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During the time after this fire and the rebuilding, the school in Suriname requested assistance from both within and outside of Suriname. Insurance covered approximately 50% of the new building needed to replace the former house and school administration buildings. The other 50% came from loans within RCM and from gifts outside. As of 2007, all these loans and gifts were paid back and the school in Suriname returned to operating on its own resources.
The only outside funding that is sought for Suriname is that which is needed to assist foreign teachers to teach in Suriname. Those teachers are paid the wages of the locally hired teachers, but with travel and expenses on the home front, they often need some additional assistance from the outside. Other than that, the school and church in Suriname are totally self-supporting, which is the objective and goal of all of RCM's ministries.
If you have any questions with regards to anything pertaining to Suriname or any of the above, you may contact Rev. Geoffrey Donnan at 772-571-8030.
PARAMARIBO, SURINAME (So. America): On Saturday, March 8, 2003, a fire broke out in the main building of Caribbean Christian Ministries housing the offices, chapel, library and some classrooms of Christian Liberty Academy; the residence for the Rev. & Mrs. Poettcker, and Fareza Kahn, one of the school teachers who lived with them; and the place of worship for First Presbyterian Church of Paramaribo. (For details see 1. The Fire--Before and After)
The destruction of the building was all but total. This took place in the middle of the night and were it not for the providence of God in sending a stranger passing by on a bus who took the time to get off the bus and take it upon himself to awaken those asleep in the building, the outcome may have been even more tragic. Rev. & Mrs. Poettcker and Fareza Kahn were able to get out with their pajamas, purse, brief case with laptop computer and nothing more. The buildings were totally destroyed. By directing the meager fire department water on the front school office, many of the school's files were salvagable as well as a few of the computer harddrives and a window air conditioner.
Christian Liberty Academy, is an English-language Christian day school providing grades Kindergarten 4 through 12th grade. Additional, distance-learning courses are offered through the Reformation International College and Theological Seminary operated out of Fellsmere, Florida in the U.S. At any one time, there will be between 250 to 300 students on the campus, in addition to 20 teachers, administrators and maintenance personnel. The school has gained a country-wide reputation for excellence with its Christian-value based curriculum. While most of the children in the school come from various religious backgrounds (nominal Christian, Roman Catholic, Hindu, Muslim, Sikh and Buddhist), a good number of Chinese from mainland China have come over the years with a background of atheism. Yet, students who graduate and attend college or university either in Suriname or other countries, are not infrequently granted scholarships and go on to achieve their degrees. So, the school has gained a reputation for providing good quality, college preparatory education both for the many internationals in the country as well as Surinamers themselves. The school was founded in 1979 by Rev. Geoffrey Donnan (now president of Reformation Christian Ministries--RCM) who also serves on the board of the Stichting: Caribbean Christian Ministries, the non-profit foundation established in Suriname which owns both the land and the school and works as an affiliated ministry with RCM.
School Enrollment at the beginning of August, 2005.
CLA Students Begin New Year
First Presbyterian Church of Paramaribo, is an English-language Presbyterian Church affiliated with the Covenant Reformed Presbyterian Church. It was founded by Rev. Geoffrey Donnan in 1978 under the name Open Door Bible Church as a Reformed Baptist Church. However, along with Rev. Donnan's conversion to the Reformed and Presbyterian doctrines, the church eventually came to its present name. It has had several missionary pastors over the years, but in July 2003 Elder Asgar Mohammed Hamid was examined by Presbytery and was installed in October, 2003 to become the first local pastor, which position he holds to this day.
Both the church and the school have been self-supporting ministries since 1983. The only exception to that principle has been the provision of a missionary family and occasional volunteers, and even then, the school provides them with housing. The school was in process of planning to build a larger building over a period of years at a rate it could afford when the fire struck. The fire necessitated rebuilding and expanding at the same time, since the best use of the space available for expansion was in the same location of the building that burned. While the fire insurance covered about 50% of the costs, it was necessary to build a cement block construction building both to limit future fire hazards as well as to accommodate the needed expansion. The consequential timing of both the fire and the incidental costs of it not covered by insurance necessitated another exception to this self-support policy, in order to rebuild from the fire and get the larger building needs at the same time. Thankfully, the Lord brought the resources to meet this need from both within and without Suriname and the ministry is again totally self-supporting.