These are written by Executive Committee Members in the years that the Fanda abuses were occurring.
“…we are also your court of appeal.” Court of appeal…? It never existed! During the years we were with the mission we appealed at least four times on major issues that involved precious lives and works who were at stake, at the FC and EC levels and the circumstantial evidence was thrown out of “court” every single time! Leadership decisions on either level were backed 100% by and in favor of themselves. John Doe Missionary didn’t have a chance–ever!
“…God has given us leadership potential…it just needs to be developed.” Leadership development…? Where…? In the three decades that we were officially with the mission I was never, or any of my colleagues invited to attend leadership development training seminar–ever! It just did not exist.
“…When confidence is lacking no one wins but the Devil.” I think the Devil should have been left out of this one… Confidence means trust. Confidence is the assurance and belief that you will be heard when you are hurting and in need. Confidence is founded on a belief in the honesty, integrity, reliability and justice of a person or… body of ruling men. No matter how hard you try to confide, it is difficult to trust someone when justice, integrity, reliability and honesty are ludicrously wanning, lacking and just not there.
Unfortunately the negative and defunct leadership views expressed in the articles above from the 80’s were the same in the 70’s, and 90’s… And sadly to say have been perpetuated even into the present millennium!
After reading this particular addition to the blog, I remembered something I had not thought of in a long time.
When my parents told my father’s family they were moving to Panama where we (his kids) would be in a boarding school, my father’s sister begged him to leave us with her and she would raise us. By the way, we numbered 7 children. She was serious. Isn’t it amazing that an unbeliever could see the error when so many Christians could not?
As an aside, God did work and placed my parents in the dorm. They were wonderful dorm parents and eventually left the field because of the leadership.
The documentation on this blog proves that sin was covered up. NTM covered up sin so then ALL those that knew and made decisons in leadership need to repent, resign and/or go back to BOOT CAMP/mission training! It seems that changes have taken place in NTM so that covering up sin is acceptable now.
If a mission is covering up sin, then the mission as a whole is guilty. Period.
I don’t know what to say after reading this article. I grew up thinking this, that the reason my parents sent me away to school was because I was “in the way” and they didn’t have time to homeschool. I don’t remember being specifically told that but that was the idea I got. In recent years I had convinced myself that I had just got the wrong idea, that my parents just thought that I would get a better education and better social development at the mission school. While this was probably true on my parents part, I believe I must have been told that about “being in the way” at some point. I have tried to ask my mother about why they made that choice and she said it just wasn’t really done to keep your kids at home. She also said it was the hardest decision she ever had to make and that a lot of the things she was afraid would happen did happen. I can’t say there was any outright abuse going on but neglect. I see more and more as my children grow (my oldest is 7, the age I was when sent to school) how involved I am in their everyday lives, every detail, and I see how much of that was left to me to take care of. Also I had some special dietary needs that were not attended to properly. I don’t blame my parents, I feel sorry that they felt this was their only option. This has brought some things up for me that I thought I had laid to rest but I guess I had deceived myself. I don’t want to be overly critical of my caregivers at school because I don’t think that anyone was trying to hurt me but I just can’t see how sending kids away to school is ever the best option. I am glad that things are changing in NTM and I know many people who homeschool and have no problems with leadership. I hope that this issue is dealt with properly and it is hard to understand why things are being done as they are. I also have a lot of family and many close friends still with NTM who are wonderful people who would never condone what has gone on so it is hard for me to see NTM as a whole criticized in a general way. Please remember that there are still a lot of godly people just trying to reach unreached people. However, I know things have been done improperly in the past and my family has had it’s own run-ins with leadership where they seemed very unreasonable. I think people need to realize that if a ministry is of God they don’t need to cover up sin to protect it. NTM has done some great things and I think that God would bless their decision to deal with sin and be open about it and would bring about healing. God does not need us to protect him and his work by being deceitful.
