Posts Tagged ‘children’

Thanks to You — Orphaned Siblings Stay Together!

Tuesday, August 7th, 2018

For many years, generous ICC family members like you have made it possible for orphan siblings to stay together. This is very important for the children. And whenever children are referred to an ICC children’s village, if there are siblings involved, attempts are made to include all the children, so they can continue growing up together.

This year, we’ve featured several sibling groups that have been rescued together and who have been able to remain together as part of the larger ICC family.

Thanks to You, Sibling Orphans Able To Stay Together!

Thanks to You these four orphaned siblings were able to stay together as part of their new family at the Las Palmas Children’s Village!

A little while ago, the four siblings in the above photos arrived at the Las Palmas children’s village in the Dominican Republic. The children’s father was no longer a part of the family, and their mother was very poor.

She had no way to work and provide care for her young children at the same time. The children were going hungry, and eventually the family was from the house in which they were staying because they couldn’t pay the rent. No other family members stepped forward to assist.

Because she had run out of options, the mother contacted the Las Palmas administer and asked her to take the children. After investigating the situation to verify the need and that Las Palmas could provide for the children, the Las Palmas administrator welcomed the children.

Again, it is because of the faithful support of ICC family members like you that makes it possible for ICC to take in, not just one of the siblings, but all of the siblings.

What a blessing for them — and what an opportunity you have now to continue your support through monthly gifts or sponsorship so that these children’s lives will be fully restored.

Thank you for making this ministry for orphans and orphan sibling groups possible!

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!

Clarifying ICC’s Relationship With ICC Australia

Friday, June 15th, 2018

Statement of Clarification

Concerning the Relationship and Distinction Between
International Children’s Care USA (ICCI)

— and —

International Children’s Care Australia (ICCA)
also doing business as Adventure Fund Global in the USA

May 24, 2018

Introduction

Recently, the board of directors of ICC Australia decided to place their organization into “Voluntary Administration.” According to Australian insolvency law, this is similar to bankruptcy. Because ICCI and ICCA share similar names and have worked together in the past, ICCI is providing this statement of clarification regarding this matter:

Summary Statement

ICCI does not have a connection to or working relationship with ICC Australia. ICCI is a separate entity and is in no way affected by, bound by or party to the voluntary administration proceedings of ICCA. ICCI continues to strive to realize its mission of supporting orphaned and abandoned children in various countries of the world. Furthermore, there are many other entities around the world that bear the ICC name (or a similar name) and/or partner with ICCI in its mission. None of these other entities are affected by the voluntary administration proceedings of ICCA. None the less, ICCI is concerned for the well-being of the children who reside in ICCA supported projects. ICCI has contacted ICCA and has offered assistance as a plan of action for the care of these children is developed.

Background and History of the Relationship between ICCI and ICCA

ICCI was founded in the United States in 1978. This ministry was created by Elder Robert Folkenberg, Elder and Mrs. Kenneth Fleck and others. ICC has enjoyed working hand-in-hand with the Seventh-day Adventist Church as a supporting ministry that provides care for orphaned and abandoned children.

Over time, ICCI established children’s villages and support chapters in other countries. ICCI helped to create what has become known as International Children’s Care Australia which has since rebranded to become Adventure Fund Global. Though ICCI and ICCA worked together for a number of years in a spirit of cooperation, each entity was set up as an independent organization in their respective countries.

In 2013, because of differences in operating philosophies and practices, the board of directors of ICCI in the USA decided to formally end its working relationship with ICC Australia.

“Summer Rescue” Matching Grant

Tuesday, May 29th, 2018

You and the children are being granted an important opportunity.

Your support of this matching grant will provide much-needed funds that will help feed the children this summer

Your support of this matching grant will provide much-needed funds that will help feed the children this summer.

Several members of our family of donors are offering you the possibility of having your donations double this summer as part of a dollar-for-dollar matching grant to support the budgets that feed the children.

The summer months can be very difficult financially, and this will provide for you the prospect to “rescue the budgets” this summer. 

