Posts Tagged ‘Dominican Republic’

Las Palmas Industries

Tuesday, February 12th, 2019
Investing Your Gifts To Extend Your Support

Our ICC family of projects is working diligently to develop and expand project industries. Such initiatives not only help to provide food for the children, they also generate funds to help with operating costs.

This enables the impact of your support to stretch further! At the Las Palmas Children’s Village in the Dominican Republic several industries are making a positive impact on the operation of the children’s village.

Harvesting the Sun’s Energy

Through the generous support of the VersaCare Foundation, Las Palmas has been able to establish a solar energy system that supplies a steady supply of power to the campus.

A grant from VersaCare provided the funds to install a solar-based electrical system at Las Palmas. This solar array keeps the campus supplied with electrical power day and night.

A grant from the VersaCare foundation provided the funds to install a solar-based electrical system at Las Palmas. This solar array keeps the campus supplied with electrical power day and night.

The supply of electrical power has always been a challenge at Las Palmas and there were frequent outages.

Now that Las Palmas is able to harvest energy from the sun, the children have electrical power in their homes 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

These batteries help keep the Las Palmas campus furnished with electrical power day and night.

These batteries help keep the Las Palmas campus furnished with electrical power day and night.

This is a huge benefit for the Las Palmas families! In addition, solar energy has enabled Las Palmas to have street lights for the first time! This improves the safety of the children very much.

Electricity costs have been cut by more than 50% and as the solar energy system is further enhanced, it’s possible that reliance on outside electric power can be eliminated.

Bounties from the Earth

The Las Palmas Farm has a long history of producing bountiful crops of yucca, plantain, papaya, and pineapples as well as other crops.

One of two greenhouses at Las Palmas used to grow vegetables for the families.

One of two greenhouses at Las Palmas used to grow vegetables for the families. Produce not used on-campus is sold locally. The proceeds help with the costs of operating the children’s village.

In addition to the field crops, Las Palmas operates two different greenhouses that produce vegetables for the children’s homes. The greenhouses allow for a controlled environment of more delicate vegetables and increase yield. Excess is sold locally and produces income to help with the daily operations.

Recently, Las Palmas was able to purchase a quality Massy Ferguson tractor. This reliable farm vehicle is proving to be a huge asset and blessing to the agriculture program.

Recently, Las Palmas was able to purchase a quality Massy Ferguson tractor. This reliable farm vehicle is proving to be a huge asset and blessing to the agriculture program.

The ‘new’ Massey-Fergeson farm tractor acquired by Las Palmas

Reaping a Blessing from God’s Creatures

Recently, we shared with Que Pasa readers about “Milky’s Challenge,” which is aimed at growing the Las Palmas Dairy.

Thanks to the support of many within the ICC family, the herd continues to grow as donations arrive and are sent on to the project.

A member of the Las Palmas dairy herd. Milk and cheese provided by the herd is used by the families and the surplus is sold at market. Proceeds help to offset operating costs at the children’s village.

A member of the Las Palmas dairy herd. Milk and cheese provided by the herd is used by the families and the surplus is sold at market. Proceeds help to offset operating costs at the children’s village.

The goal is to expand the herd from the current 70 to 100 head. There are also plans to begin automating the milking process. This industry has such great potential to produce significant profits for the benefit of taking care of the Las Palmas children.

In addition to the dairy, Las Palmas has also been developing a fish industry. While the children are served a vegetarian diet, there is a high market demand for fish, specifically Tilapia.

This image shows one of the six lagoons now on the Las Palmas campus used to raise fish that will be sold to market. The income from this fish industry helps to offset the monthly expenses of caring for the children

This images shows one of the six lagoons now on the Las Palmas campus used to raise fish that will be sold to market. The income from this fish industry helps to offset the monthly expenses of caring for the children

The fish industry is basically three-in-one. The first and most obvious industry is raising and selling fish. Las Palmas currently has six lagoons where fish are raised prior to being sold.

Each lagoon is about 100 meters by 50 meters. When this industry is running smoothly, a fish can grow to maturity (about 1 pound) in about 6–9 months.

Las Palmas recently hired two experts to assist in maximizing profitability. These men have been working to improve the quality of the water environment, managing the density and sizes of fish, ensuring that the diet of the fish is appropriate, and finding ways to decrease the threat of predators and thieves.

Using the best practices for this industry will help ensure a higher return on the investments being made in this industry. Las Palmas has more land available for expansion and developing more lagoons for fish.

