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 Post subject: Silence
PostPosted: Sat Sep 18, 2010 8:44 am 
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I'm wondering how so many who lived there can be silent about the suffering at Via - or how so few have publicly acknowledged it. Is our silence a result of years of not rocking the boat and not wanting to be perceived as rebellious?

I'm conflicted, because so much is in me that needs to find its way out - but I'm slave to my own constant mental reminders to be a good little Christian. Forgive. Don't be so dramatic. Everyone has baggage, deal with it. And then the mad cycle begins - depression, shame, blame - over and over.


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 Post subject: Re: Silence
PostPosted: Sat Sep 18, 2010 9:19 am 
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Conflicted wrote:
I'm conflicted, because so much is in me that needs to find its way out - but I'm slave to my own constant mental reminders to be a good little Christian. Forgive. Don't be so dramatic. Everyone has baggage, deal with it. And then the mad cycle begins - depression, shame, blame - over and over.


Yes, Conflicted- you've said it well. We've all heard the same "mental reminders" as a result of what we heard growing up. I believe it IS what keeps us from speaking out. I believe we, who've suffered, are stronger than most- we're survivors. But, not talking about it never allows acknowledgment of our pain to take place, never allows the healing process to happen, never stops that "mad cycle!"

It's interesting--the number of "views" on this thread, but nobody comments! Do we really have nothing to say? Why are we all here? Just to satisfy our curiosity?

Tell us what you're thinking, Via folks!


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 Post subject: Re: Silence
PostPosted: Sat Sep 18, 2010 11:56 am 
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I think "we" can say that we all want answers and hope to the conflict and pain within us.


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 Post subject: Re: Silence
PostPosted: Sat Sep 18, 2010 2:08 pm 
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hurt-n-hopeful wrote:
It's interesting--the number of "views" on this thread, but nobody comments! Do we really have nothing to say? Why are we all here? Just to satisfy our curiosity?


I think that's a good possibility - unless we're just afraid - or in denial. The time to be silent is over. Sin & wickedness were committed against defenseless children - it is time to step up and be part of the healing process. I fear that many of our peers, including my own siblings, may never be able to overcome their own need to stay "spiritual and acceptable".

I'm fearful. It's ingrained in us. I fear this will turn into a big fiasco. I fear adults who lived at Via and can't see the damage they themselves did - will be on this site trying to shame/blame or trying to manipulate or orchestrate, or just slap another spiritual bandaid on someone's post. Don't do it! We can see right through it & it will add to the damage/anger/withdrawal. I don't fear judgment anymore, because I've finally discovered and acknowledged that I'm a victim - not just to others' actions, but to my own judgment and depression. But we stand (or lie curled in the fetal position) before one Judge - and so do those who abused.

Fear of so many things runs so deep - and stems from years of different avenues of abuse & mishandled authority & Scriptures. God's love casts out fear. His light drives out darkness. Let's stop cowering in fear & let His light heal.


Seriously people - would you allow your own children to be subjected to the various events you lived through? Your support and affirmation may be timely and even allow someone to open the floodgates and allow God's light to wash out those stuffed, hidden corners of their memories and hearts.


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 Post subject: Re: Silence
PostPosted: Sat Sep 18, 2010 6:13 pm 
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Interesting how a culture of fear can even now subject many to feelings of guilt, denial, repression, anger, and the belief that it was "all their fault". I am reminded of the verse where the Christ says it would be better that a millstone be tied around the neck of the offender and that person be tossed into the sea, than to harm a child, preventing that one from coming to Him. I see in many of these posts, the wreckage of lives and the prevention of many from having a meaningful relationship with one's Heavenly Father because of the abuses of earthly "fathers". Of whom much is given, much shall be required.

Rather than being filled with fear, a better reminder ought to be how enraged the Christ was when He overturned the tables and fashioned a cord of whips when He saw those perverting the outer courts of His Father's House. How much more is He enraged when He sees the actions of those in authority claiming His Name while committing unspeakable atrocities?!


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 Post subject: Re: Silence
PostPosted: Sat Sep 18, 2010 6:44 pm 
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Conflicted wrote:
I'm fearful. It's ingrained in us. I fear this will turn into a big fiasco. I fear adults who lived at Via and can't see the damage they themselves did - will be on this site trying to shame/blame or trying to manipulate or orchestrate, or just slap another spiritual bandaid on someone's post.


