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PostPosted: Tue Feb 26, 2013 9:09 am 
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Greetings! I've followed the Fanda website for a while, as it concerns a subject near and dear to my heart. I grew up as an NTM MK in Colombia (and I have noticed the absence of Colombian MKs here) and now I am raising MKs myself. I have been somewhat reluctant to join the forum as I still have many friends and family members in NTM and I want to be wise with what I say and not needlessly hurt people. On the other hand, I have a story to tell and God has been leading me to tell it more and more. Besides, as has been mentioned often here, it feels good to 'have a voice'.

My parents were very naive when I was young and allowed me to play unsupervised for many hours with local children at one of the places where we lived. During the year that I was 5 and 6, I was repeatedly involved in sexual activity by the local children, who I'm sure had either been abused themselves or had been observing such things. This was my secret for decades, literally, and I have just been dealing with the effects of this and other abuse in the last few years. I was in denial that this was sexual abuse and I blamed myself for having 'made the choice' to participate. But the more I learned about sexual abuse and the kind of abuse that I went through, I was able to come out of denial and began to face it and process it.

Colombia did have a boarding school, called La Finca Esperanza, and I spent 7 years in the dorm there. I can't really share other people's stories if they are not willing to do so themselves, but I do know of some issues that happened. Speaking for myself, I had always considered that I had an idyllic childhood because I could not weigh the good and the bad together, as it were...I only focused on the good. In my 30s when I began to 'crash' I began to realize that I needed to grieve my losses. I was in a study where they encouraged me to make a list of my losses, a 'grief inventory' of sorts, I was staggered at the results! I had so much more to grieve about than I ever thought possible and it was really overwhelming at first. But as I began to work through the losses and the grief, it began to explain what I had sensed as being the deep wells of sadness inside that had contributed to my depression and anxiety. There was a lot of good in my growing up years as an MK and a lot of good people, it's important for me to take that into account, but not at the expense of denying the bad. The atmosphere at the school was similar to what has been described elsewhere, kids were on the low end of the totem pole, our lives were regulated by bells (I recently watched All God's Children and it was eerie to see some of the similarities to my experience, although without the severity of abuse, probably) and I lived in fear of being shamed by an adult. There was tremendous pressure to conform and not to be 'needy', therefore requiring extra attention on the part of the staff or whatever.

I married a wonderful guy in the NTM national training center in Colombia who is Latino and after I finished college, we went back to NTM. We were members for abou 7-8 years and ended up having quite the negative experience. Some of it was due to personal issues, things from our past that we hadn't dealt with, but a lot of it was the leadership style and the fact that my husband was not really accepted as a full and equal member of the fields where we worked. Later, he was not accepted because he refused to conform to the culture and leadership style of NTM (he was eventually deemed as 'rebellious' and 'not a team player', sound familiar?!)...we saw other similar cases.

We were still NTM members when I first heard about the Fanda report and I was very interested because I was just beginning to come out of denial about my own abuse and experiences as an MK. I followed the investigation closely and when the report came out I read it several times. I knew at least one MK from Fanda and my heart really went out to all of those involved. What really stood out to me at that point, however, was the description of the leadership style and how that contributed to an environment of abuse, particularly the spiritual abuse. It was at that point that I began to realize that was exactly what we had experienced on both fields where we served and it was the GRACE report that gave us the courage to speak up and move out. I realized that NTM had become my entire world, but that it was really just a very small part, there is a much bigger world out here where we are now thriving. It turned out that my husband had wanted to leave sooner, but was hanging in there for my sake...I wish I'd listened sooner!

I think I had a somewhat codependent relationship with NTM that needed to be broken. It was a tough go of it and we went through a pretty bad time when we did speak up. We experienced a leadership team taking action to discredit and disqualify us for service on a different field and another leadership team to who met to discuss our 'case' without our knowledge and without asking us for our side of the story. We heard about this after the fact and also learned that this 'report' was in our file at HQ and we didn't know a thing about it. HQ didn't want to hear about it and also informed us that leadership is not required to include the individual member in such communications, although they usually do. That right there is leadership abuse, pure and simple, and we realized that we would never again be able to trust a leadership who would operate in that way. The only thing HQ did was to refer us back to the 'offending' leadership who denied that their 'report' was negative in the first place (this is where the 'rebellious' and 'not a team player' issue came up). It is really quite impossible to resolve an issue like that when one side refuses to admit there is a problem in the first place and so we have not been able to resolve it as yet, but we hope that someday we will be able to do so.

So we moved to a different mission agency after much research and prayer...God has led us, not to the perfect organization, but to one whose leadership style is vastly different than NTM. They call it more 'flat'. We arrived feeling a bit like puppies with our tails between our legs, but have found an environment of grace and empowerment that we didn't think was possible to find. Not every area may be like that, but what we have experienced has been life-changing and affirming and we are able to carry out God's call on our lives. In this environment, we've also been free to work on our own issues, to grow in grace and to not perpetuate the ministry style that I was brought up in. Which is a whole other issue, but I thank God for leading us out of rules and legalism and into grace.

