We are moved by what God is doing through this blog. Please keep praying for God to thoroughly expose the depravity.
A brief summary of our story follows.
In June 1988, just prior to our June 18 scheduled return from furlough to Senegal, we had several phone conversations with Frank S, field chairman in Senegal. We taped one of our phone calls during which we resigned from the field. Then, with urgings from the Executive Committee and a meeting with them in Jackson Michigan, they assured us that they would work with the Senegal committee and the field committee would hear our hearts and be sympathetic with the direction God was leading us in not sending our girls away to boarding school. They encouraged us to return to the field.
In July 1988 we returned to Senegal. We were met with disdain and accusations from our field committee. We were mocked, ridiculed and scorned. The confrontational meetings sometimes lasted up to 5 hours at a time. We were told that the blood of the Budiks was on our hands if we didn’t return to Chobo. We were told that we were making our children into gods. At one meeting a FC leader said to John, “We are four, you are one, God can’t lead you by yourself. “ At that point John told them “Well, if that is your doctrine, then I don’t see how I can submit to that kind of leadership.” That enraged one of the leaders (Bob A) so much he got within inches of John’s face and raged at John that he was in sin.
Diane was told in these meetings that her desire to be with her children was a hindrance. John was gifted for tribal work. She was told repeatedly that she was too emotional regarding the changes in her daughters. Did you notice in the above paragraph “you are one”? Did the Spirit not lead women? Diane wasn’t even considered to be involved with the direction of our family nor to be the godly mature woman that she is.
We wrote a letter to the FC on November 19, 1988 telling them we were leaving the field unless we saw a change in the leadership. It is almost comical to re-read old letters now and see that because of the authoritarian style of the FC they decided on November 29 to dismiss us from the field. They simply had to be in control.
Can you imagine that when we called the Executive Committee to report Dave B. molesting our daughter, we were told we were ruining his ministry? We told them “he has no ministry.”
Can you imagine when we told the FC that Kari had been molested, the field leader wrote us a letter that said “at least it wasn’t intercourse. If you had submitted to our leadership and put your girls back in the dorm and returned to the tribe, God would have worked it out.” They did not consider what had happened to be abuse.
This past April (2009) a Senegal leader (Ron A) told Kari that even though he knows now all that happened he would have dismissed us from the field right away instead of giving us 6 months to live at Fanda with our girls.
There are many guilty in this whole picture. We are guilty as well. We wanted to blame our training; we wanted to blame the teaching of our leaders; we wanted to blame our upbringing; we wanted to blame NTM. There is definitely blame and responsibility for all those entities. BUT we knew Christ. We had the indwelling Holy Spirit. We had God moving very intentionally in our lives. We chose to operate out of our fear. Oh we appeared in control and disguised our fear. But we feared NTM. We feared criticism. We feared what ”so-and-so” would do or think of us. We feared losing our support and our ministry. We were influenced by our fear of stepping out of bounds.
In those dark places of despair and facing our own life strategies for surviving in the broken world of NTM Senegal, we were overcome by our own stubborn sinfulness. We abandoned our girls to this culture at Fanda. WE DID IT! We are much more sinful than we ever faced. We sinned greatly against our daughters. We sinned against God. We quenched the Holy Spirit’s gentle leading in our lives because of our own self-protection. We are without excuse.
Is God big enough for all of this? We KNOW HIM now. Yes He is grace and mercy. He is also ruthless with sin. Our daughters can see through any phoniness in us. They are experts at it. They can spot hypocrisy a mile away. The past 20 years have been a journey towards authentic living. No pretending we are more spiritual than we are. No pretending we are wiser than we are.
Someone who was very influential in our lives and our path towards freedom told us that we can learn to freely own our sin. After all, His remedy is there for our sin. There’s no need to hide it. We are getting there. To recognize how sinful we really are in our self-living, we get to run to the only remedy – Christ alone. We used to think we got saved at the cross and then moved “heaven-ward” in our daily walk with Christ. Now we want to live at the cross.
Those of you who never faced sexual abuse in your family are possibly in shock over the stories. You will feel the horror of this as you read the stories. You will feel the sadness. A sweet innocent life was damaged as she was repeatedly sexually molested from age 8 to age 10. She was so compliant and such a sweet child. She had no voice.
You may feel it for a few days and it might bother you. You might even think about it during the middle of the night.
We are one family that experienced this travesty. We lived it every day. We spent many nights awake for years asking God to help us. We cried out in desperation. We didn’t get to avoid thinking about the terrible effects.
Our daughter had no idea anyone else had been molested. Self-hate, confusion, illegitimate shame, thoughts of suicide were ever present. We were the parents who sent a sweet innocent 8 year old daughter to Fanda. She was habitually and methodically sexually abused for 2 years by a dorm dad.
Where are we today? Truthfully, our lives are full of joy. We laugh a lot. We thrive on intimacy with God. It is so REAL and ALIVE to be able to talk with God on a regular basis about our sin. His grace is so wonderful. We truly expect Him to use us. We expect Him to lead us daily. He shows up! He delights in us. We are far from a perfect family. What is that, anyway? But our family is committed to work through stuff and to talk about the hard stuff. We’ve had 20 years of muddling through the mess. Scars are still there. We still struggle with aspects of the abuse. We still struggle with how to be family. We mess up.
Parents, as you are now finding out about your own children’s abuse stories, there is freedom to look deeply at your own sin in not being there for your children. You will never be able to go back to denial, but there is HOPE. Let’s run to the stronghold of HOPE!!
This week we had the opportunity to observe the sweet interactions between a father and his youngest daughter who is currently 22. The bond of affection between them was strong. The girl effortlessly reached out to embrace her dad, or to reach out to take his hand. This girl was allowed to grow up in the USA, never molested and never away from her family until her college years.
I realize how our own daughters were sweet and innocent and happy like that before they went away to boarding school. Our girls were robbed of their innocence. What treachery and deceit! May the Lord restore what was stolen through the healing that results from these steps of courage to confront the abusers.
We are your fellow strugglers and we love you.
John and Diane Mikitson