Posts Tagged ‘farm’

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 from the ICC Family

Tuesday, January 15th, 2019

God Blesses the Jalapeños at El Oasis

Thanks to God’s blessings and hard work from the El Oasis staff, the Jalapeño crop at the El Oasis children’s village was profitable. Along the way, God provided several miracles that turned out to be huge blessings.

First, when there was a delay in getting our seeds started at the company that provides the seedlings it turned out to be a blessing.

Even though it delayed planting, we learned that other farmers experienced a blight in their seedlings that had been started earlier. God protected the El Oasis seedlings.

Not only did He protect them, our seeds produced more seedlings than expected.

As with many vegetables, Jalapeños have several harvests. Due to the late start, the initial harvest was delayed, and the final harvests would be threatened by a killing frost.

God worked a wonderful miracle as the season neared it’s close. When the killing frost arrived in the valley, all the other farmers in the valley lost their crops.

Only the EL Oasis Jalapeños and the next-door neighbor’s were protected. This proved a double blessing. The Jalapeños from these later harvests were sold at about twice the price of the initial harvests — because there were fewer Jalapeños on the market.

Praise God for his loving care — for not only the children of El Oasis — but also for the little chili peppers that help to provide for their care!

Supreme Court Justice Visit’s Los Pinos

As with many governments in Central America, Guatemala is under pressure from the global community to move away from institutions for children, opting rather to establish a traditional foster care system.

In contrast, the ICC model of care is based upon placing children within families in a type of managed foster care setting.

Recently an Adventist supreme court justice from Guatemala visited the Los Pinos Children’s Village in Poptun. She was very impressed and said, “This is the model that works. We have it right here. Why should we spend money to send people to New York to hear about foster care? This works.”

Even amid such outside pressures, the Los Pinos Children’s Village continues to flourish. The elementary school is operating very well under the leadership of a new principal who used to be one of the administrators at ICAP secondary school next door.

Because of where the children’s village is located, agriculture has the greatest potential to provide sustainability for this project. Food grown in the Los Pinos garden provides excellent nutrition for the children. Any extra food not needed at the children’s village is sold.

A new greenhouse was installed recently. This will help protect crops from damage due to bad weather and insects.

Los Pinos staff are exploring the possibility of developing a little store in the village of Poptun where farm and bakery products can be sold. The store may also feature the repackaging of bulk items like beans and rice.

Government May Send New Children to the ICC Village in El Salvador

The population of children at the Hogar Escuela Children’s Village has been aging. The children are growing up, and younger children have not been referred to us because El Salvador is also under pressure from the global community to move away from institutions for children to traditional foster care.

However, there are positive indications from government authorities they will soon be sending us children. This is exciting news for the ICC family. Having new children, especially the little ones, breathes new life into the project.

Several months ago, the Que Pasa featured the modification and development of greenhouses at the Hogar Escuela Children’s Village in El Salvador.

The staff are continuing to expand this project. Fifteen greenhouses are in use. The primary crops are green beans, peppers and cucumbers.

The food being produced, as well as the income generated from sale of the extra produce, is blessing the children at this village.

Grown ICC Children Return to Serve at Sweet Home in India

What a blessing it is for the ICC family when an ICC child grows up, completes his or her education and then finds a place of service that blesses others.

And it is a double blessing when that place of service is back at home, in the children’s village where they were raised.

At the ICC DEWS Sweet Home Village in India we have even more of a double blessing. Two of our grown children have returned and are serving in key positions.

Nirmala is the children’s services director and Udai is our financial manager. They are paying forward the support ICC family members like you have given them and are blessing a new generation of ICC children!

News of ICC Children in the DR Congo

There are 101 children at the Patmos Children’s Village and another 28 who are taking advanced education studies. This makes it the largest children’s village within the ICC family. There are currently nine children’s homes.

Though there’s been news of an Ebola outbreak in the DR Congo, our children are not affected. Praise the Lord!

In the fall of 2017, we received many new children resulting from mudslides and rebel attacks. Those children have been with us for over a year. They’re growing and making progress.

