Letter and questionnaire from Grace

Dear           :

I hope this letter finds you well.  My name is Boz Tchividjian and I am the Executive Director of a non-profit organization called Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment (hereinafter, GRACE).  During the past months, GRACE has been working with former students (hereinafter, MKs) who attended the Fanda School in Senegal and New Tribes Mission (hereinafter, NTM). The purpose of our work is to independently and comprehensively investigate and review numerous allegations of physical, sexual, emotional, and spiritual abuse that was perpetrated upon MKs while attending Fanda.    Though you may very well find this to be a very difficult and painful subject, I ask that you make every effort to read this letter in its entirety.   Please understand, GRACE is not a representative of NTM but is working independently with all parties involved.

GRACE is an organization that was formed in 2004 by a group of prosecutors, counselors, and pastors who have spent many years advocating for the protection and safety of children.   It is absolutely necessary for the Christian community to understand the evils and complexities of child abuse and how it must be confronted at all cost.   Children have too often been ignored by the Church, which has contributed to the widespread epidemic of abuse within the Christian community.    The purpose of GRACE is to 1) train and equip the Christian community on how to minimize opportunities for abuse within its own environment, and 2) train and equip the Christian community on how to properly respond to child abuse disclosures.   We believe that the failure to address either of these issues is simply wrong and adds further devastation to the physical, emotional, and spiritual life of a child, the effects of which can last a lifetime.   Furthermore, when the Christian community fails to take immediate and substantive corrective action upon learning of such abuse, it is in direct contradiction to the commands of Christ when he said, Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these (Mark 10: 14).    You can learn more about GRACE at our website, www.netgrace.org.

A few months ago, GRACE was approached by the executive committee at NTM and informed about its failures to adequately address the numerous allegations of abuse related to the Fanda School.  We were asked to consider whether we would review the entire matter and make certain recommendations to NTM to ensure that it finally and correctly demonstrates authentic repentance for this dark chapter in the lives of so many individuals.   After much thought and prayer, the GRACE board informed NTM that we would conduct a comprehensive review and investigation into the entire Fanda matter.   A non-negotiable condition to our engagement was that our work be wholly independent from NTM and that our final report and recommendations be made simultaneously to the MKs and NTM.   NTM agreed to this condition while again expressing its desire and need to demonstrate repentance.

GRACE has spent the past two months reviewing hundreds of pages of documentation we requested and received from NTM related to Fanda.  We have also spent a significant amount of time reading the many blog entries and substantive comments that have been posted on www.fandaeagles.com.   This time of review has allowed GRACE to become significantly familiar and educated about the various horrors which transpired at Fanda and the repeated failure of NTM to take immediate responsive action upon learning of this abuse.    Though we have benefited greatly from this extensive document review, GRACE believes it is imperative that we hear from each of you.   It is time for us to listen to those whose lives were forever changed while living in Africa as children of missionaries.    It is through your experiences that GRACE intends to effectuate substantive change at NTM so that no other child of a missionary will ever have to walk through a similar nightmare.   Just as important, it is through your experiences that we expect to make very specific and substantial recommendations on how NTM can demonstrate authentic repentance to each of you.    We plead for your assistance.

GRACE would like to meet with each of you to hear of your experiences at Fanda, and how those experiences have impacted your life.   Our hope is that during the coming months, we can arrange for you to travel to our headquarters in Lynchburg, Virginia to meet with a GRACE team.    We are happy for you to bring someone with you to this meeting if it will make you more comfortable.    Ideally, we would like to arrange such visits on or about the same time so that you all will have the opportunity to fellowship with each other.  We have arranged that all expenses related to such a visit will be underwritten by NTM.    If you are unable to meet with us in person, we would very much like for you to take some time and prepare a detailed written statement for our review.   It is imperative to understand that everything you communicate to GRACE (whether in person or in writing) will be held in the strictest confidence and will not be disclosed to anyone outside of GRACE, including but not limited to, NTM.

We believe the most practical way to move forward at this point is for each of you to complete the attached confidential survey.   This will greatly assist GRACE in understanding some basic information about each of you as it relates to your experiences at Fanda.   Upon receipt of the completed survey, GRACE can begin to move forward and contact each of you individually to coordinate your visit to Lynchburg, or the preparation of your written statement.   It is our hope that we can hear back from each of you via the completed survey no later than Friday, December 18, 2009.  This will provide us with the opportunity to begin contacting each of you after the Christmas holidays.

Although we pray you will be able to help us in this process, we also realize that your experiences are deeply personal and that you may not want to discuss or in any way re-visit your experiences. Please know that we will completely understand if you choose not to participate in the survey or the in-person interviews. Your physical and emotional well-being must come first.

In closing, I want to thank you for taking the time to read this letter.  For many of you, any mention of Fanda or New Tribes Mission understandably brings up various difficult and uncomfortable emotions along with scores of very painful memories.     Many of you may be extremely reluctant to engage in a process that in many cases is twenty years overdue.   All of these responses are extremely reasonable and justified.    GRACE simply asks that you give us the opportunity to do what has never been done to this day, the complete, comprehensive, and independent investigation and review of all abuse matters related to the Fanda School.    The purpose of our work is to demonstrate love, respect and honor for all those children who were so neglected and hurt while innocently attending a missionary school so many years ago.   Each of you is owed nothing less than complete accountability and repentance from New Tribes Mission for its failures to let the little children come unto me.

We would greatly appreciate if you could return the completed questionnaire within the next ten days.  This will assist us in moving forward with this process in an expeditious but thorough manner.

There are a number of individuals who attended the Fanda School that GRACE has not been able to locate.    If you know of any individual who should have received this letter but did not, please encourage them to contact us at the above listed email address.   We very much want to establish contact with everyone who attended Fanda School.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,

Basyle Tchividjian

Basyle J. Tchividjian, Esq.

Executive Director, GRACE

CONFIDENTIAL GRACE QUESTIONNAIRE

1)  Name:    _______________________________________

Contact Information:

Mailing Address:  ______________________________________________

Email:    ______________________________________________

Phone Number:  ______________________________________________

2)  Did you attend Fanda School:       ___Yes  ___ No
If Yes, please indicate year/s: ____________________________

3)  Were you a victim of any of the following while attending Fanda School? (check all that apply)

____ Physical Abuse    ____ Sexual Abuse    ____ Emotional Abuse    ____ Spiritual Abuse

4)  Were you a witness to any of the following while attending Fanda School? (check all that apply)

____ Physical Abuse    ____ Sexual Abuse    ____ Emotional Abuse    ____ Spiritual Abuse

5)  Would you consider communicating with GRACE further about your experiences at Fanda School?

___Yes  ___ No

6)  If Yes, which would you prefer:  (select one)

___   Meet in person with GRACE team

___   Prepare a written statement for the GRACE team

7)  Does GRACE have permission to contact you for the purpose of following up with this questionnaire?

___Yes  ___ No

** Please return completed questionnaire to GRACE within 10 days at the following:

Email: info@netgrace.org

OR

U.S. Mail: GRACE

18013 Forest Road, Suite C-04

#198

Forest, VA  24551


This entry was posted in Stories. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *