Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Missionaries in Mindaneo

August 23, 2005, CNN News, Robertson: U.S. should assassinate Venezuela's Chavez,

January 1, 2003, Los Angeles Times, Missionaries Increase Along With Dangers,

March 3, 1987, Los Angeles Times, Alleged Killer of U.S. Missionary Goes on Trial,

November 28, 1986, Los Angeles Times, Baptist Minister Held in Slayings of Missionary, Child,

Diigo, November 20, 2005, Los Angeles Times, Missionaries' Mission at Issue,

After the U.S. left their Philippine bases under duress in 1991 and 1992, an annual joint military exercise called Balikatan continued on until 1995, when it too succumbed to Philippine political pressure. That exercise, in any event, had more to do with the U.S. maintaining close ties to Filipino military officers and the academy elect than any skill-building on either side. It was not until the resumption of Balikatan in January of 2002, when 660 U.S. soldiers arrived in Zamboanga as a direct result of a state of lawlessness in the region, singularly attributed in the media to the Abu Sayyaf Muslim "rebels", that an official military relationship between the two countries resumed, although it took still more years before the agreement was fully hammered out and became legal in an overt sense.

Historically, Zamboanga has been the seat of government authority in the southern Philippines, and the Edwin Andrew Air Base located there, while a pleasing sounding name to Western imperialist's ears, was actually named for a World War II era commanding Colonel in the Philippine Air Force. Base facilities were originally grouped at the eastern end of a long runway, but these migrated westward, as the city of Zamboanga grew up around them.

Given this timeline, anything bearing the name of "Camp Navarro General Hospital," on June 7, 2002, when Gracia Burnham was freed needing medical attention, was purely a pipe dream of real estate speculators, a "ghost hospital" useful to fabricators of military psy-ops.

American military presence in the southern Philippines was historically minuscule compared to elsewhere in the archipelago, with at least ten facilities on the island of Luzon---the locations of the great engines of American Imperialism, Clark Air Force Base, and the Subic Bay naval facility--- to every one found on the far larger island of Mindanao, where a Muslim majority today occupies only a tiny fraction of their original historic range. The Muslim dominated islands of Sulu and Basilan hadn't known an American military presence since the Moro Rebellion portion of the Philippine-American War, at the beginning of the 20th century, when a casualty rate of about 100 to one prevailed---in the United States' favor, of course, This is not so different than the ratio of casualties stemming from recent conflicts between Israel and the Palestinian forces in Gaza. There, it would appear the Israelis are the victors, but at some cost to their moral standing throughout the world.

New Tribes Mission Abuse
Supplement from GRACE 1/10/2011
January 10th, 2011
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GRACE Final Supplement
4270 articles

October 27, 2005, Christianity Today, Why Is Venezuela's Chavez Singling Out New Tribes Mission? by Deann Alford,
Charges sound eerily familiar to Latin American missionaries.

Of anti-Americanism was running high in Latin America, disdain for missionaries had soared. Missionaries, one leader said, were Yankee imperialists, "an affront to the indigenous communities and to our national sovereignty." Rumors flew that Bible translators living among remote people groups were mining national resources and spying for the CIA, all under the guise of doing good things for the nation's tribal peoples.

Finally came an ultimatum: The evangelical mission that sends linguists to work among indigenous peoples must leave the country.

But in this case, the leader wasn't Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez, who last week claimed New Tribes Mission (NTM) had committed such abuses and announced his intent to expel them.

The year was 1981. In neighboring Colombia, the Marxist M-19 rebel group cited these among other "reasons" and demanded the exit from Colombia of a Bible translation group unrelated to NTM, the Summer Institute of Linguistics (SIL).

In contrast to the current situation in Venezuela, the M-19 kidnapped SIL translator Chet Bitterman. Six weeks later, Bitterman's body was found draped in one of the guerrilla group's banners in a bus in a parking lot south of Bogota.

On October 12, Chavez spoke at an indigenous gathering marking Columbus Day, which Chavez has renamed "Day of Indigenous Resistance." At the gathering, he demanded that NTM missionaries leave the country, citing a roster of reasons, many of which were similar or identical to the M-19's demands of SIL 24 years ago. The country has also made it difficult for other mission agencies to gain access to the country. In response, the Mormon church has moved its Venezuela missionaries elsewhere.

Both SIL and NTM are evangelical frontier mission groups that translate Scripture into indigenous languages. Both advance literacy among these cultures, and carry out community development, health, and educational projects. Both groups' work is spiritual and developmental, not political. And though SIL has never worked in Venezuela, some news reports on the current NTM crisis have invoked SIL's name, claiming that the two groups are linked and that both have dark, hidden agendas.

Myths about frontier mission groups abound. Among some circles, urban legends about these groups never quite fall out of circulation, every so often resurrecting and recycling with different lives. But some groups and individuals seize on the accusations and view the missionaries with suspicion.

But why?

False accusations

Arthur Lightbody, spokesman for Wycliffe Bible Translators' technical support arm, JAARS, calls it guilt by association. "They see us there, and they see people there with development of resources and think we must be linked," Lightbody said. "It's conjecture because we're working in the same place.

"People don't get why we're there. They don't understand our motivation."

That motivation is fulfilling the Great Commission to make disciples of all nations. To that end, SIL'scalling is to provide Scriptures in the heart languages of people groups that don't have a translation of the Bible.

Anthropologists and others, however, have long resented missionaries' presence among tribal peoples. That's at least in part because of the myth of the noble savage, a worldview popularized by the French philosopher Rousseau. Man, Rousseau held, is good by nature and is only corrupted by civilization and society. It follows, then, that missionaries corrupt the tribal people, ruining their blissful, peaceful, happy lives with notions such as the sinfulness of man and the need for a Savior.

Another reason SIL anthropologist Tom Headland cited was "ethnocide," the idea that missionaries force their own cultures on tribal peoples, destroying indigenous cultures in the process.

Headland summed up the ideological struggle between those for and those against missionaries: "Their opinion is missionaries do more harm than good and should be sent home." In contrast, Headland points to what missionaries do in addition to sharing the gospel, including community development and helping people in need. "My view is that missionaries do more good than harm. (Chavez) is making a big mistake if he sends (NTM missionaries) home."

Headland said that hostility toward missions spread with James Michener's popular novel Hawaii, which vilified missionaries. After the1966 movie, many asked Headland, then ministering in the Philippines, whether he wore a long black coat in the jungle as did the fictional missionaries in the film.

Sam Olson, who heads the Evangelical Council of Venezuela, said that in the 1960s and 1970s, NTM Venezuela was accused of collusion with the CIA and mining and exporting resources. Venezuela's Congress authorized hundreds of hours of on-site investigations that found the charges groundless. "After that, everything calmed down and missionaries continued with the work," Olson said.

Resisting CIA collusion

What hasn't helped Christian missions' images have been scattered cases that came to light in the 1970s where CIA operatives pressured missionaries to share information. U.S. congressional debate arose in 1975 concerning the government's use of clerics, missionaries, and journalists to glean intelligence. In Central America in the 1980s, for example, the CIA approached several missionaries, seeking information about leftist regimes and rebel movements. SIL and NTM have policies forbidding their workers from collusion.

Most other evangelical missions agencies appear to have such policies as well. As a Campus Crusade for Christ missionary in the 1970s, Scott Moreau, Wheaton College professor of intercultural studies and missions, remembers leaders warning in prefield training of the possibility of being approached by the CIA. Crusade leaders told the missionaries to avoid cooperation. The issue surfaced again in 1996 when CIA director John Deutch refused to disavow using missionaries and journalists as informants.

Headland provided CT with 16 instances where SIL responded to allegations of CIA collusion in letters to public officials ranging from Sen. Mark Hatfield to President Ford. SIL founder and director Cameron Townsend wrote Hatfield in a 1975 telegram: "Some of the rumored activities of the CIA in foreign lands are downright criminal. No upright citizen should have anything to do with them, much less 'missionaries' … My organization [is] the Summer Institute of Linguistics … We never meddle in the affairs of other countries."

In 1976, Townsend wrote Ford a letter asking CIA agents to not seek information from U.S. citizens who live abroad and work under contract with those governments or one of their universities, as SIL workers do. He also asked that missionaries be exempted from CIA interrogation. Wycliffe Bible Translators regional director Lester Troyer thanked Hatfield in a January 3, 1976, letter for proposing legislation to block the CIA from using missionaries as informants. On January 23, 1976, Townsend wrote Hatfield, "May I suggest that Congress put an end, at least on an experimental basis, to the meddling of the CIA in the affairs of other independent nations?"

The myth of missionary colonialists

Although both SIL and NTM also minister in Africa and Southeast Asia, anti-missionary sentiment is concentrated in Latin America. It grew in the 1970s and 1980s. At least two popular books alleged SIL involvement in covert activity. "There's a lot of resentment against North American imperialism in different countries of Latin America," Headland said.

In the late 1970s and early 1980s, Ecuador, Peru, and Mexico each moved to boot SIL, citing reasons similar to those Venezuela is now invoking in seeking NTM's expulsion. In the early 1980s, Colombia was moving to expel Bible translators in response to rebel disinformation the public widely believed. In Colombia, for example, the guerrillas claimed missionaries were mining and exporting emeralds, even prompting government divers to search a lake near SIL's headquarters south of Bogota, where SIL allegedly had stashed jewels.

Chet Bitterman's martyrdom, however, proved an opportunity for the public to understand why SIL was there. Bogota's El Tiempo newspaper published Bitterman's Scripture-filled letters that expressed his heart for translating God's Word for those without a Bible in their native language. After the rebels killed Bitterman, who was buried at SIL's Colombia compound, public sentiment favored the mission group, which the government allowed to stay.

In Ecuador, sentiment ran strong against SIL because of what Headland called these "same old, same old" allegations. SIL's Ecuador ministry included medical clinics, schools, and an agronomy program that created varieties of pasture grasses and disease-resistant bananas. In 1981, Ecuador's government asked SIL to leave. By 1982, however, Ecuador's indigenous community had organized marches in support of SIL. Their outcry, along with that of others in the country, moved the government to ask SIL to stay. SIL remained on a scaled-down basis until 1992. Peru and Mexico had similar reversals. Today, SIL's presence in Mexico remains greatly reduced.

Wheaton's Moreau said that unless the United States becomes a "third- or fourth-rate political power, the whole idea of missionary-CIA connections will never die. … The myth of the CIA and the not-ever-completely dead myth of the missionary colonialist working together can empower that type of thinking."

