About this blog

The Purpose of this blog

This blog is to shine light on abuse at SIM Boarding schools in the past,  and hold SIM responsible for the suffering today of the survivors of that abuse.  I attended Kent Academy and Hillcrest in the 60’s and 70’s.  I was not sexually abused, and I didn’t experience violent physical abuse – much.  However I saw my peers being abused and humiliated, and I believe most children at KA, including myself, had some form of emotional or spiritual abuse.  There are many MK’s whose lives have been profoundly affected as adults by the abuse that occurred at SIM Boarding schools.   However SIM does not have any outreach to these MK’s, and has ignored some who have tried to tell their stories.  Investigations move very slowly or not at all, and the accused are still employed by SIM while the victims continue to suffer.

The Conversation on this Blog

You are solely responsible, both personally and legally,  for the content, accuracy and truthfulness of any comments you post on this blog. 

I have decided not to print names of the accused unless they have actually been named by an investigation.  I know some people feel that naming their abusers is part of getting the truth out there, and it is, and I hope and pray that you will have a chance to name your abuser and confront them if that is what you want.  I just don’t feel it is the right direction for this blog, and I don’t think its necessary to accomplish the goals of this blog.  I hope we can make this a safe place for people to comment, talk about their experiences and encourage one another.  Names have been and will be removed from posts and comments.

What is your opinion on this?  Please let me know how you feel about this issue as well as any other concerns you have with this blog.  If you don’t want to leave a public comment, use the “Contact” link at the top of this page.

You can also visit the Fanda Eagles web site about New Tribes Mission Abuse.  They have added a forum for SIM schools, and you are welcome to join that conversation as well, where you can talk about pretty much anything you want.

People have mentioned there is a need for a closed place for victims to talk, and I agree with this, and will support it in any way, including helping someone set up a Facebook page or blog, partnering with them, or whatever else I can do. 

Lets keep in mind who we are fighting against.  For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. While SIM was sending missionaries out to spread the Gospel in Africa, Satan was literally using their children as his playground.  He keeps many MK’s in captivity today and prevents them from having a relationship with God.  There are many sheep that have wandered away from the fold and lost their way.  Remember how the Shepherd went out searching for his one lost sheep?

SIM should make helping abused MKs a priority.

If you go to SIM’s web site you will find a list of priority ministries.  Wouldn’t it be great if one of their priorities was investigating past abuse and ministering to the many MKs who are suffering the legacy of abuse at SIM boarding schools?

This is an open blog where people are encouraged to express their views.  The author is not providing legal or professional advice.  Commentors are solely responsible for the opinions, accuracy or veracity of their comments, and the author of a post shall be not held accountable or liable for comments in any way, now or in future.

15 thoughts on “About this blog

  1. Re: Rachel Steffen and the “open letter”,
    I’m not an MK (though have known a few precious ones)) or an MK parent but stumbled onto this site researching SIM and I just burst into tears reading your letter. Heartbreaking, heartbreaking! What a courageous confession and exhortation your letter was. Who can understand such a paradox in the Kingdom of God! Many of us have the same chance to “re-parent” our kids for other reasons. Take it, take it ! My heart goes out to you all….someday your tears will be wiped away for good.

  2. It is time that attentions also turn to the malpractices of mission organizations towards their employees; things like failure to report earnings for Social Security and IRS purposes, failure to honor terms of agreement and service, abusive adult-to-other-adult relationships, excessive demands in the workplace, use of the black market, exploitation of nationals and other. These issues also need to be discussed and, where necessary, be dealt with through legal counsel and redres.

    • It all comes back to a lack of transparency by the mission, and the misguided belief that they are somehow above the checks and balances that we normal people live by, that they enjoy some special status because they are doing “God’s work” and so would be above any kind of sinful activities.

      • I find it difficult to understand why adults, including professionally trained people, have been reluctant or remiss to bring matters of injudicious mission board practices into open discussion. Perhaps the time has come, and there are those who allowed things to lurk beneath the surfaces for so long. Surely there must be ways to examine malpractices and misrepresentation in transparent ways that will ultimately result in (1) recognition by mission boards, and (2) mission board willingness to examine practices that have wounded their employees in financial, ethical and other ways.

        I believe that much of what has translated into child and other abuses often stemmed from mission organizational mismanagement; poor recruitment and hiring practices; lack of field-staff supervision; inadequate communication between home staff, field staff and individual recruits. Often there was and is inadequate support; staff are required to work excessively long hours (exploitation), and there is intolerance for open discussion about problems people experience. Unfortunately, critical thinking and open communication is not welcome or tolerated in some mission organizations. Even fellow colleagues get swept along into the missionary myths.

        The matter of mission exploitation of adults is a very large subject. I sincerely hope that the discussion of issues turning on the frequent abuse of adult missionaries at the organization/institutional levels will open up.

  3. Hi Liz,

    Faith and I both remember you, although I don’t think we had a chance to talk.

    It is hard to understand why so many Christians just don’t get it when it comes to this issue. You are so right when you talk about people being obsessed with helping the offender and ignoring the ones who are wounded.

    I am pastoring the Curtis Baptist Bible Church. We are located at 4297 Tannery rd in Campbell, NY. It would be great to talk sometime. Faith and I do get down your way. Let us know if you would like to meet for a visit.

