Reformed Seminary, College, Free Sermons, Scholarly Resources, and Overseas Missions Opportunities

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Mission Field: SURINAME

Suriname highlighted in the map of South AmericaWith its great diversity of language (7 major languages), ethnicity (7 cultures) and religion, Suriname, with a population of 450,000, is the only country in the Western Hemisphere whose major religion is Hinduism.  It was traded by the British to the Dutch for Manhattan Island in 1667, (they still drive on the left-hand side of the road), and it was granted independence from Holland in 1975.  Following on the heels of Grenada and Nicaragua, Suriname went through revolution in 1980.  It was in this fertile diversity and national upheaval that Reformation Christian Ministries had its beginning under the name "Caribbean Christian Ministries".

RCM was started in 1979 with the establishment of a church and Christian day school by its founder and director, Rev. Geoffrey Donnan (with the able assistance of his wife, Nancy, and their two children Kimarie and Jason). God must surely be praised for the tremendous outreach of Christian Liberty Academy and the First Presbyterian Church associated with it.
Christian Liberty Academy, which includes all grades from kindergarten through grade 12, has become an institution in Suriname.  It is the largest English-language school (250+ students) in this Dutch-speaking country, and the only one which uses a Christ-centered, biblical curriculum.  Its students come from around the world as many embassies and internationals enroll their children.  Those who transfer to other schools and colleges often receive scholarships, generally outperforming their peers when placed in schools in the U.S. and Canada.  Some parents have even sent children back to Suriname from abroad due to the better quality of education received. We continue to hear from graduates who, through their studies at CLA, have become believers and are diligently seeking to live a Christian life in various studies and jobs.

Famous Surinam Toad - a totally aquatic anomalyAs much as possible, the school employs local teachers who generally are taught pedagogic skills by the school.  Since 1983, it has been self-supporting in its internal finances, even paying back money borrowed from abroad to purchase an adjacent piece of property and to build seven additional classrooms.  It is gradually becoming a model for the concept that God will enable Christian ministries on the mission field to break the tradition of financial dependency upon their foreign founders. (One recent exception to its financial self-support rule came about because of a major fire in March, 2003, which has required the school to seek outside assistance in the rebuilding of its main administrative, residence, church and chapel building. For more information, click here.)

College & Theological Seminary Education: Suriname is one of several places where we are in the process of establishing college and seminary "education by extension."  In 1994, this type of education was formally initiated and affiliated with Reformation International College and Reformation International Theological Seminary. Since many students desire to leave Suriname for "bigger" countries, only a few students have taken advantage of this at present, but we are hopeful that this will change in the future.

Our prayerful goal is to train young men and women in all walks of life to embrace a biblical world-and-life view that will impact their society and bring about true reformation in Suriname. Additionally, we envision that the college program will be useful in training Christian CLA graduates for teaching at CLA.

To that end we are specifically looking to develop a Bachelor of Education program as a means of further training our school teachers to prepare them both for teaching locally as well as providing this service for other fields who may send their teaching students to Suriname to work in CLA while taking their courses. We see this as an opportunity to develop both Christian schooling in Suriname and abroad as well as an opportunity to assist in some of the needs for Suriname's school. Pray that we may have time and resources to establish the Education program for training people to teach.

Christian Liberty Academy Invites Interested People
to Help in Education

We are unable to find sufficient number of suitable local people, especially for teaching High School courses. Therefore, each year, we need help to cover this shortage of personnel. While we are able to adapt to particular abilities and interests, we regularly look for help in these areas:

  • The most urgent is for help in Senior High school higher maths and sciences.

  • Help in High School English, grades 9 to 12.

  • Help in Junior High; various subjects (science, English, theology, math).

  • Help in the library and assisting Kindergarten and Elementary teachers.

Interested individuals should plan for a minimum of one year of service, and need to contact RCM well in advance of the new school year, which begins in August. For more information on this need, click here. To download a bulletin for advertising this need in your church and/or school or to pass on to an interested friend, click here.

 

CLICK HERE FOR A PICTURE REPORT ON CHRISTIAN LIBERTY ACADEMY

(This link takes you to an outside site in a new window.)

