Letter from Mik parents

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.

He led devotions and talked about God.
Imagine the struggles with God and authority figures. She had no voice.
The women who have spoken on this blog all have their voice now. Some are
just now learning to speak. Some are still too afraid to speak. There are more victims. My heart breaks that Krista Rowe never got to hear that she wasn’t alone and NONE OF IT WAS HER FAULT!

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

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21 Responses to Letter from Mik parents

  1. Pamela E. Bennett says:

    How we should be humbled after reading this exposure from a mum who loved her daughters and yet felt her responsibility in allowing this to happen. Too bad New Tribes seems to be kicking and screaming rather than humbling admitting what THEY allowed. The churches have allowed these mission boards/agencies whatever you want to call them full reign and they too are reaping this. Don’t lecture me that New Tribes is now offering “sorry” as from what I can read, only because they have been forced to do so just like ABWE was forced because of the bangladeshmksspeak blog.

  2. Tara says:

    I ache in my heart for the pain I read in your words! But you have found the answer in our God of truth! My parents did bootcamp twice but were asked to leave both times because they questioned the staff about the abuse of power they saw. They were told they were to submit to the authority of the staff and not question their leadership. This was in 1981 and 1984. My parents felt that they had failed. They were embarrassed and disillusioned. Reading your story and other stories I am heartbroken and grieve over the loss of innocence and the warped view of God many must have. To not have the hope of knowing God’s love because of what men did. This place of CHRIST ALONE and not mans pride or wisdom, is the only place for healing! I believe as a church, we should all examine our part that we have played to contribute to the way of thinking that allowed this to occur. Do our churches promote accountability? Do we treat each other as better then ourselves? Do we encourage compassion and humility toward others? From what I have experienced it’s more about status or name. It’s more about judging and gossip. NTM is sick and so are our churches which encourage the same behaviors and thinking! God help us as a church! I pray that God would shake us up out of our complacency and open our eyes to the pain we are causing our young ones, the damage we are doing to the seekers, the Holy Spirit that we are taught not to listen to because we might go overboard! God sure did go overboard for us! My heart aches for all believers, because we are accepting this lying down! Wake-up church! Open your eyes to Chirist not to manworship! It could’ve been me as my parents felt strongly about going to Senegal. I would have been there! My prayers and thoughts are with you and all the victims! So brave,all of you!

  3. Amy says:

    This entry was so moving. I’m only just now discovering what happened at Fanda. I’m an MK, grew up in East Brazil at Vianopolis- a boarding school, as well. I’m heartbroken, though not shocked- and that’s because it happened at our school too. Years of abuse went on and it was covered up, hushed up, put away, and never, EVER dealt with!! I’m glad the Fanda “kids” have had the courage to stand up and say, “Enough!”

    This post resonates with me. I can hear my parents voice in it…it makes me so sad!!

  4. Tuti Hess says:

    Dear Diane, Thank you for your courage through all of this. I can relate to a lot of what you are saying. I feel shame because I had bought into this thing of the work is most important so I neglected my children and saw them as a hindrance. I so love my kids now and know that thinking was wrong. I thank God for a couple who confronted us and made us see we had to put a priority on our kids. Thank God for His rebuke and correction on our lives when we need it. God saved my kids and my marriage.Keep speaking out and fighting for what is right. Well done sister.

  5. shadowspring says:

    R.C. :
    Sad though your story may be, I think you have misdiagnosed the cause. Hundreds of children are raised overseas every year and they turn out just fine. Thousands if not more children are raised in the USA who are raped and molested. Location has little to do with, the problem here were the people who abused the children and the people who turned a blind eye. PEOPLE are responsible for their actions, we cannot blame things like LOCATION. I was an MK who lived overseas and all of my friends who lived in dorms were just fine. Your problem was that dorm parents were not chosen carefully enough or monitored enough, and no measures were taken to prevent abuse from happening. I’m very sorry for what happened to your daughter and I am in no way trying to minimize what happened to her, but until you realize the cause pf the problem, you will never be able to fix it.

