The Impact Of Your Support

An interview with Huridis Fortuna, one of ICC’s grown children

} By Makala James

Huridis’ life changed forever when he came to live at Las Palmas Children’s Village in the Dominican Republic.

He flourished, earned his degree in Theology, married the love of his life, Hannah, and is now serving in ministry and sharing the Gospel

I recently had the opportunity to speak with Huridis about his experience growing up as an ICC kid.

A special thank you to Huridis for sharing his story about his experience at Las Palmas! God will continue to use Huridis in wonderful ways, just as He is working in the lives of all ICC children. Makala James [left] sits with Huridis Fortuna [right] in Keen, Texas. Makala had the opportunity to speak with Huridis about his life before, and while, Huridis was growing up at the Las Palmas Children’s Village.

Makala James [left] sits with Huridis Fortuna [right] in Keen, Texas. Makala had the opportunity to speak with Huridis about his life before, and while, Huridis was growing up at the Las Palmas Children’s Village.

Did you have a difficult childhood before coming to the Las Palmas Children’s Village?

I had a rough childhood. There is an illustration that I use in my sermons.

How do you purify gold? It’s with fire. It’s a hard and long process, but in the end what you get is fine, pure gold. Whatever happened in my life as a child, I see as a blessing. God used that to make me the person I am today.

What do you remember of your first day at Las Palmas?

My first day at the orphanage, I arrived with a little backpack, a pair of pants, a pair of socks, and a shirt. That’s all I brought because I had nothing else.

The director said, “Where are your clothes?” She was surprised that I didn’t have anything. After meeting my teacher and classmates, we went to the warehouse and got a bunch of clothes and shoes. I got a pillow that is kind of like a race car, and I still keep that with me today.

Then, I heard that everyone at the church and village had been praying for me. They did not know me, but everyone was praying for me to get there. I was amazed!

How did the children’s village affect your spiritual life?

Certainly, it made a big impact on my life. I still remember how, to wake us up, the dad of the house would play Christian music in the living room. That would be the time for us to gather around the table for worship.

We would sing songs, study the bible, pray, and have worship together as a family. That helped me have a deeper relationship with Jesus. Not only that, but we were also encouraged to have our own personal time reading the bible and praying.

After you finished worship, what was a typical day like?

On a typical day in high school, which was the best time, we would wake up in the morning to have worship together. Then we would do our chores, such as cleaning the bathroom or bedroom or yard… Whatever was assigned to us.

Afterwards, we would get ready for school and eat breakfast. Breakfast might be yucca with cheese or plantains and eggs, maybe cereal, fruit, and milk.

We attended school, and then came home around lunch time. After an hour break for lunch, then we had two hours of work, required of everybody.

After work I would either do homework or go to music school to practice the cello. In the evening, we had dinner and evening worship as a family.

Did you always stay in the same family?

I stayed with the same family for my whole time at the orphanage until I turned 18. That year we separated from the younger children, but still remained in the same family.

I helped the younger kids with their homework and chores at home. We moved to a bigger house because the house we were living in was kind of small. It was the same family all the time.

Tell me about an ICC sibling to whom you still feel close?

Alexandra! When I first arrived at the orphanage we used to fight and argue. Now we are really good friends. She came to my wedding two years ago when I got married. She’s coming to visit again, and we keep in touch.

How does having an advanced education impact your life?

It certainly makes a difference when you get an education. Seeing it from a professional point of view, we live in a competitive world.

If you have no education, then you are behind. It’s really hard for you to find a job and survive.

Because of my education, I am able to serve and support ICC, to give back to the place that helped me to become who I am.

Share a bit about when you felt called to ministry?

When I look back to my childhood and to what I’ve been through in my life, how God rescued me from what I could have been, it’s like a calling. It’s like God telling me, “I want you for a special mission.”

That helps me to understand that I’ve been called for something special. Once I was at [Las Palmas], I kept growing in my faith and in my relationship with Jesus. I participated in church and everybody used to call me pastorcito, which means little pastor.

I didn’t want to be pastor, because, honestly, I was afraid! But I grew up and felt called in many ways. I realized, God can use my life and story.

How did your life change when you were accepted into the ICC family?

It was a big change. I got my education and things that I needed right there. For me, it was all I ever wanted. It was my family.

I understand that you and your wife sponsor a child. Can you tell me about that?

We do! Actually, we’re in the process of getting a second one. We visited our sponsorship child. He was really happy when we went to see him. When we got home, we wrote a letter and sent a photo to him of all of us.

When you were a child, did it matter when sponsors wrote you or sent you pictures?

It’s very important to write to the children. I felt special when a sponsor wrote me. I felt I was connecting with my sponsor. It was easier to reply to that person, especially when they’d sent me pictures and asked me questions.

How do the ICC children who are now adults relate to the children’s village?

We have a group of generation that comes together like an alumni association, and there’s a president. We gather money and donations to take to the children’s village. We come together at Christmas, and put on a Christmas program. Recently, we raised funds for school shoes.

Why is it important to do these things for the kids?

I went there and I received help. Once I grew up, I realized how important it was that someone helped me, that someone raised money for me to eat and go to school. It’s heart touching to do the same for those children who are also in need.

 

 

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