October 19, 2005, Christianity Today, Venezuela Debates New Tribes Mission Expulsion Order,
Government officials, others call Chavez decision unconstitutional and harmful.
by Deann Alford

Venezuela to Expel New Tribes Mission,
After additional Robertson comments, President Chavez accuses "imperialist" mission agency of working for CIA.

by Deann Alford in Austin, Texas

October 14, 2005

Gracia Burnham Returns to the Philippines Amid Another Hostage Controversy

Plus: Who's talking religion at the Democratic National Convention, council vows to keep praying in Jesus' name, and other stories from online sources around the world.

Compiled by Ted Olsen

July 1, 2004

Did Martin Die Needlessly?

Gracia Burnham believes her husband would be alive today if someone had paid the proper ransom—but mission agencies wonder how many other missionaries would have been kidnapped as a result

Ted Olsen

June 1, 2003


Phillipines militants sentenced to death
...missionary couple Martin and Gracia Burnham; Guillermo Sobero, of Corona, Calif.; and 17 Filipinos from a resort on western Palawanisland and took them by speedboat to a southern Basilan island. Sobero was among several hostages beheaded. Two nurses and...

Rose Hill woman confronts captors in Philippine court
...the Islamic terrorist group Abu Sayyaf as among those who kidnapped her, her husband, Martin, and others from a resort in Palawanin May 2001. Martin Burnham was killed June 7, 2002, during a military rescue operation. Abu Sayyaf, which means "father...

Former hostage has written two books
...we wanted to stay," Burnham says. The couple even decided to spend their 18th wedding anniversary at a rustic resort on Palawan Island. Martin had just returned from the United States but agreed to substitute for another pilot in need. A friend had...

Religion: Kidnap victim to speak of ordeal
...serving with New Tribes Mission in the Philippines, were celebrating their 18th wedding anniversary at Dos Palmas Resort off PalawanIsland, at the time they were kidnapped. The couple's three children weren't with them at the time.After they were...

Kansas missionaries kidnapped
...because that could encourage more kidnappings. The kidnappings took place in the Dos Palmas Island Resort at Honda Bay in Palawanprovince, about 375 miles southwest of Manila. Martin and Gracia Burnham, both 41, have three children ages 14, 11 and...

Search under way in Philippines for hostages
...the search-and-rescue effort fromPalawan Island, a short boat ride from the resort...the Dos Palmas resort at Honda Bay in Palawanprovince, about 375 miles southwest of...tourist resort, killing two workers.Palawan Gov. Joel Reyes offered a reward of...

Extremists claim they'll kill hostages if rescue attempt spotted
...the hostages Sunday morning from the Dos Palmas resort off PalawanIsland in the southwestern Philippines. Sabaya said Monday...Cagayan de Tawi Tawi island, which is roughly halfway between Palawan and the southern islands, where the Abu Sayyaf normally operates...

Abductees center of tug of war
...surrender," she said. The group kidnapped three Americans and 17 Filipinos from the upscale Dos Palmas Island Resort in Palawanprovince on Sunday. The same group seized 10 foreign tourists 13 months ago from a Malaysian resort. Most were released for...

Rebels threaten to kill hostages if rescue attempt is spotted
...kidnapping the 20 hostages from the Dos Palmas Island Resort offPalawan Island early Sunday. Sabaya said he had split the hostages...hiding on Cagayan de Tawi Tawi island, roughly halfway between Palawan and the southern islands where the Abu Sayyaf normally operates...

Philippine hostages seen in boat
...told the military that the guerrillas were running low on food and fuel, Adan said. Cagayan de Tawi Tawi lies between the Palawan island group where the hostages were seized and the Jolo island group. Abu Sayyaf claims it split the hostages into two groups...

Extremist leader arrested
...raided the Dos Palmas resort, off the southwestern island of Palawan, on May 27 in the group's second major hostage-taking...raided the Dos Palmas beach resort on the southwestern island of Palawan, capturing 20 people, including three Americans. The rebels...

Nation and world briefs
...still holding Martin and Gracia Burnham, missionaries from Wichita, Kan., who were seized in late May from a resort in Palawan province southwest of Manila. Sixteen Filipinos also believed held captive. The guerrillas have claimed they beheaded a third...

Martin and Gracia Burnham: A year in bondage
...and Gracia, 43, were kidnapped on May 27, 2001, by the Abu Sayyaf Muslim extremist group from a resort off the island of Palawan in the Philippines, where they'd been celebrating their wedding anniversary. Martin was raised in the Philippines, where...

Faith, mission guided family
...Martin, and his wife, Gracia, were kidnapped while celebrating their 18th wedding anniversary at Dos Palmas Resort off Palawan Island. Paul and Oreta Burnham had seen their son just days earlier when he was in Kansas for a brief visit. He told his...

Kansan recounts year's captivity
...Florida-based New Tribes Mission, were celebrating their 18th wedding anniversary when they were abducted at a resort on westernPalawan island on May 27, 2001, and taken by speedboat to southern Basilan Island. Also seized were Guillermo Sobero, of Corona...

Phillipines militants sentenced to death
...missionary couple Martin and Gracia Burnham; Guillermo Sobero, of Corona, Calif.; and 17 Filipinos from a resort on western Palawanisland and took them by speedboat to a southern Basilan island. Sobero was among several hostages beheaded. Two nurses and...

Rose Hill woman confronts captors in Philippine court
...the Islamic terrorist group Abu Sayyaf as among those who kidnapped her, her husband, Martin, and others from a resort in Palawanin May 2001. Martin Burnham was killed June 7, 2002, during a military rescue operation. Abu Sayyaf, which means "father...

Former hostage has written two books
...we wanted to stay," Burnham says. The couple even decided to spend their 18th wedding anniversary at a rustic resort on Palawan Island. Martin had just returned from the United States but agreed to substitute for another pilot in need. A friend had...

Religion: Kidnap victim to speak of ordeal
...serving with New Tribes Mission in the Philippines, were celebrating their 18th wedding anniversary at Dos Palmas Resort off PalawanIsland, at the time they were kidnapped. The couple's three children weren't with them at the time.After they were...

FINDING OF BODIES DENIED; Fate of us Missionaries Lost in ...
In Chicago, The Associated Press reported, the secretary of the New TribesMission, which the missing men represented, said that he had telephoned to. the ...View free preview
January 17, 1944 - The New York Times Magazine - Article - Article - Article - Article - Article - Print Headline: "FINDING OF BODIES DENIED; Fate of U. S. Missionaries Lost in Bolivia a Mystery"

Missionary Group Left Miami for Venezuela June 9
Ten adults, most of them members of the New Tribes Mission, Chico, Calif., and five children left l2iami aboard a DC-3 at 11:30 am June 9. View free preview
June 19, 1950 - The New York Times Magazine - Article - Article - Article - Article - Article - Article - Print Headline: "PLANE WITH 15 MISSING; Missionary Group Left Miami for Venezuela June 9"

The word came to the New Tribes mission here from two of its representatives at , Venezuela, Robert Shaylor and Carlton Hilker, whose wife and three children ... View free preview
July 16, 1950 - The New York Times Magazine - Article - Article - Article - Article - Article - Article - Article -Print Headline: "BURNED PLANE FOUND AT VENEZUELA BORDER"

Group examining wreckage of plane that struck Rocky Mount Moran in the Grand Tetons in Wyoming with twenty-one members of the New Tribes Mission of ... View free preview
August 9, 1951 - The New York Times Magazine - Article - Article - Article - Article - Article - Article - Article - Article - Print Headline: "CLIMBERS REACH AIRLINER THAT CRASHED LAST NOVEMBER"

  • [PDF]...Major Conservative Groups The conservative groupings include the Southern Baptist, the Wycliffe Bible Translators, the New Tribes Mission, the Evangelical ...View free preview
    November 21, 1968 - By GEORGE DUGANSpecial to The New York Times - The New York Times Magazine - Article - Article - Article - Article - Article - Article - Article - Article - Article - Print Headline: "U.S. Missionairies Facing Showdown on Identity; Delegates at Assembly Weigh Pulpit vs. Service Roles and 'De-Westernizing'"

  • AROUND THE WORLD - Rebels in Colombia May Free 3 Americans ...

    Four members of the New Tribes Mission based in Sanford, Fla., were kidnapped Oct. 5 but Paul Dye, 45 years old, a pilot from Saginaw, Mich., ...

  • asuncion journal; in paraguay's jungle, no letup in battle for souls

    For the Florida-based New Tribes Mission, which runs the Campo Loro ...On the other hand, critics of the New Tribes Mission, including lay ...

  • 15 Foreigners Freed By Liberian Rebels

    The missionaries were working near the two nations' border for the New TribesMission, based in Sanford, Fla., when they were seized by ...

  • Rebels in Colombia Kidnap 2 U.S. Missionaries

    the two pastors, Stephen Welsh and Timothy Van Dyke, who belong to the Florida-based New Tribes Mission. Mr. Welsh is from North Platte, ...

  • Bodies of 2 Americans Found in Colombia

    The missionaries worked for New Tribes Mission of Sanford, Fla. The group closed its missions in Colombia after the kidnapping near ...
  • The Wycliffe Bible Translators aren't a cult, and there's no reason to think that they are a C.I.A. front either. The Wycliffe Bible Translators and the Summer Institute of Linguistics, a closely related organizations, send out people to areas where there are obscure languages with no writing systems and no literature in the language available. These people (who are usually referred to as missionaries, although their job is different from most missionaries) spend several years with thise groups. The missionaries are trained in linguistics, particularly in what's called field linguistics. They work with the speakers of these languages until they understand the phonology, the grammar, the morphology, the semantics, and the vocabulary of the language well enough that they can write an introductory textbook on the language, a dictionary, and, most importantly, a translation of the Bible into that language. These (so-called) missionaries are told specifically that their job is not to waste their time trying to convert the speakers of these languages. Their job is to prepare the way for future missionaries who will do that. Once they have done sufficient work on the grammar, the dictionary, and the Bible translation, they return to their native country, possibly to be sent on to another language area doing the same thing again.

    For some interesting insight on these people, you might want to read Daniel Everett's book, Don't Sleep There Are Snakes. He's hardly a tremendous fan of the organization, since he slowly decided that he was an atheist. You might decide that these people are naive, misguided, or stupid from reading Everett's book, but they aren't evil or part of some weird conspiracy:

    September 1, 1995, Christianity Today, Wycliffe Denies CIA Connection, by Rusty Wright,

    A new book surfaces allegations that Wycliffe Bible Translators founder W. Cameron Townsend and former Vice President Nelson Rockefeller left a wake of death and destruction during decades of activity in the Third World.

    In "Thy Will Be Done" (HarperCollins), Gerard Colby and Charlotte Dennett accuse the pair of courting right-wing dictators, aiding the Central Intelligence Agency, destroying indigenous cultures, and ignoring genocide. The 900-page book traces 70 years of intrigue involving oil, big business, politics, ecology, Bible translation, and evangelism.