The donors offering this option do want your support of this matching grant to be above and beyond your regular gifts.

Their desire is to do all they can — with your help — to meet the most urgent needs and provide food to the children in these challenging months ahead. 

Right now there are $60,000 dollars available for a dollar-for-dollar matching fund.

This “Summer Rescue” matching grant for the children’s food budgets could total $120,000 with your help.

Remember, your contribution to the children will be doubled. Please, make your gift immediately and designate it as “My Rescue Gift.”

By giving extra this month to support this grant, you will provide a blessing to the children.

The children will receive the benefit of this double gift so they have a hope and a chance in this life.

What an amazing way to not only give a blessing, but also receive one for yourself!

The children thank you from the bottom of their hearts for helping with this special gift.

Doug Congleton
Executive Director, ICC

P.S. Remember to be sure and mark your gift for this matching grant as “My Rescue Gift.”

The Eyes of a Child

Tuesday, May 1st, 2018

A close-up photo of the eyes of a young Cambodian girl.

Dear ICC Family,

I was looking into the darkest and deepest blackness I had ever seen in my life. I had seen this once before. These were the eyes of three little children who had just arrived at one of our children’s villages from some tragedy in their lives — a tragedy that left them not only homeless, but absolutely hopeless, which is a far worse situation.

I tried to make conversation with these children but received little response. This moment brought a deep sadness to my heart as I looked into those eyes.

So, I kept a little closer watch on these three children during my work that week. During those few days, I saw those precious children given a home, a bed to sleep in, and most important to them, a family to love them.

As these kids came to understand that they really had a place to call their own, a place that each one of you provided for them, it was amazing to watch the change that took place when I looked into those little eyes for a second time.

Those eyes that were so black just days before, now had a radiant glow and vibrancy to them. I knew from past experiences that these were now the eyes that only result from the gift of love and hope created in these children’s lives. It is a gift beyond measure that you and your gifts of love are providing to them.

Looking back over my work with ICC for over 20 years, I have seen those eyes many times over. I am always filled with amazement to see those eyes of hopelessness change to excitement!

I also know that this change can only take place because of you, the ones who truly care enough to give from your hearts in order to make sure that there are homes of hope for these children of God.

Right now, these homes of hope are being threatened as we enter the most financially challenging time of the year for the children’s food budgets. We are now entering a time when the funding for the children gets so low that we can’t keep up with their basic needs. From May through September, the children’s villages struggle tremendously to make sure that His kids have even the basics of life.

I am asking you today if you would please pray, and then respond to what you feel Jesus wants you to do in order to make sure that His kids can continue to have even the basic of needs in these next few months. Will you please consider doing this for the children today?

Your gifts of loving support will be something that I can assure you will be life-changing for the children in these most difficult times. I believe that Jesus called each one of us for such a time as this when His children need you so much.

Please mark your gifts “Sustaining Life” so that we will know that you have answered the call of Jesus in James 1:27 where He tells us to “take care of the orphans.” By doing this, you will make sure that the children will receive what they need to continue to have this hope in Jesus for their tomorrows.

God bless you all,

The signature of Doug Congleton

 

 

 

Doug Congleton

A close-up photo of the face of young Thai girl.

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!”

Help to Restore the Life of a Child Today

Tuesday, April 10th, 2018

Recently rescued sister and brother, Gloria and Julio, need your help!

“Where is mommy?”

“Is mommy mad at me?”

“Why did she leave me?”

“Will she ever come back for me?”

Questions like these gnaw at the minds of children who’ve been abandoned. It’s hard for them to understand what’s happening. They know deep inside something is wrong, and they don’t know how to fix it.

Gloria and Julio need your help!

Gloria and Julio need your help! Please send them a gift right away.

Gloria, age six, and Julio, age three, know too well what it is to be abandoned. One day their mother left them with a neighbor promising that she would come and visit.

After three months, she did return, but only long enough to pick them up and take them to someone else.

