Category - Donor

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Gospel for Asia fired Grandma
2
RICO Violations Gospel for Asia Founder KP Yohannan
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Gospel for Asia Staff Exodus Continues
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Gospel for Asia Ayana Charitable Trust
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Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability Terminates Gospel for Asia with High Number of Offenses
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Gospel for Asia Donor Retracts Everything – $100,000 Given

Gospel for Asia fired Grandma

Just when you thought you have seen it all from the ministry that is going to trial in 2019 …
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Gospel for Asia chose to fire Grandma. It is amazing, baffling and sadly true. The story of the firing of 72 year old Michele as she had been recovering from knee replacement surgery is astounding and confusing. Michele had been at GFA for 12.5 years.

The Ministry on 300 Acres

For those who may not be familiar with the context of this story, we are talking about the ministry Gospel for Asia that is located on a 300+ acre campus in Wills Point, TX. They have around 80 single-family houses, over half of them now empty. Since moving into the campus, GFA has not paid any taxes on these family dwellings.

What was the rational for firing a 72 year old lady who served there for 12.5 years? One has to wonder why a leadership decision like this would come down at this time. There seems to be plenty of housing available. And how much harm could a 72 year lady do? Michele was not given a specific reason as to the somewhat abrupt firing, other than it was a leadership decision. Michele describes her feelings in the video on her GoFundMe page, as she was told by HR that you have 30 days to leave the campus and you are no longer a part of the ministry. Exit interview commenced immediately.

The whole thing was like a kick in the stomach to me.

– Michele A.

By the way, Michele also gave her life savings to the ministry, and prior to being fired, GFA took it upon themselves to let Michele’s supporters know she was moving on. How convenient.

A Video is Worth a Thousand Questions

We may never know the answer why Michele was fired, but one former staff member and former co-worker of Michele decided to start a GoFundMe for Michele. Visit her campaign, it includes a video with Michele and her former co-worker. Michele shares about her firing experience.
help-out-michele

Some Facts

In the last three years Gospel for Asia has:

  • Moved the US office (in the summer/fall of 2014) to the 80+ houses they built on a 40 Million dollar campus on about 300 acres in Wills Point, TX. During the preparation for the move, health insurance was cancelled. In the years leading up to the move, staff often had “work parties” to prepare the land in Wills Point for the building project. Staff would often gleefully travel from Carrollton to Wills Point on weekends to clear the land and plant trees etc. The GFA office was previously located in Carrollton, TX.
  • Starting in 2015 through 2016, the ministry saw upwards to 60+ staff families and individuals leave the ministry, leaving many of the campus houses empty. Many of the staff who left were “core” long-time staff members.
  • Amazingly, in 2015-2016 GFA (or Ayana Charitable Trust as referenced in India) and other GFA-related entities were somehow able to send close to 300 Million into India. Approximately 125 million flowing in from Hong Kong. All money flowing into India is accounted for because of the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act in India (FCRA). The only case where FCRA would not apply would be in the case of money flowing into the country in the form of cash. See cash via School of Discipleship student – interview.

Read: Overview of the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act in India

Excerpt:
“The FCRA was enacted with the primary purpose of regulating the inflow of foreign contributions and ensuring that the received foreign contributions are not utilized for purposes other than those specified under the legislation. All charitable organizations in India receiving foreign contributions come under the purview of this Act. Therefore, it is important to understand some of the crucial features of FCRA and implications of non-compliance with the provisions of the statute.”

FCRA-India

View the article by the Times of India titled: Christian NGOs top in foreign funding

You can run some numbers for yourself …
Go to: https://fcraonline.nic.in/fc_qtrfrm_report.aspx

  • Select Year
  • Select Quarter
  • Select State: Kerela
  • Select District: Pathanamthitta (Quillon)

See all the many unique names reporting funds, do some basic math.

Gospel for Asia Staff Exodus

In many cases the big staff exodus of 2015/16 may have been brought on by things that started to come to light.

Dismissal from the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountibility

Financial realities brought about by an ECFA investigation and subsequent dismissal as a charter member of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountibility may have brought on a staff exodus.

All told, ECFA found that GFA violated five of the accountability group’s seven core standards. As a result, the ECFA board voted on October 2 to cut ties with GFA. The board said its decision is final. “This ends Gospel for Asia’s 36-year-long status as an ECFA member,” the council said in a statement.