    I seriously doubt that every one from your dorm is “just fine”. Boarding school for young children is a horrendous idea. The abandonment alone will deeply affect every single child sent off the a boarding school- the younger they were rejected i.e. sent away, the more severe the damage to that person’s psyche. So while you may claim that you and all your friends are “just fine” I say wait for life to trigger your own buried traumas. I believe you will then find out that “just fine” was nothing more than “in denial”.

  6. Diane Mikitson says:

    By no means did we mean to imply that Africa was the problem, nor that Location is the problem. We loved Senegal. Dorm life is not God’s best plan for raising children. Of this we are certain.
    Your comments about “cause of the problem” and fixing it are naive. “All my friends who lived in dorms were just fine” is naive.
    I doubt that you are receptive to hearing the truth of the pain and turmoil most adults who lived in dorms as children will attest to.

  7. Deb A says:

    As a student from a NTM boarding school there was bad physical abuse from a dorm mom that did not want to be at the school. It was not a good experience. Then we went to Senegal where my girls received and abservered the physical abuse that the above classmates had. We were told that we were not to visit our daughter in the dorm because it only made things worse and they didn’t want parents there. Our daughter hated the dorm and the things going on.

  8. R.C. says:

    Sad though your story may be, I think you have misdiagnosed the cause. Hundreds of children are raised overseas every year and they turn out just fine. Thousands if not more children are raised in the USA who are raped and molested. Location has little to do with, the problem here were the people who abused the children and the people who turned a blind eye. PEOPLE are responsible for their actions, we cannot blame things like LOCATION. I was an MK who lived overseas and all of my friends who lived in dorms were just fine. Your problem was that dorm parents were not chosen carefully enough or monitored enough, and no measures were taken to prevent abuse from happening. I’m very sorry for what happened to your daughter and I am in no way trying to minimize what happened to her, but until you realize the cause pf the problem, you will never be able to fix it.

  9. Elijah III says:

    John and Diane, your story is moving, yet prophetic… You said: some of us would be shocked…and feel the horror…and sadness as we read the stories…and that we might even think about it during the middle of the night… –Here it is 3 am… Yes, and more… Some of us have wept over the GREAT SIN that has been committed in the camp and buried in the tent…
    May I leave a few prophetic words with you that have come to mind to encourage you these wee hours of this new day: God is not mocked…seeds of deceit, lust, immorality, pride, selfishness, and cover up…that have been sown in the darkness, are called forth to come under the search beacon of the Son of Light, for the time has come for judgment to begin in the House of God—in the Name of Jesus! Be encouraged! It will come to pass!

  10. Bill Lapworth says:

    I am very sad too read the story of the familly Mik and can imagine exactly how humiliated and abusde they must have felt. I was approximatly 8 years old when I went to Fanda in the late 70’s and the description of the leadership is very typical of how I experienced Fanda and NTM. However I would like too testify that at Fanda I experienced the love of Jesus and the fatherly love from my dorm father Hammy as never before or after in my life. If I think of the way he showed me love and affection I can only be very thankful for ever meeting and having someone like him look after me and show me a fatherly love I never experienced from my own father. My own father never gave me a hug or encouragement as Hammy did. I’m not telling this to put my own Dad down but too explain that like me you can also be very lucky too have had a great dorm Dad whom I love and remember very dearly. Your daughters got sadly the wrong dorm Dad I’m very sory! but glad you had the courage too tell the world! and keep looking up!

  11. Brasilian1 says:

    Shary Hauber, I don’t know you and you don’t know me but I had to laugh when I saw that you wrote that New Tribes Mission is close to becoming a cult. Tell you why as you read what I am going to write.

