Miriam S

I was sexually abused many times by Dave B as a young girl, mostly
during sleep over’s with his daughter. He drew me in by telling me
that I was his best friend and that we could tell each other all our
secrets. He was quite smart in knowing how to win a child’s affection.
Because I wanted that unfortunate “friendship” at the time, and have
never really felt upset by what happened, I thought that it had not
affected me. Only in the last year I’ve realized that it has. Issues
that I thought I was born with were too coincidental with the issues
that others deal with after similar experiences.
I recently learned that my father had gone to NTM headquarters years
ago, trying to see justice done. Not just because of me, but because
he loves his past Fanda students so much. He had an excellent idea on
how to get Dave B arrested on US soil, but the idea wasn’t
used for one reason or another. I want Dave B. prosecuted because I
believe that he is still doing it to others.  I’ve heard that he has
“repented” and is now running a men’s Bible study. I remember him
talking about his close relationship with God while he was touching
me. Don’t be fooled! I was as a child, but we are all adult’s now.
I am not writing this as a victim, but instead to help bring things
into the light. Most of us were quiet for too long and I admire those
who have had the courage to get things moving. I have many happy
memories of Fanda, particularly the sports, and I was privileged to
have some excellent role models. The Rabes, Cheri Colombe, and my
parents are just a few of the many who come to mind. I hope that they
aren’t thinking that those were wasted years after reading the things
that were going on.
I am not naive to the harshness, legalism, and power trips that were
also going on.  I tried hard for years to follow all the rules that I
felt were necessary to have a relationship with God. After failing
over and over, I told God that I was not able or willing to follow so
many rules, and so would not be continuing to try. I was surprised
that He hasn’t gone anywhere. I still feel Him close beside me and He
continues to bless me constantly.  I hope that others haven’t blamed
God for what went on. I have found Him to be our biggest advocate. I
was so encouraged to hear from some of you also, and how you have come
through this. We can make a difference today, by watching out for the
children around us, and by being that safe person that they can talk
to.


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12 Responses to Miriam S

  1. Bonnie says:

    @Linda C
    Linda, will you join us in the forums? We’d love to have you!

  2. Linda C says:

    I found this website trying to look into counseling for spiritual abuse. I see many stories of sexual abuse through NTM and am crushed to hear what they endured. My husband and I attended the Waukesha Bible school in the mid 70s. Though I appreciated the biblical teaching, there were subtle messages peppered throughout the teaching that had a long-lasting affect on me. The biblical teaching of headship and submission in marriage was taught; however, how it played out, as I reflect back, seemed to take away the woman’s voice. I left there believing that the Lord spoke more to my husband than to me and that my voice couldn’t be trusted because I was an emotional creature after all. There was also such an emphasis on missions that one was made to feel that anything else was second best. There were mission tracts produced by the organization that we had to write about. Some were entitled “Are you Staying by the Stuff” or “Don’t be a Chocolate Soldier.” There was an emphasis that if the natives died in their sin, the blood would be on our hands. Being a castaway or shelved, or the threat that God might take loved ones away if we held back were repeatedly taught. I so wanted to do the Lord’s will that in my last semester there as we toured in the ensemble, I trusted that He would give me what was needed to go on to the mission field; but when the semester and a summer tour ended, I felt powerless. My husband was the student council president and in our senior meeting, he was commended but the leader turned to me and said, “and Linda, you are not as committed are you.” I don’t remember if he included the words “to missions” in that sentence, but to me it meant I was not as committed to the Lord for they were one in the same. I was devastated. I felt betrayed. How did he come to that conclusion? I tried so hard to do everything asked of me. I was an honor student after all. I felt exposed. I felt shame. I was compared to my husband and felt I failed as a wife and a helpmate. I then went into such despair that we eventually left. From the peaceful sweet time in our first year of marriage growing in the Lord to somewhere in my time at this Bible school, my joy in the Lord was stolen. I realize perhaps other students didn’t struggle as I did. I believe my childhood struggles combined with the requirements taught to me in the school made for a joyless mix of performance for acceptance by God, being a spiritual disappointment to my husband, and feeling like a quitter. It would have ended there once we left the school, but because my husband had surrendered to the teaching that missions was the most important ministry, he would from time to time suggest we go back in and I would go back into condemnation and despair. It wasn’t until my husband began to walk in grace that he stopped suggesting we go back realizing that we had not been called to missions and would have gone for all the wrong reasons.