Hiring these experts has led to two additional fish-related industries: making fish food and selling small fish called “fingerlings.”

Fish food can be challenging to find and purchase in the Dominican Republic. Currently it is being imported from places like Panama. There is a high demand for this product.

Las Palmas is now developing its own fish food business for producing pellets to feed the Las Palmas fish, and to sell to other fish farms.

This fish-food business requires special equipment and will initially be quite small. It can be operated by one person in limited space.

Eventually, this fish-food industry can be expanded further, including being housed in its own building.

The fish hatchery on the Las Palmas campus which is used to raise fingerlings. The fingerlings will either restock the on-campus lagoons or sold to other local fish farms.

The fish hatchery on the Las Palmas campus which is used to raise fingerlings. The fingerlings will either restock the on-campus lagoons or be sold to other local fish farms.

In order to have a profitable fish industry you need to have fingerlings to start each batch of fish. The supply of fingerlings in the Dominican Republic is limited, making them difficult to find as well.

So, for our own purposes we started a fingerling industry for our own needs and for selling to other fish farms.

This involves breeding fish to collect the eggs and then nurturing them until they hatch and are ready to sell or transfer to our own Las Palmas lagoons.

Diversifying the fish industry into these other two subindustries should help to increase not only efficiency but also profitability.

This in turn will help to sustain the Las Palmas Children’s Village, which then stretches the impact of your support further. What a blessing this is!

News About Matching Grants

Thursday, February 7th, 2019

Fish Industry Matching Grant

There’s a matching grant challenge for the Las Palmas fish industry, thanks to a generous donor. You can expand your support of the ICC children even further with an additional gift to this matching grant.

Currently there is nearly $13,000 available in matching grant funds. Not only can you double your donation by supporting this industry, you will also help Las Palmas to become even more self-sustaining. This matching grant will further extend your gifts!

“… go to the lake and throw out your line. Take the first fish you catch; open its mouth and you will find a four-drachma coin. Take it and give it to them for my tax and yours.” Matthew 17: 27

Be sure to designate your donation as “Fish Industry Matching Grant.” Thank you, and may your contributions continue to help ICC kids become ”fishers of men!”


Update on the Christmas 2018 Matching Grant

Yes, you’ve done it again!

In December one of our faithful ICC donors stepped forward to challenge you to match their gift. And yes, you’ve done it again by not only matching the $50,000 challenge, you’ve exceeded it! These funds, along with all the other gifts given by our faithful ICC family members at the end of the year have been such a blessing!

We finished 2018 strong thanks to the kind generosity of our ICC family. On behalf of the children whose lives you’ve touched in a special way during 2018 and here at the start of 2019, thank you very much! May God bless you and you have blessed “His Kids!”

Caring For The King

Tuesday, January 1st, 2019
In the person of “The least of these”

“Then shall the King say unto them… I was Hungry…
Thirsty… a Stranger… Naked… Sick… in Prison and…”

By Kent Greve

Three-year-old Elisa needs help!

When Elisa was brought to the Las Palmas children’s village in the Dominican Republic, she was hungry, sick and in desperate need of a stable family to provide the loving care she needs. Here is her story:

Because of a self-destructive lifestyle, Elisa’s mother can’t provide care for her or any of Elisa’s siblings. The children have different fathers.

Sadly, Elisa’s mother is in an advanced stage of tuberculosis and may not survive.

“Sick… and you visited me”

Government officials concerned about Elisa’s situation, intervened and asked us to accept Elisa into the ICC family. Before doing so, our village director, Samilin, insisted that Elisa have a medical evaluation. Elisa tested positive for tuberculosis but does not have it nor is she contagious.

“A stranger… and you took me in”

After much careful consideration and prayer, Samilin agreed to accept Elisa if she would be given the proper treatment protocol. Samilin has taken Elisa to a pediatric immunologist. She is receiving the proper medical protocols to protect the other children.

“Hungry, thirsty, naked… and you gave me food, water, and clothing”

When Elisa arrived, she suffered from malnutrition. Immediately the Las Palmas staff went to work providing her with food and clothing as well as water to drink and for bathing. In a short while, Elisa looked and felt much better.

Though her road to recovery may be long and her future is uncertain, one thing is certain: with the loving support of generous ICC family like you, Elisa has an opportunity now to heal both physically and emotionally.

“In Prison… and you came unto me”

Unlike most prisoners, orphan children like Elisa are innocent victims held captive by circumstances far beyond their control. Yet the shackles of poverty, abuse and neglect are very real.

