Archive for October, 2011

Do ICC’s Children Absorb the Christian Lifestyle Around Them?

Monday, October 31st, 2011

The phone rang at our ICC project in Romania. Simona, our administrator, answered it. The voice on the other end was the mother of two children who have lived with us for more than eleven years. She had requested to visit before, but rarely followed through in showing up.

She lives most of the time outside the country but has tried to maintain phone contact with her children. At times she had sent care packages, but the clothing was often too small. This time she wanted to take the children shopping to ensure the sizes would be correct.

Simona began mentally processing how to talk to Mioara & Zachery this time, as they had often been disappointed when their mother failed to visit as she promised. Without checking the calendar, Simona offhandedly said the requested date would work.

The mother then called the home where her children live and spoke with her daughter, Mioara. The housemother was in the kitchen and overheard the conversation. Mioara and Zachery’s mother said that she was coming to take them shopping in a few weeks.

When she informed Mioara of the date, she responded, “Mrs. Simona wouldn’t have given you permission to take me, as it is a Sabbath day.” Her mother responded that she had just gotten off the phone with Mrs. Simona and had indeed received permission for that specific day. There was a pause and a deep breath. Then Mioara replied, “Even if Mrs. Simona did give you permission to take us shopping on that day, I will not go. It is my Sabbath.”

There are times when working with children can be challenging, and we wonder if we are making a difference. We pray this story will reassure our ICC family of staff and supporters that our children are listening, processing and making decisions for themselves on how they will posture themselves toward Christianity. Thank you, Lord, for this victory in Mioara’s life!

And what of the shopping trip? Mioara’s mother changed the outing to the following day—Sunday.

Thanks for reading!

Lori Manley
ICC Social Worker

ICC Romania Celebrates 20th Anniversary

Friday, October 21st, 2011

Twenty years seems like a long time for many things any more. Reaching such a milestone is always a cause for celebration and reflection upon the events that have transpired over those intervening years. For twenty years now ICC has been working in Romania ever since Alcyon Fleck first initiated ICC’s presence in Eastern Europe in 1991.

ICC Romania's staff, children, and attendees of the 20th anniversary celebration pose for a group picture

ICC Romania's staff, children, and attendees of the 20th anniversary celebration gather for a group picture.

Originally ICC’s work involved providing support for a thousand poor and indigent families in the city of Bucharest. In 1998 we were able to establish our children’s village with the acquisition of a former communist cooperative farm where the first renovated building becoming our receiving center.

In 2003 we opened our first children’s home. Since then we’ve added two more children’s homes, administrative offices and housing, a guest house for volunteer groups, greenhouses and we are nearly finished with our on-campus commercial bakery.

Gabriela Necula, [left] ICC Romania's development director, presents three of ICC Romania's original children to those attending the 20th anniversary celebration.

Gabriela Necula, (left) ICC Romania's development director, presents three of ICC Romania's original children to those attending the 20th anniversary celebration.

On October 16, 2011, ICC Romania held a celebration to mark the first twenty years of ICC’s work with the Romanian people. Representatives from ICC’s home and European offices attended the celebration along with all those who are currently serving and many who have served locally with ICC Romania.

Lambro Triantos, ICC’s regional director for Europe, reported to us that the afternoon event went very well despite having to move the celebration indoors due to advancing inclement weather. Lambro also told us that the program included several speakers and presentations and that the best part of the day was when ICC’s children’s choir sang several beautiful songs.

ICC Romania's children's choir sings at ICC Romania's 20th anniversary celebration

ICC Romania's children's choir sings at ICC Romania's 20th anniversary celebration.

Thanks to all of you who are supporting and who have supported ICC and ICC’s Romanian project for these past twenty years. It is because of you that the children and families of ICC Romania have a home where they can live the life they truly deserve.

Thanks for reading!

Ken Wilson
Media Director ICC

ICC Guatemala Experiences ‘Family Week.’

Tuesday, October 18th, 2011

ICC is on a mission to create homes and families for children who have neither. Since 1978, ICC has been creating happy families for orphaned and abandoned children around the world. We often speak of our “ICC family” which includes children, caregivers, donors, administrators and staff in various support offices. At ICC we celebrate family. And what a unique family it is!

One of the special events on some of our campuses each year is “Family Week” which is designed to enhance and strengthen relationships among family members. Joel Carpio, administrator of ICC’s Los Pinos Children’s Village in Guatemala, recently sent a report about the Family Week they celebrated earlier this year. Here is what he said;

The goal [of Family Week] was family integration and unity. The families of the teachers and the administrative team were distributed among the families of the eight children’s homes to support and participate with them.

The activities were both religious and secular (sports). They did dramas, songs, dramatized songs, etc. And in each activity both the children and adults had to participate together.

During the recent 'Family Week' at ICC's Los Pinos Children's Village, one of the families put on a skit involving chickens.

During the recent 'Family Week' at ICC's Los Pinos Children's Village, one of the families put on a skit involving chickens. And a wedding. And a very large pot.

It was impressive to see the acting talent, the participation and the ingenious ideas that the children and young people had and their desire to help their home win the prize. It was a week that we greatly enjoyed, not only the children but also the adults. And even though it was tiring for the adults (the children never seem to get tired!), we enjoyed it so much that it turned out to be good therapy to relieve stress.

One thing that was especially interesting was to see how the relationship between the parents and the children improved, leaving to one side the differences or problems that happen in the home. And that was the goal—that the staff members be integrated to take advantage of the opportunity to promote family unity.

You really needed to have been there to understand the happiness that this week produces. I don’t think there is any comedian who could make us laugh like we did seeing the acting and talent of the children and young people and the creative ideas that they came up with to do things.