I have found very interesting the lack of concern for the overall parent’s responsibility in all that has happened with these abuse cases. Scripture is adamant about whose responsibility it is when it comes to raising our children and the discipleship that this entails…Eph6:4. In most of the stated blogs the concern is with the leadership of NTM who knew of these abuses and didn’t take immediate action to terminate the abusers’ membership with NTM. I would agree that the NTM leadership who followed this path would need to be held accountable for their actions. However, I feel strongly that the real problem lay in parents taking a backseat in their responsibility to call the shots for their family. Many caved to the pressure that was presented that you must send your kid to a boarding school for their social wellbeing, safety, exposure to the sensual tribal culture and so on. I have yet to see in Scripture where we are to sacrifice a God-given responsibility. One of those is to disciple our children. There are even those who felt they were “called” first and foremost to be a missionary and that for the sake of the Gospel their family was an okay sacrifice. Now I know, many are saying no way, but that has been conveyed over and over to missionary kids by the actions of their parents. Not all MK’s suffered directly from this ideology, but many have and the easiest road they take is to walk away from a “faith” that lacked the visible, personal walk with Jesus. Many MKs want nothing to do with a faith that took their mom and dad away from them.
So, parents may be saying “No Way!” but there is much truth in this having led to the hurt and abandonment many MKs have suffered with and still seem to deal with. I think it will be interesting who all the Lord will hold accountable for these abuse cases, and my thoughts are the parents will be at the top of the list for having sacrificed something God mandated them to be responsible for. Okay, many are saying “we didn’t have an option, if we argued we were asked to leave.” The answer, as hard as it may seem is easy, leave an organization that asks you to walk before them and not before God. Do not find your identity wrapped up in an organization but rather in walking humbly and contritely before your God.
The Court of Appeals article. Does anyone know who wrote this and what situation was it regarding? Was it actually the situation with Fanda that this is regarding? IF this is the case, what actions were taken if any? I would hate to think Mr. Hare was involved in any kid of cover up. However, I know first hand how a “cult” can manipulate a person into believing that they are in the right even when covering a wrong.
As I can understand why these letters can make someone who has been abused by NTM question the reasoning behind them. I would have to suggest that it was not the writers intentions to make an environment in which children could be harmed. If you notice the man who wrote this article and new his story you would know that his daughter died on the mission field when she was very young. I think he was concerned not only about the effectiveness of the missionaries but also of the safety of the mk’s on the mission field. I think the article in Brown Gold did help attribute to the “cult like” atmosphere of NTM. I do not think that was the writer’s intentions. The goal was to allow the missionaries to be more effective, keep the MKs safe and allow for them to be taught in a way that would be pleasing to the Lord and their parents. However when you are in an environment when there is only one point of view and everything else is wrong you form this cult like atmosphere where it is very easy to be abused. I would like to think that if Mr. Hare knew of these abuses he would have stepped in and stopped the abuses immediately. If anyone knows differently I would appreciate the information.
” Some Parents seem to feel that their children are too good to be missionaries. The result is that some children will use this as an escape to some LESSER ROLE in Christian work, or even be encouraged to take a SECULAR POSITION ” …. emphasis mine.
I was serving with NTM when this article came out. It was blatant comments like this made by the EC that made me question my membership within the organization. I resolved never to pressure my kids to become missionaires, but to allow them to seek God’s will for their lives. Today several of them are teachers and one is a nurse. According to NTM my wife and I have failed as Parents …. after all they aren’t even in a LESSER ROLE in Christian work, but are involved in a worldly secular job.
By the way NTM, some of those Christians involved in LESSER ROLES and SECULAR jobs have been supporting ntm missionaries on the field. I guess there’s no problem accepting their money , even though you demean the position the Lord has placed them.
I just recently read a letter my daughter had received from a former patient at the hospital where she works. The patient thanked her for the extra loving care that my daughter had shown her during her stay. Is my daughter any less a committed Christian because she’s not involved in reaching tribal people? According to ntm’s standards only her money is good enough!
I live in the secular world and through GOD’S strength I stay by his side. Do these people have so little faith in Gods power in our lives?
Yes Joel, I do believe that their faith is lacking. Infact, it seems as if they believe (or believed at the time) that it is NOT the Holy Spirit that brings people to Christ, but the stratagies of NTM. If they make all the “right” moves and make the mission look “good”, then and only then can God’s work be done. This is untrue.
I thank God that there are many Godly missionaries within the mission(and outside the mission) that the Holy Spirit is working through! His work will continue because He is in control, NOT NTM. Praise Him because of this!
“… we never want the group interests to rule out our concern for each individual.”
Seems like that concern got lost along the way somewhere as the group interests were given first place.