Occasionally, the children would see their mother. They would ask her to take them back. But it never happened. She finally admitted that she no longer wanted them.

Eventually the juvenile court intervened and brought the children to the Los Pinos Children’s Village in Guatemala.

Gloria and Julio have been emotionally bruised by this experience. They need the comforting and unconditional love of a family — a family who wants them and will provide for them.

Because of your support one or both of these children, who desperately need you, will experience the joy of a loving family every child deserves.

These kids need someone like you!

Here’s how you can help —

Your donation of $30 helps to provide the nurturing care, food, shelter, and medicines that children like Gloria and Julio need in order to grow and develop.

Send in your gift today!

On behalf of children like Gloria and Julio, thank you for your support!

Your Support Is Giving Back — Abel’s Story

Tuesday, March 6th, 2018

By Rick Fleck

After more than 35 years, the Las Palmas Children’s Village has been needing many repairs, especially with the things made of wood, such as kitchen cabinets, closets, doors, window valences, tables and chairs.

We have a small carpentry and cabinet shop in our big shop on campus which Tem Suarez and others helped to set up in the 1980’s. Tem would come and work with the older boys building closets and drawers other things.

Other workers carried on that work for a few years, but lately the carpentry shop has not been kept up because we couldn’t find someone to do that work.

During a visit last year, Samilin, our administrator of Las Palmas, told me about Abel Pérez, who grew up in the Las Palmas Children’s Village, worked a lot with Tem Suarez in carpentry and now has a cabinet shop business on the side (he is a math teacher in a local school). Maybe he would be willing to come and help us.

Abel Pérez grew up at the Las Palmas Children’s Village in the Dominican Republic. Abel is now a math teacher and also owns a successful cabinet-making business. Abel will be producing carpentry and cabinet projects for Las Palmas.

Abel Pérez grew up at the Las Palmas Children’s Village in the Dominican Republic. Abel is a math teacher and owns a successful cabinet-making business. Abel produces carpentry and cabinet projects for Las Palmas.

Abel did come, and we became great friends. He is a wonderful young man with a family of three children of his own now. He is a successful teacher and runs a prosperous cabinet business on the side.

He was thrilled by the idea of coming back “home” to work where he spent so much of his childhood. And he wanted to make sure to inspire others who are growing up there now by teaching them some skills.

Abel as a young boy not long after he came to Las Palmas.

Abel as a young boy not long after he came to Las Palmas.

He fondly remembers Tem Suarez, who with his wife, Judy, gave so much of themselves to the children of ICC. He told me, “I would like to be the new ‘Tem Suarez!’”

Here is a message he sent to me when I asked if he would be willing to share a little with our ICC family:

“For me it is a real pleasure to be able to tell my story so it may serve to help and be an example for many. I was born in Meches in 1975, a son of Christian parents — Seventh-day Adventists.

My parents were extremely poor but they wanted for me and my sister Miguelina (5 years younger than me) to have a chance in life and a Christian education. So they managed to take us to the Las Palmas Children’s Village. That great event was a reality in our lives on Wednesday, September 11, 1985.

“At the age of 10 and in fourth grade, I continued my studies. Mrs. Gladys Williams was the director, and Pastor Jose Ramon Bourget was the administrator. There was one teacher for all the kids in several grades. After a few months they brought in several more teachers. So we continued to study there for three years in the Las Palmas school.

After sixth grade, we studied at the nearby Dominican Adventist School for two years as external students, and I was in the dorm for two more years. After that time I went to Santo Domingo where I finished high school in 1994.

“During the time I spent in the Las Palmas Children’s Village, I learned various skills such as growing a garden, taking care of cows, pastry making, baking, working with iron, among other things.

But the thing that I loved most was cabinet making. I liked that from when I was a little boy watching my father work with wood. So I enjoyed working with Brother Francisco Vargas, then Josué Casilla (in the children’s village) and later Bartolomé Acosta at the Dominican Adventist School. I was able to progress a lot in learning this marvelous craft.

