In 2008 Tim and Ginger Geftakys, Mark Miller, Jack Hanson and Mike Struven incorporated "Pilgrims Provisions Ministries" as a 501(3)(c) in order to enable tax deductible contributions to missions, initially to Samuel Ochenjele in Nigeria, and now to Marcos and Marta Velasco in Cuernavaca. The property in Cuernavaca was purchased by several large donors for a Geftakys Assembly outreach. After the Assembly ministry imploded the donors requested that the property be sold and the money returned to them. The Velasco's refused. The difficult story is here. Now the property is being used by Iglesia Biblical de Cristo (Bible Church of Christ). The pastors are graduates of Word of Grace Seminary, which is under the auspices of John MacArthur's Grace Community Church in California.
You all are familiar with the story of Samuel and the school. However, there are considerations that you might see in a new light now.
1. Education methods - Ginger's input, Cornerstone. 2. Dishonesty in the history of this ministry 3. Samuels behavior in the Otukpo Assembly
As a member of the Board of Directors of PPM, Ginger Geftakys is an advisor to Livingstone Academy. She was the director of the Geftakys Assembly school, Cornerstone Academy, from 1982 to 2004, and was deeply involved as a family mentor in the Geftakys Assemblies.
Ginger and Betty Geftakys devised a system of child training incorporating the principles of the Ezzo's, Fugate, and Michael and Debi Pearl, which included 'first time obedience' and spanking. This method was painstakingly taught in the Geftakys Assemblies, and implemented at Cornerstone Academy.
Assembly children were adversely affected by these child-training methods, as evidenced in their stories:
- My Escape from the Assembly"
- Jason Farlow
- Does discipline really produce Godly character?
- Infant Abuse
Ginger has not publicly repudiated any of these methods nor apologized to students or families for abuses. Presumably Livingstone Academy, under Ginger's tutealge, operates on these principles to at least some extent.
Background of the Board of Directors
The history of Pilgrims Provision' as recounted on its website is not entirely truthful and transparent. Originally conceived as "Pilgrim Ventures" in 2005, "Pilgrims Provisions Ministries" was incorporated as a 501(c)(3) non-profit in 2008 with Tim and Ginger Geftakys, Mark Miller and Mike Struven as officers. Tim and Ginger were full-time Workers in the Assembly ministry of Tim's father George. Tim and Mark Miller were elders in the Fullerton Geftakys Assembly. Mike Struven is still a leader in the former Geftakys Assembly in Goleta.
The stated purpose is to support international Christian ministries, particularly in connection with education, orphans and missions. They solicit financial contributions, volunteer talent, and long and short term on-site Workers.
Geftakys Background - Financial Accountability
The history page of "Pilgrims Provisions Ministries" tells a misleading story. In the 1970's the five young future-founders were casual acquaintances involved in the Assembly ministry of George Geftakys. Over the years they were all rigorously trained to become leaders in the group.
The Geftakys Assembly ministry ended abruptly in 2003 with the revelation of George's serious moral lapses. Subsequently, the cultic nature of the group came into focus as the code of silence was broken and things that were hidden came to light. One of the issues raised was the secretive and highly questionable handling of finances.
Although Tim apparently severed ties with his father after the ministry collapsed in 2003, neither he nor the other board members have ever publicly stated where they stand on the issues raised about the teaching and cultic practices of the Assembly system. They have not publicly acknowledged nor apologized for abuses they perpetrated.
It is heartening to see that these former Geftakys Assembly leaders have made a break with the Assembly mindset in regard to registering with the government, and at least in that way are being aboveboard in soliciting funds. Here is the ProPublica Non-Profit Explorer report on Pilgrims Provisions.
With the backing of the Geftakys ministry Samuel Ochenjele began a private school in Otukpo, Benue State, Nigeria, in the 1980's. A closer look into the PPM website shows that Livingstone Academy is the sole named recipient of aid. Several former members of Samuel's Assemblies in Nigeria have reported extremely serious abuses under his leadership - summary, full report.
A former Assembly member discovered the Pigrims Provision site, and had this comment: "I just googled "Ginger Geftakys" on a whim and wondered if you had seen this link [to the original PPM site], Pilgrims Provisions Ministries? I've never heard about Tim publicly apologizing or repenting (I could be wrong), and now here he is with a website asking for donations...Well, you can rest assured that I would never give a penny to a so-called ministry bearing the Geftakys name!"
Another former member reacted, "Begging for money " --R. Johnson