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 Post subject: Truth? Transparency?
PostPosted: Thu Sep 12, 2013 12:35 pm 
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The latest issue of NTM@work has pushed my skeptical button. Again.

Here is an excerpt. The entire article can be read at http://usa.ntm.org/mission-news/65607/t ... could-kill

"What began as seven young men dragging their instruments through an airport has become 3,200 strong, carrying the vision on. NTM missionaries now work in Africa, Latin America and the Asia-Pacific region, live among 245 different tribes, translate Scripture in more than 100 languages and reach a new tribe with the Gospel every 45 days."

"3,200 strong". I assume that is meant to imply that NTM now has 3,200 missionaries. Though the word choice is quite curious. I have to wonder who all is included in this impressive number. If NTM is counting tribal believers who are reaching outside their own communities (as "missionaries") as part of their mission number, part of the 3,200, I have a big issue with that. The tribal believers in the Philippines who we continue to hold dear in our hearts are NOT members of New Tribes Mission, thank you very much.

NTM USA's own website says, "More than 2,500 missionaries serve around the world in remote places where there are no churches, or even work being done to establish one." http://usa.ntm.org/missionaries . 2,500 is not 3,200. (Again, as somewhat of a wordsmith myself, I would question the wording here. The implication is that over 2,500 missionaries are actually working in remote, unreached places, and any of us who know even a handful of New Tribers know that that is not an accurate picture.)

On this same page of the website, if you click on "all missionaries", the number is now down to 1,520. And a quick perusal of the missionaries pictured here shows me, an old-time MK/missionary, that a sizeable percentage of those on this list are either retired, or living in the U.S. in various capacities doing some type of "ministry" for the mission. And those pictured here are not just US missionaries. I see missionaries I know from Canada, the UK, other European countries, and New Zealand pictured here.

I know there are some who will not appreciate me challenging NTM on this claim of the size of their mission. I was raised (by a couple of great New Tribes missionaries :) ) to always tell the truth, and that includes not stretching the facts in order to be misleading. I don't know why it would even matter to a mission board to inflate their numbers; I don't even get that. But truly, these facts are not adding up, and yes, it is bothering me.

Okay. There, I said it.


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 Post subject: Re: Truth? Transparency?
PostPosted: Thu Sep 12, 2013 12:50 pm 
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And while I'm at it, let me take issue with the claim that New Tribes Mission reaches a new tribe with the Gospel every 45 days.

That has been bugging the daylights out of me ever since I first heard it.

A New Tribes missionary reaches a new tribe with the gospel every 45 days? What?

Oh. Someone told me this number includes tribal believers in places like Papua New Guinea who are reaching outside of their own tribal group to neighboring tribes. Okay, I like that they are doing that. I like it very much.

But, I'm sorry. Are these tribal believers members of New Tribes Mission? NO! No, they are not!! And does New Tribes Mission have the right to take the credit for these believers, who at great personal sacrifice, travel or move far from home to share the Good News? What do you think? I give a lot more credit to these courageous Christians, who did not take the 3-4 years of NTM training, or raise thousands of dollars per month in support, yet move out of their comfort zones to be ambassadors for Christ. I am sure they do not consider themselves to be planting churches for New Tribes Mission. They are doing it for Jesus.

Am I ranting? Maybe.

Just to be clear: I am not against the spread of the Gospel to tribal groups. I just don't like NTM taking credit for it all. And I would still question that statistic as well, since I have been hearing it for some time now. On what period of time was that statistic based? And has it continued to hold in all the months since? Was a new tribe reached 45 days ago? And 90 days before that? Is this trend provably continuing?

Okay. Time to take a deep breath. I've said enough.


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 Post subject: Re: Truth? Transparency?
PostPosted: Thu Sep 12, 2013 1:32 pm 
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My Dear Raz, It's called smoke and mirrors. Watch this:

In the last Soccer World Cup the only country to not lose a game was New Zealand. This is a fact, but it is a fact that only tells part of the story. On the basis of this fact alone, one would expect that New Zealand is now the holder of the World Cup, which would be amazing given it's size and that Soccer is not the national religion, Rugby is.
No, no. New Zealand was eliminated in the first round. And now you are scratching your head, right? Simple, while New Zealand never lost a game, it never one won either, it managed draws (quite a feat for us) only and out we went. As New Zealand was eliminated in the first round it didn't have an opportunity to lose any games, which it would have done if it progressed any further (unless there was an incredible miracle).