 

GUYANA

Once a showplace of the Caribbean, Guyana has been placed slightly above Haiti in poverty as a result of years of failed “cooperative socialism” and “party paramountcy.”  The country still struggles to recover from over 35 years of social experiments.  The population is predominantly Negro and East Indian, composed of Christians, Hindus and Moslems.

Although it began in Suriname, RCM has also impacted Guyana as well. Over 50% of the students in school and nearly 100% of the church attenders are from Guyana. Furthermore, over the years Bible courses have been mailed to more than 25,000 people in Guyana (continuing to this day).

Rev. Rudy Poettcker and Rev. Donnan have traveled widely in Guyana.  The only two reformed denominations (both Presbyterian, with Scottish and Canadian origins) in the country have never had access to local training and have greatly suffered as a result.  While "inroads" have been made, more work needs to be done. Past visits and contacts have helped us identify the opportunities and the challenges. Pray with us, that the Lord may provide added personnel, so we can develop both a day school and college and seminary ministry in this country. Our efforts at finding someone within Guyana have not had good results. Please continue to pray for the many who sincerely desire and need the training we could provide.

May the Lord grant that Reformation Christian Ministries will play an increasingly important role through our various programs in the discipling of these nations. (Matthew 28:18)

Mission Objectives -

  • To have someone help develop and oversee the study program and establish a solid Biblical church in Georgetown, Guyana. This will include the integration of many Good News Bible Study students into a serious church development program.

  • Use the extension college program to train conscientious Christian teachers in Suriname and Guyana.

  • To establish a much-needed Christian day school and a church in Guyana at some future time.

  • To continue to organize and structure the First Presbyterian Church in Suriname, with leadership training of deacons, elders and a future pastor.

  • To continue to guide our teaching personnel so the quality of education in Christian Liberty Academy is maintained and improved. This involves training teachers and their growth in commitment and loyalty in their work.

Personnel

Rev. Rudy Poettcker and his wife Sharilyn serve the Lord in Suriname. They have lived in Suriname since August 1994, and their combined ministry is known as S.A.L.T. (Suriname Advanced Leadership Training). Rudy was trained in Education, graduated from Mid-America Reformed Seminary and has pastored since 1988. He serves as Headmaster of Christian Liberty Academy, teaches several classes, supervises studies of the seminary and college students, and was formerly pastor of First Presbyterian Church. However, since he has trained his replacement as pastor, he now assists on the session (consistory) of the church along with Pastor Asgar Hamid (see below).
Sharilyn is a registered nurse whose God-given knowledge and insights in health are continually being sought by teachers, students and many in the community. She also works in the school library, where she not only takes care of books but also finds herself counseling many young people who are commonly attracted to her “motherly” nature. For more information on the Poettckers click here.
 

Rev. Asgar Hamid was trained by Rev. Poettcker to assume the responsibilities of pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Paramaribo (FPC). This he did after being ordained by the Covenant Reformed Presbyterian Church (for more info, click here) in 2002. He is now the Administrator of Christian Liberty Academy of Paramaribo as well. He graduated from the school and grew through various responsibilities and training over the last ten years. He met his wife, Nirmala, at the school and later they were married. They now have three children, Abigail, Timothy and Elizabeth. For more information on the Hamids, click here.

Needs & Projects

  • Most importantly, they sincerely desire a partnership of people firmly committed to pray for them and their ministry. They are continually engaged in a spiritual battle which is only won through the persistent prayers of God’s people.

  • Consistent monthly giving to reach full support for the Poettcker family . At present, Rev. Poettcker is assisting in a leadership transition program designed to turn over more responsibility to the local leadership. To facilitate this, he periodically spends time away from Suriname, developing curriculum and policy manuals for the school and recruiting teachers for the school. Rev. Poettcker has also begun to serve as "Dean of Studies" for Reformation International Theological Seminary and Reformation International College.

  • Pray for Rev. Hamid's myriad of responsibilities and his continued seminary studies. Pray for Nirmala as she seeks to remain a humble servant of Christ in her important responsibilities. Pray for the special challenge for the whole family of being Christians in a culture with many non-Christian underpinnings and the challenges that this presents both he and his family as they represent Christ to their culture both in the church and the school. Pray also for their children who are under the constant spotlight at both school and church, that they may be able to utilize the tremendous opportunities for the glory of God.

 
 
Reformation Christian Ministries - Reformed International College - Reformed Theological Seminary.  www.Reformation.edu