    The work focuses on Rockefeller's efforts at political and economic influence in Latin America and Townsend's goal of translating the Bible into every tongue. The authors claim that Wycliffe's related organization, the Summer Institute of Linguistics (SIL), was repeatedly used to "pacify" Indian tribes and help pave the way for commercial exploitation of resources, thus threatening the Amazon rain forest. The authors allege SIL, by introducing the Bible and Christianity, destroyed tribal beliefs and customs, often leading to "degradation, ethnocide, and even extinction." Colby and Dennett strongly imply CIA-SIL connections in Latin America, but admit the charges lack proof.

    Cameron Townsend (1896-1982) founded Wycliffe and SIL in 1934. Now with more than 5,000 active members, Wycliffe handles personnel and financial development while SIL conducts field translation projects. Wycliffe spokesperson Arthur Lightbody says the claims made against Townsend and SIL are "without foundation." "Research supplied by Wycliffe historians shows that there was no association between Rockefeller and Townsend." He also contends that where SIL sends teams, "The cultural groups have a better chance of survival as they become literate, learn proper health techniques, and receive moral insight from Scripture."

    Townsend's practice—and still SIL's policy—was to enter nations as guests of governments under contracts to place indigenous languages into written form and enhance literacy. Governments often provide logistical support for SIL.
    November 22, 2005, Get Religion, 

    Sorting out the mission,

    The “He said she said” story can be one of the most difficult for a journalist to root out. One side says one thing and the other does their best to contradict. The lazy reporter will do little to resolve the difference, offering little evidence and a handful of quotes that offer an equal number of lines for each side. But does that really serve the reader?
    Ignorant quotes by sources who don’t know what they are talking about or lack the credibility to speak on the subject do little public good, but it’s easy to find Mr. Other Side to spout off in support of or against a position in the name of balance. The dedicated hard-working reporter, or something along those lines, searches out The Truth, or the best version they can come up with by press time.
    Such as the case in this solid bit of reporting by Chris Kraul of the Los Angeles Times. Here is the heart of the story:
    Last month, Chavez ordered the expulsion of about 200 evangelical Baptist missionaries from the country’s Amazon rain forest. He accused them of spying, mining, exploiting indigenous tribes and using jungle airstrips for “imperialist penetration.” Last week, the missionaries were given 90 days to leave the zone.

    Some observers see the expulsion, which targeted the Florida-based New Tribes Mission and its offshoots, as a part of a hardening attitude toward religious groups since U.S. televangelist Pat Robertson suggested in August that someone assassinate Chavez. The Utah-based Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints announced last month that it had withdrawn all 219 of its U.S. missionaries from the country because of increasing delays and difficulty in obtaining or renewing visas.
    Chavez has also sparred with the Roman Catholic Church. Retired Cardinal Rosalio Castillo Lara, a Venezuelan who was a confidant of the late Pope John Paul II, has accused Chavez of being increasingly autocratic.
    I guess Chavez never received the memo that Tmatt has called forRobertson’s excommunication. But there is something deeper to Chavez’s hostility towards the missionaries. It involves the country’s inability to provide basic social services to its poor. Here are those on Chavez’s side:
    Some anthropologists and government officials cheered Chavez’s action, saying the expulsion was a welcome conclusion to a 60-year debate in Venezuela over whether the evangelicals threaten cultural diversity by forcing assimilation and modernity on the tribes, even as they deliver much-needed services.
    They say the problems posed by the missionaries are not espionage or unbridled capitalism, but the religious and behavioral changes that the missionaries force on tribes in exchange for material and medical help. Those changes are destroying tribes’ primitive rituals and robbing people of what the United Nations has termed world cultural patrimony, the critics claim.
    “New Tribes activity amounts to cultural genocide for which the state has to share responsibility,” anthropologist and former Sen. Alexander Luzardo said in an interview in Caracas, the capital.
    Did Kraul bother to ask Greenwood whether they required “religious and behavioral changes” in order to receive material and medical help? And what were those behavioral changes? Last time I checked, it was the missionaries in India that fought to end the Hindu practice of sati, where the a widow would allow herself to be burned alive on her husband’s funeral pyre. Kraul did part of his job and went to Greenwood and to those who support his work:
    Ingrid Turon, a city council member and member of the Yeguana indigenous community in the village of Toki, six hours by outboard motorboat from here, said those who oppose missionaries want to deprive indigenous people of the advantages of modern life.
    “For them, we are like animals in the zoo that people should pay to come see, so they can charge admission, publish their books and take pictures,” Turon said. “They want to deny us the progress that they want, that the entire world wants.”
    Greenwood, the missionary, said living among the Indians as a “friend and neighbor” gives him a different — and, he said, more caring — perspective than that of the anthropologists who visit periodically to study the communities and their customs.
    “That’s where we are a little bit critical of the scientists who look on the Yanomami as a classroom project. These aren’t objects — these are people,” Greenwood said. “If you have a textbook approach to them, rather than relational, the Indians suffer as a result.”
    Greenwood didn’t deny that he wanted to teach the Indians the Bible, which has been translated to the Yanomami language, and to show them the “way of the Lord.” Those teachings include discouraging Yanomami from taking alcoholic or hallucinatory substances, from committing polygamy and incest, and from engaging in inter-tribal violence.
    But he insisted that none of the Indians in Cuwa were denied clothing, food or medicine for failing to follow his religious teachings.
    I have trouble determining the veracity of both side’s statements. Who are these people and what are their relationships to both the government and to the missionaries? There isn’t enough time or space to vet either side’s claims so the reader is forced to make a judgment, which usually resorts to already-established biases or perceptions.
    The remaining part of the story relies on what must have been more than a couple days worth of reporting and observing the Greenwood’s at work. Snippets of their daily lives seem to back up their claims that they are trying to provide basic services while sharing their faith with those in the community. While Kraul doesn’t come right out and say it, the reader who finishes the piece should come away knowing that they have a better idea of the truth.


    December 6, 2000, Religion Today, Tribe Rises "From Fear to Faith",

    A tribe of spirit worshipers in the Philippines has traveled a long road in 20 years -- from fear to faith.
    ...The 30,000 Higaunon people in 1981 lived in fear of evil spirits that brought sickness, disaster, and condemnation to a hellish afterlife. Now there is a growing Christian community of several hundred people in 13 churches in 10 villages, Sanford, Fla.-based New Tribes Mission reported.
    ..."It is wonderful to see what the Lord has done there - it's an incredible story," the ministry's Oli Jacobsen told Religion Today. He was the field chairman in the Philippines in 1981 and helped select the Higaunon tribe for a missionary visit.
    ...The Higaunon of Mindanao island feared spirits they believed inhabited rocks and trees. The spirits, they believed, had to be appeased to ward off sickness and disaster, according to New Tribes. The tribe feared death most of all and relied on special spirits to tell them what rituals to perform and laws to observe to avoid going to a terrible place after they died.
    ...They also worshiped ancestral spirits that were said to protect the village from natural disasters and bring good crops. Shamans, who claimed to hear the spirits, controlled the people, telling them what they had done to deserve punishment and how to atone for their transgressions, according to New Tribes.
    ...Rituals sometimes involved child sacrifice. A baby born with the umbilical cord wrapped around its neck was considered a bad omen and had to be buried immediately to ward off sickness, Imbos Asihagan told New Tribes. "We didn't like doing this because often we hear the baby screaming for a long time under the ground," she said.
    ...Many people fled in fear when New Tribes missionaries Ron and Michelle Jennings first visited Baligiyan, a Higaunon village in the mountains of central Mindanao. "Our parents had told us that white people were demons in disguise who would befriend us and later on cook us all in a great big pot and eat us," said Naytiwagas, a tribal elder.
    ...The village shaman, Salvador, played a role in convincing the people to let the missionaries stay. Years earlier he had a vision "from the good spirits" that a man would come from far away bringing a book that would "show the way of life," New Tribes reported. Salvador believed the Jenningses were a fulfillment of that message and encouraged them to stay.
    ...The Jenningses lived with the Higaunon, learned the language, and got to know the people. "Their children played with our children and we became fond of them as if they were our own," an elder said. They suffered the same trials as the villagers, such as sickness and the threat of attacks by rebel groups, he said. "They didn't gain anything by being with us except a lot of problems. But they stayed and we wondered why."
    ...After two years they began holding semiweekly Bible classes. The Jenningses taught the tribes the biblical accounts of the creation of the world, Adam and Eve, and the origin of sin. When they heard about Satan and how he holds out empty promises to people "we knew this was describing our spirits because that is exactly what they are like," an elder said.
    ...The tribe embraced the message of Christ and believed in His death to save people from sin and hell, New Tribes said. "We were so happy. All we could talk about was what Jesus had done for us and how we now saw the truth so clearly," Naha Tinaghanaw said. Three missionary families have since joined the Jenningses to train the Higaunon Christians to grow in the their new faith.
    ...Christians in Baligiyan started taking the gospel message to other Higaunon villages. One man, Mosing, loved to go to the villages to teach about Christ, and many people were becoming Christians through his ministry, New Tribes said. Communist rebels, fearful of the growing church, warned him to stop but he refused and was murdered in 1985, the ministry said.
    ...The church continues to grow and deliver more people from spirit worship. Giving up cultural practices and values is difficult, "but that is the way it is in any culture," Jacobsen said. "It's no different in the United States. Just because someone gets saved doesn't mean they stop being materialistic overnight.",  New Tribes Mission, USA / NTM-USA

    History Back to top ]

    NTM expresses its history as follows:
    God started a fire in the soul of NTM founder Paul Flemming during his time as a missionary in Malaya. He saw mission efforts in the cities, but very little done for ethnic groups hindered from hearing the Gospel by location and language barriers. Complications from malaria weakened Paul to the point that doctors recommended he be sent home to the US to die. Back at home, God used Paul to spread a fiery passion for the tribes as Paul challenged Christians with the needs of the unreached. God raised Paul back to health and at the same time raised others to join with him in reaching people who have no access to the Gospel.
    Most mission agencies of the time focused on cities. Paul and the others wanted to give ethnic groups a chance to hear the Gospel as well. Eventually, in 1942, Paul, "Doc" Lance Latham and four others trusted God to establish NTM, even though they had no funds or organization behind them. Paul wrote, "It seemed that the Lord had pushed us into something and we were confident that no man started New Tribes Mission; the Lord brought it into existence in spite of us."
    Simple trust in God continues to be central to New Tribes Mission. Today more than 3,000 missionaries serve throughout the world, steadfast in their goal to take the Gospel to unreached people groups.
    May 9, 2011 ... New Tribes Mission, one of the largest Christian missionary organizations in the world, was sued Monday in Seminole County by a woman who ...

