In a statement to Christian Today, via comment from the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability, Gospel for Asia admitted sending cash to India via student groups and ministry partners. From the article by Mark Woods:
GFA is a member of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA), which made an on-site review of its finances at its headquarters in Willis Point, Texas last week. ECFA told Christian Today: “We found the organisation to be highly transparent and fully cooperative, as I’m sure they’ll continue to be as ECFA continues our review of Gospel for Asia.”
It confirmed that GFA had sent cash with individuals travelling to India, but said that it had “stopped this practice entirely, and is working with legal counsel to determine appropriate remedial measures, if any”.
An organization is not highly transparent when they tell members of the public that they won’t answer questions which have now proven to be legitimate. On a regular basis, I get communications from former donors who tell me that GFA did not answer their questions and David Carroll told me he wouldn’t respond to any more of my emails.
On the money smurfing, it is now clear that the ECFA leaders now know this was happening. We also learn here (not from the “transparent” GFA but from GFA’s public relations spokesgroup, ECFA) that GFA has some idea that legal counsel may be necessary.
There is something wrong with this picture. The financial watchdog group appears to be more interested in damage control for a charter member (GFA) than getting answers for donors. All those years the money smurfing was taking place, GFA was a member in good standing with ECFA. If not for recent disclosures from former students and staff, GFA would still be doing it in violation of their own stated financial standards. However, when discovered, ECFA’s response is to focus on GFA’s claim that it won’t happen again. If ECFA had benefit for donors, it would focus on why GFA sent money to India in the first place.
Recently, a person who had carried cash to India for GFA told me that no explanation was given when the cash was handed out just prior to leaving the U.S. Travelers did not have time to contact family or advisors to ask questions about it. It was just expected. There were no receipts given in the U.S. or in India and no customs forms were completed. The amount in an envelope was $4500.
If you are a student, staff member, ministry partner, or pastor who carried cash out of the United States to another country, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. We can speak off the record unless you designate otherwise.