Posts Tagged ‘Family’

Only a Small Child

Wednesday, August 28th, 2013
Joel Reyes and the donor who gave so generously to International Children's Care

Joel Reyes, ICC’s public relations director, and the young man who is the subject of this story.

He was only a little boy, no more than 10 years old. Vivacious and fast moving as he came into the resource tent at the Alberta camp meeting. He didn’t take much time as he quickly scanned all the displays. It was as if he was looking for something very specific, and as soon as he realized it was not there, he would move on. “Perhaps he has lost something,” I thought to myself as I studied him.

He came by my display booth and checked it out with the same brevity as he had all the others. I smiled at him. He politely returned my smile and moved on. I observed him as he left the resource tent through the opposite door from which he had entered.

He ran through the open field, waving his arms and calling at a man farther ahead. The man stopped, turned around and began to walk in the direction of the child. I watched as the man approached the lad and put his arm around him. They spoke for a bit and began to walk back in the direction of the resource tent.

Both man and child were smiling as they came. With a sense of urgency, the child walked in front of the man, glancing back from time to time to make sure he was still there. They came all the way to where I was standing, and as they approached the man said to me, “My son has a little fund he has created by saving his allowance and other resources and he would like to give a donation to this ministry.” I looked at the child. He gave me an almost apologetic look as he proceeded to extract wrinkled bills from his pockets and place them on the table.

As I stood before this young man pulling wrinkled bills from his pockets I couldn’t help but be moved. He was only a small child! What motivated this boy to take such a step? What about a new toy? What about saving for one of the many electronic gadgets that seem to enthrall the hearts of the young? As I stretched and counted the money the young philanthropist had placed on the table, I began to realize it was not a small amount.

Before giving my young friend a receipt I asked him, “Are you sure this is what you want to do? This is a lot of money, and you could get a lot of things for yourself with it.” The father smiled confident of his son, “Oh yes that is what I want to do” the child replied.

I turned to the father and said, “I need you to know that I am extremely moved and impressed by the attitude of this young man, this is not normal. What have you done with this kid?”

“The other day we were talking about how blessed we are as a family,” he said, “and in the middle of the conversation my son said he wanted to give a gift to the needy out of his savings. As we left for camp meeting he put some money in his pockets, but I didn’t know how much it was until right now. He has given you all he has.”

I could not stop the tears from swamping my eyes as we prayed together that day. Sometimes my job can be very difficult. I feel a tremendous burden for the orphaned and abandoned children of the world, many of them the fruit of wars, natural disasters, abuse and moral decay. I have been in the streets with these outcasts of society. I have seen their tears and anguish as they endure pain, abuse, hunger, and dreadful loneliness.

I have also witnessed miracles in their lives when some caring soul dares to reach out to them and give them a hand. I am the director of public relations for this ministry and visit numerous churches and other Adventist gatherings throughout North America sharing the plea of the children, and I feel a tremendous sense of accomplishment when someone steps forward and says; “I will help.”

It can also be very discouraging at times when, after pouring out my heart before congregations and sharing what I have seen and what I know about the children on whose behalf I speak, I walk away with nothing but a pat on the back. I am a human being and I also get discouraged sometimes, but on this day the Lord chose to reveal Himself to me and send an angel in the form of a little boy with a shy smile.

Oh little friend, you have empowered me today. You have reassured my faith in the goodness of humanity. Oh how I wish I could replicate your spirit and disposition and pour it not only on every kid I see, but on all the adults I come across as well. Oh yes, most of them could use a bit of what you have in abundance! Oh if this world had more little angels like you, I wouldn’t have a job and that would make me very happy!

“Truly I tell you,” he said, “this poor widow has put in more than all the others. All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.” Luke 21:3,4

Joel Reyes

Joel Reyes has been serving with International Children’s Care, an Adventist ministry, for the past 7 years. ICC builds country villages for orphaned and abandoned children. The rescued children are raised in a family environment and educated in the ways of the Lord.

Volunteers Making A Difference At ICC

Tuesday, April 2nd, 2013

Laughter cascades down the stairwell at the ICC home office in Vancouver, Washington. Is there a staff party in full swing? Not at all. Today is mailing day and eleven enthusiastic volunteers have gathered in the upstairs conference room to stuff and prepare the monthly Qué Pasa newsletter. Even though there is light-hearted conversation, this task is critical to the ministry of ICC, and the volunteers seated around the tables take it seriously.

Dorothy Larson ICC volunteer

Dorothy Larson — ICC Volunteer. Dorothy coordiantes the volunteers who stuff the envelopes for ICC’s monthly newsletter. Dorothy has been a volunteer at ICC for thirty-three years. Volunteers are a vital component of the ICC ministry.