    September 2, 2010

    New Tribes Mission Confronts '80s Sex-abuse Allegations

    A report says that children whose parents were missionaries in Africa were abused at a boarding school.
    At least 50 children were sexually and physically abused at a boarding school in Senegal, Africa, in the 1980s, according to a new report.
    The report estimates that 22 to 27 children whose parents were missionaries for Florida-based New Tribes Mission were sexually abused while 35 were physically and emotionally abused.
    New Tribes had retained Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment (GRACE) to conduct the study and acknowledged that there was abuse. The report says children were not allowed to complain about the school's conditions.
    "They were repeatedly told by those in authority at Fanda that such complaints would hinder their parents' work and result in Africans going to hell," the report said. "In some cases, their letters were censored of all bad news in the name of the Lord's work. The authority of Fanda dorm parents over the children was allowed to trump that even of the parents in their children's lives."
    The GRACE report said "no documented efforts were taken to notify local or US authorities regarding criminal actions found in the study."
    New Tribes spokeswoman Nita Zelenak said that no one was charged criminally for the allegations. “Because these abuses happened overseas, when we reported them in the United States, we were told that they couldn’t be prosecuted in the U.S.,” she told CT.
    She said that New Tribes employees would report the names of offenders and would describe what happened. “In each case, it was explained that because it happened overseas, they could not act on it,” she said.
    Some of the alleged abusers named in the GRACE report are still with New Tribes, Zelenak said, noting that the report mentioned new names the organization was not aware of.
    New Tribes issued a statement on its website, stating it began implementing recommendations made by GRACE in its report.
    GRACE recommended that New Tribes establish a standing fund of $1 million for victims.
    It recommends that the organization terminate membership for those still affiliated with New Tribes.
    Zelenak said that New Tribes has not paid damages to any children related to the abuse allegations but she said the organization has paid for counseling and other expenses.
    "We are deeply saddened by the extent of the abuse reported by GRACE," New Tribes said in astatement. "Individuals in our organization abused children. People in leadership at the time were culpable through inadequate screening and training, creating an atmosphere of legalism and autocracy, and not addressing the abuse properly. This means that we as an organization are responsible and have sinned against these students."
    Scott Moreau, professor of missions at Wheaton College, says that on one hand, when this comes up in missions, "it makes a huge splash."
    "On the other, it feels to me like it comes up roughly once a decade or so, so it's not 'common' considering how many agencies and missionaries there are around the world," he said. "As expected, it is devastating to the individuals, the organizations, and even the accused."
    The Orlando Sentinel first reported the story today.
    Earlier this year, Wess Stafford, president of Compassion International, wrote of his childhood abuse in a West Africa boarding school and CT has covered earlier allegations.


    Thank you for posting this article. I would like to mention that the abuse did not only happen in the 80's, but up until the school closed down in '97.
    More than 20 years later, we, the mk's from Fanda, are speaking out against this. You can find many of our stories on our blog at

    This is just heart breaking. I really pray that the Lord will speak to the leadership at NTM and that they will follow through with the recommendations given by GRACE. Thanks for making people aware through this article.

    Scott Moreau's comments hopefully were edited into something that sounds a little more jaded than I'd hope his original thoughts and comments were.
    The more I think about this issue, the more I think we should be torches and pitchforks about even a hint of this kind of activity. Absolutely ruthless about rooting this out. There cannot be effective ministry while sin this egregious exists within a body. It is, like the sin of David, a compounding sin--the original travesty combined with the integrity-eroding cover-ups.
    I mean it's not like there isn't a macro-version of this exact problem going on worldwide as we speak. The Roman Catholic Church may very well not survive the next 100 years in anything like the form we've seen it be in large part due to their self-inflicted wounds in protecting the exact wrong people in the transaction of molestation.

    I've been in NTM since I was small and grew up in a boarding school that was loaded with the same abuse and coverups. Altho I was careful, my girls went to Fanda and experienced abuse. Because of two girls from Fanda and the creation of this story is finally out in the open. They have done a great job and we thank them for it and for your sharing the story. For more information you can go to fandaeagles and ask to speak with Kari or Bonnie

    I appreciate your coverage of the abuse story coming out of the New
    Tribes Mission school. I attended the Fanda school for many years and
    was a victim of abuse there. I would like to point out one error in
    your article - New Tribes never actually reported the incidents to the
    US authorities as you said in your last paragraph. They called a
    hotline, which GRACE notes in footnote 339 of their investigatory
    report: "Calls to state hot lines are no substitute for documentable
    reporting to the authorities. This is especially true in this case,
    as the hotlines were called without disclosing the names of the perps
    but simply to inquire if the reports would be taken - which they were
    This is an especially important point to those of us who want this
    story told - New Tribes Mission did not act legally or responsibly in
    light of many, many complaints, and even hid the issue for many years,
    to the extent of destroying documents and offering the pedophiles
    legal support. All this is clear in the 3rd party report GRACE
    released last week.

    The fact that some of these abusers are still employed by New Tribes Mission today is not only inexcusable, it is criminal. They are lucky they haven't been sued for millions of dollars yet. Makes me ill!

    Excellent point joie: "we were told these weren't prosecutable." If this is verbatim, and I'm capturing the level of enthusiasm properly, I've seen people be more dogged in getting their health costs covered by their insurance or in pursuing a rebate from Best Buy than in reporting a gross criminal offense which would severely hamstring your effectiveness achieving at your stated goal as a Mission.

    This was not just in the 80s and because of the coverup, which is documented, it has deeply affected all of us that were in Senegal. As for this being "uncommon" it is more common than you would think, it is just always being hushed and pushed under the rug. Thankfully, because of the Fanda Eagles, victims are being given a voice and they are starting to come forward. The Mks were told that there was really nothing that could be done since it was so long ago, but if you read the GRACE report there is a lot that could have and can be done. Please go to to read the stories of what really happened. This is not "regressed memories" just now coming out. The memories were always there, we are just now being given the chance to speak out.

    While it is, um...generous of NTM to admit that the horrible physical, sexual, emotional and spiritual abuses were "not handled properly" when the many reports were first brought to them, their spokesperson makes no mention of New Tribes Mission's deceptive cover-up that lasted over 20 years, their deliberate destroying of documents to try to avoid the abuse being exposed, and the fact that many of the perpetrators named in the 3rd party report are still employees of New Tribes Mission to this day. This is unacceptable behavior for any organization, religious or otherwise!

    @Disgusted, your lack of understanding of abuse, its effect on an individual, and even of the facts themselves in this case is stunning. If you read GRACE's report, you'll see attempts were made by the victims and families to report this to the mission in the 1990s, and again later.
    If this organization repeatedly ignores the abuse going on right under its nose, few strategies are left to prevent New Tribes from allowing more kids to be abused in the future. Making the story public is one of them. Silence on the victims' part--on the part of all of us--will only create new victims, while speaking out might actually save lives.
    I would choose my words, and my opinions, more carefully if I were you.

    Scott Moreau, I wish your statements were accurate. I have been an advocate for survivors of missionary boarding schools for 20 years. I have not heard of one boarding school that has not had a culture of child abuse similar to the Fanda school. You do not hear the stories because survivors of these schools are reluctant to tell their stories. As well, the mission agencies whose policies sent their children to boarding schools refuse to initiate independent investigations of each of their boarding schools, thus inviting the alumni to come forward to speak of their abuses. The investigation of Fanda School happened because we are in the era of the internet. The internet gives new hope for former missionary kids whose lives were decimated by profound abuse at these religious schools - hope that they will have a place to tell their stories; hope that justice will occur for them and healing will happen; hope that mission agencies can no longer hide from the world the culture of abuse that exists within their institutions. From a board member of MK Safety Net, Inc

    As horrible as this abuse is, the GRACE report was not only inaccuate on many counts, but they spread slander about innocent people all over the web. They should be sued! Many of the people that were alleged offenders had no idea of any complants against them and were never contacted by GRACE to hear their side of the story. That is not a 'Godly Response' to anything!!! I am so upset for the many hurt by this report. As sorry as I am for the abuse victims, the gross inaccuacy of this report was appalling to someone who knows everyone mentioned and who lived at Fanda during this time. If you all want the truth to be told, do a proper investigation next time and stop twisting the truth to make things look worse then they were. And if you end up with your hands out for money, your motives are loud and clear!

    @Where's the TRUTH?
    How amusing that you admit that the abuse happened and then accuse GRACE of slander in the same sentence. First of all, they cannot be sued for printing documents that were given to them by New Tribes Mission - perhaps you should want to sue NTM instead for not checking their facts before they gave the documents to the 3rd party investigator they hired? Your comment speaks of a gut-reaction defense of people you know and care about, and I feel for you. It's a terrible situation for so many. However, GRACE can at least back up the things they say in their report with documentation and you cannot. So you are technically slandering GRACE.

    Wow, that Scott Moreau seems like a nice chap, doesn't he? A huge splash, but not common. That's his reaction to this story of abuse in a missionary school and such deceit in the extensive burial of the facts for so long? Then again, it's probably in his best interest to stay out of such things, getting people into missions bringing in his paycheck and all.
    That said, I am appalled by the horrific nature of this report. There are no words. I find it commendable that no victim has requested money, even though it seems the report left it open for it, with their 'arbitration' recommendations. Most of all, I find it immensely sad that the Christian world still falls so far behind the secular in dealing with abuse within its organizations. What a slap in the face of Jesus.

    @ Where's the Truth
    I too lived there and I too know the people mentioned and I'm not as shocked as you seem to be. I was saddened at some of the names because I know them as good people. But they did do what they have been accused of doing and just like anyone else they have to face the consequences.
    Notice that GRACE didn't recommend action against everyone accused. This is because they weren't able to substantiate all of the accusations. The ones they recommended action against were substantiated.

    I am shocked by Wheaton professor Scott Moreau's statement that "it feels to me like roughly once a decade or so it's not common." We have regularly heard from MKs from many denominations/Mission agencies since we started the MK Safety Net website in the late 1990s. As a matter of fact, we heard from MKs from over 40 denominations/agencies who sought our support in dealing with their abuse at the boarding schools.On behalf of the MK Safety net I wrote letters to about 40 Mission agencies and denominations and asked them to provide us with their documents about how they protected their MKs -very few responded and they are posted.Sad you don't know!

    To report or not to report:
    I heard about this one guy in NTM that was reported to the local authorities for looking down on NTM, disobeying NTM, and not respecting NTM! Supposedly they ignored the guy’s offer to resolve the matter until it went to court. Then suddenly they corrected the matter and gave him a cash settlement! Now if NTM reports people for looking down on them, disobeying them, and not respecting them why wouldn’t they report child abuse????? I’d like to see NTM comment on this. Thank you!!