I continue to process and heal, which seems to be a bit like layers, once I deal with one layer then God takes me down to the next. But the important thing is that I am not stalled in my walk with God as I was for so many years, I'm moving forward and growing and learning.

Just to throw this out, I follow a blog called A Life Overseas. They recently posted about sexual abuse on the mission field (at http://www.alifeoverseas.com/sexual-abu ... ion-field/) and the comment section is pretty interesting as well. I know that not all here are that into missions, but it's a pretty amazing story of abuse and healing. It is so encouraging to see that this topic is now more freely discussed, not just in mission circles, but anywhere. It is also a great discussion on how to prepare kids to face the issue of sexual abuse and how to protect them from being so vulnerable to abuse of any kind, really. Such as learning that it's ok to say no, even to someone in authority, if boundaries are being violated.

All right, that's about it for now. Blessings!


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 26, 2013 10:02 am 
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Welcome AnotherMK. We are so glad to have you and see you come through the fire.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 26, 2013 10:11 am 
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Thank you AnotherMK for taking the time and having the courage to share your story with us. I think many of out here have what the brain people call CONDITIONED EMOTIONAL RESPONSE as a result of being raised without a good understanding of God`s amazing Grace. So nice to hear that you are learning about it.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 26, 2013 10:56 am 
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Thanks for your courage, AnotherMK, to confront your past.
Blessings to you and your husband as you walk on.

Will EVERY NTM field be represented here eventually?

(One of those tough questions we are now allowed to ask.)

I have an opinion on that subject......
What about you, Raz
'In another moment.......'


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 26, 2013 1:27 pm 
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Location: Upstate NY US
AnotherMK good to have you here. Those in All God's Children were classmates a little younger than I am. Most my age and above do not talk about abuse especially from the mission field. I often wonder why? Is it fear that controls so many in fundamental and evangelical circles? Is it their idea that leaders speak for God? I follow nakedpastor's blog Here is a really good quote.

"nakedpastor
People will defend to the death the agency of their suffering if they believe it has Divine Right to inflict it."

Glad you have found freedom in the truth AnotherMK. If you haven't heard of the MKSafetyNet conference in April in the Chicago area. You can find info on the mksafetynet.net Would love to have you there.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 26, 2013 5:45 pm 
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Thank you so much, AnotherMK, for your excellent post. I often wonder how to account for the thousands of hits on this site every day; wondering who is watching, reading, without revealing who they are, or why they are interested.

You make so many good points about the various types of abuse that we endured in NTM, both as MKs and as adult missionaries. Current NTM members are holding stubbornly to their belief that there is no abuse currently going on within their mission. They are so unaware of the many ways in which control is exerted in their very closed and secretive community. For many of us ex-New Tribers, there is a gradual comprehension that comes over us, once we are away from THE Mission, of just how much abuse we not only were subjected to, but alas, also participated in perpetuating on others. For me, this process has taken years, and is still ongoing.

I am so sorry to hear about what happened to you as a child. The issue of sexual abuse in other circumstances has not been discussed much here. But the fact is, many, many MKs were violated and used sexually by people other than dorm parents and school staff. I had read the excellent article you linked in your post a few days ago and was very moved by it. ( http://www.alifeoverseas.com/sexual-abu ... ion-field/ ) I am thankful to hear of the understanding and healing that has been occurring in your own heart as you have been processing your childhood trauma.

Thank you for being here. We would love to hear more from you!


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 26, 2013 5:48 pm 
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mosquito bite wrote:
Thanks for your courage, AnotherMK, to confront your past.
Blessings to you and your husband as you walk on.

Will EVERY NTM field be represented here eventually?

(One of those tough questions we are now allowed to ask.)

I have an opinion on that subject......
What about you, Raz
'In another moment.......'


MB, I believe every NTM field SHOULD be represented here. The question of whether they will be is one I have no answer to. :)

MKs and missionaries (past and present) from all parts of the world and all generations: we want to hear from you! Please speak up!!


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 27, 2013 9:54 am 
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I believe that all of us MKs were put in a place of oppression. Never allowed to express ourselves in word or action. We were insignificant...to be seen and not heard. Everything, even our letters were monitored. A perfect place to fester and grow preditors because no one would list to us. They still don't listen to us today and continue to drag MKs through the mud with tape over our mouths.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 27, 2013 10:04 am 
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dbarney wrote:
I believe that all of us MKs were put in a place of oppression. Never allowed to express ourselves in word or action. We were insignificant...to be seen and not heard. Everything, even our letters were monitored. A perfect place to fester and grow preditors because no one would list to us. They still don't listen to us today and continue to drag MKs through the mud with tape over our mouths.



yeah!
What dbarney said!


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 27, 2013 11:30 am 
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WE ARE LISTENING HERE!
AND CARING.
AND NO MORE TAPE.
(All caps for emphasis---not yelling. :) )
But I know that doesn't make up for the past.
Don't let the time get away from you....
BE who you are supposed to be now!
(Yes, with effort, you can find out.)
With love,
MB


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