One of the activities that was enjoyed the most is the rally. This is an athletic event with skills, coordination and a lot of enthusiasm. This took one whole afternoon. There were ten stations with a judge at each one which oversaw an activity in which the whole family participated. All members of the family had to participate and do the activity correctly in order for the judge to sign off their sheet so they could run and find another station that was empty in order to do another activity. The family that got all ten signatures first won the event. It took about three hours to complete this event.

Families crawl through the mud during Family Week at ICC's Los Pinos Children's Village in Guatemala.

Rally participants crawl through the mud during Family Week at ICC's Los Pinos Children's Village in Guatemala.

This year we had a breakfast competition. One Sunday morning all the homes were given a spot on the campus where they organized and decorated an area where they made a stove, a work table and a dining table. Each home made its menu and they weren’t allowed to take anything that was prepared ahead of time. Again the ingenuity of each person came out and we really enjoyed this event. We had to have a big appetite to enjoy everything that was prepared, and it wasn’t easy to be a judge of this event!

One of the tables and meals from the breakfast competition during Family Week at ICC's Los Pinos Childrens' Village.

One of the tables and meals from the breakfast competition during the recent Family Week at ICC's Los Pinos Children's' Village.

Besides these activities, we had brought special speakers to give motivational and educational talks which were of much interest to everyone during the week.

We have other special activities during the year, including Courtesy Week, Young People’s Week, Week of the Child and also two Weeks of Prayer. But some would say their favorite week is Family Week!

You can see in this report and in the pictures of happy children that family week was a special time to nurture and celebrate families. It also shows that your support of ICC is not about charity—it’s about family!

Kent Greve
International Development Director ICC

Dominican Children Provide Church Programs

Friday, October 14th, 2011

Earlier this year, the children at our Las Palmas Children’s Village in the Dominican Republic prepared a special program for their church. Samilin Lori, the Administrator, sent us the following report and photos.

The Children of Las Palmas Present a Special Program

The children of Las Palmas present their special program

The Young Peoples Society leadership for 2011 is made up of young people with an adult counselor, Mrs. Samilín. This committee met to see what they could do to get the children and young people to read the Bible in a way that would be interesting for them.

They developed a program which would involve all the children and young people in actively reading and studying the Bible.

The Leadership Committee with some of the presenters

The leadership committee with some of the presenters

The program consists in following the annual Bible reading plan that is included with the youth daily devotional book (morning watch book). In order to interest the children and young people, we prepared a good promotional program ahead of time.

We created four groups for the whole church, called Action Groups. Each group has its leaders, a name that identifies it, a color, a motto and aim.

They earn points for various aspects of the program of the Young Peoples Society, such as:

  • Bible reading
  • Developing and presenting programs
  • Participating in Sabbath sundown worship
  • Participating in Bible games on Sabbath afternoons
  • Preparing social activities
  • Preparing spiritual activities

The Bible year was divided into four quarterly sections. For the first quarter, the final program was a weekend devoted to the Sanctuary theme.

Each group was given a portion of the Sanctuary materials so that they could present it in an attractive and dynamic manner. The groups had to develop the Sanctuary implements/equipment and memorize part of the message that contains the truth about the Sanctuary.

We invited Christian singing artists who gave a special touch to the activity, and each action group presented the portion which they had been assigned.

One of the children as the high priest of the Sanctuary

One of the children as the high priest of the Sanctuary

It was a joy to see how the kids learned portions of the Bible on the Sanctuary theme. This was a marvelous experience for the kids, and they felt even closer to God. During the entire year, the Young Peoples Society has presented precious programs during which the children and young people have developed their talents for Christ.

Kent Greve
International Development Director ICC

ICC Students Win Olympiad

Wednesday, October 12th, 2011

On September 30, students from ICAP, ICC’s boarding academy in Guatemala, placed first in the Guatemalan National Agronomy Science Olympics. The event was held at the Adolfo V. Hall Institute in the city of Retalhuleu.

This nation-wide contest is conducted by Guatemala’s National School of Agriculture and involved the participation of fourteen secondary schools from throughout Guatemala which offer agricultural and forestry programs.

Image of the official poster of the Olimpiada de las Cienceas Agronomicas 2011

Official Poster of the Olimpiada de las Cienceas Agronomicas 2011

Our students from ICAP scored a total of twelve points during the competition and judging. They received one gold medal, four silver medals and a bronze medal. Their score placed our students first among all the participating schools. Congratulations to our ICAP agricultural students for their first-place finish in the first annual National Agronomy Science Olympics.

Our students accomplishments in this competition are further evidence of why ICC places such a high value on the Christian education our children receive at each one of our projects. It is through their education that our kids learn the value of both the individual and team effort it takes to achieve success and become a positive contributor within their culture.

Thank you for all you do for “His Kids” that helps to provide not just an education for our children but a home, a family and a second chance at the life our kids truly deserve.

Thanks for reading!

Ken Wilson
Media Director ICC

ICC Student Wins First Place in Speech Contest

Thursday, October 6th, 2011

For the past few years the local court in Poptún has conducted a contest for area schools. The court chooses a topic associated with the law, and schools send a student participant to give a talk on the chosen topic.  First, second and third place awards are given. This year one of ICC’s boys who attends ICAP won first place with his presentation on “Femicide” (killing women with or without a reason). This gave him the privilege of being a “judge for a day.”

The student from ICAP who won the speaking contest and the judge in who's court he was an observer

The Los Pinos student (on the right) who attends ICAP and who won the speaking contest. The first place prize was spending the day in court observing a judge at work. The judge in who's court he was an observer is on the left.

Monday, October 3, was his day to be at the court. He was a spectator for all the hearings that occurred that day. What a blessing it is that our ICC young people are learning and achieving skill in public speaking! And what a blessing that ICC Los Pinos continues to be as a refuge for children in desperate need of love and protection.