November is National Adoption Month.
The story I want to bring to you has adoption at the center of the story but is also about mind control followed by entrance into the freedom meant for followers of Christ.
Tom and Sara Sluberski once labored at Gospel for Asia. They had adopted two children and wanted to adopt another when their CEO and the Metropolitan of the Believers’ Church K.P. Yohannan threw cold water on their warm desire to bring another child into their family.
Tom describes the day when Yohannan questioned their decision to pursue adoption one more time.
KP started off by saying something like “I heard a rumor you were adopting again”. I responded in my head “well, this really isn’t a rumor as I’ve pretty much kept leadership in loop, even though I didn’t really have to.” KP went on to say stuff like, “I really can’t tell you what to do, but I don’t think adopting is a good idea for you.” It was cacophonous chatter and I really was taken off guard, here I just helped someone unload a truck with all their house stuff and KP is warning me of the dangers of adoption. I tried to respond by saying we had prayed about this for close to three years and I also mentioned what a blessing our China daughter was, in that she really invigorated our family and she became a part of the ministry. Even at her young age she helped in the kitchen and I know she brought joy to many on staff. But I think it all fell on deaf ears. KP’s demeanor was dour, not the happy hamburger and fries guy that he sometimes appears to be. I was rather shocked, you have to realize that this is the president of Gospel for Asia, KP is also the Metropolitan of Believers Church in India, overseeing two million believers in Asia and also overseeing the GFA USA office and sitting on the boards of the US office, and apparently other boards around the globe. It was a big deal to me when this person in this position that you served with for 12 years says something like this to you.
Yohannan’s insensitive exhortation threw the Sluberski’s into a daze. In cohesive groups, especially those with a strong controlling leader, deviating from instructions can create feelings of fear and sadness. Whether GFA intended it or not, many former staffers report feeling controlled in mind and behavior. Yohannan inserted himself into this situation as if he had veto power over their most personal of decisions.
Eventually, the Sluberskis emerged from the GFA bubble and are finding freedom of mind, subject only to God.
We realized that senior leadership, after being under KP for 20+ years, had forgotten how to make their own decisions and opted for KP to in essence, think for them. We did not want that to happen to us. We announced our departure in June 2015, and interestingly enough we moved out on July 4th weekend, one year after we had moved in.