    I read this blog every day for a long time now and have waited to write something and now is the time. I just want to say that I have been following this blog from my country and have waited to see if the Mission of New Tribes is going to do anything about this whole mess. Not everyone in this country knows how to speak the American language, but a lot of people know how to read the American language.

    Really, I am very upset. I have known people from this misson here in Brasil and have seen a lot of wrong being done through the years. All a person needs is just a little bit of decernment and they would know that some thing is wrong.

    I know a family and several families of this particular family have been mistreated here in this country by the MNTB. One family were missionaries in the country of Senegal, the other family serving our Lord in the northern part of Brasil and another in the southern part of Brasil. If anyone would just look into what happened to all of these familys it would be enough to make your blood boil…Really!!!!

    But because they have the knowledge that God is in control they just got out quietly. Let me ask…. did the mission here in this country or in the USA ever ask these families what really happened? Did any of the leaders of these two countries ever go after what really happened in every situation? I don’t think so!!!! And let me say this that in some cases if some of these families really wanted to…… people in the mission in this country could be taken to the law. It is very serious. I challenge people to really look into it. I don’t know much about american laws but I know in my country if it got into the hands of those in authority…very sad. And the more time goes on I get more and more angry about this whole situation with the missions.

    What made me laugh is that there are those in this mission, MNTB, that I know have said that the missionaries that live in southern Brasil are a cult. Isn’t that ironic? Really!!!! There is a lot I could say here and maybe as time goes by I will….isn’t that so interesting how our God makes things get truned around. That is why I said I had to laugh. It really isn’t funny but sometimes a person has to laugh…what else can you do?

    So…..when I saw the blog I was not surprised at all. Just fits with the way the mission does things in Brasil and must be the way it is done in the US of A. I now understand more then ever that what I have felt about the wrong that was done with the families I just wrote about that I wasn’t wrong…really. Only a dummi would not understand what happened with all that has been on this blog. I know MNTB for a long time and it doesn’t take too much brains to figure out what has happened when a person reads the blog. Girls, all I can say is do not give up…God is just and sin will be uncovered. DONT GIVE UP!!!

  12. Shary Hauber says:

    Oh Kevin I am so sorry about your wife passing away with the added hurt from the NTM letter. I am glad you are not disappointed in God. He does always love and care about us. Yes there are leaders of churches and missions who do not follow Christ but their own egos. Remember Jim Jones and the hundreds of people who drank poison KoolAid and died, he started out as a pastor in an evangelical church. NTM is coming close to becoming a cult.

  13. Kevin says:

    I understand your frustration with how NTM deals with leadership. While in no way did my experience even begin to come close to all of you, it was very much the same in the way it was never handled.
    My wife and I gave up well paying jobs to become a part of NTM and went off to bootcamp. There we encountered staff that had elevated themselves to a god level. I was told in private meetings I made to much eye contact with people, that was a sexual problem. We never fought as a couple and never ran to staff to get help to resolve issues. We must be hiding things from them we were told. I had a pride issue because of the way I road an ATV. I didn’t clean paint brushes correctly, never mind I had painted for pay for over 15 years and still had some of my own paint brushes from many of those years.
    At survival camp we where asked to leave because we had to much fun in this situation and must be putting on an act. Since almost everyone else was arguing or complaining about conditions. We were asked to go the the Bible college for a term and come back. So we went, which I guess they thought we would just leave. Then we found out we had the wrong attitude moving out of the boot camp and the staff felt we hadn’t learned our lesson. So we were not allowed to attend the bible college. Then when we returned to our home town, we got a letter from one of the bootcamp staff members saying he was praying that our lives would be difficult. The wording was more long winded than this statement. A few years later my wife came down with cancer and died. Guess what came to mind! The letter from NTM staff.
    Of course you can see even after 21 years it is still a very clear memory. My walk with God is no less than before this experience, because God is always God. It’s man and his need to be in control that messes things up.
    If you understand who God is and His never changing love for us you will never be dissappointed in Him. There are many that were treated the same and when complaints went to headquarters nothing happened. Well almost nothing a letter of apology was sent out some 10 years to some. I guess those involved with some the bigger supporter churches. (Just an assumption here).

