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McClung News Journal
Dec/Jan '03
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How It All Started...Page 1
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Page 6-Big Day
Page 7-Dengue
Page 8-Recovery
Page 9
10-Thanxgivin'
11-Christmas
Page 12
Easter
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End of First Year
Back in 'Nam
September '02
Better Sept
October '02
Autumn '02
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Dec/Jan '03
January 2003
Feb/March '03
April '03
May '03
Trinidad Trip
School's Out Again
Sept. '03
Sept. Part 2
Oct/Nov '03
Nov '03
Dec '03
Jan 2004
Feb/March '04
April/May '04
Leaving Suriname
FUN PAGE

Another Christmas and New Year's celebrated...

Mon, 13 Jan 2003

Dear Prayer Partners,
                                    
                                    Happy New Year (belated) and we sure hope that this email finds you 
                                    doing very well.  We are back in the throes of our normal schedule (since 
                                    school started back again last week after a nice two-and-a-half week 
                                    break).  Christmas holidays in the tropics is something that I find 
                                    difficult adjusting to.  The daily temps are in the 80's and it is either 
                                    sunny or rainy--take your pick.  After 30-some years of having a white 
                                    Christmas (or near-white), it is hard to get into the spirit of things 
                                    due to the summer-like atmosphere.  We did have an enjoyable Christmas 
                                    however, and we hope that you had a memorable one too.
                                    
                                    I must apologize, since my last update was around Thanksgiving.  I'm 
                                    either getting slack or time is just whooshing by.  I think that happens 
                                    due to old age.  Lately, we have been busy--busy enjoying our break.  
                                    As the majority of the teaching staff headed for the states for the 
                                    holidays, Patricia and I took the time to just slow down, unwind, and 
                                    relax.  AND IT FELT GOOD.  Although we are not as hurried here as we were in 
                                    the states, we do find ourselves more busy this year than we were last 
                                    year.  Since the time that I last wrote, I was busy overseeing the art 
                                    direction for the school Christmas play.  Of course it was a huge hit.  
                                    This year's play was an adaptation of Charles Dickens' "Christmas 
                                    Carol".  I directed the students in making the backgrounds and the props, 
                                    and I also did the stage make-up.  It was a blast.  
                                    
                                    During the holidays, we had Christmas Eve brunch with a missionary 
                                    family along with the few other teachers that decided to stay in Suriname.  
                                    On Christmas Day, we had a lovely dinner with another missionary 
                                    family.  Of course Suriname turns into a 'war-zone' during the 48 hours of 
                                    New Years.  People go bonkers with fireworks here.  It's insane really, 
                                    but Patricia seems to really enjoy it.  Even Doby seemed to enjoy this 
                                    year's fireworks display through his sedative-induced haze.
                                    
                                    Ah, football.  As I write you now, I'm trying to overcome my 
                                    disappointment with the NY Jets heartbreak loss to those evil Oakland Raiders.  
                                    You see, my one vice is football.  I have burnt my Cleveland Browns 
                                    hats, and ripped up my Randy Moss jerseys, because this is (was) the year 
                                    of Chad Pennington.  I have thoroughly enjoyed listening to Jets 
                                    football via the internet since Chad has taken over the helm.  For those of 
                                    you who could care less about football, keep reading--I'm going to make a 
                                    point.  You see, Chad is a hero.  He graduated from my Alma Mater, 
                                    Marshall University (Randy Moss just ATTENDED there for 2 years).  Chad was 
                                    a hero on the grid iron in Huntington and a Heisman Trophy Finalist .  
                                    Chad is also a brother in Christ, for he was very involved with FCA.  
                                    Chad warmed the bench in NY/NJ for over two years in spite of being the 
                                    number one draft choice for the Jets and the first quarterback drafted 
                                    in 2000.  Marshall fans knew what caliber of player Chad was.  Now it 
                                    was New York's turn.  After a dismal 1-3 start (the Jets worst slump in 
                                    40 seasons), the Jets benched veteran QB Vinnie Testaverde for Chad 
                                    Pennington.  Through the following weeks, Jets fans learned what Marshall 
                                    fans have always known--the kid is awesome.  Chad turned their season 
                                    around, received praises from Joe Namath, was compared to Joe Montana, 
                                    had the highest QB rating in the NFL, there's talk of a Superbowl 
                                    Championship, and New York was ecstatic...but everyone knows how fickle New 
                                    York fans are.  Chad gets to the second play-off game and....the Jets 
                                    choke.  Chad's a hero....but one with clay feet.  Chad is human.  People 
                                    get disappointed when humans fail; but guess what?  God NEVER fails.  
                                    All of NY turned to Chad as the savior, but their sites fell short.  We, 
                                    as people, need to be careful in putting all of our trust in others.  
                                    We need to put our whole trust in Jesus Christ.  God will never forsake 
                                    or leave you as He promised in Joshua 1:5 and Hebrews 13:5-6.  
                                    Sometimes, even when we feel that we are being put through the wringer, God is 
                                    there.  In Psalms 121, we read that God neither sleeps nor slumbers; He 
                                    keeps His eyes on us.  He is always in control.  God has a purpose in 
                                    mind for us, even when we feel that we are being "put through the fire".  
                                    Well, maybe that is just God "burning the impurities" out of our lives.  
                                    I know it seems hard, but in these times we need to submit to Him and 
                                    be silent and listen.  Listen to what God is telling us.  We need to be 
                                    clay in His hands so that He can mold us into the men and women we are 
                                    meant to be.  So, what's better than being a hero with clay feet?  Clay 
                                    in the Master's Hands.
                                    