Thank you, Conflicted. I think you voiced the fear we all have been thinking. Still, there should be a way that a person can share the fact that they were abused, give enough details to validate them saying so, and still not expose either themselves or the perpetrator prematurely. I'm giving this some thought, and coming up with a better way/ better place for someone to share their story- something that is safer. Certainly, writing to GRACE is a good place to start- and we all have contact with each other through Facebook, etc. Finding someone you trust and telling them your story would be beneficial as well- for healing!

However, enough needs to be said HERE so that victims who lurk in silence around this forum will see they are not alone and feel some hope. Let's be wise. Let us be gracious. But let us speak!


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 Post subject: Re: Silence
PostPosted: Sat Sep 18, 2010 7:42 pm 
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I will say all I know,

Dorm Parents
I was never abused in any way I would consider abuse by any staff at via. Yes there may have been times where a staff member was upset at me, and perhaps could have expressed themselves in a more biblical way, however never do I believe i was abused spiritually, emotionally, or physically.

Now might I have done some things differently, sure; or were my leaders perfect examples, no, but over and all I had good experiences under my dorm parents, and I never saw other kids being mistreated. I say this with one reservation, one of my dorm parents had a shorter fuse and sometime would be overly upset in his expression at a kid for reasons making him or her cry. I believe perhaps he should not have been in the position of a dorm parent for this reason, but beyond this I never saw anything alarming.

The dorm parents I lived with include:

Bucky and Joanne Nageli
Kevin and Duanne terlouw
Don and glenda greenwood


Now, before I was a student at via i know there were issues of sexual abuse from Uncle Frank who parented the little dorm. I don't know details, so i won't speak here. I know ntm did act in some way, however I believe he passed away shortly, or some time thereafter.

Leadership.
I know that there were issues with two or so of the field leadership at via who made various staff pressured into doing things abusing their positions of authority. I know several staff members left because of this

Teachers
The only teachers i can remember acting in a way which might be inappropriate was Kathy stucky, who was quite stern in class, and sometimes spanked kids quite hard in front of the class which was humiliating for them. I was never spanked by her that I remember.

I remember my time at via as a good time that was a lot of fun, and which i learned many things about Life and God. I think on it as a good time of in my life, even though Now I would definitely would have changed some ways things were done.

That is my experience at via in the 90's


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 Post subject: Re: Silence
PostPosted: Sat Sep 18, 2010 7:52 pm 
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Conflicted wrote:
I'm wondering how so many who lived there can be silent about the suffering at Via - or how so few have publicly acknowledged it. Is our silence a result of years of not rocking the boat and not wanting to be perceived as rebellious?

I'm conflicted, because so much is in me that needs to find its way out - but I'm slave to my own constant mental reminders to be a good little Christian. Forgive. Don't be so dramatic. Everyone has baggage, deal with it. And then the mad cycle begins - depression, shame, blame - over and over.


You are not alone in your feelings. APG raised the same question on a different thread, "The silent majority." http://fandaeagles.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=18&t=352

Here is my answer to apg, slightly revised:

Please do not be discouraged by the silence; most people are silent on most subjects, even subjects about which they are passionate. When those subjects are as delicate and controversial as those posted on this blog, it is amazing that anyone posts anything.

Consider: I am (perhaps) a little more willing to express myself than a lot of people. I am not always very good at it, however, and that has been known to cause others, not to say me, grief. If you look around a little on this site, you will see that one of my comments was misunderstood to be a veiled, if not open, criticism of victims who have not come forward. One such victim was very forthright in their criticism of my comments; I had obviously deeply hurt them - a result totally opposite of my intentions and goals. I believe I would have been mortified had I been posting under an alias, let alone my real name; I didn't know if I wanted to cry or just go hide under a rock. Hands up, everyone who would like to find his/ herself in that position! So, that is one reason people may be hesitant to post. They may have a good point, if I do say so myself.

Those who are themselves victims often feel isolated, vulnerable and ashamed. These are not easy emotions to overcome.

There may also be a reluctance to join in on what may appear as a dogpile on NTM. Probably no one has visited this site who does not know someone in NTM, and most of those in NTM are outstanding people, wonderful people, talented people, people we love. Would speaking up at this time, on this forum, constitute an insult to them? They didn't do these things, they didn't know about them, they are trying to plant churches in remote areas around the world and may very well be living in difficult situations of their own. Silence here should not be interpreted as a defense of NTM's leaders, past or present, who have contributed to the issues detailed on this site, or of the perverts who committed these atrocities. It is, rather, a silent testimony of love to those missionaries they know. I might add that I count myself among those who have dear and respected friends in NTM, and my comments are not directed against them at all.