    God bless,

    Dale

  4. Liz, you mentioned in one of your earlier comments about helping establish a closed group for those who have gone through abuse. I have been wanting to do that for some time now and I have been talking with some other folks about it as well. If you are still interested in being involved, let me know.

    Dale Ingraham

  5. Hi Liz,

    I just found your blog in a search that I was doing. How are things going SIM? Has there been any progress? Have you had a chance to see all of the film ‘All God’s Children’? We showed it at my church 3 years ago. It is appalling what has been happening in our churches and mission schools. Have you been in contact with Bonnie or Kari from fandaeagles? I see that you have GRACE listed on your page, Boz Tchividjain is a great guy. Let’s stay in touch.

    I pastor a church in the Corning, NY area and my wife, Faith, and I started a ministry in 2008 to deal with sexual abuse. I see that you have us listed as well. http://speakingtruthinlove.org . Our phone # is (607)359-4366

    God bless,

    Dale

    • Hello Dale,

      Thanks for your comments. I actually heard you guys speak at a church I was attending about a year or two ago-the Endicott Family Bible Church. I talked to Faith afterwards – she might remember me. I was very excited that the church would invite you guys to speak, but then disappointed as I felt they immediately backtracked the following week with a sermon about how important it is to extend grace to “everyone” and how we have all been in situations that need forgiveness. I felt they were making a point that an abuser needs to be forgiven by the church, once again ministering to the abuser when it is the victim who has been hurt.

      Well, I am glad you found my blog and would love to talk about all these things with you! What is the name of your church in the Corning area?

  6. This is so small in the whole scheme of things but so big to a child’s heart… My son came home yesterday and told me that he was doing homework during class at his missionary kids’ school. While he was trying to do a problem, he unthinkingly wrote in his book and the next thing he knew his over six feet teacher was standing over him and saying in a severe voice for him to never do that again. He scrunched his shoulders and said, “Everyone was looking at me like I was a very bad person.” I was taken immediately to when I was six years old in first grade at KA. I was amazed at how a pencil could write on the side of a book on the pages and had no thought that it was “defacing school property”. Next thing I knew my over six feet tall teacher had come across the room and slapped me across the face and told me never never to write on school books again. I was SO very ashamed that my enjoyment was so terribly wrong and that everyone could see how bad I was. I shared my experience with my son and we laughed and he said that he guessed I had passed that on to him in his genes. I love that I was there to talk through what happened to him yesterday, to affirm his good intentions and desires, talk about the teacher’s responsibility of guarding school property and appropriate ways for that to happen…no one was there for me when it happened.

    • Thanks for sharing that story, Much Afraid. I still find it amazing that a teacher would slap a six year old in class, even though I know it happened. And what stays with you is not the physical violence but the humiliation in front of your classmates. Your son’s teacher was able to “punish” him simply by humiliating him – no physical contact needed. Would it be that hard to pull the kid aside and explain to him privately that he shouldn’t be writing in his book? Wouldn’t it be great if they made an effort to teach children without damaging their self esteem? But you have been able to turn your experience around and use it to help your son. I am so happy you are able to be a part of his life and be there as an advocate for him, or simply talk him through experiences like this. I know you have made sacrifices in order to do this for your kids, and I am certain you have made a difference for them.

  7. “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” ~ Martin Luther King

    Thank you Liz for being who you are this road of recovery and reconciliation is awkward, challenging and controversial. The world and even the church cry out against it. My family has been through so much of it and so I stand with you to challenge that the secrets need to come into the light!

  8. Thanks for your kind words, Dianne, and for all the work you have done for abused MKs. Beth is right, I have had so much encouragement from people who went to Mamou, and to Fanda. You guys have paved the way for the rest of us! I have only watched excerpts from “All Gods Children” – I haven’t managed to get my hands on a full copy yet, but even the parts I watched have really hit home with me. Like Beth, I can totally see myself in those stories. I think its important for victims to know that other people went through the same things that they did, and to say “Oh, this is why I am the way that I am today!” There is such a code of silence among not just Missionaries but also among MKs, and it is isolating. Why would you talk about abuse if you think you are the only one, and everyone else you knew at boarding school seems to be doing great with their lives? If you want to tell SIM about abuse that happened in their schools, you can do it behind closed doors, and then it will be put in a confidential file, and no one else will hear about it. I hope people will feel free to share their experiences here without being judged for it, told to stop complaining, or hushed up.

  9. @ Dianne……….thanks for sharing. Elizabeth worked hard to put these resources together. She along with myself and others, and I believe Elizabeth would agree with me on this, drew strength and inspiration from caring individuals like yourself and those that are working with the Fanda Eagles which represents the abuse at New Tribes Mission. She worked tirelessly and drew encouragement from those who have come forward about abuse at other schools. “All God’s Children is compelling. I have watched it and relived every moment at KA…….thinking……this is me, this was me………and so many others I know.

    Thank you for contributing to this blog!

  10. Thank you for putting together such an impressive array of resources for MK’s who suffered in boarding schools. I was involved in the ground-breaking work that brought about the creation of a commission of inquiry to investigate the abuse at Mamou, the C&MA boarding school in Guinea, West Africa. We did not have the internet to help us network or share resources at that time, but persistence and unity of purpose kept us going. I am also a participant in the film All God’s Children, filmed and produced by Scott Solary and Luci Westphal. The film has a Facebook page and a website. I highly recommend it for anyone who has been abused at a boarding school.

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