Archive for the ‘Profiles’ Category

Tribute To Sorin Neaga

Tuesday, April 9th, 2019

Faithful ICC Family Member Sleeps in Jesus

Sorin Neaga 1969–2019

It is with deep sadness and loss that we tell you of the untimely passing of a dear ICC family member, Sorin Neaga. Sorin was a vital member of the ICC Romania staff.

Along with being the supervisor of the children’s village construction, maintenance, farm, garden, and grounds, Sorin also supported his wife, Simona, in the supervision of the children’s program. He was a faithful, loving father figure.

While performing repairs on his personal home February 12, Sorin fell from a ladder onto a handrail. This caused massive internal bleeding. Sorin called for Simona, and she notified emergency personnel who rushed him to the hospital.

News of the accident spread rapidly and prayers were lifted to God on Sorin’s behalf. Sadly, he never regained consciousness. On the morning of February 13, he passed to his rest leaving behind Simona, his wife of nearly 26 years and their two children, Rebecca and Teddy.

Sorin believed in Jesus as his Savior and that Jesus would come again soon to take His faithful ones to heaven. With this blessed hope in mind, we celebrate Sorin’s life and legacy.

The family has been actively involved with ICC Romania since 1998. Sorin was a loving and positive role model for ICC children. Some, even as adults, called Sorin with their problems. He always lent a helping hand.

The buildings and grounds on the children’s village campus continue to bear testimony to Sorin’s skillful craftsmanship. As one person put it, “Every stone on the pavement, every brick in the walls, each tree and each flower are marked by the fingerprint of the one who has been the administrator of this place for more than 20 years.” Sorin was also actively involved in the lives of people within the local community. Ask around in the village of Odobesti, and everyone has memories of the help they received from Sorin. The neighbors say he never refused anyone.

Sorin was hardworking, always moving, and was extremely quick in everything he did. After waking up in the morning, he often started his day without eating so he could ensure the children had everything they needed and would get to school on time.

Taking good care of the children was important to him. His cheerful and optimistic nature helped to make children happy. It didn’t matter if it was the neighbor’s children looking for compassion or our ICC children, they all wanted to be close to him. The children loved and respect “Uncle Sorin.”

At Sorin’s funeral on February 16, many of the ICC children were present to pay their respects. They gathered close around him and many wept in sorrow. Certainly, the influence of this godly man will continue to live on in their lives.

We cling to the hope that one day soon, very soon, when the trumpet sounds and Jesus gathers His people, Sorin will be among them. Even so, come, Lord Jesus! Revelation 22:20.

Should Lucas Quit Or Beat Leukemia?

Tuesday, April 2nd, 2019

by William Hurtado

Lucas with one of his Lego creationsLucas Nelson, at 13 years of age, was diagnosed on August 25, 2018 with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia.

He was supposed to be playing freely as a child; but now he had fevers, easy bruising, abnormal weight loss, and cancerous blood cells growing inside his body. Would he survive chemotherapy and find a way to break past the exhaustion?

Lucas lives with his family in North Dakota. His parents are Seventh-day Adventist conference workers within the education and youth ministries.

Through this calamity, the family could have easily become angry with God and distanced themselves, but instead, they decided to bless others, no matter their circumstances.

Jennifer TurkJennifer Turk is a mother with a compassionate heart and a close friend of Lucas’s family. She heard about Lucas and his family’s desire to help others.

Jennifer had an idea she felt would help Lucas bless others. She knew that Lucas loves Legos, so why not put Legos into the hands of orphaned children in Lucas’ honor? Many children around the world have never before held or even played with Legos!

Jennifer contacted me, and together we developed a program known as Lucas Legos for Kids. The plan is to have church and school groups collect Legos, and with help from you and ICC, send them to the children of International Children’s Care.

Lucas and his family were excited when they heard this plan. Lucas Legos for Kids started during the 2018 Christmas season in two locations. In only one and a half months, they collected over 30 pounds of Legos!

Jennifer and other contributors then shipped their collected Legos to International Children’s Care in Vancouver, WA.