“We will always have God’s and your best interests at heart.”
Since when did the Creator and Sustainer of the Universe need a group of men to look after His best interests? Is God not capable of looking after Himself?
Oh how this whole situation saddens me and sickens me. May God bring repentance to the perpetrators and true healing and full restoration to the victims and their families.
We did not send our kids to the boarding school, so we are not privy to anything that went on there.
We were, however, under a lot of pressure. http://ntmabuse.wordpress.com/2009/08/01/gene-long-on-homeschooling/
So, in a sense, we were abused by the system as well.
Re: A Challenge to Parents
Oh wow. Just wow. No wonder I struggled with some guilt when I decided on a career other than missionary work. And thank God my parents did not buy into this frightening attempt at control by encouraging us in our endeavors to become teachers and nurses, in spite of the fact that, according to NTM, these were worldly and ungodly choices!
And we can see how well that “training them up in the way they should go” worked for them at Fanda! How many in the middle and teen dorms wanted anything to do with God? I didn’t. And it was because of the attitude of the school (not because of GOD’s teaching). It took me (and is still taking me) years to re-train my thinking. Now I KNOW that He is a God of love not disiplin and punishment. God acts out of LOVE towords his children. Did I not deserve to have my parents love?
I live in the secular world and through GOD’S strength I stay by his side. Do these people have so little faith in Gods power in our lives?
In response to a letter I wrote thanking them for their 1997 general letter of apology, I received an answer from an NTM Executive Committee member, dated February 24, 1997. Here are some excerpts from that letter:
“We freely admit being long suffering in dealing with some with too autocratic ways of handling people, God’s people.”
“Pray for us that we will know how to lead. We do not want to be dictatorial, but by the same token we can’t consciously (sic) abdicate our responsibility to lead. The Word of God is clear on what we should be. God given leadership is ordained by God.”
After decades of mistreating God’s people while claiming spiritual authority over them, these men could not now abdicate their responsibility to lead. They were, after all, God given leadership. And, God leads through leadership.
The fact that I, along with many other NTM missionaries, fell for that line shows the extent to which we had been conditioned to respond submissively to the leadership.
Joel, I am so ashamed of myself. I blush now to realize how psychologically and spiritually weak I was. I know your parents will appreciate your love and understanding.
“A Challenge to Parents” was published in 1983. “Court of Appeal” was published in 1987.
No pastors, no supporters, no reporters, no one else read them, because they were just for the “NTM family.” NTM missionaries were told that these publications are for us; outsiders would not understand.
In 1997, the Executive Committee said that there was “a serious problem” in NTM. “The evidence was there to see in the scores of broken hearted people that had spent some years in NTM and then had left or been asked to leave,” their letter said. The evidence was there to see, but they hadn’t seen it for how long?
Later in the same letter, they state: “Up until now, we have not sensed the gravity of the problem to the place where we would say, “We can’t go on hurting people like this.”
For how many years had NTM been “hurting people”? They had sensed the gravity of the problem before 1997, but not to the place where they would say, “We can’t go on hurting people like this.”
Secrecy hurts; transparency protects.
This made me physically nauseous as I read these articles. Specifically the “Praise God for our MK schools” and “A Challenge to Parents”. I certainly hope that NTM does not abide by these policies anymore. I tried looking on their website to see if they had copies of their current policies, but could find nothing listed.
I remember when I finished Bible school at NTBI in Jackson, MI the summer of 1996, the staff asked me what my plans were. When I told them that I was planning on getting a job and working for a while and hopefully getting involved in a church, they told me that was “not
God’s will” for my life. I was shocked, and asked what gave them the authority to tell me what God’s will was for my life. They then told me that they were concerned that if I went off into the “secular” world that I could become influenced to depart from God’s word and fall on my face.
As I read the article “A Challenge to Parents” I was appalled to read very similar lines of thought that I was being fed at NTBI. I never realized that this was material that NTM was brainwashing their missionaries with. Seriously, this article sounds like something straight out of a cult. I have heard that NTM has changed their policies, I want to see a copy of their new policies concerning this matter.
I agree with Bonnie, I feel so bad for my parent’s and the pressures they were put under by the leadership to conform. I am so thankful though that my parent’s never believed that brainwashing. My Dad & Mom have always encouraged me and stood behind me even though I have not decided to follow in their footsteps to be a missionary, my parent’s have not failed me.