    Keep focused on God and you will never be dissappointed.

  14. Dianne Couts says:

    Dear John and Diane,
    I am a participant in the documentary All God’s Children. Prior to Mamou, my brother and I were molested by a missionary colleague of our parents with the exact same reaction of the mission board. The single most important thing that has helped me cope with the ripple effect of this in my life is that my parents believed us and confronted our molester and the mission leadership and eventually left that mission board. I applaud your letter and your determination to tell your story.

    I met Kari in DC and she is a lovely, strong young woman. She is often in my prayers.

    Dianne Darr Couts

  15. Suzanne says:

    Joie and Kari
    What amazing writers you girls are! God has given you both such talent in so many ways. I am so thankful for the Grace He has shown both of you in your lives.
    I am so heartbroken over all the things I read on this blog. I cannot even imagine the heartache for you girls and your parents. I feel a big part of this, and so wish things could have been different. I hate the “if only” that I myself have to live with.
    You see, I remember the wonderful visits to Chobo, to the Gambia, back to furloughs at my home. The walks to the bakery for fresh bread in Dakar. The sweet days at the beach, and you girls teasing me about my swimsuit.! The 25cent ice cream cones at our favorite market in Illinois. The long nights I was at work and you waited anxiously to see me when I got home from work. The new leather sandals you just loved. You girls were such sweet little innocent ones that I loved like no other human beings.
    Now, I read of the terrible abuse, and I think Oh Lord, what a nightmare they were really living .Could I have done anything? I am so sorry. Did any of the wonderful memories I have remain in their hearts and lives? God, please let them remember. These girls call me Aunt. I feel more like a second Mother to them. They still are loved like my very own.
    We supported NTM for many years. We supported many missionaries with NTM. We had many of these missionaries in our home. I don’t know what I even feel about this today. I cannot think of what to say in that regard. It is better left unsaid. God Bless you Fanda Eagles.

  16. Panama MK says:

    What is most shocking about this story is that I am not surprised by how the NTM leadership responded. How sad!

    This is the legacy that NTM has left for many who have been exposed to the type of leadership that refused to acknowledge that God just might be speaking to others more clearly than to them.

    I am saddened and outraged but I cannot say I am surprised.

  17. Ulsterman says:

    Thank you John and Diane for sharing your story and opening up wounds which have yet to experience complete healing. I also share Bonnie’s sentiments and want you to know that I will be praying for your family.

  18. Bonnie says:

    John and Diane,

    Your letter left me with so many different ranges of emotions – the largest, heaviest – was a broken heart.

    In reading your story, which I have heard before, but this time it was so raw, so vulnerable, I felt physically ill, filled with rage, crushed with grief, and amazed by the John and Diane that I know today.

    I love you both, and your daughters too. What a family you are!!

    Living in Truth and Hope,


  19. Jill says:

    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.

    I always wonder what the responses would be if it were their daughters who were involved. Not the same I am sure.

  20. Shary Hauber says:

    Dear John and Diane
    Thank you so much for you letter. You are the encouragement all abused MKs need to hear. A parent who admits they are human and sin. There are MKs out there who’s parents will not believe their children. I hope your letter will give them hope.

    I ask that God will bless your growth together as a family.

  21. Joel C. says:

    If you are not yet moved to anger about what has happened to the Fanda Eagles and still find yourself trying to minimize the reality of this abuse, then please read the following excerpt from this letter,

    “Can you imagine when we told the FC (field committee) 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 makes me angry, and the type of anger I’m talking about having here is “righteous anger”. Anyone still with NTM to this day that was aware of what was going on, whether in leadership or not, and did nothing to stop it should be immediately removed from the mission and reported to the legal authorities for being accomplices to the sexual abuse.

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