A girl and boy from Las Palmas play with their donated Legos.In January of 2019, the first Lego shipment traveled with Sharon Fleck, ICC children’s services director, to the Las Palmas Children’s Village in the Dominican Republic. Now, ICC children are playing and learning with Lucas Legos. Isn’t that exciting?!

Lucas Legos for Kids is a way for all of us to participate in the cause of giving children safe and fun Christian homes in which to grow.

Will you support Lucas and International Children’s Care in this vision?

Besides helping with Legos, you can also encourage others to help support ICC’s children.

And do pray for Lucas! His treatments are helping his cancer go into remission. By God’s grace, he will be well soon!

To learn more about how to involve your church, school, or Pathfinder club, visit ICC’s webpage about Lucas Legos for Kids.

You may also watch a video on YouTube about Lucas and Lucas Legos for Kids by using the following this link: Watch The Video.

A pile of Lego Blocks

Charity Navigator Awards ICC 4 Stars

Tuesday, March 26th, 2019

There is no higher honor in the nonprofit realm than receiving a four-star rating from Charity Navigator.

ICC’s strong financial health and commitment to accountability and transparency have earned us a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator, America’s largest independent charity evaluator.

This is the first time that ICC has earned this top distinction.

Since 2002, Charity Navigator has awarded only the most fiscally responsible organizations a 4-star rating.

Accountability and transparency metrics, account for 50 percent of a charity’s overall rating, revealing which charities operate in accordance with industry best practices and whether they are open with their donors and stakeholders.

Members of ICC’s staff celebrate ICC being rewarded a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator. Charity Navigator, is the largest charity evaluator in America and its website attracts more visitors than all other charity rating groups combined.

Members of ICC’s staff celebrate ICC being rewarded a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator. Charity Navigator, is the largest charity evaluator in America and its website attracts more visitors than all other charity rating groups combined.

“ICC’s exceptional 4-star rating sets it apart from its peers and demonstrates its trustworthiness to the public,” according to Michael Thatcher, President & CEO of Charity Navigator.

“Only a quarter of charities rated by Charity Navigator receive the distinction of our 4-star rating. Based on its 4-star rating, people can trust their donations are going to a financially responsible and ethical charity.”

ICC’s rating is available free of charge on CharityNavigator.org.

Charity Navigator, is the largest charity evaluator in America. The organization evaluates more than 8,000 charities.

Charity Navigator accepts no advertising or donations from the organizations it evaluates, ensuring unbiased evaluations, nor does it charge the public for this trusted data.

Charity Navigator, a 501(c)(3) public charity itself, depends on support from individuals, corporations and foundations that believe it provides a much-needed service to America’s charitable givers.

One of the Most Needed Persons at ICC Is…

Tuesday, March 12th, 2019

By William Hurtado

Dorothy Larson has been a volunteer at ICC for 29+ years.

Dorothy Larson

Dorothy Larson is not only the oldest and longest serving volunteer of ICC, she is one of the most needed.

At 94 years old, she has been volunteering at ICC’s main office for 29 years. She has been faithfully organizing volunteers to help prepare the monthly Que Pasa mailings.

What a blessing she continues to be!

There is a lot to tell about Dorothy’s life; but one detail about the times she lived in may exhilarate you.

In 1922, three years before Dorothy was born, the Oregon Compulsory Education Act required that every person having custody of a child between eight and sixteen years of age must send the child to a public school.

Children were being forced to receive instruction from public teachers only. This law, taking away the right to oversee the religious development of children, was bitterly resisted by many, so a suit was filed to have it declared unconstitutional.

In 1925, the year Dorothy was born, the court ruled in favor of faith-based instruction. It said that “the child is not the mere creature of the State; those who nurture him and direct his destiny have the right, coupled with the high duty, to recognize and prepare him for additional obligations.” Pierce, 1925, p. 535

Dorothy’s beginning of life coincided with a historical event allowing children to be educated within a faith community.

Now — for 29 years and running — Dorothy contributes to an orphan-care ministry that operates Adventist schools for children coming from destabilized situations.

These schools teach ICC children about their “additional obligations” — to love God with all their hearts, souls, and minds, and their neighbors as themselves.

