Updated: Sep 4, 2020
Child abuse in Protestant missions’ spans decades, continents, in more than 20 agencies with the unifying factor being destructive missiology.
“I was sacrificed.”
“It's hard to talk about how cruel and vicious these people were without seeming to exaggerate it….truly remarkable that people could be so sadistic to innocents.”
“Time doesn't heal all wounds.”
These are just a few quotes from the poignant documentary, All God’s Children, which gives viewers a window into the horrific abuse MKs endured daily at the Mamou Alliance Academy, a boarding school built and run by the Christian and Missionary Alliance. The film focuses on missionary families that attended Mamou in the 1950’s in Guinea, West Africa.
The testimonies of MKs are heartbreaking.
A sadistic nurse/dentist who refused to use Novocaine, strapped children to the chair, restrained their heads, and typically drilled into their gums.
A dorm dad and mom who prowled the halls of the dormitory during nap time and lunged into rooms at random to catch anyone awake or whispering.
The cries of children begging for mercy from beatings with the metal end of the dorm dads’ belt were a regular occurrence, leaving children with blood trickling down their buttocks and legs.
A first grade teacher who overturned desks with children sitting in them, broke yard sticks beating them at the chalkboard if they answered questions incorrectly, and refusing to allow them bathroom breaks resulting in children urinating themselves in class…forced to sit in their own waste and endure the humiliation at the ages of 6 or 7.
A dorm dad who regularly raped children after the generator shut down each night
Intentionally separating siblings and insisting the elder siblings not help or protect the younger
Children imitating adult missionaries and also beating younger children
Needy children, desperate for attention, feeling guilty for “allowing” themselves to be abused
A little girl sexually abused by a female missionary who also gave her cookies and experienced guilt and shame because she thought she was selling herself for the treats.
Children knowing they could not leave the boarding school, nor was there a safe adult in whom they could confide.
These are just examples of the numerous egregious abuses that occurred at Mamou.
From the moment I started watching this film, I was completely glued. I had never heard others describe my life as an MK so precisely. They discussed the theology which led to sickening child abuse, and how their mission agency attempted to hide it and avoid accountability.
It was perfectly familiar… the destructive theology, cruelty, and prevalent abuse of children completely resonated with me, except that I was raised at a missionary boarding school in Panama in the 1980’s – 1990’s, decades later and on the other side of the world.
When the film came out in 2008, at least 21 Protestant missionary agencies had received reports of child abuse. It’s not an isolated problem. It’s not a Catholic problem. It’s a problem of theology that empowers abusers and excuses their behavior…all in the name of sharing the Gospel so more individuals will be saved from hell. It’s a theology which teaches Evangelicals that they are responsible to bring the Gospel to people around the world and if they don’t fulfill the Great Commission, then they are failing as Christians. All must be sacrificed to achieve the Great Commission, even one’s family.
Missionaries have very little accountability as long as they keep the leaders of their mission agency appeased. Outside of that objective, they can pursue any number of illegal and destructive passions without consequences.
As our MK community has discovered, it’s nearly impossible to bring lawsuits against abusers because the abuse often occurred in other countries where the missionary may no longer reside. (Learn how these self-admitted abusers now reside in the US and haven’t served a day of imprisonment for their heinous crimes.)
The other major issue is that by the time an abused MK has recovered enough and even considers reporting the abuser, the abuser may have retired from the mission agency. At this point, the mission agency absolves itself of any responsibility because it no longer has “authority” over the abuser. In the examples of my fellow NTM MKs, I know that some have reported their abusers to law enforcement in the US. Now NTM has made similar claims of “reporting to law enforcement,” but not until they were forced to do so because MKs did so first.
If you take just 1 thing from my new website, I hope it will be committing to watching All God’s Children and learning about the pervasive abuse that arises from poor missiology. You can purchase it or watch in 10 parts for free on YouTube.