    From Page 66 of 67 on GRACE's official report
    "GRACE is also grateful to the current leadership of New Tribes Mission for
    seeking an independent assessment of abuse at the Fanda boarding school. GRACE
    took this assignment only on the condition that we would be completely
    independent, and that our report and recommendations would be issued
    simultaneously to the MKs and NTM. In accepting these conditions, NTM has
    exposed itself to enormous vulnerability. As difficult as that decision was, the
    decisions before NTM are no less difficult, with much more at stake."
    NTM approached GRACE to do this investigation. The only way most of you are able to comment on this matter is by way of the NTM itself. Think about it.

    My heart aches for our many former co-workers in NTM who have been accused and face the recommendations set forth in the final report by GRACE. But that ache joins the 25 years of complete sorrow we have endured dealing with the guilt of having put our children in the New Tribes Missionary School in Senegal, believing we were following God's will for our lives and for the lives of our children. Throughout the NTM training and over and over again during our eighteen years with the Mission we were told, "Just trust God, the school is the best place for your children. You will be freed up to do your ministry in the Tribe." Has anyone wondered why the Church in Senegal is not growing? Its been some 65 years since they entered the country.

    "[GRACE] recommends that the organization terminate membership for those still affiliated with New Tribes."
    This statement is not entirely accurate. For many of these people, GRACE only recommends that "active membership" be terminated. Presumably, those so terminated will retain some formal affiliation with NTM, since 10% of the donations made to their ministry will be deducted for the MK Fund. See page 80 of the GRACE report for an example.

    Gigi, NTM would nto have not have hired GRACE if it werent for preasure from Fanda MK's.

    Christianity Today Liveblog
    Previewing your Comment
    Scott Moreau is correct that when the reality of abuse in MK schools and communities has come out in the past, it has made "a huge splash". I hope this time it has initiated a tsunami that won't be contained until the abuse that has occurred in many MK schools and communities has been investigated and the mission culture changes.
    MK's from many denominations, mission agencies and schools have reported being abused to MkSafetynet ( Most of those MK's also want their reports of abuse to be professionally investigated by an organization like GRACE, and to know that their perpetrators will no longer have access to children.
    Two gifted, courageous women, Kari and Bonnie, have an understanding of social networking which was key in making the investigation into Fanda and New Tribes Mission a reality. They are showing us how to make this more than just a "huge splash", after which missions continue to treat abuse like sin, rather than crime, as it actually is. Scott Moreau, you will not have to wait for 10 years before the next story breaks.
    Beverly Shellrude Thompson

    @ haha who "knows two MKs who attend Wheaton right now".
    Please ask them to considder telling there story at the website in the forums section, or to contact the creators of the sight at

    I am glad this report and this news is getting out. My hope is that through the work of the Fanda Eagles many children in Christian organisations around the world will be protected from such atrocities.

    New Tribes Mission posted this on their website: "Individuals in our organization abused children. People in leadership at the time were culpable through inadequate screening and training, creating an atmosphere of legalism and autocracy, and not addressing the abuse properly. This means that we as an organization are responsible and have sinned against these students."
    I agree that the organization is responsible. NTM was responsible when the abuse occurred, it was responsible when it was covered up and it was responsible when leaders continued to pressure missionaries around the world to put their children in the boarding schools, knowing full well that these were not the safe havens they pretended them to be. NTM was responsible to report criminal behavior to local authorities, something it has never done. There is certainly a lot of responsibility on NTM. However, NTM's statement goes both too far and not far enough...
    I would question the competence of any Christian leader who would say that an organization has sinned. Organizations can do a lot: as "juristic entities," organizations can enter into contracts, own real estate, hire people and even commit crimes. But, they cannot sin. Sin, as salvation, is a personal issue. Organizations, by their very nature, cannot pray, cannot repent, cannot get saved, cannot walk with the Lord, cannot be filled with the Spirit and cannot sin. Does the statement on their website really reflect the theology of NTM leadership? Missionaries? What are they teaching tribal people around the world?
    I would also question the honesty of omitting to mention, specifically and clearly, that the sins and crimes were covered up. This is no time for euphemisms. Trying to hide a cover up under the general heading of "inadequate training" and "not addressing the abuse properly" is disingenuous and shameful. A moment's reflection would have told any unbiased human being that a dorm mother who forced children to eat their own vomit should have been fired, never mind a dorm father who molested young girls in his care. How much training would that take?

    In my previous post, I made a mistake. The MK Safety Net sent questionnaires to about 25 Mission agencies (not 40) asking them to respond to questions about their polices to prevent abuse and deal with justice with those adults who were abused when MKs in boarding schools. About 1/3 of them responded. Scott Moreau's statement that the abuse is "not common" should be changed to state that the investigation of abuse of MKs by a Mission agencies is "not common". At this time I only know of 4 Mission agencies who have had independent investigations. I think every Mission agency that wants the truth needs to have an independent investigation. I wish every person who chooses to have children and also be a missionary could be warned of the probability of their children being abuse if they send them to a Mission boarding school, especially at a young age. I was a missionary parent 55 years ago and "if I had only known" but I didn't. I only know that the pain of my not knowing about Mamou and the abuse of the Alliance will never stop. It is an indelible part of life.

    Question have you quoted Scott Moreau correctly did he actually say "it makes a huge splash." Is that the whole of his comments. If so it is no wonder that missions and churches think that abusing children is of little importance. I communicates that this is just being done to get attention. I was abused at Mamou Guinea a Christian and Missionary Alliance school. It takes years before a MK will even tell their story of abuse, none of the MKS I know want it to be splashed in the media but it seems to be the only way to encourage churches and missions to act in a godly manner.
    Hopefully Wheaton and other Christian Colleges will begin to train their future leaders about how to react to the sin of child abuse in a legal and Christian way. Do we really have the right way of dealing with sin? Are we more correct than other religions? Our actions seem to say if you cover up your sins God wont notice.

    While I attended an MK school in the 90s, there was a small incident (at least that was what we were told) that was dealt with immediately in which the RA who was accused of inappropriate contact was sent back to the States in short order. While I do not know exactly what happened (nor should I), this particular MK school appeared to do a good job in handling issues of abuse.
    However, I have heard many stories of other MK boarding schools where a large percentage of students ended up as drug addicts, alcoholics, or in jail. From the stories I was told, very few (if any) survived board school unscathed and their lives were ruined. Thank you CT for bringing up the plight of the abused MK. In the future, a broader conversation needs to be had about the overall effects of MK boarding schools, legalism, bunker mentality among missionary families, and cross-cultural upbringing of MKs. Again thank you CT for your efforts. Finally, may the Word go forth to the nations and may only more people hear the call to share the good news as a new day dawns where missionaries know better how to raise their children in other cultures.

    As of today, many of the perpetrators mentioned in GRACE's report are still members in good standing of New Tribes Mission. How can they pat themselves on the back for taking the word of God to the nations while they have these people as employees. I stand in awe, and not in a good way.

    Well, New Tribes may have said in the above article that they started implementing GRACE's recommendations, but they have not only not terminated the folks mentioned, it appears they are still allowing them to "serve" and have active involvement in business dealings. According to a comment on the blog, the Senegal field prayer letter was sent out this week.
    "This letter is compiled and and published and sent out to a mailing list. The person who sends this out is Frank Stottlemyer, the man who was the Field Chairman at the height of all of the sexual abuse in Fanda. We find it very odd that there was only one mention regarding this situation, and credit is to be given to one family who said that while they are here in the States on furlough, they had read the GRACE report and asked for prayers. One would think that somewhere in the newsletter Frank Stottlemyer would at least mention the situation and the seriousness of it, and share some sort of brokenness and ask for prayer, especially since a prayer/newsletter such as this goes to pretty much all missionaries and/or supporters who have an interest in the particular field they represent, in this case, Senegal."
    Frank Stottlemyer is named in GRACE's report as one of the people who not only knew of the abuse and did nothing, but destroyed documentation in efforts to cover the whole thing up. He is recommended to be retroactively terminated, yet this week he sends out the prayer letter. New Tribes Mission does NOT seem to be taking this seriously at all!

    @ An Opinion
    NTM retracted their spin on the "fact" that they hired GRACE all on their own, and that it was their idea. You will find on NTM's website, this: “We’re thankful to those former Fanda students who were persistent in their efforts to encourage us to seek an outside review of the abuse.”

    Also on NTM's site:
    “We also need to correct an error in previous public statements. These have referred to abuse that took place at Fanda in the 1980s, but the report includes abuse that took place in the 1990s as well. We apologize for the error.”

    Thank you, Christianity Today, for creating the "splashes" about MK abuse that get everyone's attention. You broke the story about Mamou in 1994, you covered the retreat sponsored by the C&MA for those abused there, you reviewed the documentary All God's Children and, more recently, Wess Stafford's story was on your cover.
    However, it distresses me that the Missions Department at Wheaton, the flagship school of the evangelical world, has seen only a few splashes and has not bothered to research and address the underlying theological reasons for what has occured. I have said it often: Evangelical organizations know how to go to the heathen and teach them about repentance and how to live for Christ. Don't expect them to apply those same principles to themselves.
    Dianne Couts, Mamou alumni, participant in the documentary All God's Children

    God bless "fandaeagles", please persevere for the sake of all MK's. Praise the Lord for internet. I vaguely hearing of some preachers who called it an instrument of the devil but God has used it for good. Jesus certainly taught that children were far more important than adults because if you cause one to stumble a millstone should be hung around the neck and dropped into the sea. And, what is done in secret should be SHOUTED from the rooftops. Every leader & board member of all the agencies where these crimes have occured should publicly and in written letter ask forgiveness from each one of these present and former students and that these letters and names of the guilty should be published in their own publications and also in magazines like Christianity Today and posted by the agency on the internet. Besides financial settlement there needs to be a complete "cleaning of house" in order for the agency to have a clean slate. As a grandmother of MK's I am grateful that their parents demanded accountability from the adults and openess from the students. A dorm parent should be a calling with extensive training and be taken seriously by a mission board and certainly not a couple pulled out of their "work" to serve as a dorm parent which causes them to become resentful. Homeschooling until 9th grade seems to be the most logical solution then move near the academy for the high schooling which is intended for the MK to immerse into the western culture to prepare for college. Thank you CT for bringing this out in the open and please continue your vigilance in this horendous matter.