Do you think Dorothy’s 29-year investment at International Children’s Care has been worth it? You bet! Every second, every minute, every hour, every day, every year, every decade has been worth it. Why? Because every child needs a family. Because every child God has given to ICC needs her. And needs you.

For an educated future and for a faith-filled life, will you continue your dedicated support–alongside Dorothy, and all of the other devoted staff and volunteers–to ICC’s cause? Like a contemporary of Dorothy said, “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”

Long-Awaited-For Public Relations Director is Here!

Tuesday, October 9th, 2018
William Hurtado and family. William is joining ICC as public relations director.

William Hurtado and family. William is joining ICC as public relations director.

William Hurtado is joining the ICC staff as the new Public Relations Director. He has a communications degree and a masters in youth ministry. Most of all, he knows Jesus Christ as his Savior and Lord. Here is his story:

At 16, William stumbled into grace and was converted. Soon after, he was led to Laurelwood Academy in Gaston, OR, where he was discipled to be a missionary. After graduating from there, he began asking God, “What do you want me to do for You?”

God led William to stay at the school as a task force assistant dean. One evening, as he sat at the dean’s office, God impressed him to take students on a mission trip to Mexico. William didn’t understand it then, but God was preparing him for a life of missions and outreach.

Soon afterwards, God led William to Andrews University where he studied public relations and marketing, and where he became the campus student association outreach director.

God soon after unfolded through William and his friends the biggest and most long-lasting outreach in the history of Andrews University, according to a long-time university chaplain. Over 100 students flooded the streets of nearby Benton Harbor every Sabbath as they ministered to impoverished children and families.

Now, after 20 years of local church youth ministry and international missions endeavors, God is allowing William to combine ministry with communications through ICC.

Coming from Collegedale, TN, as the former youth pastor of the Southern Adventist University campus church, William brings new passion, vision and knowledge to the ICC team. (And William brings 10 years of belonging to the ICC family through child sponsorship). It will be a pleasure to have him help lead the way to connect an established generation with a new generation of orphan advocates for Christ.

William is married to Shelley, and together they have two children, Selah who is ten, and Xander who is seven, who were both born in Anacortes, WA.

The Hurtados lived in Western Washington previous to Tennessee, and though they will miss their friends in TN, they are happy to return to Vancouver, WA where the ICC headquarters is located.

Please join William and the ICC team in prayer as they step into the future God has planned for them — and for you! Expect from God a future of increased prayer and involvement, where together we can hear God say; “Whatever you did for one of the least of these, you did for Me.”

Grateful for Your Support!

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2018
Ana shares her appreciation for the” finishing touch” you helped to provide for her!

— Editor’s Note —
In the January 2014 and 2016 Que Pasa (available online in the newsletter section of ICC’s website), we shared the story and accomplishments of Ana and Silvia Herera, two sisters who came to the Los Pinos children’s village in 2001. ICC family members like you helped them complete their nurses’ training.

In the following update from Ana, she shares what is happening in her life and thanks to you for what you have done for her.


Dear ICC —

It is a pleasure for me to be able to greet you again, hoping in God that all your activities will be filled with many blessings.

My name is Ana Beatriz Herrera. Thanks to the opportunity that you gave me in the “Los Pinos” Children’s Village in Guatemala, I was able to graduate from the University of San Carlos as a professional nurse, and then finish as a technician in respiratory therapy.

Ana Herrera (who grew up at the Los Pinos Children’s Village in Guatemala) working at the Hospital San Juan de Dios in Guatemala City. Ana was stationed in the neonatal intensive care unit. Your support of Ana while she was living at Los Pinos allowed her to realize her dream of working as a medical professional.

Ana Herrera (who grew up at the Los Pinos Children’s Village in Guatemala) working at the Hospital San Juan de Dios in Guatemala City. Ana was stationed in the neonatal intensive care unit. Your support of Ana while she was living at Los Pinos allowed her to realize her dream of working as a medical professional.

After having finished my studies at the end of 2015, I began to look for work in different hospitals. Thank God, it was not difficult to find a job, because in this country with a university degree it is easier to get a job.

By the beginning of 2016 I was working at the Roosevelt Hospital, which is one of the government hospitals in Guatemala. I started working as a respiratory therapist in the adult intensive care unit, which has a capacity of 38 beds.

