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McClenahan to teach abroad in Myanmar


October 29, 2019

Ila McClenahan

Press release for Havre Daily News

Ila McClenahan, retired chaplain and activity director, will be embarking on a new challenge next month. She has been invited to teach a two-week class in Myitkyina, Myanmar.

"When I retired from the hospital," McClenahan said, "I prayed 'God, if you have anything for me do to, I would be willing.' I thought that would mean family time, speaking at some ladies' retreats, volunteering and just giving back to this community that has given me so much."

Last summer, McClenahan and her husband, Rod McClenahan, hosted long-time missionary to Hong Kong Linda Gudahl Smyth. Ila McClenahan had attended Bible college with Smyth, and Rod McClenahan had graduated from high school with her in western Nebraska. Linda inquired if Ila McClenahan might be interested in coming to Hong Kong and speaking to which she replied, "Sure."

Ila had spent the summer of 1974 in Hong Kong on a missionary internship after graduating from Summit Christian College.

Linda returned to Hong Kong and in the fall sent McClenahan a message: "I've been asked to come to Myanmar and teach 'Christian Ethics' at a Bible college. I need help. Would you go with me?"

"Myanmar! Where's Myanmar?" McClenahan asked.

"It used to be called Burma," she was told

After praying about it and remembering her promise to do anything the Lord asked, McClenahan answered, "Yes, I will go."

McClenahan will leave Great Falls Nov. 18, with stops in Denver and San Fran-cisco, and after a 23- hour total flight, will arrive in Hong Kong Nov. 20. Travelers lose a day she will be crossing the International Date Line.

After a few days in Hong Kong, they will fly four hours to Yangon, Myanmar. The next day they will fly 600 miles north to Myitkyina.

McClenahan and Smyth will team teach five hours each day, with three in the morning, a break for lunch and two in the afternoon. Traditionally, visiting professors and teachers provide the resources for the student's lunch Monday through Friday. Myanmar is a relatively poor country and this really benefits the students who sacrifice much to attend the Bible college. For the 35 students it is estimated to cost $600.

With airfare, living expenses and the student's lunch, it is estimated that the cost of the trips will be around $4,000.

"If the Lord leads anyone to help with expenses I would be very grateful," McClenahan said. "Checks for tax purposes can be made out to 'Fifth Avenue Christian Church' with 'Ila McClenahan' in the memo line."

McClenahan will leave Hong Kong around noon Dec. 10 and, after another 23-hour flight, will arrive in Great Falls at 9 p.m. the same day. Again, crossing the International Date Line.

"What I really need the most are your prayers," McClenahan said.


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