Trust and Obey?

I’m a former missionary kid (MK) who spent essentially all of my childhood and formative years in the Philippines, where my parents worked as missionaries.  As such, I was blessed with an environment that encouraged culture immersion – indeed, you couldn’t avoid it- and opportunities that most American children do not get to experience.  Part of the life of an MK is also going to boarding school.  While not all MKs are dorm residents, per say, I’m reasonably confident that the vast majority are or have spent time in the dorms (not just visits or overnight stays) for at least a few weeks.  The dorms are good and bad, depending on who you are and what your personality type is.  For the ones that were uncomfortable being away from Mom and Dad, it was a rough time, until they either became familiar with being in the dorm and the time away from home, or they went back home and were home-schooled.  Some parents chose to home-school over sending their children to the dorms because of the hardship it presented to the child (or parent; I knew some clingy parents!).

Dorm life was good if you liked the independence from your parents’ rules, even though you still had rules to follow in the dorm.  It was easier to get away with not following dorm rules because there were often at least a dozen MKs living there in addition to whatever children the dorm “parents” had of their own.  In my time in the different dorms, I think all of my dorm “parents” had at least two kids, so you’re looking at around fourteen to eighteen kids in the dorm.  This makes for a borderline chaotic experience near the beginning of the year, until routines set in and the children become belabored with homework, projects, and activities of their own.  At that point, it is easy to then be lost in the crowd.  During the chaotic beginnings of the school year in the dorms, the hustle and bustle of activity is exciting but it soon dies down as kids began to realize that, 1) they are “home” for the school year, 2) vacation is over and school is the focal point of the week, and 3) there’s no getting out of it.

I describe all of this to lay the groundwork for this: trust and obedience in and to the dorm parents is a requirement, because they are the ones given the responsibility to watch over you and make sure your needs are met.  We, as dorm children, looked at them as surrogate parents, as they were in every way that a surrogate parent is defined.  They fed us, made sure we had clean clothes to wear, ensured that we had the opportunity to learn and grow, and all of that is expected of the actual parents of the children. Unfortunately, that trust and obedience could be misused and children could be led astray because of their trust and obedience to the dorm parents.

I’m learning just now of an investigation into dorm parents and teachers in the same mission organization that I spent the majority of my MK time in, that focused on sexual, physical, spiritual (?), and emotional abuse in Senegal.  During the ’80s and ’90’s, several children were subjected to these types of abuse by dorm parents and teachers; the children later came forward, either as teens or young adults, and reported it (often years after the fact); and, the leadership in the organization either stifled the truth or outright lied about the severity of the events.

The same thing happened in the Philippines, and I’d like to see if a formal investigation by the same third-party could be conducted.  Initially, I was skeptical when I heard that the mission organization-which I won’t name but cannot keep a secret because all you have to do is Google “Senegal abuse and mission organization” to find out who I’m speaking of- was conducting an investigation into the allegations.  I thought,”How are they going to deliver an unbiased, objective report if they are conducting it themselves.  Especially considering what I know of how they handled the Philippines case.”  I have dear friends and family that were deeply affected by that who suffer quietly to this day because of that incident.  But the report is, in my opinion, objective and honest and I feel they would do the Philippine incident justice. For so long,  I wanted justice to be served so badly that for a long time, I kept my own tabs on the perpetrator’s family and their whereabouts because I wanted to take matters into my own hands.  Even now, I still have a hard time not being angry towards the family members because they were subjected to the same abuse themselves.  I often wondered how they could let it happen without doing something about it.  How could the wife of the man who did these thing allow her husband to do it?  Sadly, I won’t know if she DID know or not for she has passed away since that time.

We trust that others will look out in the best interest for our children when given the direct responsibility to do so.  Sometimes, that is taken for granted and abused.  What I am saying here is that it is unfortunate that children had to suffer this way, often feeling unable to come forward because of the types of things that happened or fear of reprisal, rejection, or disbelief in the fact that the situation did indeed happen the way the child says.  For leadership of such an organization to cover up or mislead in the way that it handles such situations is criminal.  For the perpetrator to not be prosecuted for their crimes is criminal.  There are laws that protect American citizens living abroad, even when such residence is considered permanent outside of US borders.  It’s why an American who commits a crime abroad can be extradited back to American soil to face justice.  And, oh yeah, American embassy grounds is considered American soil.  Once inside American Embassy walls, you are on American soil, regardless of the country the embassy is located, regardless of whether the host nation recognizes it as sovereign territory, apart from host nation jurisprudence.  The leadership of the organization could have taken him to the American Embassy, stated the perperatrator’s alleged crimes, and turned him over to the FBI agent-in-charge for transporting and opening the investigation into the allegations.  Especially since the perp admitted to the abuse AND wrote letters to the families involved to apologize and explain what had happened.  (Actually, the letter was a justification of why he did the things he had done and not a sincere effort at all.)

So, where does that leave us?  Where can we go from here?  Yes, it’s been years since this all happened.  Yes, it’s a far stretch to think that the perp can be prosecuted at this time, although I think he could be and should be.  Yes, I’m sure that there may be victims who have moved on.  But for those that are unable to, this is for you.  He will get what he deserves when he answers for what he has done in front of God.  People talk about the cardinal sin and what it may be.  I think it’s anyone who claims to be a believer in Christ and then does something as heinous as this.  I don’t think there is a worse sin than using the name of God to mislead others into trusting you so that you can do terrible things to them, especially children.

I’m glad that God is just and impartial.  If I had to administer the justice to people like the perp, there would be an unjust punishment for the crime because I would want the perp to suffer a thousandfold.  But that is not God’s justice.  And what I would administer is, in reality, much less than the suffering of the man cutoff from God for eternity because of his crimes, though I may not think it.

Here’s the post for the Senagal abuse report:

 

~ by kyodan75 on October 13, 2010.

One Response to “Trust and Obey?”

  1. Update: NTM is getting the FBI involved, Les Emory is apparently alive and well in Virginia (probably not for long. I imagine the authorities getting him soon.), NTM is being sued for $5M for the way they handled this situation, and I’m trying to get updated info about all of it.

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