In March of 2016 I needed to leave the ICC City Center because I already had a stable job, and, together with my sister Silvia, we rented an apartment in zone 11 of Guatemala City, because it was close to our work.

I thank God for allowing me to live in the Los Pinos Children’s Village, and for all their teachings, because when it comes time to become independent, it is not easy.

Ana (on the right) with her sister Silvia and her brother Luis while they were living at the Los Pinos Children’s Village in Guatemala.

Ana (on the right) with her sister Silvia and her brother Luis while they were living at the Los Pinos Children’s Village in Guatemala.

That home is my family, my alma mater that saw me grow up, and it is difficult to leave to start a new life. But thank God, it was not so difficult to adapt, because we supported each other.

In May of that same year I received a call to work at the General Hospital San Juan de Dios in the neonatal intensive care unit, which I accepted.

Well, I love my job! I worked there for two years, 2016-2017. Currently I only work in one hospital (Roosevelt Hospital). My hours are very nice — 24 hours for 4 days — so that allows me to take extra shifts and also work as a teacher to adult students who are doing an intensive internship.

Due to my job performance, I have been able to receive extra training outside of my work area, which is very satisfying for me, because I know that if I am trained I can provide better care to my patients.

I feel very grateful to the children’s village, because through it I have achieved my goals and dreams. I know that God has great plans for each of the children who are still there, and He also has plans for me.

When I have the opportunity to talk with the young ladies from the Children’s Village who currently live in the ICC City Center, I encourage them to continue studying and to fight for their dreams. I know it is not easy, but not impossible either.

I continue to attend the Adventist church in zone 13 because I know it is the most valuable thing in my life, and that was something that was instilled in my heart in the Children’s Village.

I take all the principles, values and teachings with me wherever I am. When someone asks me where I come from, I tell them with joy about the ICC Children’s Village because for me it means a lot.

Thanks to that home that I had, I now have a stable job. And, best of all, I enjoy my work, helping people in their moments of pain — and even their relatives — talking with them about God.

A thousand thanks to my home Los Pinos, to ICC and to all the people who supported me when I needed it. I always remember you all with love, and I carry you deep inside my heart.

The Importance Of “The Finishing Touch” — Part 1

Tuesday, July 31st, 2018
Thanks to you, Guillaine was able to attend university. This “finishing touch” allowed her to thrive and launch a successful career.

Thanks to you, Guillaine was able to attend university. This “finishing touch” allowed her to thrive and launch a successful career.

August! Summer is quickly passing! A new school year is closing in. And with it, we are yet again reminded of the critical role that education plays in restoring the life of an orphan child.

Education helps prepare an orphan child for a life of true independence. This applies to all the children in our projects around the world. But perhaps, it’s especially so for our children in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Désiré, director of our Patmos Children’s Village in the DR Congo, recently sent a message so that you will be able to better understand the vital importance of a full education for our children.

We consider this to be “the finishing touch” for the children as they approach independence. This is especially true for our girls.

“Education is a weapon against poverty and domination as well as dependency… The girls’ education is the best way to set them free from the yoke of slavery since uneducated women are treated as slaves by their husbands.”

This month and next month, we’ll be sharing excerpts from Désiré’s message which also includes examples of our children who have benefitted from the support that ICC family members like you have given. Following is the excerpt from Désiré’s message…


ICC-Congo is happy to express good feelings for the work of God that ICC and its sponsors or partners are doing for God’s children here at Patmos Children’s Village.

First and foremost, we need to mention that the mission of ICC is broadly successful and a real relief to the children in need in Congo.

From the very beginning of the project, children came to ICC with critical health issues as they had lost their parents in war, rebellion and many bloody movements organized by rebels wanting to forcibly take power.

We are certain that ICC has saved so many lives of children who might have died. The sponsors’ help is the only way through which they all survive.

Because ICC-Congo admitted many children of the same age, we are now facing difficulty when they are now attending higher education. The budget has risen, because one cannot expect to have a successful job in Congo if you did not obtain a university education.

Broadly speaking, if you desire to flee joblessness you need to hold a university degree. We have experienced this for many years and realize that children need advanced education so that they are fully armed to fight for their own welfare when they become independent.