Dorothy Larson has been an ICC volunteer for almost as long as ICC has been in existence. She reckons that it was a couple of years after the start of ICC that she became involved with the mailings. That would be about 33 years ago. Dorothy coordinates the volunteer involvement in the mailings and ensures that everything is done correctly and efficiently. It usually takes from 8:00-10:30 on mailing mornings to stuff three to four items into each envelope. According to Dorothy, the volunteers prepare about 6,000 envelopes for each mailing. That includes the Spanish version of the Que Pasa which she processes herself.

Things are a bit different now. “When we first started,” Dorothy states; “we had to put the stamps on the envelopes and write the addresses.” Now, that process is automated. However, stuffing the envelopes is still done by hand and ICC is indebted to our faithful group of volunteers who willingly, and happily, do this task. When asked why she keeps coming back Dorothy replies with a big smile; “I love children.”

Volunteers stuff envelopes for ICC’s monthly newsletter

Volunteers stuff envelopes for ICC’s monthly newsletter

ICC children, staff, donors and volunteers comprise what we warmly refer to as the “ICC family.” Our mailing volunteers are part of the ICC family, and sometimes they involve their own family members. On this particular day, there are two married couples. One of the volunteers, Eileen, is the mother to Alanna Jones who is ICC’s sponsorship coordinator. Jean and Sandy are mother and daughter. Sandy says; “Mom and Dad used to come [to help with the mailings]. Dad used to invite me, and when he died, I used to bring mom because she couldn’t drive.”

The volunteers really seem to enjoy themselves and feel good about their contribution to the work of ICC. Bonnie B. has been volunteering for about six years. She states that “It’s a wonderful social time of Christian men and women. It’s fulfilling to now we’re helping orphans. It’s a blessing to be able to do that.”

Judy has been volunteering for about a year. When describing what’s going on she says; “It’s a Christian fellowship. It’s fun to get together and do something worthwhile.”

Eileen adds; “It’s very healthy because we laugh a lot.”

It’s not possible for all the volunteers to participate every month. According to those seated at the table more volunteers are needed. Bonnie says; “This room used to be so full that we ran out of places for people to sit. We’re always in need of more volunteers.”

We appreciate the work of our faithful volunteers. They truly make a difference in the lives of ICC children by helping us communicate with you, our extended ICC family. If you’d like to join this important group of volunteers on mailing mornings, please contact the ICC office (800-422-7729) for further details.

Baking Bread In Romania!

Friday, October 5th, 2012

After many years of construction and untold hours of labor from volunteers and local workers the ICC Romania Bakery is now baking bread! As part of the start-up team, ICC sent two volunteers to assist with marketing, accounting and general oversight.

A loaf of bread from the first batch of bread to ever be baked in the new bakery established at the ICC Romania Children's Village

A loaf of bread from the first batch of bread to ever be baked in the new bakery at the ICC Romania Children's Village.

One of those volunteers, Jerry Grecian, called on Wednesday, October 3 to say that the bakery was up and running! They baked 40 loaves of bread the first day. The kids helped to celebrate the start-up. The group who gathered sang songs, prayed and enjoyed the fresh baked bread. Jerry said he never saw bread disappear so quickly.

The baker from the Netherlands who has helped to open the new bakery at ICC's Romanian Children's Village

Theo, The Dutch Baker (on the right) and his colleague, Ben (on the left) with the first batch of bread from the new bakery at the ICC Romania Children's Village.

Other members of the start-up team include Theo, a Dutch baker, and his colleague, Ben. They had arrived Tuesday evening, October 2, and it was rewarding to see that they were already baking bread the next day! Praise the Lord!

Thank-you to all volunteers and donors who have contributed to this industry. We pray that it will be a financial blessing to our ICC family in Romania.

Kent Greve
International Development Director, ICC

ICC Loses A Treasured Friend And Colleague

Sunday, August 26th, 2012

[Sunday, August 26th, 2012]

Lambro Triantos 1968–2012

Lambro Triantos, 1968–2012. Lambro with some of the children from ICC's Patmos Children's Village.

ICC’s children and staff have suffered a painful loss as one of our highly loved and esteemed family members has passed to his rest. Lambro Triantos, director of ICC’s partner in the Netherlands as well as European Regional Director, died this morning after battling an aggressive and fast spreading cancer. Lambro was 44.

Vasili Triantos, Lambro’s brother, related that as the sun came up on Sabbath morning, Lambro’s family gathered around him and sang songs of hope—eternal hope. Lambro quietly went to sleep in Jesus.