Read the full ECFA report
ECFA

You can see the violations for yourself at the ECFA former members web page, and they are listed here:

  • Terminated for failure to comply with Standard 2 Governance,
  • Standard 3 Financial Oversight,
  • Standard 4 Use of Resources,
  • Standard 6 Compensation-Setting and Related-Party Transactions,
  • Standard 7.1 Truthfulness in Communications,
  • and Standard 7.2 Giver Expectations and Intent

Read an article by Christianity Today: Why Gospel for Asia Got Kicked Out of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability

GFA Diaspora

There is a group of over 100 former GFA staff called the GFA Diaspora, who have sought to reconcile matters with GFA leadership to no avail. You can read many former staff testimonies by clicking here.

Read a letter by a 30-year former GFA Board Member Gayle Erwin, this letter will help give context to the plight of the GFA Diaspora, and it details Gayles findings into their concerns. There was a modified version of Gayles findings released after the original was presented to leadership.

If you’d like a detailed historical perspective on the unfolding story of Gospel for Asia … you can visit: “The Blogger that Regularly Blogs” – Warren Throckmorton.

See navigation and articles in the upper right column of this page.

Each post has a diverse set of comments and opinions that you can form your own thoughts on, and you won’t even be shunned for reading them!

RICO Violations Gospel for Asia Founder KP Yohannan

gospel-for-asia-class-action-lawsuit

As reported by ClassAction.org, read through the 43-page document, which is located at the website: Title of article: Gospel for Asia, Inc., Founder Facing Class Action over RICO Violations

Segment of the article here:
A proposed class action filed in Arkansas alleges defendants Gospel for Asia, Inc., Gospel for Asia-International, the organizations’ founder, K.P. Yohannan, and four other individuals violated the federal Racketeer Influences and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) by using their Christian organization as a front to steal hundreds of millions of dollars from donors.

“Soliciting charitable donations to benefit the poorest of the poor while covertly diverting the money to a multi-million-dollar personal empire is reprehensible; using a Christian organization as a front to attract and exploit the goodwill and generosity of devout Christians is a particularly vile scheme,” the lawsuit scathes. “But this is exactly what K.P. Yohannan and the organization he controls—Gospel for Asia, Inc.—have been getting away with for years.”

In other news …
U.S. District Court of Western Arkansas Rules RICO Case Can Proceed Against Gospel for Asia

Gospel for Asia Staff Exodus Continues

As reported in 2016, almost 50 full-time Gospel for Asia Staff departed. See The Gospel for Asia Staff Exodus of 2015.

There continues to be a steady trickle of key staff leaving the ministry. Some depart as they are able to get a new job or figure out a place to stay as they try to get on their financial feet.
gospel-for-asia-staff-exodus-continues
There is story after story of former staff helping out staff leaving, as in many cases there is nothing to go to. When you depart, some form of shunning often begins, so a support system is vital. The support could involve anything from a place to stay, financial help, or someone to talk to and pray with, as the road ahead can be challenging. Many former staff that left had poured their life savings into the very ministry they were serving at.

The Big Leap and Special Exceptions

It is a big leap for many, especially those with family, to leave this ministry as you don’t really have any means to save for anything. There are a few exceptions to the rules that were in place for the last 20-30 years. A few staff were granted special exception that allowed their spouses to work off-site at a “real job” with a good income. But this is rare, and there were only a few unique people accomodated with this special exception granted directly from the founder of Gospel for Asia and Believers Church – K.P. Yohannan.

If those individuals wanted to leave, there wouldn’t be the huge financial leap of faith so many had to take in 2015 by leaving GFA. As stated, so many who left in 2015 had either sold off assets prior to coming on staff and ended up giving that to the ministry, believing it would go to the area and people of Asia they hoped it would.

Exodus Cont.

There has been a continued exodus of staff. From 2016 to 2017 staff continue to depart from the ministry. Many leave for “other reasons” and say it has nothing to do with all the financial issues that came up in 2015. Like the dismissal from the ECFA, or the dismissal from the National Religious Broadcasters (NRB), or the lawsuit against Gospel for Asia for donor fraud to name a few.

Recruiting new, young Christians that can be Moulded

It’s is a little easier for single people to leave, but not by much. So, Gospel for Asia continues to recruit new, young students to fill the gaps.