ICC’s mission is to come to visit these children, to release the chains that bind them and free them — giving them hope for the future. This is a special rescue mission in which the entire ICC family is privileged to take part.

Can you see that, in a unique sense, the orphan child fits every one of the descriptions of “the least of these” that Jesus spoke about in Matthew 25?

The orphan is a stranger that needs to be taken in and released from the prison of poverty, abuse and neglect.

The orphan is hungry, thirsty, naked, and wearing only the clothes he or she has. And yes, many children like Elisa are sick.

When you support an orphan child, you are demonstrating not only a special kind of love for one of Jesus’ children in need, you are demonstrating your love for Jesus Himself.

What a blessing for the children! And what a blessing for you! As we begin this new year, let’s renew our determination to answer Jesus’ call to serve Him by serving “the least of these.”

On behalf of the children within the ICC family, thank you for your generous support. Have a happy and blessed new year!

Kids Get Motivated For Missions With ICC!

Tuesday, October 30th, 2018

By Makala James

Classrooms across the United States are getting motivated for mission work with International Children’s Care.

A new program called Missions For Kids is designed to teach kids about helping others. It shows them how to live as a missionary, right at home. Lesson plans and consultations, make it easy for teachers to integrate ICC mission projects into their classroom.

This year, classrooms are fundraising to purchase cows for the dairy herd at the Las Palmas Children’s Village. As the school semester unfolds, it’s evident that the participating students care deeply about helping the kids of ICC.

In the Dominican Republic, a cow is usually purchased pregnant or has a calf. Initial cost for an adult cow is about $1,500. So, the net cost of one cow and the goal for each classroom is $750.

The music students of Great Lakes Adventist Academy in Michigan, plan to bring “Milky the Moosical Cow” on tour this spring. Each classroom participating in Missions For Kids will get a five-foot, cardboard-cutout cow after raising their first $100.

This enterprising student from Great Lakes Adventist Academy purchased a cow costume to promote Great Lake’s “Milky The Moosical Cow” fundraising effort during Alumni Weekend. Milky (on the right) is touring with the music students this year.

This enterprising student from Great Lakes Adventist Academy purchased a cow costume to promote Great Lake’s “Milky The Moosical Cow” fundraising effort during Alumni Weekend. Milky (on the right) is touring with the music students this year.

Led by music director David Ballesteros, the students plan to take their cardboard cow on tour as they raise awareness and funds.

The Great Lakes “Moosical Cow” recently came to life at the school’s alumni weekend. One of the students bought a cow costume to promote the cause at events. She did this as a surprise for her classmates and teacher. She wore the costume at alumni weekend, telling visitors about Las Palmas and the dairy herd.

“The kids are excited,” says Ballesteros. “They made their own fundraising thermometer on the wall. They carry milk jugs around at our games. They are taking ownership.”

Missions for Kids launched at the 2018 NAD Teacher’s Convention in Chicago. The convention took place in August, right before the start of the school year. Many teachers expressed an interest in introducing missions into the classroom. Other teachers already had a developed missions program. They just needed a cause to support.

Students from Mobile Junior Academy in Alabama are excited to have Milky The Cow as part of their classroom. These students, under the guidance of their teacher, Jennifer Gennick, are raising funds to help add another cow to the Las Palmas herd.

Students from Mobile Junior Academy in Alabama are excited to have Milky The Cow as part of their classroom. These students, under the guidance of their teacher, Jennifer Gennick, are raising funds to help add another cow to the Las Palmas herd.

For Beacon Christian School, in Idaho, missions is an integral part of the classroom. Students vote on what cause to support each year. They had already raised $750 before school even started… The net cost of one cow!

Terry McGarvey, elementary teacher, felt that the coincidence was providential. She introduced ICC to her classroom and the students voted to purchase a cow for the Las Palmas dairy herd.

“I believe God intervened to help us find you and enable us to help a child who really needs assistance,” McGarvey said. “Thank you for the work you do to help those in need.”

When Rene and Thomas Coffee, long time ICC supporters and family, discovered Missions for Kids, they wanted to involve the youth Sabbath school that they lead in Gobles, Michigan.

Missions for Kids can be used in Sabbath school classrooms, Pathfinder clubs, team sports, and more. It’s not limited to traditional school classrooms.

Although the Coffees are not teachers at a school, they believe in the importance of showing kids how to be missionaries. As a result, the Gobles Youth Room Sabbath School is one of the first classrooms to accomplish their goal. There will be one more cow in the dairy herd, thanks to those students and the Coffees.

