children to continue unchecked, and changing the organizational culture requires holding management responsible. I believe this requires determining if criminal negligence was involved, with appropriate disciplinary action.

    Beverly Shellrude Thompson
    President, MKSafetyNet

  48. Naomi Cleaves
    July 10th, 2010 at 22:25 | #48

    A Parent- i was at the GRACE meetings a few weeks ago and there was only one who i felt was truely broken over what happened. i am still realing over the attitudes of the others. i left there thinking ‘ i hope that if GRACE cant truely change the hearts of the men who are the leaders now then i hope that NTM is shut down’. i am not against Gods work but they have it too wrong. they seem to think that God needs NTM so anything they do is justified. they dont seem to get that God does NOT need them to get his work done. but they do need God. i have left the meetings discouraged. i prayed while there that there eyes would be opened and there hearts changed but they just dont have a clue. they had no idea how i was hurt. a few of them said to me ” what do you want to get out of this” and “well i am not on the field commity any more so…” i felt like one of them was trying to tell me that i need to find closure so i can shut up and stop causing trouble. he didnt say it in as manny words. i told him loud and clear that i was hurt. i found closure in most ways( which is why i could go and talk about it). and now i have a passion for the children and closure wont shut me up. he asked me what i wanted to do with my life and i said “right now Gods mission for me is to look after my family and raise my children” and he kept pushing about what i wanted to do with my life and i said “after all my children are indipendant i think i would like to go somewhere (third world) and help the poor”. and he said “thats what im talking about!” he was trying to tell me that my family wasnt Gods work. However, after saying all that i also felt that if just one of these people were truely broken over this that after they had healed they could be true advocates for the MKs right in the heart of NTM and they could somehow break the culture that NTM has had built up that has caused the legalistic, cultlike leadership. and there could be true change. so please pray.

  49. A Parent
    July 6th, 2010 at 16:16 | #49

    GRACE – we are praying for you and look forward to the report. God has been faithful to not let this be swept under the rug once again.

    GRACE – you have wisdom and experience in prosecuting church-related cases. You will not be fooled by pseudo-Christianity bathed in religious words and cultish leadership.

    I can’t help but wonder if any of the NTM leaders you met with a few weeks ago were broken or humbled. Did any of them respond like David in brokenness over their sin? I somehow have my doubts.

    Many of us are awaiting your report and NTM’s opportunity to once and for all respond with integrity.

    Thank you God for the work GRACE is accomplishing!

  50. highlander
    June 12th, 2010 at 09:25 | #50

    Papua New Guinea. The mission’s goal of reaching the lost clearly preceded, even nullified, family values. The atmosphere of Numonohi was one of “Children need to be good as to not disturb the important work of saving the natives”. The children carried the relentless weight of knowing that if we disturbed our parents’ work the natives would not get their Bible translated, die in sin, go to hell, and it would be our fault.

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