It is an interesting process to join the School of Discipleship. You fill out an application and tell them all the areas that you struggle with as a young Christian. Then you are brought in to a very closed loop of senior leaders and “discipled”. Exposing those vulnerabilities can present some interesting scenarios.

The environment can be control-like. Outside viewpoints of what has transpired since 2014 are either very covered up internally (on the campus) or those with an opposing view of what happened are labeled as “those who have been deceived” and “those who bring an evil report”. Of course shunning is a staple of GFA’s history – see some of the testimonies of staff and former staff shunned by Gospel for Asia at GFA Diaspora.

What a convenient closed loop environment. This would explain in part the move to a 300+ acre campus in 2014 to a not-so-populated area of East Texas – Wills Point, TX.

Tight to Less Tight Control

In the areas that GFA is not able to monitor and tightly control the activities of these young female and male Christians, there may be some small areas of breathing room. Yet the control is tight – and there is a very real need for GFA to recruit more young Christians.

In the old days GFA was able to recruit more families. But that sometimes involves mature Christians, and at this point if there is a wise, mature Christian coming to the campus to seek out joining staff … I would hope they are doing their homework about the core of what has been revealed about Gospel for Asia.

The Same Core Leadership Team that Sanctioned Carrying Cash to India

For the new, young students, the Homeland Security investigation has been interesting as it has unfolded over the last two years. To think that the very same core leadership team that loaded up young students with $4,500 in cash to take over on their trips to India, are the same core leadership team that remains in place today.


christianity-today

From Christianity Today article: Why Gospel for Asia Got Kicked Out of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability

Carrying Cash

For several former staffers, a breaking point came in 2013, when GFA began sending cash money overseas in unmarked envelopes.

At the time, the ministry was concerned about increased scrutiny from the Indian government. So it began asking staff, students, and pastors on vision tours to carry cash for the ministry without declaring it to US officials, according to former staff members.

US regulations stipulate that travelers must declare any amount over $10,000 when leaving the country. Former staff members and students in GFA’s school of discipleship told CT that GFA attempted get around that rule by having a number of group members carry smaller amounts—as much as $4,500 each.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) warns that such “bulk cash smuggling” is punishable by up to five years in prison.

Helm said he carried $4,500 in cash on one occasion and that Yohannan asked him to give similar envelopes to the group of pastors he was leading. The total amount of cash exceeded the $10,000 limit, he said. Helm refused to hand the cash to the pastors.

Upon arrival in India, Helm said he turned over the cash to GFA staff but did not receive a receipt. Some cash was also carried by students in GFA’s School of Discipleship.

“We’ve taken more than a half million through these students to India—and never got a receipt,” Helm said.
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As the exodus of staff continues, we pray truth and the love of Christ will prevail in each heart.


cash-to-india

Read an interview with a School of Discipleship student about their cash carrying experience.

Gospel for Asia Ayana Charitable Trust

From the Times of India … Read Full Article Here

826 crore is about 132 Million

Ayana-Charitable-Trust-Gospel-for-Asia

The Times of India reported …

Ayana Charitable Trust, is supposedly a rebranded version of Gospel for Asia, the Texas-based NGO which ran into trouble in Canada due to allegations of financial bungling. A look at Ayana’s FCRA returns, which declare its total foreign funding in 2015-16 at a whopping Rs 826 crore, lists Gospel for Asia, Hong Kong, as the source of most of its foreign funds. Interestingly, Param Shakthi Peeth, the NGO run by Sadhvi Rithambara who was associated in the past with RSS and VHP, was the second highest recipient of foreign funding in 2015-16.

From the article: Christian NGOs top in foreign funding.

132 Million is only a portion of the funds that were brought into India from places like Hong Kong in 2015-2016. The amount brought in from various countries is unusually high for a single year.

Gospel for Asia – Ayana Charitable Trust – Believers Church: See full report from the Times of IndiaGospel-for-Asia-Ayana-Charitable-Trust

Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability Terminates Gospel for Asia with High Number of Offenses

The full report as to why Gospel for Asia was terminated from the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability is rather harrowing. Read the report yourself and draw your own conclusions. I’m sure you can contact the ECFA to verify these findings as the document shows. It is available here.
Document dated: September 2, 2015


Some brief highlights of this sad report of Gospel for Asia’s financial offenses.
Donor be wise.