    In my communication with Scott Moreau, professor of missions at Wheaton College I got the feeling this is considered not of great importance. They do teach options for schooling children. And I guess talk about it in Spiritual Conflict and Issues and Trends in Missions. But in the two emails I received from Mr Moreau the child abuse of children did not seem to be of great importance.
    What about the many MKs who go to Wheaton who have been abused do they brush them off also.

    SHAME ON MISSION AGENCIES AND MISSIONARIES!!!! WAKE UP, PEOPLE! STOP SENDING YOUR CHILDREN AWAY!! It's called HOMESCHOOLING!!! Ever heard of it??!! Especially to the mothers...God gave you your children, a gift from God, to raise, nurture, PROTECT, and raise YOURSELF!! They are your FIRST mission field, your FIRST ministry! If you can't raise your children unto the Lord and protect them, you have NO BUSINESS being a missionary to the lost world. How are you being an example as a Godly family to the world if you THROW OUT your children like TRASH for someone else to take care of. I am a homeschooler and my husband and I have been called to missions overseas. We have been preparing for this for some time now. I will homeschool my children and reach out to the women and children in my community with the love of Christ. My husband will "work" full-time. MISSION AGENCIES: STOP PROMOTING THE SENDING AWAY OF MKS.!!
    These sad stories are unfortunately predictable, expected and common. Even Wess Stafford of Compassion Int.talks of extreme abuse in the boarding school he grew up in years ago!

    “The new man in charge at New Tribes”?!
    As heard on WESH 2 Orlando, Breaking News TV (See Media Page on
    Ashamedly, we are members of this organization who are planning to leave on the basis of this new info. In our history of a couple of decades, we have observed cronyism. In reality, “this new man” reflects this concept. His parents went to Brazil under NTM in the late 1960’s. He himself served some years at Headquarters on the maintenance team. Eventually he worked up to a leadership position in Papua New Guinea. He has been around the mission for a long time! He is not “new.” We found this statement contrary to what the facts tell us.
    The broadcast also noted that NTM admitted to having a “culture of harshness” 20 years ago which they regret and refuse to repeat. It should say “as recently as 20 weeks ago” because we have reports from several fields that this IS still going on. Let’s not be deceived by the media. They want to create their own reality.*
    The Orlando Sentinental Article on Sept. 2 quotes comments regarding NTM made by the director of GRACE. All were quite favorable to NTM. That is curious because we remember that while the GRACE report did contain some positive comments about NTM, the majority of the summary statements were just the opposite. Was the reporting balanced?
    Even though the GRACE Report is on other blogs and websites, as well as being quoted in the news and on TV, NTM is still not allowing its members to share it with “outsiders.” It has been labelled ‘confidential’ and is not on their public website as yet.
    God has a good social commentary on actions such as this. In I Kings 14:21ff the rulers substituted nice bronze shields for the gold ones that had been carried off. God further comments on this deception----that they kept their idols on the high places and under every spreading tree. What was noticeably absent in the reporting about NTM in the media is that there was no plea for a vigorous plan to pursue and investigate all the other NTM fields: boarding schools and leadership. Neither has NTM mentioned doing this. Not even one high place is acceptable.
    *We include 2 recent posts from NTM Implementing Recommendations (
    How long ago did these take place?
    9/6: I am still an NTM member and have many friends who are doing wonderful work in tribal locations. I specifically chose a field to work on that had a progressive caring leadership. Unfortunately through international pressure and other issues the caring leaders have been forced to resign because they did not fit the NTM cookie cutter and since has (sic) been replaced with an autonomous leadership that resembles the leadership traits mentioned in the GRACE report. How gross.
    9/7: It has already been said by someone that for the EC (Executive Committee) to simply make a “new policy” that implements a more grace-filled leadership style is just not enough. That person went on to say that even though such a policy did actually come out in the 90s, the style of leadership on the foreign field did not change at all. Things simply continued on. 

    I am not an MK, I am not a survivor of abuse. Kari, your perseverance has paid off. I am so proud of you and every other MK who has been courageous enough to share their stories. Because of my involvement with MK Safety Net, I have seen the results of abuse of MKs at Mamou & other schools by Christian & Missionary Alliance personnel. As I read the GRACE Report, I found it quite easy to substitute CMA for NTM. If you are a member of a local church, especially the CMA, go to and educate yourself.

    We have grave concerns for MMKs and their parents who have experienced traumatic events while in the Lord's work. Recently we have published a book to help victims of trauma: Recovering from
    Traumatic Stress: A Guide for Missionaries. It is available through William Carey Library at and gives world-wide resources for those who need assistance with the resulting symptoms of trauma.

    I think ALL missionary boarding schools should be shut down.
    If you are a missionary parent, your child's place is in the field WITH YOU. Nowhere else.
    If you think your particular mission field is too dangerous for your kids, maybe God is not calling you to that field after all.
    There are millions of people in American cities who will die and go to the devil's hell if no one shares the gospel with them. Maybe that's where God would have you--and your children--make an eternal difference.

    I may be an outsider but trust me, I know a few things. First of all, I would caution people to be very sure of their facts before accusing someone who may be innocent. This can easily become a witch hunt and end up harming thousands of innocent, God-loving people who have sacrificed their own lives to serve Him. Careful. Do you want that on your hands?? Some of the past leaders at NTM did not do the right thing by these mk's, but to disparage the current leadership is a shame and a sin. I know for a fact that the current leadership, once it came to light, acted upon this immediately and openly. What they did NOT do was rashly jump in and accuse anyone publicly without gathering all the facts. This was done in the interest of protecting innocent people. It is an absolute fact that some of the accusations are unfounded and have been proven false. To put this out to the public before all the facts were in would have destroyed the lives of these innocent people. To say that "the new man in charge" isn't unbiased only proves that you don't know a darn thing about him or what he has done for these Fanda MK's. This man has put hours upon hours, day after day, month after month, of his undivided attention to this matter. He has been as broken over this and has suffered over this just the same as if it happened to him or one of his own children. He suffered immeasurable grief learning the details. This "new man" is reponsible for NTM leadership finally listening and believing in the Fanda mk's, so to disparage him in any way is a shame. You will never, ever know the suffering he and his family have gone through in handling this situation. This "new man" cares more than most people will ever realize. He and the current leadership have done all they possibly can in their power to be fair and open while still protecting innocent people. A handful of horrible people did horrible things 30 years ago and it is being addresses. However, there are thousands of good Christian people giving of their lives and doing God's work that need to be recognized. So, please, before you go spouting off with ugly accusations be sure you have your story right. If you haven't met the new leadership, go visit. They will welcome you with open arms and openess!

    The abuse, which took 13 months to investigate, is detailed in a 68-report released to the media in Orlando on Wednesday.
    "Our job was to investigate, very carefully the allegations and claims and records and all the data and information we could get, and determine if and how New Tribes failed in its dealings with child abuse at Fanda and its response to it," said Tchividjian, a former Central Florida prosecutor.
    New Tribes previous handling of the allegations, he said, was disappointing.
    But today, New Tribes, which invited GRACE to investigate, appears to be taking responsibility, said Tchividjian, who teaches law at Liberty University in Virginia.
    "They are taking this very, very seriously. I have personally been in the room where the leadership, more than one, has been in tears over this. Not in tears as in, we got caught, but tears because of the pain it has caused," he said.
    On Thursday, New Tribes CEO Larry Brown said his organization will follow the recommendations GRACE made in its report and continue to seek the group's advice.

    Interesting that comments in support of the current NTM leadership are being deleted. Tells me all I need to know about YOUR organization and fairness and honesty in reporting. Shame on you. Keep propragating this witch hunt and you'll burn in hell for your sins against God and the people doing His work.

    I'm an MK and I did just fine, thank you very much. To lump all the MK schools together with this one is ridiculous. I and my siblings treasure all the wonderful memories and amazing experiences we had and made many, many frienships that to this day are like family members. While we were separated from our parents while they did God's work, we became such a close family that to this day (30 +years later) we are as close as ever. None of us harbors ill feelings towards our parents for not "home schooling" us and we led balanced, educational and exciting lives. So, don't insult the majority of the MK's from New Tribes by saying that all the schools should be shut down. That's ridiculous and ignorant. I wouldn't change a thing about my experience growing up in NTM, and no, I'm not a current member. Just a happy, well adjusted person. Oh by the way, I WAS sexually abused a child. But, I kept it a secret and do to this day. I got over it and didn't feel the need to dump it on the heads of my entire family. It's done and done and I've led a well-adjusted and happy life regardless of the fact that some creep that was a family frend (NO, not a NTM missionary!) took advantage of me. This happened before we even entered the mission!!! It's over now and I decided long long ago that it was OVER. Enough already. YOU choose how to live your life. I did and life is good. I never felt the need to trash everyone in my path because I was a victim. I'm so sorry for the victims of the very few bad people in NTM. But, I don't believe a life time of bitterness and resentment is going to make you well. Only you can make the decision that the past is past. I did and I'm a happy and productive human being that isn't living in the past. Other than getting the culprits who are still within NTM out, which is now done, the rest is up to you. Life is short. Only you can decide how to spend yours.

    Word has come in the last couple days that New Tribes Mission intends to self investigate abuse at other schools and not use an independent investigator. This is unacceptable. No one except New Tribes trusts New Tribes. Their history of coverups extends far beyond Fanda. At school after school children were abused even after NTM knew of the abusers. One day, the abusers and their enablers, will face a just and holy God and be forced to account for their deeds and the souls of the MKs who they turned away from Him.

    I find it so difficult to believe that NTM did nothing over the many years of abuse. I dont believe for one second that someone in leadership did not have an inkling of what was going on. I was in training with NTM from 1979-1984. I was basically accused homosexuality twice in this time. Once for having a small childrens program at their bible school. The other was for hugging a staff members daughter too much. If I was brought before leadership harsly on these two benign issues, what the hell has happened to leadership supposedly not knowing anything over the many years of abuse in the mk school. MTM was the worst thing that could of happened to me. I still have regular nightmares about them. Its been over 25 years since I made the decision to leave them and they truly broke my heart and worst yet my spirit.

    The rport can't be accurate because they did not contact everyone involved. The report by GRACE states it contacted or tried to contact all MK's and former MK's from Fanda. I know of at least 8 that were never contacted. Me being one. It's not like it's hard to find me either. Facebook, myspace, news articles..... They didn't try very hard. Others that were not contacted wouldn't have been hard to find either. They are still with NTM. GRACE is a joke. Fro being investigators they didn't investigate very well. They also need to figure out what true grace (GOD's GRACE) is. I am very sad for the true victims of the abuse. The last thing I ever want to see is a child hurt. It is time for the real offenders to step forward. GRACE just created more innocent victims with their "report".