At Spokane Valley Adventist Academy, elementary students are going the “extra mile” with their mission project.

While fundraising for a cow with their classroom, they are also challenging local business to fund raise for a cow.

Teacher, Julia Dewey, wants to encourage her kids to speak about important causes. “I want my students not to be so afraid to talk about something that they have a passion for,” says Dewey.

“The mission of ICC is important to me because it shows the kids how to make a long-term difference. My desire is for them to take that throughout their lives.”

This is only the start of Missions for Kids. The program has a twofold purpose: teaching children to live mission-minded lives, as well as a blessing and supporting the children of ICC.

To be a part of Missions for Kids, sign up today! Any group of any age can join! Or, please pass this information on to your school and/or Sabbath School leaders.

To sign up or for more information, contact Makala James, Missions for Kids Coordinator, at makala@forhiskids.org, or visit this link on our website: https://bit.ly/2S2vjdZ to get started.

Orphan Advocates Needed!

Tuesday, September 25th, 2018

Next month, on November 12, the international community will recognize World Orphans Day. This is a day set aside to raise awareness and support for the children who continue to be orphans — ones who have not yet made it to a safe haven like an ICC children’s village.

There are hundreds of boys and girls around the world who are blessed to belong to the ICC family. They are taking advantage of opportunities that you help to provide them through your generous support.

The impact of what you do for them can be seen when a child leaves the children’s village and finds success in his or her chosen profession. Check out the story of Ana, inside this Que Pasa. She’s a good example of what your support means to an ICC child!

The need for orphan care continues as world conditions get worse. There are wars, disease and social problems that threaten the lives of innocent children.

We often receive calls to take in children, and sadly there are not enough funds to help in all situations. But with your help, we can provide care for some of them like the two boys pictured here.

Arturo and Alonzo recently joined their new family at the Las Palmas Children's Village in the Dominican Republic

Arturo and Alonzo are cousins who recently arrived at the Las Palmas children’s village in the Dominican Republic. They were rescued from their grandmother’s home by the police.

Someone in the community filed a complaint that the boys were living in a home where the woman ran a prostitution business. The boys were not safe in this situation.

The authorities brought them to Las Palmas where they’ve become a part of the ICC family — a family that will love and provide nurturing care for them in a Seventh-day Adventist home environment. Accepting the boys is a step of faith, for Arturo and Alonzo still need sponsors.

As we approach World Orphans Day, please consider being an “Orphan Advocate.” Tell someone you know about the plight of orphans. Let them know that orphan care is so very much needed in the world today for kids like Arturo and Alonzo.

Tell them about the ICC family and how they, too, can become a part of this ministry where an orphan is orphaned no more! What a blessing it will be to Arturo and Alonzo and others like them.

If you — or someone you know — would like to sponsor one of these boys or another child in need, please contact Alanna, child sponsorship coordinator. She can be reached at 800-422-7729.

Thank you for what you do for the children!

Help Moo-ve the Las Palmas Dairy Forward!

Tuesday, August 28th, 2018

In recent editions of the Qué Pasa you’ve read about special initiatives to help the children’s projects become more self-sustaining. The jalapeno project in Mexico and the greenhouse project in El Salvador are two examples.

Aiding the projects to help themselves, stretches your support which helps more children.

In August, at the 2018 ASI convention, another of ICC’s industries received special attention.

It’s an expansion of the dairy herd at the Las Palmas Children’s Village. The dairy is blessing the children, but more “cows for the kids” are needed and you can help. Here are the details on what we’re calling “Milky’s Challenge.”

The goal of “Milky’s Challenge” is to increase the size of the dairy herd at the Las Palmas Children’s Village. The sale of milk from the herd helps to offset child-care expenses at Las Palmas helping your donation go further. Please join ”Milky’s Challenge!”

The goal of “Milky’s Challenge” is to increase the size of the dairy herd at the Las Palmas Children’s Village. The sale of milk from the herd helps to offset child-care expenses at Las Palmas helping your donation go further. Click on this picture join ”Milky’s Challenge!”

Demand is high for milk in the region around Las Palmas. Each day (excepting Sabbath), trucks pick up milk produced at the Las Palmas dairy.

Currently, there are 13 cows producing at the Las Palmas dairy. The goal is to increase that number to 80.