                                    Let that sink in for a moment.  Well, today I had the awesome 
                                    opportunity of giving the sermon in our local church here in Suriname.  The 
                                    church is mostly Guyanese people who have been nothing but warm and 
                                    inviting to us.  This is one of only two English speaking churches in 
                                    Suriname.  The people there genuinely love the Lord and I was happy to be used 
                                    in that capacity.
                                    
                                    In regards to prayer needs, we have a few.  First, we really need 
                                    prayer concerning our home situation in North Carolina.  The couple 
                                    presently renting our duplex will be moving in February, so PLEASE, PLEASE pray 
                                    that God provides new tenants for our home (or we will just have to ask 
                                    for more support!).  I know that God is in control and He will provide.  
                                    That is the number one lesson that I can take from this entire 
                                    experience--If you are obedient to God's will, HE WILL PROVIDE.  Jehovah Jirah!  
                                    Amen.  For those of you living in the New Bern, NC area, we ask that 
                                    you announce in your churches about our rental property being available.  
                                    We really want Christians to live in our home.  It's all about good 
                                    stewardship.  Please get the word out.  The property will be available in 
                                    March.  If you hear of anyone, please pass the word along to us.  THANK 
                                    YOU.
                                    
                                    Patricia's girl's bible study at school is going along fantastic.  She 
                                    is always very excited about it, so please keep praying over the seeds 
                                    being planted in her bible study.  Our after school bible study is 
                                    trudging along.  Just a handful of kids have been faithfully attending, so 
                                    that is a praise.  Just ask God to continue to bless this ministry.
                                    
                                    Keep the school year in prayer.  We need continued prayer for staff 
                                    relationships and such, since that is Satan's favorite target.  Things are 
                                    a lot better since the changes have occurred with the school board, but 
                                    one never quite knows what the devil may be boiling just under the 
                                    surface.  Pray for God's guiding hand to continue to direct the school in 
                                    His will.   We will be losing 5 teachers at the end of this school year.  
                                    Please pray that the Lord of the Harvest calls His workers here.  We 
                                    also ask that you pray about teacher housing for next year.
                                    
                                    We also want to lift up the world's situations to God.  Being overseas 
                                    makes you keenly aware of foreign diplomacy or the lack thereof.  We 
                                    are praying for all the troops being activated.  We ask prayers for 
                                    President Bush and his inner circle, that he seeks out God in his 
                                    decision-making process.  We also want to ask for some prayer for some government 
                                    stability issues going on here in Suriname, continue to pray for our 
                                    protection.
                                    
                                    Again, we just want to thank you for your continued prayers and 
                                    support.  Please drop us a line sometime...we love hearing from you.
                                    
                                    God bless you 'til we meet again,
                                    In Him,
                                    
                                    John and Patricia    
                                    
                                    

January 2003