Terminated for failure to comply with:

  • Standard 3 Financial Oversight,
  • Standard 4 Use of Resources,
  • Standard 6 Compensation-Setting and Related-Party Transactions,
  • Standard 7.1 Truthfulness in Communications, and
  • Standard 7.2 Giver Expectations and Intent

View the ECFA website for listing of former members and a listing of reasons for termination.

The ECFA letter reported that GFA used $19.8 million in restricted donations to build its headquarters in Carrollton, Texas, just outside of Dallas.

Those donations were intended for missions work. Instead, the money was sent overseas to one of GFA’s affiliates. The affiliate then returned the money to the United States, without the knowledge of GFA’s board of directors or donors.

GFA leaders also tried to conceal the source of those funds. The $19.8 million was listed in GFA’s 2013 audit as an anonymous donation. Earlier this year, GFA admitted that restricted donations for missions work had been used for the building.

The ministry also solicited millions of dollars in donations, claiming urgent needs, while its overseas affiliates held onto huge cash balances—nearly $250 million in 2014.

The ECFA letter (dated September 2, 2015) was the result of a four-month investigation into GFA’s finances. Soon after the report was issued, ECFA expelled GFA from its membership.

Excerpt from ECFA Termination Letter to Gospel for Asia

8. Use of funds restricted for the field for other purposes. On June 3, ECFA discussed GFA’s claim that 100 percent of field funds are sent and used in the field. GFA staff confirmed that this was accurate.

On August 24, ECFA was informed that GFA India made a gift to GFA of $19,778,613 in 2013 to complete GFA’s new office. On August 27, GFA’s staff confirmed that the funds relating to this donation were originally received by GFA as gifts restricted for the field and GFA transferred to field partners to fulfill donor restrictions.

Two important issues are raised:

A. Reallocating gifts donated for field purposes and using them to pay for headquarters construction appears to be a violation of ECFA’s Standards 7.2. GFA staff stated in a recorded GFA staff meeting that you approached the field partner and explained that GFA could borrow the funds in the U.S., at less than desirable terms, for the headquarters construction. However, a gift from the field partner, in lieu of GFA borrowing the funds, would allow GFA to complete the new headquarters and thereby save interest. Therefore, GFA would be able to send more money to the field in future years.

ECFA believes that the potential savings resulting from the GFA India gift is an inadequate basis to reallocate gifts donated for field purposes.

B. Reallocating gifts donated for field purposes contradicts GFA’s claim that 100 percent of funds are sent to the field. In fact, a significant amount of donations restricted for the field made a circuitous trip back to GFA and were used for the headquarters construction, as though they had never gone to the field. This appears to be a violation of Standard 7.1.

Page 6 …

In a GFA staff meeting, GFA indicated the field partner took out a loan to cover the use of the $19,778,613 gift and GFA staff confirmed on August 27 that India-generated income was used to repay the loan.

Our review of the board minutes did not indicate the GFA board had approved, or even been notified, of the $19,778,613 reallocation of donor-restricted gifts.

Gospel for Asia Donor Retracts Everything – $100,000 Given


great-non-profits

Great Nonprofits is a good place to get reviews on many types of nonprofit organizations. There will be a variety of reviews, so you can do your own reading and draw your own conclusions. This is helpful in trying to get some objectivity, versus the ministry copy points some might choose to stick to if you were to call.

You can visit Great Nonprofits here.

Read what one former donor writes about their donations to Gospel for Asia …

See former donor comment below, as seen on Great Nonprofits. Published 10/28/2016

“After giving over 100,000 dollars to this ministry over the course of 11 years, I must retract everything I held dear about them. Please Google Warren Throckmorton’s blog to see what they have done to us – their big donors and volunteers. They have lied to Evangelicals to get their money. I was a volunteer for 9 years, and went to India with them, and have met KP twice. I ignored what I saw in India and wish I hadn’t. I saw the best of intentions. Well now I realize the road to hell is paved with good intentions. I regret all the friends I dragged into this ministry. They may have started off with the Gospel being the focus, but now it is a way for KP to build his empire.” User: Saturn

gospel-for-asia-donor

Copyright © 2016. Donor Be Wise - If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. James 1:5