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“I ♥ You”

photo of fathers day card with heart drawingMost of the children who come to ICC have endured incredible abuse and neglect… They cried, but no one heard them. They pleaded, but no one cared.”

I have a little card sitting on one of the bookshelves in my office. It’s a rather small card made of a piece of blue construction paper. The card has no value in and of itself and has never been part of a store‚Äôs inventory, but to me it contains a treasure. I got it sometime in July and I see it every morning as I come into my office. This is a very special card. It has a beautifully decorated heart in the lower right corner, and a banner saying, “I ♥ You.”

I need to tell you why this card is so special. It came from a child I love very much. A child that calls me “Papi” (daddy), a title I don’t wear carelessly. No, I didn’t get it from my young daughter, but it came from an equally special child, a lovely young lady my wife and I sponsor in one of ICC’s projects.

Most of the children who come to ICC have endured incredible abuse and neglect. They have been hurt and abandoned by those who were supposed to love and care for them unconditionally. One day they found themselves completely forsaken and in the street. They slept whenever they could. They ate whenever they could. They cried, but no one heard them. They pleaded, but no one cared.

Love was a word without meaning. So when my little sponsored girl tells me she loves me, it means a lot to me because I know it didn’t come easy for her. It was very difficult for her to trust again. It was hard for her to believe that my wife and I could love her. After all, before coming to ICC, no one had.

We have been with our sponsored child in the children’s village where she lives, and she knows how much we love her. She also knows how much the house parents love her. She was a very small child when we first met her and it has been such a blessing to see her grow and develop. She has a very healthy attitude now. Every once in a while we get little notes from her telling us how much she appreciates what we do for her. We are grateful to the Lord for the blessing this child has been in our lives, and I look forward to her little glitter-laden cards with decorative hearts that say, “I ♥ You.”

Joel Reyes

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