History

For more than 90 years, ABWE missionaries and staff have shared the good news of Jesus—multiplying leaders, churches, and missions movements through evangelism, discipleship, and church planting.

While the eternal impact of these life-changing ministries is worth celebrating, we would be remiss to not also acknowledge a dark time in our history where ABWE leaders failed.

Over the past decade, our mission unearthed historical policies and leadership decisions that ultimately led to the harm and abuse of children in our mission, primarily in the 1970s and 1980s.

This abuse was first widely revealed in 2011 by the now-adult victim survivors. As a result, ABWE hired a third-party firm to investigate what happened and why. After a multi-year investigation, ABWE was able to provide the victim survivors with—and then publicly release—an in-depth report in 2016.

The report found more than 20 cases of historic child abuse and sexual abuse of minors perpetuated by an ABWE missionary and physician serving in Bangladesh, that occurred in the 1960s, 70s, and 80s.

The investigation highlighted a lack of oversight and action by past ABWE leadership in confronting the offender, which provided him opportunities to perpetuate his abuse of children. Furthermore, it determined that previous leaders failed to respond appropriately to victims in the years that followed.

After the abuse was publicly revealed, ABWE walked through the report to identify important areas of change and transparency; and leadership walked with the survivors and their families toward reconciliation and restoration, if they desired it.

All of these experiences have helped the organization to build a new way forward.