Education is a weapon against poverty and domination as well as dependency. Once the children have obtained advanced education, they will have necessary tools to overcome poverty and live for themselves when they become independent. The assistance provided to them will remain unforgettable in their lives, in heaven and on earth.

The ICC family is united and works purposely having the fear of the Lord. We would simply like to present the case that our girls attend regularly university and change their lives for the best.

We say, “Thank you to God” and to “the sponsors” who willingly took the children into care. It is not always easy we know! The girls’ education is the best way to set them free from the yoke of slavery since uneducated women are treated as slaves by their husbands.

We are so satisfied that our girls like their studies and their sponsors have decided to help them forge ahead. May God bless them on their behalf.

Many Africans believe that a girl is worth the price of a cow as dowry and cannot become self-reliant. Parents are given a cow as dowry, but their daughters live as slaves.

We thank God because the girls living at Patmos village have thoughts which go beyond this state of things

— Guillaine’s Story —

The university education you helped to provided allows Guillaine to live and work independently. She is free from the life of slavery that would have likely been her fate without an advanced education.

The university education you helped to provided allows Guillaine to live and work independently. She is free from the life of slavery that would have likely been her fate without an advanced education.

Guillaine was 9 years old when we received her in our program. Guillaine’s story begins with the invasion of the Ugandan military into the DR Congo in November 1999.

They set fire to many houses after having looted all the properties. At the time, they killed many with machetes, swords and heavy hammers.

The survivors ran away to settle in the neighboring regions. Among Guillaine’s relatives, only her old grandmother survived.

Despite all the unfortunate circumstances, God protected Guillaine through the Adventist Church. They brought her to ICC-Congo, and we kindly received her with another 11 orphan children whose fathers and mothers had also died in North Kivu Region.

At school as well as at church, Guillaine liked reciting poems. She can memorize and recite biblical chapters containing 20 to 30 verses.

At secondary school, Guillaine studied Business Administration and did studies in Information Technology at university.

Guillaine finished her studies in 2017. Something wonderful is that she never applied for a job, because the place where she completed her professional training selected her for a job without any entry exam.

Today, Guillaine is working as a cashier and is well paid. She courageously witnesses in the church giving thanks to ICC who helped her through its sponsorship department. The sponsors’ contributions changed her life and made her what she is today—very helpful to the society and the work of the Lord.


Guillaine, and many other young people like her, have experienced the wonderful blessing of “the finishing touch.”

Yet, there are many more who currently need sponsors who will also stand by and support them during this critical preparatory time of their life.

For more information on how you can help, please contact Alanna in the ICC sponsorship department at (800) 422–7729. Thank you!

Johana’s Joy

Tuesday, June 19th, 2018

Another example of the impact you make

What you do for the children is continuing to make a life-changing difference for them. And just like the growth of plants in your summer garden, the growth that occurs in a child is often subtle and almost imperceptible.

And then, one day you realize, “Wow, it’s time for the harvest.” 

That’s what happens in the life of a child. There are years of love and nurturing care, of education and life preparation.

And then it happens — “The Harvest.” A life event or events take place, and the child reaches sufficient maturity to care for herself and start a family of her own. Just such a harvest has recently taken place at ICC’s Hogar Escuala Adventista (HEA) Children’s Village in El Salvador.

Johana came to the Hogar because of tragic circumstances in her life. Her father had died. Later her mother brought Johana and her siblings to the Hogar as she could no longer provide for the needs and safety of her children. Johana had just turned 5. Soon after, her mother also died.

Johana at her graduation where she received her degree in education

Johana at her graduation where she received her degree in education

In spite of the trauma she had experienced, Johana thrived as a member of the ICC family in El Salvador. She took full advantage of the opportunities that your support helped to provide.

She earned good grades in her studies and was an active participant in spiritual activities on the campus. As she grew older she became a deaconess and part of the women’s ministries team. 

She also served as a teacher in one of the children’s Sabbath School classes.

After graduating from ECAS (the local Adventist school), Johana worked for a year on the HEA campus. Because of her great love for young children, she decided to prepare herself to become an early childhood educator.