A cow is usually purchased pregnant or with a calf. The initial cost for an adult cow is about $1,500. If the calf is a heifer, it can be added to the herd. If it is a bull, it can be sold for around $750.

So, the net cost of one cow is about $750. That’s a bargain when you consider that in 9 months of production the initial investment has been returned through the sale of milk.

Did you know a single quality milk cow can produce enough milk for sale each month to cover the monthly expense of feeding one of “His Kids?”

Headshot of Milky the CowWon’t you consider participating in “Milky’s Challenge” to grow the herd?! Share this project with your Sabbath School class, your school, or a group of friends or family. If everyone gives a little — it will help a lot!

And now, it’s even easier to contribute. Along with the traditional ways of giving (website, phone call to 800.422.7729), you can also use your mobile phone right now to give a gift.

In your message app type the phone number 41444. In the message line type the word — Milky. You’ll receive a return message. Click the link and you’ll be taken to a secure donation page. It’s that easy!

There’s more information online at forhiskids.org/milky. We’ll be sharing the progress of “Milky’s Challenge” in the weeks ahead. Thanks for your support!

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!

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.

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.

“Stepping Out In Faith” Matching Fund

Tuesday, November 28th, 2017

Just in Time to Bless the Children this Christmas!

’Tis better to give than to receive” is a truth that we all recognize. What is even better is when you give and that gift is doubled to make twice the impact! This Christmas, you have a wonderful opportunity to double your gift in support of a child like Eduardo who desperately wants and needs a home.

Please read on for more details

Dear Friend of the Children,

Eduardo’s father died without ever recognizing him as his son. His mother left Eduardo in the care of his sick grandmother who was also trying to care for her 18-year-old daughter who has special needs.

Eduardo’s living environment was unsafe, and he suffered several attempts of violation. The child protection authorities rescued Eduardo and needed a safe place for him, so they contacted the Las Palmas Children’s Village.

I’m reminded of the story of Jesus who was born in a stable because there was “no room in the inn.” Currently, several of our children’s villages DO HAVE ROOM for more children. You can help us welcome more children like Eduardo who need the safety and security of a loving home. This Christmas please consider giving the gift of family to an orphan child!

I have some terrific news to share. From now until December 31, 2017, your gift will be doubled, up to a total of $125,000. What a double blessing and impact your gift will be for the children!

In the past several weeks, 12 different children have experienced life-threatening events. These suffering children have been referred to us from authorities in Congo and the Dominican Republic.

Some of these 12 kids were already dying, and we were told that they would soon lose their lives if we did not accept them into our care. Horrible events took place leaving these children devastated without families. What were our administrators to do when these kids were placed at their door? Should they have turned their backs on these children, leaving them to die?

The thought of signing a child’s death warrant is something I cannot agree with, nor do I believe that God wants our ICC family to do that. I believe that God put ICC here to be the last harbor of refuge from these kinds of storms in the lives of the children — the storms that take their very lives. There must be another answer, and I believe the answer is the ICC family!

Recently, caring individuals provided for a special “Stepping out in Faith Matching Fund.”

Donations received (up to $125,000) will be matched and used to support the children of ICC, especially those who recently joined the ICC family or those on the outside just waiting to come in.

Your support for the children within the ICC family has meant a life-change for them. In some cases the saving of their lives.

Today, many children are brought to us by the local government, first responders, or relief workers who told us that if we did not take these kids, there was no one else who would, and they could perish.

Hearing this sends chills down my spine. That there is no other answer, and children may perish, is real and something we can’t tolerate.

With this in mind, I’m writing to you at the end of this year. There are children like Eduardo who need your help and protection. They need the life-saving and life-giving support that you offer. And since your gift will be doubled, it’s an especially good time to give!

Again, from now until December 31, you can have your donation matched up to a total of $125,000. A gift of $50 becomes $100. A gift of $250 becomes $500.

Should all the money be matched, it will be $250,000 bringing hope and healing to the lives of orphan children. What a blessing this will be for them!

Will you help me with this urgent need for these children who’ve been placed on our doorstep, which I believe was providential?

If you want your donation matched, please mark it “Stepping out in Faith.”

God bless you for stepping out in faith and saving the lives of the fatherless.

 

 

Doug Congleton
Executive Director

P.S. Thank you for your wonderful support to the children. And now through December 31st your support can be doubled through the “Stepping out in Faith Matching Fund.”

P.P.S. And since the overhead for this year has been covered, 100% of your donation plus the matched amount will go to support the program for children. Thank you for being a double blessing to the children here at the end of the year!