Kent Greve, ICC’s International Development Director, shared that “I had the privilege of working alongside a true champion in our mission to provide care for orphan and abandoned children. This loss is far reaching in its scope and impact. Lambro was a talented and effective advocate for ICC children around the world. He was a devoted husband and father, and loved Jesus. We will miss Lambro and will cling to the blessed hope of seeing him again when Jesus comes.

Rick Fleck, ICC’s president, in sharing the news with ICC administrators and board members stated that “Although it is difficult and painful for us to lose a loved one, we rejoice in the faith that this death is only a temporary sleep, and Jesus will soon awaken Lambro to be gathered up with Him and with us if faithful together in the clouds of angels to be received into Jesus’ loving arms to live with Him forever. Let’s live and prepare for that day so we will all be there!”

Lambro is survived by his wife, Kalin, his two young children, his parents, Magda and Dimitri, and his brother, Vasili.

Funeral services will be held at the Open Hof Church at the Walraven van Hallstraat 2 in Zwijndrecht, Netherlands at 13:00 on Friday, August 31.

Let’s unite in prayer and thought with his family at this difficult time.

Dear Friends and Family

Saturday, January 21st, 2012

Here is an excerpt from a letter recently received from Lilly Kaligithi, director of ICC’s Sweet Home Children’s Village in India.

Dear Friends and Family;

We have come to the end of the year 2011. We look back with gratitude and praise in our hearts to God for the wonderful way He led us. We are also very grateful to all the ICC leaders and our sponsors for their generous gifts and love. Just look at the Sweet Home Family in the picture and see how happy and healthy the Sweet Home family is. Thank-you again for all your support.

We experienced many happy moments of pride when our children received awards for their high scholastic and winning in speech and Bible contests. We just had graduation for the class of 2012. [One of our boys] who has been standing first in his class for the past ten years was the president of the class. My eyes and heart were filled with tears of joy and pride as he delivered his presidential speech. Wish you were here with me to share this joy. Soon tenth and twelfth class students will be writing their board examinations. Please remember them in your prayers…

We wish you a blessed and prosperous New Year. May you enjoy good health and peace throughout the year to come.

With sincere thanks,

Lilly

A photo of Lilly and the kids from ICC's Sweet Home Children's Village in India

Lilly, the kids and the staff from ICC's Sweet Home Children's Village in India wish you a wonderful new year.

Then and Now

Friday, November 11th, 2011

Don’t you enjoy looking through old family photo albums? It’s heart warming seeing how children grow through the years—similar facial features, recognizable, yet they’re much taller.

In 2003, shortly after ICC Romania inaugurated its first children’s home, ICC’s volunteer extraordinaire, Dimitri Triantos, took a photo of some of our children holding a banner from Stichting Internationale Kinderhulp, our Dutch partner. Dimitri’s son, Lambro, recently visited the ICC Romania children’s village and captured a similar pose with the same children now eight years older!

Our children from Romania in 2003

Our children in 2003

It’s rewarding to witness the changes and growth in these children. As well, it’s a testimony to the type of program ICC operates, where children experience the love and security they need to grow and develop over time. ICC’s programs are all about longevity, the long-term, the sustaining effort. How else can children thrive?

The children from Romania in 2011

Our children in 2011

Thank-you for joining us in the long-term support of ICC children. Without you and other faithful partners, these pictures and this ministry simply would not exist.

ICC—It’s not charity… It’s family!

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

Agriculture—Reaping the Benefits

Wednesday, July 13th, 2011

The agriculture programs at ICC’s children’s villages are busy with activity this summer. One such program is at the Fountain of Life Children’s Village. Recently we received an update about their first harvest of plantains. Felix, the project director, reports that “In one month we’ll be harvesting continuously, and we’ll be able to sell some of the harvest—not in great quantity, but we will no longer be buying and we’ll start getting some income.”

Plantains that are part of the first harvest from our farm at the Fuente de Vida Children's Village in Nicaragua

The First of the First. The first plantains to be harvested at the ICC Nicaragua farm.

Agriculture is such a vital part of our ICC children’s villages. It benefits the children in so many positive ways by providing a balanced diet, practical work experience, and income from the sale of extra produce. However, there are subtle benefits as well.

This child from the Fuente de Vida Children's Village in Nicaragua helps to harvest a bunch of plantains almost as big as he is!

This child from the Fuente de Vida Children's Village in Nicaragua helps to harvest a bunch of plantains almost as big as he is!

Imagine a young child being rescued from life on the streets. He has no concept of the safety and security of a home and family, and begging food may be how he survives. Now, place that same child in an ICC village and give him love, security and nutritious meals.

