Nearly 50 staff – half of the total – have left the embattled Gospel for Asia (GFA) mission organisation in 2015, according to an activist group. Kerala-born missionary KP Yohannan founded and runs Gospel For Asia (GFA) —the second largest mission group in the US.
GFA and Yohannan have faced a storm of negative publicity in the US following revelations by blogger Warren Throckmorton of financial mismanagement. It was found to have kept vast reserves in Indian bank accounts while pleading for urgent funds from donors in the US and was expelled from the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability after an investigation. It was also criticised for its practice of getting students to carry large amounts in cash from the US to India. GFA has been accused of treated staff poorly and is facing a lawsuit for fraud and misuse of charitable donations.
DonorBeWise.com, run by former GFA workers, says its purpose is to “help individuals understand the issues surrounding GFA”. It says: “The 2015 staff exodus was not your normal attrition…If you look at how long so many of these staff had served and how much they personally invested in the work, in terms of time and commitment, these weren’t the type of people to leave over a little misunderstanding. What people do leave over is repeat offenses that are born out of abusive patterns, they leave over a lack of trust.”
Senior staff who left included the communications leader, the church relations department leader, and the leaders of the IT, ministry partners and web departments. The leader of the IT department, whose wife also left her role as writer/editor, had served for 29 years.
Meanwhile, GFA run Delhi-headquartered Believers Church is constantly in news for all the ‘right’ reasons in India. In March, a delegation headed by Yohannan donated Rs. 1 crore to towards Prime Minister’s Ganga cleanliness campaign.
In April, Believers Church was bringing relief to the victims of Kerala temple tragedy. Early this month the church was in news for building 20 toilets in Himachal Pradesh, paying heed to Prime Minister’s sanitation project, Swachh Bharat Abhiyan. Two days later, the congregation reaching out to drought affected in Maharashtra’s Latur was reported.
On May 16, Believers church and Yohannan was again in news with a project for installing tube wells in 98 villages across Uttar Pradesh. On May 24, media reported the church contributing towards Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “Skill India” Campaign, by imparting skill to underprivileged women across the country to help them earn a livelihood.