    NTM is a wonderful Mission org. We need not trash them in this information pathway where all people can read. The devil will be happy because that's what he wants, to get them out of their objective. It has to be expected that frontline Mission orgs will face similar attack but we all Mission Orgs need to stay together and hold one another up. This weakness in NTM may destroy all their history of Good works so we need to be more constructive in our contribution. On the other hand, there needs to a clear system of screening for all Mission orgs about their new candidates. Those who violate this area of Child Trust MUST be taken to task, allow the Law to take its course and remove them from the Orgs for the sake of the Gospel and for others. And commenting on one of the comments above...well people are different, some are strong enough to handle themselves and move on while others need a helping hand to get them past their memory misery...So I am asking NTM as a fellow missionary to get those people know and get them out...and I ask all other Mission Orgs to interceed on behalf of NTM...

    I agree 100% with MALO, very well said.

    New Tribes Mission has a page dedicated to sex abuse investigations and their progress in responding to it. It is a good resource for finding out how serious this organization is about responding properly to allegations and preventing future child abuse.

    I am a survivor of abuse at Prairie Bible Institute in Alberta. Over the last 5 years we have seen over 80 individuals come forward who were abused while at PBI. Several months ago I raised the issue and survivors have much opposition. We asked that the school bring in an independent third party familiar with handling abuse cases within faith communities to investigate. The blog I am attaching outlines what we have been dealing with since the story broke.


    For Nature, Culture and Adventure!

    Mindanao is the second largest island of the country. It is an interesting island in many respects. 
    Mindanao is one of the three islands in the Philippines where there are  good possibilities to explore the  tropical rainforest. Still a big part of the original jungle is conserved here. For  tourists seeking adventure Mindanao offers possibilities for jungle tracking and climbing the highest mountain of the Philippines. Visiting the second largest lake of  the country is also possible. Visitors of the island who are interested in culture could make a daytrip to one of the mountain tribes. 

    Click to enlarge

    Meet mountain tribes

    There are still several indigenous people living on Mindanao. They are traditional in many respects.

    For more information click  

    Discover the daily life of the Mindanao people

    In the rural areas you can meet the farmers and see their traditional ways of working on the fields. In the coastal areas you can visit the fishermen villages. On the beaches you sure will  be able to see the way how young children are fishing with their nets.

    the National Fish

    Children try to catch a specific  tiny 'baby' fish, the 'Bangus fry'.
    They catch these Bangus fry to put them in ponds on the land, where the fry will grow up to the grownup National fish of the Philippines, the Bangus (milkfish).     

    Climbing the sacred mountain

    Mount Apo is with 3144 meters above sea-level, the highest peak in the Philippines. The name makes that clear! 'Apo' means "grandfather of all mountains". For the  indigenous people living in the mountain area, Mount Apo is  considered sacred. The origin of the mountain is volcanic. It is an inactive volcano. No eruptions were ever recorded. 
    This huge mountain is attractive for nature lovers and sportive mountain climbers. Guided trips are organized by the Department of Tourism in Davao City. The attractions during this mountain tracking are plenty. You will get the feeling of being part of the environment during your walking trip through the forest and alongside the slopes of the mountain.

    The Philippine Eagle

    The mount Apo area is the last remaining territory of the Philippine Eagle in the country. On the island it is possible to make an excursion into the tropical rainforest to discover the Philippine eagle, the National Bird of the Philippines, which is known as the monkey eating eagle. 

    For more information, click  


    There are more than 40 different ethnic groups in the Philippines. 

    Each group has a distinct culture and language. Several of these ethnic groups can be distinguished as "tribal groups". They are 'indigenous groups' who still live in a rather traditional way. Each group lives in a specific region on one of the islands. You can meat them in parts of Luzon, on some of the Visayas islands and on Mindanao.

    The  T'boli and B'laan,  two  indigenous groups
    On Mindanao live 18 tribal Filipino groups. The most well known are the T'boli and  the B'laan (or "Bla-an").  The other groups are the Ata, Bagobo, Banwaon, Bukidnon, Dibabawon, Higaunon, Kalagan, Mamanwa, Mandaya, Mangguwangan, Manobo, Mansaka, Subanen, Tagakaolo, Teduray and the Ubo.

    Most characteristic of these 'indigenous groups' is that they live  in a traditional way, comparable with how the ancestors lived centuries ago. 

    Lumad, the collective name

    On Mindanao there are in total 18 indigenous groups. The collective name for the 18  indigenous groups on Mindanao is "Lumad". It is just another word for 'indigenous' .These ethnic groups distinguish  themselves by their language and culture.

    Old and new elements in their life

    The cultural heritage is visible in their clothes and ornaments they wear. Housing,  economic activities, cultural habits and often religion are all very traditional.Some groups learned to know tourism as a good alternative to earn extra money. In general however, the indigenous groups still live like in the past

    The T'boli and their subsistence activities

    The T'boli (pronounce "Tiboli") people live in the southern part of the province Cotabata, in the environment around lake Sebu,  west of the city General Santos. It is estimated that are between 100000 and 150000 T'boli. In the past the T'boli practiced the primitive way of agriculture "slash and burn". "Slash and burn"  means that the people will clear a part of the forest by cutting the big trees and burning the lower and smaller trees and bushes, after which they use the cleared plots as arable land for some years without any fertilization. Rice, cassava and yams were the most important agricultural products. Next to that, the people went hunting or fishing for additional food. 
    For years slash and burn is no longer possible. The forests are gone by intensive economic activities as foresting. At present The T'boli live in the mountains.  Agriculture is the only source of income. Some foreigners, in cooperation with the aid organizationCord Aid, succeeded in developing some hectares of arable land in the last few years. Nevertheless, the T'boli live in poor circumstances; a struggle for live.

    Image © Claus Qvist Jessen

    Image © Jens Peters

    The T'boli distinguish their selves, like all other "tribal Filipinos", by their colorful clothes and specific ornaments like rings, bracelets and earrings. 
    Religion and culture

    Only a few T'boli are Christian or Islamite. More than 95 percent of The T'boli people still has their animistic religion. They were hardly influenced by the spread of the Islam on the island. The Spaniards too, didn't succeed to Christianize the T'boli during the Spanish colonial period. Main reason was that the T'boli withdrew to the hinterlands in the uplands. 
    The T'boli and members of other indigenous tribes like the Higaunon,still believe in spirits who live on several places in the natural environment. 

    Indigenous tribes and Animism

    There is a strong belief in the power of the spirits of ancestors and in the influence of more than one god. More information.........

    information about ornaments
    way of lifeornaments

    Threats to their way of living
    Last decades there are threats of land problems. The steady population growth of their own people and especially the pressure on the lands by  lowland farmers and foreign and local companies. The lowland farmers  (often landless) are seeking for  arable land. The companies are most of the time interested in the natural resources in these areas.  Mining, new plantations and logging, are the threats to the T'boli and their homelands.

    Higaunon, what about the future?

    The Higaunon people live in the northern regions ofMindanao. The Higaunon overall population isestimated between 10,000 and 30,000 For most of the Higaunon people, farming is the most important economic activity for their subsistence.

    Picture on the left:

    Higaunon village in Northern Mindanao

    The future of the farming activities

    The Higaunon people produce a variety of  agricultural products.  On the backyards of their houses and alongside the hills, the Higaunon grow a variety of vegetables (white beans, onions and others), spices, rice and other corn. Occasionally, the Higaunon hunt on among others wild pigs, amphibians, wild birds and gather other foodproducts from the forest such as tiger grass and timber. In the first  place the Higaunon produce for their own consumption.  Since the influence of cash economy, the surplus of many agriculturalproducts  is sold on markets.

    Threats  for the Higaunon!

    In the last few decades the peaceful way of living of the Higaunon has been threatened by several circumstances. The threats were caused by the activities of  big logging companies, the arrival of immigrants from other islands and the conflicts between the national army and armed groups in the region where the Higaunon live.

    Pictures: Courtesy of  L. Ostman

    The influence of the logging companies

    In the last decades the national government went on with giving logging concessions to several, mostly foreign companies. The consequence was thediminishing of the tropical forest cover in the tribal homelands of the Higaunon.

    The arrival of migrant settlers

    Since a long time immigrants from other parts of the Philippines came to start a new life in one of the regions of  MindanaoThey all were given some arable land to cultivate.This arable land was original part of the homelands of thetribes of Mindanao. Because of the arrival of the immigrants in the regions where the Higaunon live, the subsistence possibilities for the Higaunon people diminished. In that way the immigrants were a threat for the Higaunon.

    Armed Conflicts

    Until 1981 peace and order was quite normal in northern  Mindanao.  Since 1981 more and more insurgents started operating in the area. The arrival of foreign immigrants and (foreign) companies resulted more and more in armed conflicts between members of several tribes (among other the Higaunon tribe) and the national army. The ‘peace and order situation’  became disturbed! Massive military operations were launched by the national government.

    More and more members of the Higaunon and other tribes became supporters or full timers of the insurgents. The conflicts resulted in a shortage of food and medicines in the area. Since 1991 a relative peace ‘returned’  into the region of the Higaunon. The government granted amnesty to all surrenders. Many insurgent Higaunon members decided to surrender and live now peacefully. (Source: Article, prepared by Ms. Cecilia Valmores, in charge of the Research Desk of the Indigenous Peoples Apostolate (IPA) of the Cagayan de Oro City)


    The cry for a separate state

    Unrest on Mindanao

    Last ten years the Philippines was several times world news because of several kidnappings and bomb explosions on  several different locations. Almost all explosions happened in the southwestern part of Mindanao. It is the region where almost all people are Muslim.  

    Several organized Muslim groups were all the time responsible for the troubles. The Muslims (Moro's)  wanted all ready for a long time an independent Muslim state.  

    The origin of the name "Moro".

    As soon as the Spanish colonizers in the sixteenth century discovered that on Mindanao and the islands south of Mindanao the Filipinos were Muslims, they  gave them the name "Moro". That was the name they gave already to the Muslims they had to conquer centuries ago in the country Spain itself.

    The struggle for independency

    The strategy of the organized Muslim groups was to conquer the Philippine government by armed attacks and placing bombs on different places. In this way they tried to convince the Philippine government that the Muslims had to be given an own state. 


    Last years there were regular kidnappings. The kidnappings were used, still in 2002, as an instrument to 'collect' huge amounts of money. The money  is used to buy  weapons and is used for the 'way of living' of the active members of the organizations. The Abu Sayyaf group, the most radical group, is still active with kidnappings.  

    An Autonomous region in stead of total independency

    Two of the biggest Muslim groups, the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF)  and theMoro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) decided to sign a peace treaty agreement. They agreed with a special form of autonomy in stead of a total independency.  The government promised to start development programs for the autonomous region. The Autonomy, since 1996, meant that the Muslims in the region now can make their own  decisions on several maters in their region. 