While the above is entertaining and of little relevance, I think NTMs claims are stretching the truth considerably. Perhaps they are reaching another village every 45 days, but a whole new Tribe? No I don't think so. As a young MK we were fed with endless stories of how it took years to reach a tribe, because NTM did it the right way. Not a rush job like other missions, but carefully, prayerfully and painfully slowly. Many of the Tribes that I knew of were only partially reached, because the missionaries assigned to them had changes of circumstances and then someone new would have to start from near the beginning again.

Unfortunately NTM is in a difficult situation with this one. Their credibility has taken a huge hit due to the child abuse scandal and their negligence/cover up. Now any claims they make are up for close scrutiny and if they are found to be less than true, it then leads to suspicion about what else is not true.

Meanwhile, getting back to sport. Anyone seen the Americas Cup of late (big yacht race being sailed in San Francisco)? It's being sailed between two great countries and the little one is winning :D . Of course I only point this out, because the moral is that sometimes the little guy wins because a) the big guy cheated and got penalized and b) hard and clever persistence does pay off. ;)


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 Post subject: Re: Truth? Transparency?
PostPosted: Thu Sep 12, 2013 2:58 pm 
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Yes, great job in America's Cup, Kiwis! People are indeed noticing!

(Where's New Zealand again? Not sure, man. But those guys can sail!)

:)


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 Post subject: Re: Truth? Transparency?
PostPosted: Thu Sep 12, 2013 8:09 pm 
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Because numbers are mentioned here I just have to comment.

If you quote specific numbers you need to back them up. Thats a pretty general and well accepted rule in my world.

Quoting 45 days to reach a tribe sounds like an average to me. To get an averge in the real mathematical world one needs a couple of other peices of data. One needs a numerator and a denominator. If NTM supplies me with their full set of data I will happily provide the average and for free I would even regress it to the mean for extra accuracy. I could also give a range (lower and upper and some quartiles if NTM wants). See I can be helpful.

I get very grumpy indeed when numbers are mis-represented for personal gain. :evil:

"Lies - damn lies - and statistics" (forgot where the quote comes from). :ugeek:


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 Post subject: Re: Truth? Transparency?
PostPosted: Thu Sep 12, 2013 10:08 pm 
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I remember being taught that there were about 4000 languages around the globe.
I do remember NTM sayng that a tribe is a language group.

So eliminate all the well known languages; English, Russian, Spanish e.t.c.
Then eliminate the languages where NTM doesn't/can't work. Chinese, Mongolian, Outer Mongolian, Arablic, any Communist or Islamic language.

Pretty soon NTM will run out of Tribes to reach and

a) We wait for the heavenly trumpet and everyone zips upstairs (me last of course, due to them doubts)
b) NTM Becomes New New Tribes Mission and the figure of 4000 is revised upward.
c) Someone got the figures wrong and we have to wait for the trumpet a bit longer.

O.k. I'm not good at Theology or numbers, but at least I gave it a go :P

Perhaps I should go sailing, for a load of flightless nocturnal birds, we is whizzing round Alcatraz pretty fast 8-) in that boat.


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 Post subject: Re: Truth? Transparency?
PostPosted: Thu Sep 12, 2013 10:29 pm 
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:lol:


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 Post subject: Re: Truth? Transparency?
PostPosted: Thu Sep 12, 2013 10:34 pm 
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Oh stuff it Raz, let's just go sailing :P Some days NTM does my head in.


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 Post subject: Re: Truth? Transparency?
PostPosted: Thu Sep 12, 2013 10:36 pm 
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Oh, that sounds lovely! Is Canine Bemused our pilot, or our co-pilot?

:)


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 Post subject: Re: Truth? Transparency?
PostPosted: Thu Sep 12, 2013 11:15 pm 
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I have consulted with Canine Bemused and Mrs Bemused and the latter informs me that she and thee will be joint captains of said sailing vessel, Canine Bemused will navigate and I will be in the engine room.
I did gently inform Mrs Bemused that being a sailing vessel, there is no engine room, to which she replied that with all my hot air and being an old windbag, I am the engine!

Perhaps we could voyage to exotic locations and see if we can find any more lost tribes.

P.s. Mr Raz is welcome to join. Mrs Bemused has a job for him stowing baggage or serving drinks on the bridge.


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