One of the cabinet projects for Las Palmas recently finished by Abel Pérez

One of the cabinet projects for Las Palmas recently finished by Abel Pérez

“After starting a lovely relationship with the young lady Yoselin Alcala, we married and had three children — Angel, now 20, Yonsi, 14 and Jasbel, 12. My wife has her degree in marketing with a masters degree in administration of education centers. I finished my bachelors degree in education with physics and math, and now I’m working as a math teacher at a school in Nuevo Orden.

“In March of 2017, Mrs. Samilin Williams, the current administrator of the children’s village, contacted me to help her prepare some budgets for some projects, and she invited me to talk with Mr. Rick and let him know the quotes. We came to an agreement that I would go to Las Palmas to do a few new projects and some repairs.”

Abel goes on to describe his work over the next several months, when he repaired closets, made drawers, window valences, kitchen cabinets and other carpentry projects. He basically remodeled all the wood items, such as closets and cabinets, in eight homes on campus. He concludes his story by reflecting as follows:

“For me is it a pleasure to help out, not only in the cabinets and wood working, but in all the projects that I can in the Children’s Village, since I really feel like I am part of it. This has been one of the happiest summers of my life, although I have spent it away from my beautiful and loved family. I was spending my time contributing to a very good cause. But I also want to say thank you to each one who gave funds so that these projects could be accomplished.

A new generation enjoys the benefits of Abel Pérez’s cabinet-making skills

A new generation enjoys the benefits of Abel Pérez’s cabinet-making skills

“There are still many projects to do, and we continue to pray that the resources continue to come so we can keep doing the projects that need to be finished. Among those are the church pews that are very deteriorated from the termites. We need them so that our adoration to God can be done in a calm and nice place. I am very willing to continue helping in every way that I can so that the Children’s Village is a PLACE OF HAPPY KIDS. God bless you, with love, from your son,”

Abel Pérez Vilorio

Able also has plans to help Las Palmas repair or rebuild their church’s pews. The church pews are made of wood and they’ve seen much use. The pews are in real need of repairs with a number needing to be replaced.

Your help with repairing and replacing Las Palmas’s church pews would be most appreciated. Abel plans to repair 5 pews and create new pews for those that need to be replaced. He can repair the 5 pews for $110 apiece and make 15 new pews for only $400 apiece.

Snatched from the Clutches of Death

Tuesday, February 27th, 2018

Orphans in Desperate Need – You can help!

— Editor’s Note —

The mission of ICC was conceived in the aftermath of a terrible earthquake that decimated Guatemala City leaving hundreds of children orphaned.

Now, 40 years after ICC’s humble beginning, your ongoing support helps to provide a refuge and nurturing home environment for children who’s lives have been devastated by natural disasters, social problems and civil unrest.

ICC continues to play a critical role in the lives of children who have lost everything and been rescued from the very clutches of death. Your continued help ensures these children receive the care they need!

Please read on to find out more —

One of the orphaned children resuced in the DR Congo

“I was hungry, and you gave me something to eat. I was thirsty, and you gave me something to drink.
I was a stranger, and you invited me in. I needed clothes, and you clothed me. I was sick, and you looked after me…
Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for Me.”

Matthew 25:34-36,40.

Refugee camps are supposed to be safe havens — free from surrounding conflicts. At least that’s what they are supposed to be. But in the D.R. Congo it sometimes happens that refugee camps become caught up in the strife and bloodshed.

Recently three camps in northeastern D.R. Congo came under attack from rebel fighters. In the aftermath, when UN military peace-keeping forces arrived to see what had transpired, they found a sickening sight — over nine hundred children were left behind to fend for themselves. The children recounted having only limited food in the camps. At times, they had to survive on wild fruit and edible leaves.

“Thanks to the support you’ve given in the past and the confidence that you will stand by the ‘least of these’, Desire set about clothing, feeding, soothing, and welcoming them into the ICC family.”