Numb with grief. There are tears in our souls. Our hearts are broken beyond words over what happened to you.
Angry. Full of guilt. Sickened by the thought that we allowed it to happen to the ones who were the most precious to us. Ashamed that we would fall so easily for such a Lie.
Better loose your job than be apart of a system that has more focus on ministry than family. Specially when parents are advised so strongly to the point of being told they might as well quit and return to the states if they can’t be 100% focused on their mission of reaching the lost for Christ. Better loose your job specially if your job involves making decisions based on the wellbeing of those children who are now passed off onto dormparents who abuse and neglect the needs of the little ones who at this stage in their life need much more than just an eye to make sure they stay alive.
We are the children that got lost somewhere in the midst of a system so driven to surrender all (even family) to save the lost. Our hearts were breaking while our parents were pouring their whole lives into NTM. And for what? So that 20 years down the line we are still trying to come to some sense of justice for what was done. One word comes to my mind. Betrayed.
I believe that many have already “lost their reputation” because they chose to turn a blind eye to the injustice that were happening inside an orginization boasting to be guided by the Word of God.
Missionary kids were taught that they had no value. They were baggage, they were a hindrance to the Work of God, so ship them off so their parents can be more effective. Then people wonder why we struggle, why we have no self esteem, why we choose poor relationships. Well the truth of the matter is that our hearts have been greatly wounded. We carry around with us shame for things we should never have to be ashamed for. Then when those in leadership do nothing about the sexual and physical abuse that has happened to us, to our friends that further cements in our minds and hearts that we are of no value. Why should anyone fight for us? Actions speak so much louder than words. Hypocracy has a way of souring everything that is spoken “in the name of God.”
I am filled with so much sorrow at reading these articles. My poor, poor parents. The language of the articles is “cult-speak”. It is sickening.
For many years, I held my parents so guilty in my mind, because I thought that they had a choice in whether or not to send me away from them.
I see now, they had no choice. I am so sad for them, my mom especially. How wounded her own heart is, from all the times her children left her to be raised by other “parents”.
Vicky, I think that you are right – our parents were a part of a cult.
Im inclined now to say my parents were part of a cult rather than missionaries.
This gives a great picture of how parents were pushed into sending their children away (however this does not take all responsibility off of the parents). This is very sad. I wanted to throw up as I read it.
I’d like to read information on NTM current views on raising and educating children. “Anonymous” thanks God that this is not the current attitude and position of NTM. I’d like to read about how God has changed them for the better. Anyone know where I can go to get this info?
@ Jen: I stood for being talked to like that, even though we homeschooled our three kids. I hope to tell my story soon. It has been painful for me to face the fact that I was so spiritually abused myself. It is obvious to me now as I reread my groveling letters to the NTM Executive Committee, asking for a word of acceptance.
I did not get it.
A good example of change in the NTM attitude/ position can be found on the sister site: http://ntmabuse.wordpress.com/2009/07/29/allen-long/#comment-503
NTM has never explained why they did this or why it took them two years to rectify it. They have never apologized for it.
These are your current leaders, Anonymous.
W-O-W….. as a homeschooler and an MK I am grossly offended at their blatant bias. Since when has there been only one vision which people can fulfill? I suppose all the senior staff who work full time at NTM cannot also be parents while they oversee the workings of the mission.
It makes me want to throw-up!
There are no laws so restrictive for homeschooling by any State in the US…even in NY and PA! I cannot imagine that any parent who wanted to homeschool their children for any reason would stand being told such things about themselves, their capabilities, and their children.
Praise the Lord that this is not the attitude/position of NTM anymore, as I would not be a missionary with NTM, as I am now.
This gives an added perspective on what – and why – the Fanda Eagles and others suffered. The abusive comments made to them about being in their parents’ way, hindering the work of the Lord. . . these are pretty accurate reflections of the sentiments expressed in “Praise God for our MK Schools.”
This does nothing at all to ameliorate the culpability of the abusive dorm parents. But, it certainly clarifies the role that abusive leadership played.
Guilt is not lessened, but increased, by spreading it around.
May I rephrase that?
“You can trust us. So can God.”
That must have been a real comfort to the missionaries!
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