    An Autonomous Muslim Region!

    The Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao consists of four provinces. The autonomous area is almost 12000 square km large. It is situated in the Western and southern part of Mindanao plus the Sulu and Waki-Waki island groups. The autonomous region is about 4 percent of the total area of the Philippines and has in 2002 more than 2.1 million inhabitants. Almost all Muslims

    Source: © NSO 1997-2002

    The Higaunon people of Northern Mindanao

    The Higaunon is one of the mountain tribes in the Philippines. Most  Higaunon  still have a rather traditional way of living. Farming is the most important economic activity.

    The belief in the power of the spirits of ancestors and in the influence of more than one god, is strongly rooted in the hearts and minds of many Higaunon.

    A Higaunon leader in native costume
    Picture: © Robert Booc

    Picture: © Robert Booc

    Picture: Courtesy of  L. Ostman

    The belief in many gods and spirits of ancestors Most Higaunon still have a strong belief in the existence of gods and spirits. The ‘upper god’ is Magbabaya, the creator of all aspects of life. There are several ‘lower gods’. Each ‘lower god’ has dominion over a specific part of the natural environment.   There is a lower god (Igbabasok) who has dominion over the farms, a lower god (Pamahandi) who has dominion over treasures and properties, a lower god (Bulalakaw) who has dominion over the waters and fishes and there is a lower god (Panalagbugta) who has dominion over lands.  The (ancestor) spirits have control on all aspects of the daily life of the people.  This belief, called “animism”, influences the Higaunon people deeply. They believe that all problems like illnesses, bad harvests and even the death, are due to their failure to satisfy the spirits.

    For more written information.............. The belief in many gods and spirits of ancestors Most Higaunon still have a strong belief in the existence of gods and spirits. The ‘upper god’ is Magbabaya, the creator of all aspects of life. There are several ‘lower gods’. Each ‘lower god’ has dominion over a specific part of the natural environment.   There is a lower god (Igbabasok) who has dominion over the farms, a lower god (Pamahandi) who has dominion over treasures and properties, a lower god (Bulalakaw) who has dominion over the waters and fishes and there is a lower god (Panalagbugta) who has dominion over lands.  The (ancestor) spirits have control on all aspects of the daily life of the people.  This belief, called “animism”, influences the Higaunon people deeply. They believe that all problems like illnesses, bad harvests and even the death, are due to their failure to satisfy the spirits.

    For the experiences of  members of the Higaunon................... 

    Attempts to bring an alternative to the bondage to the spirit worldSince  July 1981 missionaries are trying to help the Higaunon in their struggle for a better life.  Missionaries from Australia, USA and Columbia, took care for the people in one of the villages.  The missionaries help combat sicknesses by offering medicines and help with all kind of problems.  After some years the power of the spirits diminished in some villages. The Higaunon people discovered that sacrifices to combat sicknesses were not necessary anymore. In the period 1985 until now the animism was replaced more and more by Christianity.  Still in most villages animism is widespread.

    (Source: Article, prepared by Ms. Cecilia Valmores, in charge of the Research Desk of the Indigenous Peoples Apostolate (IPA) of the Cagayan de Oro City)

    The belief in many gods and spirits of ancestors Most Higaunon still have a strong belief in the existence of gods and spirits. The ‘upper god’ is Magbabaya, the creator of all aspects of life. There are several ‘lower gods’. Each ‘lower god’ has dominion over a specific part of the natural environment.   There is a lower god (Igbabasok) who has dominion over the farms, a lower god (Pamahandi) who has dominion over treasures and properties, a lower god (Bulalakaw) who has dominion over the waters and fishes and there is a lower god (Panalagbugta) who has dominion over lands.  The (ancestor) spirits have control on all aspects of the daily life of the people.  This belief, called “animism”, influences the Higaunon people deeply. They believe that all problems like illnesses, bad harvests and even the death, are due to their failure to satisfy the spirits.

    Satisfy the spiritsThe Higaunon belief that they have to please the spirits. Only if the Higaunon succeed during their life to fulfill all the wishes of the spirits, they will not die and a path will be shown to go from this

     world into the eternal world where the creator gods live.One way to satisfy the spirits is having rituals with 

    sacrifices. Pigs and chickens are the most common sacrifices.  Without the sacrifices or when there not enough sacrifices, there will be problems with their subsistence, crops will fail and illnesses will not be cured and people will die. If somebody gets ill, an ‘all knowing’ shaman is asked advice what to do. The shaman is a person in the village who has the ability to tell which spirit caused the sickness and what should be done to pacify the spirit.

    The Abu Sayyaf group is a small Islamic group but the most radical and most violent organized Islamic group in the Philippines. The group is active with  armed confrontations and kidnappings. 

    The group still proclaims  that they fight against the national army for an independent Muslim state in the south. Until now (January 2003) the group refused to take part in any peace process between the government and other Muslims organizations. Last years it appears that they are only active with terror for financial profit. The group is mostly active on the island of Mindanao and the islands south of Mindanao.

    Information on some recent events

    Makers of bombs arrested

    Five men were arrested in a house in the south of the Philippines, while they were busy with constructing a bomb. The five men are all members of the Abu Sayyaf. They are suspects of several bombings in southern Philippines.

    October, 2002

    Explosions in shopping center

    Two explosions took place in the central shopping district of Zamboanga City, the central city of West Mindanao. Seven people were killed and eleven persons were wounded.

    October, 2002

    Gun battle on Jolo

    Eleven soldiers were killed and 25 were wounded  in a gun battle in the tropical jungle of Jolo in the southern Philippines. The soldiers were searching for 3 Indonesian men and four Philippine Christians, who were being held hostage by Abu Sayyaf rebels.

    October, 2002

    Bombs explode in Santos City

    On a Sunday in April 2002 three bombs exploded in General Santos City, in the southern part of Mindanao. 14 People were killed, including four children under the age of ten. More than 70 other people were injured. The bomb was hidden in an empty motorcycle taxi. Within  half an hour two other bombs exploded, one on the highway and one under a bridge at the city's port. The police  reported that they were convinced that the Sunday's bombings were the work of one of the region's Islamic militant groups. 

    April, 2002

    Free after: "New Series of Bombings in Philippines", ICT (Institute for Counter terrorism), April 22, 2002

    Original sources: Associated Press, Reuters, Manila Times, Philippine Star, Philippine Inquirer

    Abu Sayyaf active in a Malaysian dive resort  

    Abu Sayyaf members crossed the border of neighbour country Malaysia to have a quick and short visit to a beach resort on one of the Malaysian island. They returned with almost two dozen hostages. The kidnapping of 21 persons, 10, mostly European tourists and 11 resort workers in April 2000, was spectacular.  The kidnapped tourists  were on holidays in a dive & beach resort on an island in  the neighbour country Malaysia. By fast,  small boats, they were brought by the rebels to Jolo, one of the small islands south of Mindanao. After many months all of the hostages were freed, but only after paying huge amounts of American dollars. About 1 million American dollar per hostage was paid.

    April, 2000


    In 1991 the Abu Sayyaf group split off from the bigger group MNLF.  They are mostly based in the islands Basilan, Sulu island and on the Tawi-Tawi islands.   

    The name of the group "Abu Sayyaf"  was named after a Mujahedin fighter (a warlord) in Afghanistan. The meaning of the name 'Abu Sayyaf' is "Bearer of the Sword". The warlord fought  in the 1980s  against the Soviet-backed regime. The Abu Sayyaf group has now ties to Islamic organizations around the world. One of these organizations is Osama bin Laden's al Qaida.


    Philippine presidential election and referendum, 1981

    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    presidential election in thePhilippines was held on June 16, 1981. President Ferdinand E. Marcos of the Kilusang Bagong Lipunan(KBL) defeated former Gen. Alejo Santos of the Nacionalista Party in alandslide victory. Most opposition parties boycotted the elections as a sign of protest over the 1978 elections for an interim Batasang Pambansa (National Assembly) which they condemned as fraudulent.
    Marcos' 88% margin of victory is the most lopsided Philippine presidential election ever, beating out Manuel L. Quezon's landslide victory in 1941. Marcos would've served a six-year term.
    In a referendum held together with the election, the majority voted YES to hold the barangay elections pursuant to Proclamation No. 2088.

    Lifting of martial law

    On January 17, 1981, President Marcos announced the lifting of martial law via Proclamation No. 2045; in his address, he also inaugurated the "New Republic." Although martial law has ended, Marcos retained all of the presidential decrees, legislative powers and the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus. The lifting of martial law was speculated due to the election of U.S. President Ronald Reagan, of whom Marcos wanted to have close relationship with, and the arrival of Pope John Paul II in the country. In February, the Interim Batasang Pambansa (parliament) passed a constitutional amendment that changed the parliamentary system of government to a semi-presidential modeled from France. The electorate approved the amendment on a plebiscite held on April. Marcos then called a presidential election to be scheduled on June.[1]

    [edit] Campaign

    The opposition, as early as April, had decided to boycott the election. TheUnited Nationalist Democratic Organization (UNIDO), the main opposition umbrella group, wanted to clean the voters' list, a revamping of the Commission on Elections, a campaign to be held nationwide and that the UNIDO accredited as a minority party. Marcos did not accept the demands which led to UNIDO to call for a boycott. This caused for Marcos to be reportedly dismayed as he could not legitimize the election without a viable opposition candidate.[1] UNIDO also refused to participate as Benigno Aquino, Jr.(who was in exile in Massachusetts) was not allowed to participate since only people fifty years old or older were allowed to participate (Aquino was 48 years old at the time).[2]
    Marcos instructed Nacionalista Party president Jose Roy to find a token candidate to oppose him. The Nacionalista Party was then a moribund political entity because Marcos, who was elected twice before under its banner, had invariably lured all its members to his Kilusang Bagong Lipunan. The Nacionalista Party chose former Defense Secretary and Bulacan governor Alejo Santos as their standard bearer. Santos, who was appointed by Marcos as chairman of the board of the Philippine Veterans Bank, had Francisco Tatad, Marcos' former information minister, as his campaign manager. The other main candidate was Bartolome Cabangbang of the Federalist Party, whose platform was for the Philippines to become the 51st state of the United States.[1]
    With the UNIDO pressing for a boycott, the government issued a statement that abstention was a mortal sin; Jaime Sin, the archbishop of Manila responded that the people "were free to exercise their moral judgment whether to vote or not." Those who did not vote on the April plebiscite were issued summons to force them to vote. Marcos won overwhelmingly,[1] but with people remembering the American colonial era and wanting a change from the martial law conditions, Cabangbang surprisingly got 4% of the vote.[2]

    [edit] Results


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