Greetings Dear Friends in Christ's name!
Well, I guess this additional letter is a result of my slacking off
last month--(looks like I'm catching up now). It has been said that every
failure is a result of failure to pray, so I am asking you to join us
on our knees and pray with us regarding a few situations happening here.
A lot has happened here in the past 2 weeks, so I will speed you up to
date. Last week, Joe Hale (the founder of NICS) came here for a rare
visit. I will help you understand where he fits in...NICS or the
Network of International Christian Schools is our 'umbrella' mission
organization--we are NICS teachers and the American Cooperative School (ACS)
is under the NICS umbrella. ACS just joined NICS about 3 years ago, so
ACS is fairly new to the organization. As you know, we've had some
major difficulties with our school board in the past. These difficulties
have been prayed over and resolved through God's intervention--so
things were good...Now Joe comes in for his visit. He explains to the staff
that there are basically 2 types of NICS schools--Type A--where NICS is
the sovereign head of the school and makes all the decisions for the
school, and Type B--where the school is run by a local school board. ACS
is a Type B school. The proposal presented to us, was to transform our
school to a Type A school. This sounds promising at face value--no
more board squabbles, right? However, other problems arise in this
situation (too many to mention). Joe met with the school board for an entire
day and laid things out on the table--basically, ACS becomes a Type A
school or NICS pulls out--along with its teachers/principal. It was
also announced that our principal, Dr. Martens, would be retiring after
this school year. That was a lot to swallow last week.
Now, to add to the quagmire...this week (right now), there is a man
from the US State Department here at our school to train the board on
conflict resolution and how to run a board meeting. The US State Dept. has
its eyes on our school too because they have a vested interest in us.
They have 'donated' money for our new science lab and 'donated' library
books to our school library--but these donations seem to have some
strings attached. We have a lady from the US Embassy on the school board,
and the embassy is concerned over the appearance of squabbling US
citizens. Heaven knows that we don't want our situation to reflect poorly
on US relations with Suriname. The State Dept. also has a reputation of
over-taking "struggling" American international schools. Once that
happens, because of the liberal stance of separation of church and state,
these schools no longer are classified as "Christian schools" but State
On top of all of this, we are trying to get our school accreditation
this year. The accreditation process has been placed on hold due to the
conflicts of the school board. That is the reason for our 2 visitors.
Both want accreditation for our school, as do the entire staff.
Accreditation is important for our students and teachers. It helps students
being accepted into the US university system and it shows that the
teachers and schools meet US standards.
So, as you see, we have much to pray over. We are totally confident
that it is God's will for us to be here at ACS next year. We do not
doubt that. Several potential teachers have been in contact with the
school over the last several weeks. We feel, if it was God's will for ACS
to close its doors, then teacher prospects would not be directed our
So, we are requesting prayer for (1) the accreditation process, (2)
which direction God wants this board situation to go, (3) where God wants
us next school year,
(4) the new teachers and housing for next year, (5) our students and
classroom situations, (6) Dr. Frank and Ruth Martens and their
transition, (7) the next principal of ACS, (8) our relationship with our 2 fellow
teachers that have major difficulties, and (9) new tenants for our home
On a good note, I gave the message to our local church a few weeks ago
and it was so well received that they have asked me to assist the
church with preaching one Sunday a month, so (10) God uses me in this
We continue to pray for President Bush and his leadership decisions and
our US servicemen.
Thank you for praying with us. Please share these needs with other
John and Patricia