    Today, I bathe in the Lord’s grace and love for me. What I’ve learned since then has given me a voice to teach His grace, but the condemning messages still come around and I wish to be completely free.

    These are the messages I have fought from that time. Some were when we first left the school; some come up in my life now from time to time.
    I’m ‘staying by the stuff.’
    I’m not following my husband’s lead and I’m keeping him back.
    I don’t measure up.
    I’m a wimp.
    I’m selfish.
    I’m not as committed to the Lord.
    I’m a disappointment to my husband spiritually.
    I’ve settled for less in my Christian life.

    Miriam thank you for sharing your story. I particularly was struck by what you said about finally telling the Lord you could no longer follow all the rules but God did not leave you. Though all I experienced there has driven me to seek grace and freedom in Christ, I still suffer triggers that pull me back into condemnation. I welcome hearing from others who experienced these feelings in that period of time. I was told by someone that the leadership during that time was particularly legalistic.

  3. Tuti Hess says:

    Hello Miriam, I have fleeting memories of you. The awesome ham & pineapple pizza you made for me when I was single staying in Kedougou. When I first saw you I thought what a beautiful girl but she seems so quiet and sad. I remember you acted very surprised when you came to my house and heard Christafari playing on my stereo. So sorry for all that has happened to you and the other MK’s. Thank you for being brave and so thankful that you and several others have found peace with God.

  4. Wendy says:

    Miriam-
    I was a NTM summer missionary in ’91, working on constructing a new building at Fanda. I hope I’m remembering the year correctly…in reading through this site, I saw your name and instantly could picture you and your brother!
    Having also suffered sexual abuse (at the hands of my stepfather), I just want to say I’m so sorry for what you have gone through (the same goes for all of you Fanda Eagles), and I’m impressed by your tenacity in speaking out.
    Blessings to you…
    Wendy Joy (now Milligan)

  5. highlander says:

    Is anyone out there from Numonohi?

  6. Debra Barney says:

    I remember your family well. I hope that you remember us. David Amstutz family with the flight program, and yes, your family was great. I lot of hurt even for some of my girls. Love you

  7. Rachel says:

    Miriam, you are amazing! I’m so proud of you for how you have come so far and most of all for all the truths you discovered about God as your Advocate. Love you! And I always have found your parents so full of genuine love for all the MKs at Fanda all through the years.

  8. joie says:

    miriam, so very sorry to hear about your experiences at fanda. and so encouraged to hear about your experiences with our god. thanks for sharing.

  9. Kari says:

    Miriam,

    I was also Dave B’s best friend. But I was your best friend and still we never told each other in our childhood about what was happening. I love you so much. Thank you for coming here and sharing with us.

  10. Diane says:

    Dear Miriam,

    When Kari connected with you in Senegal it renewed that rich friendship she had with you so many years ago. I am grateful!

    You dear innocent your girls had part of your life stolen from you. No one remains unaffected by abuse. It affects all – even though some try to deny it or try to ignore it it is always underneath. Dan Allender’s book, The Wounded Heart, is one of the best I have ever read on this issue.

    Thank you for being bold and honest with what happened to you. You are moving towards a life of joy and authenticity.

    We recently found a letter your parents wrote us many years back. They really were kind and affirming of the pain our family went through. (Contrary to many on the field who judged and condemned us in their self-righteous style.)

    Miriam – Congratulations on moving toward freedom! Secrets hold negative power – that negative power has been broken!

    I Love you!

  11. Dear Miriam

    Thank you for sharing your story. I think that only when our church leadership hears the voices of countless numbers of survivors, will they be shamed into dealing with this sin. As to the issue of your offener being repentant or not, it seems that if someone is truely repentant that their victums would be among the first to know. I think that most of the time with offeders that we are talking about some kind of phantom repentance where there is no confession, no change of heart, and no consequences to them for their crimes. Keep sharing what God has put on your heart.

    Dale
    http://speakingtruthinlove.org

  12. Bonnie says:

    Miriam. Wow. Thank you so much for sharing your story. I am so amazed and glad to see how far God has brought you.
    I love that you found that God didn’t go anywhere, even when you told him that you gave up. I think that’s what he was waiting for! He’s always there with his arms open, waiting for his children to truly find him.
    Love,
    Bonnie

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