You may recall that in September, our Patmos Children’s Village received seven children because of a mudslide that barreled through a village leaving many children orphaned. Now, just 43 days after these children arrived, another 17 were brought to us. An additional seven arrived the following day bringing the total number of new children to 31 — all within two months.

Patmos director, Désiré, tried to reason with the officials. He pleaded that he didn’t have the resources to provide for these children, many of whom were nearly dead.

But the Ministry of Social Affairs, even though working with the UN troops and seven other organizations in the region, had no other alternatives left. Patmos was their last chance. Désiré agreed to try to save the lives of these little children.

These children were a pitiful sight when they arrived! Photos that Désiré sent tell the story of the children’s meager existence all too well — distended bellies, skeletons covered by skin without tissue to hide the bones, colorless hair (or not having hair at all), splotchy skin, and sad eyes.

The children suffered from some form or combination of health issues: malnutrition and/or kwashiorkor, malaria, typhoid fever, intestinal worms, diarrhea.

Much like Matthew’s description in the Bible of those in need, these children were naked, hungry, sick, a stranger. However, thanks to the support you’ve given in the past and the confidence that you will stand by the “least of these,” Désiré set about clothing, feeding, soothing and welcoming them into the ICC family.

Nine of the children needed immediate medical care in the clinic. As of the writing of this update, four remain in serious condition, one of whom you can see in the picture at the beginning of this article.

After assessing the condition of the children, Désiré believed that 80% of them would have died within a week if they had not come to The Patmos Children’s Village.

In the days following, he received reports about children who died in the care of other orphan facilities. We pray to God that none of the children brought to us will die! God is faithful, and Désiré and his team are skilled at providing the care the children need.

Please pray that God will work through them to restore the health of these children and make a way for them to be fully integrated into the ICC family in the D.R. Congo. But, where to from here — and how can you help?

The Bible makes it clear that caring for orphan children is not an option if you want to demonstrate “true religion” before God (See James 1:27).
The ministry of ICC exists to help rescue and restore the lives of children like this. It will take sustained effort. We will need to work together.

The Plan

In consultation with Désiré, we have established a plan going forward. Within the next three months, 13 of the older children at The Patmos Children’s Village will leave the project to become independent. This will bring some relief to the budget.

However, the net gain from having 31 new children means they need more of the following: care givers, furniture and equipment, food, educational supplies, and ongoing medical care.

For five months, it will cost an additional $9,300 per month to provide for the new children. After the 13 older children leave  The Patmos Children’s Village, that amount will decrease to $4,800.

It will take some time before sponsors can be assigned to these new children. In the meantime, the Patmos Children’s Village needs extra financial support. For the sake of all the children in other children’s villages like Guatemala, the Dominican Republic and India, the extra financial support needs to be on top of support given to those projects as well.

The world is hurtling into chaos. Many of the innocent victims are children. But, the Bible makes it plain that there are no “throw away children.” And how we respond says much about us and what we value.

Your extra gift today of $50 or $150 or even $350 will go a long way to helping these new children in Congo. Thank you for answering the call to feed, cloth and welcome orphan children who need you so very much right now!

Please pray for the ICC Congo situation and especially for the children who are still fighting for their lives. Who knows, someday we might see some of them become teachers, pastors, mechanics and nurses! God definitely has a plan for each one of these kids, or He wouldn’t have brought them specifically to Patmos Children’s Village.

Faithfully Serving the Children

Tuesday, February 6th, 2018
A photo of Samalin and Mario Lora of the ICC Las Palmas Children's Village.

Samalin & Mario

For most of the past 35 years, Mario and Samilin Lora have faithfully served the children of Las Palmas in the Dominican Republic. In 1983 Samilin came to Las Palmas when her parents joined the staff. She was only 17 at the time.

With a chuckle, Samilin vividly remembers the first children who arrived on campus. Everyone was thrilled. These children came from the nearby village and looked so pitiful — with distended bellies and full of parasites. This was the start of the program, or so everyone thought at the time!