There is an element of shock to deal with as well. I know that I have read things on this site that leave me speechless, shaking my head, struggling for breath. No response, no comment, seems adequate to the horror. Words cannot express our disgust; even profanity blushes before such perversion. For many people, I'm sure, there is nothing to say. In that case, silence says a lot.

So, to return to my original comment. . . I think it is amazing that the Fanda Eagles have spoken out, spoken up, taken a stand. They are in a class by themselves. Others, some of them active members of NTM, have also spoken up. I salute their courage. Yet others, some more directly related to NTM than others, but all with a passion for the truth, have posted, some a lot, some only once. They all amaze me, encourage me.

Even now, others are finding their voices, connecting, testing the waters. I'm so very thankful that this forum gives them a chance and a place to unburden. More will join in, even as you have. Give them time, love them, pray for them. Conflicted, I admire you!


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 Post subject: Re: Silence
PostPosted: Sat Sep 18, 2010 8:34 pm 
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I have mixed feelings about Via - I know I learned a lot there, but mostly I think through suffering, which does end up being the way we learn best. I think someone said something about walking on eggshells - that is a very good description of how my three years there went. I wasn´t sexually abused there and in terms of other abuse, there are things that happened that, as an adult, i can see were not handled correctly. While I was at Via a dorm parent was removed and I remembered my rage when they didn´t come clean with the "why". The rage was related to my own abuse suffered previously, but it also was indignation with the coverup. I´ve written to Grace and I received the response below from them and I´d like to pass it on to all of us.

As for possible manipulation (which was mentioned in someone´s post) - we are always manipulated by what we register around us. I don´t know if this works for everyone (although I suspect it does), but whenever I center down and spend a little bit of time reading from that letter God wrote us, its clear message reorientates the needle on my head compass back to pointing true North. Unfortunately, I don´t do that frequently enough. So with this whole thing with abuse, etc., I have felt those old fingers pointing at me again, judging me for talking...again :roll: But then, "speak the truth in love", says the letter, "as sheep among wolves, be as wise as serpents but as gentle as doves. Do justly, love mercy and walk humbly."

And with that in mind, I encourage everyone to write if they feel lead - don´t feel like you´re betraying. In the spirit of doing justly, loving mercy, and walking humbly, shining light on anything is good, illuminating the dark places - and if you were to find me in those dark places, doing something that hurt someone else, then I would want a chance to ask for forgiveness, and receive it, and be healed myself. Give the "perpetrators" a chance to do that too - and maybe many of them won´t - but we won´t know until we give them a chance. Forgiveness feels so good.

Now I´ll give up my soapbox, Thank you, Fanda MK´s and here´s the e-mail from GRACE below:

We are in receipt of you email. GRACE is in the process of making certain recommendations to NTM regarding what process should be used to investigate past abuse issues at other NTM boarding schools. We hope to have that to them within the next 10 days. We will communicate with you once such a process has been determined. In the meantime, please encourage others who may have been abused at Vianopolis to make contact with GRACE. Thank you very much for making contact. Be encouraged....

Peace


Boz Tchividjian, Esq.
Executive Director, GRACE
www.netgrace.org


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 Post subject: Re: Silence
PostPosted: Sat Sep 18, 2010 9:49 pm 
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Can I beg a favor? If your time at Via was great & you just don't understand what the big hoopla's about, please don't post it in this forum. This is not the place for it. When you declare your love for all the adults at Via & your super awesome experience there, all it does is stick in the craw of those who did not have that experience. It reinforces their feelings of unworthiness, their feelings of guilt that they are probably over-reacting, and it negates the existence of their problems.

Also, please keep preaching to a minimum, or even non-existent would be better. Yes we were manipulated. Yes we are manipulated by our circumstances. However, we were manipulated through the use of shame and guilt - not just unfortunate circumstances.

If you love Via, that's great. But remember that some would like to see it burn to the ground & try to be sensitive to that.

We are missionary kids and we're glad we are. We have a right to shout and sing. Our hearts are filled with praise, For these are golden days . . . (does anyone else need to vomit?)


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