In January 2012, she enrolled at a university in El Salvador. Once again, Johana did well in her studies and in August 2017 graduated with her degree. 

Not only was it a wonderful accomplishment to earn her degree, Johana was also thrilled to be able to return home — to ECAS — to serve as the preschool teacher. But “the harvest” was not yet fully complete.

Johana and Edwin’s wedding day

Johana and Edwin’s wedding day

A few months later, Johana’s boyfriend, Edwin, proposed to her. This past April, Johana and Edwin were married in an emotional and lovely ceremony on the lawn outside of her home on the HEA campus.

It was a fitting culmination for Johana of years of growth and preparation, of overcoming hardships in her early life and utilizing God’s gifts and talents to bless others.

The wedding was also a new beginning — the uniting of two lives in service for children and youth. For not only is Johana the preschool teacher at ECAS, Edwin is serving as the boy’s dean.

As you can see, when the harvest comes, the returns on your investment are sweet indeed! Thank you for investing in the lives of young people like Johana through your ongoing support.

Three Generations Supporting “His Kids”

Tuesday, April 17th, 2018

In this our 40th year, we are recognizing several of the past and present heroes of ICC. This month, we want to especially acknowledge members of the Koelsch, Shultz and Erwin families.

Alice Shultz with one of her young friends from the Las Palmas Children’s Village.

Alice Shultz with one of her young friends from the Las Palmas Children’s Village.

Alice Shultz (formerly Koelsch), was a dear friend of Alcyon Fleck, co-founder of ICC. They became close friends during their days attending Laurelwood Academy and remained friends throughout their lives.

When Alcyon and Ken Fleck started ICC in 1978, Alice lent her assistance.

Alice loved to visit the children of ICC. She wanted to see the children up close and personal, so on several occasions she traveled with Alcyon to ICC projects.

Alice loved the idea that ICC not only rescues orphan children, but restores them to wholeness as well.

Writing about Alice a few years ago, Alcyon had this to say,

“[Alice] loved ICC — her favorite charity — and she participated in it in an especially personal way.

“As a sponsor, she supported and followed the lives of the various children she sponsored over the years.

“As a supporter, she was always quick to respond to the needs that I wrote about every month.

“As an ICC Board member, she attended nearly every meeting, and gave us welcome and sage advice. She participated in helping us send much-needed clothing and supplies to ICC projects.”

Indeed, Alice truly did care for the children of ICC, and her caring ways and passion were passed on to her children and grandchildren. Alice’s extended family have faithfully supported ICC for many years.

Cody Erwin, Board Chairman — ICC

Cody Erwin, Board Chairman — ICC

As Alice grew older, she felt it was time to involve a younger generation. At Alice’s suggestion, her grandson, Cody Erwin, joined the ICC board in April of 2006. Alice and Cody served simultaneously until Alice could no longer attend.

On February 20, 2014, Alice passed to her rest after medical complications resulting from a fall. ICC lost a true hero of the children that day.

And yet, thanks to her foresight, she had chosen very well someone she loved and trusted to carry forward her vision and passion for the work of ICC.

In April of 2014, only a couple of months after Alice passed away, Cody was elected chairman of the ICC board.

Along with his private sector job, Cody continues to provide steady leadership to ICC as he follows in the path of his grandmother, Alice.

Speaking of his grandmother recently, Cody said this,

“My grandmother had a love and passion for this ministry for children, and she passed it on to the other members of her family. She always reminded us of our many blessings and how we needed to remember those less fortunate. She loved all of her ICC Children so very much. I’m pleased to be able to carry on the work that she helped to start so many years ago.”

The children of ICC are blessed by heroes like Cody, Alice and other family members who continue to provide their support for “His Kids!”

The Impact of YOUR Support!

Tuesday, April 3rd, 2018

Editor’s Note: Whether you sponsor an ICC child or faithfully contribute in other ways please know that you have an incredible impact on the lives of the children.

This can be seen in this letter from Alcyon Fleck that has been pulled from the ICC archives. Thank you for the support you continue to give to a new generation of children!

— January 1990

Dear ICC Family,

Alcyon Fleck, ICC Founder

Alcyon Fleck, ICC Founder

“Three little brothers were brought to us this last week,” Juana informed me when I visited The Pines.