The children were cleaned up, given fresh clothes and some nourishing food. Everyone was happy — until the next day when family members of these children came to the campus all concerned about their well-being.

Yes, the children were in poor shape. They appeared to be orphans living on the streets. But they had distant relatives and neighbors who heard that the Americans had taken their children to use their organs and eyeballs.

Sheepishly, the staff watched as these children left with community members. However, these “first children” left behind a good lesson and principle that sticks with our project administrators to this day — be sure to follow ICC protocols so they are legally taken into care.

Despite this early setback, it wasn’t long after this experience that Las Palmas did start receiving children who legitimately needed the help for which ICC is known.

Eventually, Samilin met and married Mario Lora. Together they spent some time in Puerto Rico and also working at the Adventist University in the Dominican Republic.

A photo of Mario & Samalin with children of the Las Palmas Children’s Village

Mario & Samalin with children of the Las Palmas Children’s Village

Then in 1991, Samilin’s mother called her and Mario to come and join the staff of Las Palmas. Samilin became the children’s services director and Mario became the chaplain and accountant.

Samilin recalls how difficult it was for her at first to take on the challenges of overseeing the parents. Since she is somewhat small, the parents joked that they would “put this little auntie in a sack” so they would not have to obey her.

This was a trial by fire for Samilin, and one that she won through God’s help and her determination. She recalls that once the parents understood ICC’s model and implemented it consistently, things went much better.

Samilin grew in experience and capacity as the children’s services director and also obtained her master’s degree in Educational Administration. Then, in 1998 when her mother retired, ICC asked Samilin to take on the responsibilities as project administer — a position she continues to hold today.

When asked what her biggest challenge is now as the project administrator, Samilin says that it’s finding good house parents. It’s a challenge to find parents with a passion for taking care of the children and not just to have money.

According to Rick Fleck, ICC president, Samilin has turned this into a strength. They have a proven record of success in finding, training and keeping good house parents. They use an effective interviewing and screening process, and this has helped a lot.

Over the past few years a new generation of children have come to Las Palmas. Many of the older children have completed their education and have moved on to live independently. There has be in influx of younger children.

Logo representing the 40th Anniversary of International Children's CareMario and Samilin understand very well how important it is to teach the new children core values that will serve them well in this life and prepare them for eternal life.

Each of the past three years, the Las Palmas staff have focused on teaching the kids values. The staff are united in this. According to Samilin, “the most important thing is to have the children saved in Jesus. That is my passion. We’re working on the area of values with that end in mind.”

This year’s motto is “United with our Eyes on Eternal Values.” The entire staff are united in keeping their eyes on eternal values they can teach the children.

There was a time several years ago when there were not many children being referred to Las Palmas. That has changed. We have received so many requests that there is not capacity to accept them all. Sadly, some children are being turned away.

Samilin recently hired a couple to serve as house parents in a home that was re-opened. Their home is now nearly filled with children. Samilin will soon try to open another home because there are so many requests for assistance. The government is cooperating well and are bringing children at an early age. This is when ICC’s model of care can have the greatest positive impact.

One of the factors causing an increase in the number of at-risk children is the increase in the number of men killing women in the Dominican Republic the last couple of years. Government authorities are worried about this trend which may be caused by the increase in the cost of living, high unemployment and drug use.

In a country like the Dominican Republic, it is unusual for a woman to oversee an organization, especially if her husband is also working at the same place. However, Mario and Samilin have found a comfortable working relationship for each has a unique role.

Also, Mario is the head of their home while Samilin serves as the administrator of the project. They have learned to separate the roles within their work and personal lives and respect each other within those roles.

Mario and Samilin are well-aware of the critical part that ICC Donors play in the sustaining this ministry on behalf of children at Las Palmas. “Tell the donors,” says Samilin, “if it weren’t for those donors, this [program for children] would not exist. Only in heaven will you be rewarded.”

The children of ICC have been blessed by the tireless, sacrificial and dedicated service this faithful couple has given to them through the years. We value them as cherished members of the ICC family.