DEAR ABWE: A Few Words About the “Appearance of Evil”

Dear ABWE Board Members,

As an MK under ABWE I was taught from a young age the importance of Christians avoiding “the appearance of evil.” We weren’t supposed to play with playing cards, because people gamble with them. In fact, every form of legalism I encountered from the ABWE culture in my youth held a firm commonality behind the rules: AVOID THE APPEARANCE OF EVIL.

So it strikes me as absolutely ironic that ABWE’s corporate headquarters is not really into this idea of avoiding the appearance of evil right now.

How do you, ABWE, appear evil?

  1. You still employ the same lawyer who botched the handling of child abuse for decades.
  2. You still employ the same man who participated in the spiritual and emotional abuse of a sexually abused child in 1989.
  3. You have not publicly condemned Michael Loftis’ poor handling of sexual abuse during his time as president.
  4. You have buried the March reports, GRACE updates, confession, etc., so that they are hard to find on your website. We maintain that these should be EASY to find. There should be an icon on the main home page that leads people to everything they need to know about us and this situation.
  5. The article about child protection which IS highlighted on your website (as of October 23) completely distorts the reality of the situation and the history of even this year. Don’t try to erase us from your history.
  6. The printed article in the recent MESSAGE said you weren’t changing–your words! You said it. You can’t say it was twisted by a reporter … you were the reporter. How do you justify that article?
  7. You have not communicated directly and formally with the MKs behind this blog in months.

ABWE, I have some advice for you, so please, don’t look down on me because I’m not one of you. Please, don’t look down on me because I’m a woman. Please, listen to me, because I’m trying to give you advice that would HELP you right now. I’m telling you how to help the wounded feel heard and cared for. I’m trying to help you understand good PR–something I know about because I’ve sometimes done it for a living, and continually, ABWE, you get it wrong, from your ill-timed prayer requests for “bitter MKs” to changing the format of the GRACE reports.

You are getting this ALL wrong.

I’m doing you a favor, so please don’t discard my advice:

  • Start walking your talk. Start caring that to everyone outside your little bubble you look heartless and conniving. AVOID THE APPEARANCE OF EVIL.
  • Start mopping the floor of every church in this country with your contrition and humility. Get out there and make things right. With us, with churches, with your own missionaries. Admit to all, everywhere you go, that grave mistakes were made and we are right to be upset with you. That we resorted to a blog because Michael Loftis and Don Davis wouldn’t budge to act for justice on our behalf, not because WE are evil gossips. Defend us to our critics. Defend us. We are the wounded and unknowingly or knowingly you were part of the wounding and you continue to wound.
  • Remove everyone from your organization who participated in the cover-up. EVERYONE. No matter how nice they are, no matter what they’ve done in God’s name and for the Gospel. They hurt God’s children. They must be disciplined. It’s time for them to go.
  • Then admit, first and foremost, that clearly (CLEARLY) you DID need to change how accountability and transparency and integrity were lived out in your ministry. 

If you do these things you will be amazed at the forgiveness that rolls your way from churches, pastors, missionaries, MKs and the world. Thank you.

A Wounded MK


About Bangladesh MKs Speak

We are a group of American former missionary kids (MKs) who lived in Bangladesh while Donn Ketcham worked as a missionary doctor there with the mission agency Association of Baptists for World Evangelism (ABWE) out of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
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5 Responses to DEAR ABWE: A Few Words About the “Appearance of Evil”

  1. isaiah 618 says:

    Share your thoughts here. Or go to our FORUMS:
    There, you’ll have the opportunity to write your own open letter to ABWE.

  2. Debi says:

    Excellently written!

  3. I would like to invite anyone who wishes to weigh in on my current poll at Biblical Accountability in Missions to please do so (if you haven’t already). Come cast your vote. The current question is “Should ABWE continue operating as a mission agency after having willingly harbored a criminal pedophile within their ranks for decades?”

    Come cast your vote for Yes or No if you think ABWE should continue operating as usual. The URL is and the poll question can be found in the upper right corner of any page. Thanks, and keep up the great work here!

    Your fellow MK from Bangladesh,


  4. Rebecca says:

    So this business out in Happy Valley, PA re: the great Penn State and it’s now tarnished coach Joe Paterno made me think, of course, about other Pennsylvania nonsense and the poor behavior of those in charge.

    In an article in the NYTimes about the indictment and arrest of a former Penn State assistant football coach for decades of abuse of young boys, and two university officials for doing jack about it, this quote jumped out at me:

    “Under state law, if a staff member at a school makes a report of possible sexual abuse of a child, it is the responsibility of “the person in charge of the school or institution” to make a report to the state’s Department of Public Welfare. According to prosecutors, neither Curley nor the president of Penn State, Graham B. Spanier, who had been told by Curley of the complaint against Sandusky, made such a report to child welfare authorities. ”

    Anyway, I’m sure it”s too late to call the prosecutors and I have no idea where GRACE’s investigation is going to end up. But it’s nice to see, better late than never, that the government of Pennsylvania takes this stuff kinda seriously.

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