Take him to the garden and patiently teach him about the ways of plants. Let him prepare the soil for planting, sow seeds, and wait expectantly for sunshine and rain. Watch him search day-by-day for the first tiny leaf to poke through the soil. Help him care for the tender plant and harvest the first fruits of diligent labor.

Then teach him about his Heavenly Father who loves and cares for him and who has a plan for him to grow and develop and bear fruit. With such therapy, an orphan child cannot help but gain a positive sense of belonging. And when that occurs, the orphan is no longer really an orphan and can grow to his or her full potential just like a well cared for plant in the garden.

You can see from these pictures that the plantain crop is well cared for in Nicaragua. The children have much for which to be thankful, and because you care, we are able to care. Your investment in the children’s programs of ICC enables agriculture programs like the one in Nicaragua to flourish.

On behalf of the children, thank-you for your continued support,

Kent Greve
International Development Director ICC

I Am Writing To You With A Very Sad Heart

Tuesday, January 11th, 2011

Our ICC children’s villages are true homes for our children. Most of them never had a family until they came to our children’s village. Through the love and care that they receive, they are transformed. As they grow and become independent, with time they move on to lead lives of their own.

However, for those of us who nurtured them and saw them grow, the story doesn’t end there. They continue to be part of our lives and our love for them does not fade with time. We keep in touch with them. Many times we counsel them. Sometimes, like any loving parent, we even scold them if they allow us to. We rejoice in their triumphs and hurt in their sorrows. They are our kids, members of our family.

I always enjoy sharing with you the hundreds of success stories from the children that come to the refuge that ICC offers them and then move on to lead successful lives.

Today I am writing to you with a very sad heart. Last week we were notified about the tragic death of two members of the ICC extended family in El Salvador. Oscar and Sarita grew up in our children’s village there. They had both left to lead lives of their own. The ICC family mourns their death together and we long like never before for our Lord’s return.

Photo of Oscar who was killed recently in El Salvador

Oscar

Photo of Sara who was killed recently in El Salvador

Sarita

Yes, we are sick of so much violence, death, and pain. This old world is only getting sicker and sicker by the minute, and we know it will not get any better. Please help us by praying for all the innocent children who are caught in the middle of this mess, and for our young people who, after enjoying the safety of our children’s villages, have to go into the real world and face all of Satan’s fury and arsenal of death.

Let’s cling tight to our Blessed Hope, that one day soon He will come and end all this sorrow and pain. We at ICC talk of the big picnic we will have in heaven with all the children that were saved through the work of this ministry. Please reserve the date; you are invited too.

Joel Reyes
Director of Public Relations
Project Administrator Emeritus, ICC El Salvador

God’s Providential Leading in Nicaragua

Thursday, December 16th, 2010

In the early days of ICC’s work in Nicaragua with orphan children we worked hard to find land for a children’s village. We evaluated several properties in the country and finally decided on one that seemed to be the best.

The sale was going through just fine, and we received some funding to purchase the land. We felt that God was leading, and excitement started to build at the prospects of being able to provide permanent homes for ICC children in Nicaragua.

Then, all of sudden, the process hit a snag. The sellers decided they no longer wanted to give up their land. It was difficult for the ICC family in Nicaragua to comprehend this. We sensed that God had lead to this particular piece of property. We all wondered why things were taking a different turn.

Felix Almendarez, ICC Nicaragua’s director, continued the search until another piece of land was found. Everything about it seemed to suggest that God certainly was in control. We felt that He had blessed by stopping the process of purchasing the initial property.

A photograph of ICC's land in Nicaragua

The land where our ICC Nicaragua children's village is located.

Once ICC purchased the land, work began on preparing the site for a children’s village. Felix constructed roads, the children helped plant gardens, and most recently we completed four children’s homes. In December of 2009, the children moved into their new homes with great rejoicing.

It wasn’t too long ago that God revealed once more why the present location is wonderfully situated for a children’s village. Flooding devastated much of the surrounding area when heavy rains associated with tropical storm Matthew passed through Nicaragua.

However, the property where the children’s village is located drains well and varies in elevation. The crops remained unharmed and the dairy herd didn’t suffer any loss. This was a blessing for ICC in the midst of such chaos and ruin.

Felix happened to pass by the property that ICC initially tried to purchase. The flooding that occurred at that location astounded him. Water covered much of the land. The damage would have been horrific if ICC had purchased that land and built a children’s village.

We praise God for His providential leading in the location of ICC’s children’s village in Nicaragua. Though it was difficult to fully understand His ways during the long months of waiting, it is now clearly seen that He knew what was best all along.

Thanks for reading!

Kent Greve
International Development Director ICC