Hello Kari, Bonnie (and all):
We read your recently posted blog with great sadness. We want to apologize again for the hurts you have experienced and to let you know that we at NTM are committed to constructive dialogue, further preventative actions, and God-honoring organizational change. In response to your question, here are some of the actions that NTM is committed to taking. This is not to say that these actions are all that NTM is willing to do, as we are eager to prayerfully consider any ideas presented to us.
First, NTM is committed to a posture of transparency. This is reflected by (among other things) all of the documents we have provided to you – regardless of whether the documents were positive or negative – in response to requests from you or your family members. (As you know, you posted a number of those documents on your blog.) One of our primary goals is to help clarify any confusion.
Second, consistent with our desire for transparency, we would support appointing an independent, unbiased, outside individual or group to conduct a review of the abuse allegations and NTM’s leadership style in the 1980’s and 1990’s at the Fanda School. With so much history, then substantial silence, fragmenting relationships and mistrust, we would be open to appropriate independent review. Obviously both the former MK’s and NTM would have to have confidence in the person or group doing the review.
Third, to be successful, such independent review would require the availability of both NTM personnel and former MK’s. We understand that this could very well result in NTM paying the reasonable costs of those telling their stories to fly to a location and/or stay in a motel, just as we have done in previous cases including in Tallahassee and Edmonton. NTM would continue the process of paying those expenses.
Fourth, NTM is committed to pursuing an investigation of any new allegations or further investigating existing allegations and applying its policies and administrative outcomes to those individuals who have violated NTM policies.
Fifth, as discussed with you at our earlier meeting, NTM’s normal process is to assist financially with counseling for victims, offenders, and appropriate family members of those involved. We will continue to offer that kind of assistance to those who need counseling.
Sixth, we remain strongly committed to preventing future abuse. Toward that end, we see value in increased networking with supporting churches, other missions, and counselors for the purpose of raising awareness of experiences within NTM, and in continued learning to reinforce prevention. The more we can heighten the awareness of abuse in the missions context and in local churches, the better additional protections can be implemented to decrease the risk of future abuse. When developing the 2003 Abuse Prevention DVD series, we disclosed the number of cases of which we were aware with the hope of increasing awareness. We are committed to continued transparency with supporting churches. This Abuse Prevention DVD series is available to any church or organization wanting it; it has been widely disseminated in recent years and is being used by missions and churches across the country.
Seventh, we continue to support the concept of sponsoring a retreat where former MKs can come together with current NTM leadership to share their experiences and to meet with counselors if requested. We believe that we have a lot to learn from you. Ideally, an independent group, mutually agreeable to the former MKs and to NTM, would lead such a retreat.
Thank you for your willingness to work through this process with us. Our heart’s desire is to continue to learn from the past, to help heal the hurts that you and others have experienced, and to make NTM the most God-honoring and caring mission organization that it can be. Please continue to share with us your thoughts about how we may do that more effectively.
NTM US Executive Board & Child Protection Committee