Gospel for Asia Reneged on Pledge Not to Take Loans or Money from Mission Field to Build New Headquarters

GFA HQ FrontIn May 2010, Gospel for Asia’s CEO and founder, K.P. Yohannan, told GFA staff that GFA might move from Carrollton, TX to Wills Point, TX. A month later, GFA acquired 350 acres which would eventually become the site of the current compound. As reported previously, GFA began building the project without sufficient funds in hand to complete it. In April 2013, GFA leaders realized they were very low on cash and approached City Bank in Lubbock for a loan. According to GFA COO, David Carroll, the City Bank was willing to loan the money but before that happened, a board under the control of Believers’ Church in India took a loan there and then sent almost $19.8 million as a gift to help GFA complete the office buildings (link).
I have since learned that GFA borrowed $11.5 million from City Bank in Lubbock in July 2014.
In May and June of 2010, GFA staff were informed that GFA had initiated a process of acquiring land for a new headquarters and compound. During these meetings, staff were told that the move would save millions and be cheaper for staff living expenses (neither of these claims appear to be true which will be addressed in future posts). In addition, staff were told that GFA would not divert money from the field nor take loans to help construct the headquarters. However, as we have seen, GFA did both. In October 2013, nearly $19.8 million was wired to GFA from a source in Asia (later disclosed to be Believers’ Church, headed by K.P. Yohannan). In India, GFA is an arm of Believers’ Church. According to GFA’s David Carroll, Believers’ Church took a loan which allowed them to give the $19.8 million to GFA in the U.S. to complete the headquarters. In one act, it appears that GFA reneged on the earlier promises to staff. Then another loan was taken by GFA in the U.S. in 2014.
Below listen to Yohannan’s statements to staff in 2010.

One of the main complaints from former staff is a feeling of betrayal over the policies portrayed by GFA leaders and that which actually happened. The story that is emerging about the move to Wills Point is quite different than what was described at the time.
What might be more serious even than misleading statements to staff are the the misleading statements in the 2013 audit conducted by Bland Garvey. The $19.8 million payment from Believers’ Church in India to GFA was clearly a related party transaction with financial repercussion both in India and the U.S. However, the “anonymous” gift was reported in a different section of the audit:
This description does not alert potential donors or potential lenders (e.g., City Bank in Lubbock, TX who loaned $11.5 million to GFA) that the cash to help build the buildings actually came from a related party (Despite his claims to the contrary, Yohannan is listed in legal documents in India as the managing trustee of Believers’ Church). Some donors might wonder why funds are so urgently needed on the field if a beneficiary of GFA’s work can turn around and give such a large gift with assurances that it can be repaid very quickly. A bank might view the credit worthiness of GFA differently if it is known that an anonymous donor is really a related party.
The ECFA review of Gospel for Asia is supposed to be completed by October when GFA is supposed to answer all outstanding questions. Looking forward to that.