“They had been abandoned and passed around from place to place wherever someone would keep them, but no one wanted them. The people in that village were poor and already had families of their own to care for.”

“How old are they?” I inquired.

“The oldest one, Gilberto, is ten. Oswaldo is six, and the baby is two.”

Later, as we walked toward the home where the new children were, Juana informed me, “I don’t know how long they have been without a home, but these children were really in pitiful condition. They were sick, malnourished and in rags. The little one is the most frail.”

The house-mother brought the boys to us. Their faces were pinched and pale. They still had the frightened expression of children who have suffered at the hands of strangers. Any new situation fills them with fear.

But the two older boys smiled shyly as we talked with them. The little one was emaciated, barely able to stand, and his big, dark eyes seemed to dominate his face.

Poor little children! I thought. Who knows what they have already suffered. My heart went out to them.

Gilberto as a young boy

Gilberto as a young boy

The house-mother, holding the little one, voiced her concern about their health and promised to give them the best care she could and plenty of TLC. I could see that the baby was already bonding to the mother.

That was eight years ago. The boys have grown sturdy and healthy.

I talked to Gilberto when I visited there a few weeks ago. Cruz told me, “Gilberto is growing into a fine, young man. He is studying at the secondary school and works in the carpentry shop. He is artistic, loves to draw and work with his hands.”

“Gilberto, do you know who your sponsor is?” I asked him.

“Yes, Mommy Fleck. She writes to me, and I have written to her. Her name is Ruth Budd.”

“Yes, I know. She lives near us. She is in a Rest Home now. I suppose you know she is a widow lady. She had an accident some time back and can’t get around by herself. She never had any children, but she has been sponsoring you since you first came to us.”

“You are almost like a son to her.”

“Really!” Gilberto’s eyes brightened. “I wish I could know her!”

“Well, I know she gets lonely and loves to get letters from you.”

“Could you take a letter for me? I’ll write one today.” His face was eager.

“Of course. I know that will make Mrs. Budd happy. I’ll take a picture of you to go with it.”

This last week I took the letter, which I had translated into English, along with the picture, and visited Mrs. Budd.

Her boy had included a paper on which he had printed a special greeting in beautiful scrolled calligraphy. It said. “Felicidades a mi querida madrina.” (Happiness to my dear god-mother).

Our children call their sponsors god-parents. It was a real privilege for me to bring that special letter from the hand of that boy to the dear little lady who has been faithfully supporting and praying for him all these years. Her face beamed as I read it to her.

Dear God-mother,

It is a special pleasure for me to write to you as I have done on other occasions, hope that Jesus Christ can bless you in your home.

The reason for this letter is so that I can be in contact with you. I have learned that you never had a son or daughter, but you have trusted me as a son, and for this I thank you very much.

I know that you are getting up in years but that you always remember and think of me. I also think of you a lot and appreciate the much-needed help you have given me.

Even if you never see me nor I see you, I have the confidence in God that He will help me to continue in His ways, and at last we can know each other in the heavenly mansions…

In my humble heart I feel a deep gratitude that I can’t find words to express. I think of some occasions when I have needed help through hard and tragic experiences…

I thank you and close with much GRATITUDE IN MY HEART.

Attentively, your adopted son,

Gilberto Budd Duque Lopez

The Rest Of The Story

Gilberto at a recent reunion held at Los Pinos

Gilberto at a recent reunion held at Los Pinos

After completing his primary and high school education, Gilberto attended the Adventist University in Costa Rica and then returned to Guatemala to continue his studies in architecture.

Gilberto is married now and is a devoted husband and proud father of his two children. He owns a small residential and commercial maintenance company.

According to Gilberto, “although it is not easy, I’m sure that God always has a purpose for everyone, and everything that happens in life develops us in such a way that we can face life with determination.

“And I personally thank God for people with the heart to keep this kind of work going which gives others the opportunity to help in this work and makes it possible to give the attention and care to boys and girls which, for reasons we don’t know about, can’t grow in the heart of their own family.

“But a home like these [ICC] homes can fill in and help for the wellbeing and growth of kids who then have one or many opportunities in their lives.”