Just when you thought you have seen it all from the ministry that is going to trial in 2019 …
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.
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.
“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.”
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.
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
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.
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