We’re hopeful elections will happen in the DR Congo soon. This could greatly benefit the country and bring a more peaceful environment.

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.

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!

Extending The Impact Of Your Support

Tuesday, August 14th, 2018

Agriculture Project Proving A Blessing at ICC’s Children’s Village in El Salvador.

— Editor’s Note —

As you may recall, we recently featured a story about the Jalapeño project at the El Oasis Children’s Village farm in Mexico.

To have success in any agriculture or industry project, we’ve found that four essential things must be in place: 1) Resources, 2) Technical Expertise, 3) Business Expertise, and 4) God’s Guidance and Blessings.

In this post we want to share how God is blessing the green house industry at the Hogar Escuela Adventista (HEA) Children’s Village in El Salvador.

Your support enables ICC to help fund initiatives like the greenhouse industry at HEA. When a project becomes more self-sustaining as a result, it extends the impact of your contributions!


esús (left; HEA’s administrator), and Merlin (right; providing technical expertise on farming), have joined forces to expand the capacity and yield of the produce-production greenhouses on ICC’s HEA campus in El Salvador.

Jesús (left; HEA’s administrator), and Merlin (right; providing technical expertise on farming), have joined forces to expand the capacity and yield of the produce-production greenhouses on ICC’s HEA campus in El Salvador.

Several attempts have been made over the years to get the best possible yield from twenty greenhouses on the HEA campus. However, because of issues with the construction of the greenhouses, there have been significant challenges in maximizing productivity.

Not long ago, Jesús, our HEA administrator, became acquainted with Merlin who has worked as a foreman on a large farm. Merlin moved close to the local Adventist school so he could put his girls in that school since the family is Christian.

Merlin has been working with Jesús to develop a business plan to enclose one of the greenhouses with netting — much like a glove — to grow peppers. They also decided to use an additional greenhouse space to grow cucumbers.

The objective was to pay back the initial investment of $10,000 in one year. This was ambitious!

The two men set to work on implementing the plan. Two of the greenhouses were enclosed with netting. Modifications were made to other greenhouses as to enlarge their capacity to grow cucumbers.

ftp://ftp.forhiskids.org//forhiskids.org/blogmedia/2018AUG/elsal_ag_01_438.jpg

Pepper plants proliferating profusly in one of the upgraded greenhouses on the HEA campus farm.

happy to report that this project is expected to meet projections and the initial funding is on track to be repaid on schedule.

Jesús leads out on the business side of the project. He has found a strong market for the produce in the nearby village. Merlin is using his skills in production. The unique abilities of these two men, along with better utilization of the existing resources, is making a big difference. And most important of all, God is blessing!

Additional investments are being made so Jesús and Merlin can work toward their goal of making all 20 greenhouses productive. This, in turn, will lead to the project being more self-sustaining. What a blessing this will be!

ICAP Secondary School Update

Tuesday, February 21st, 2017

In November, the ICAP secondary school in Guatemala celebrated the graduation of 43 students. Of those who graduated, five were from the ICC Los Pinos children’s village.

A new school year has begun and with it there is a new school director. His name is Carlos Mauricio Ordoñez Batz.

Currently there is an enrollment of 351 students. Forty-three students are enrolled in what would be considered Junior High or Middle School in the US. The largest class is for students studying agriculture. There are 181 students enrolled in that program. The next largest class is auto mechanics which has 50 students enrolled. The remaining students are taking course work in such fields as accounting, computers, biology and education.

For more details about ICAP click on the following link to view a promotional video:

http://www.facebook.com/icapoficial/videos/1514055732159492/

Opportunity! Double Your EXTRA Gift Today!

Thursday, December 22nd, 2016
Special Matching Grant For Las Palmas Fish Industry!

When you support the Las Palmas fish industry with an extra donation, you’ll provide more than a double blessing! First, your donation will be matched dollar for dollar up to $30,000. Second, by helping to develop the fish farm now, you’ll make the campus more and more self-sustaining. You’ll be helping today’s kids AND the next generation of children!

“More Fish = Help for MORE CHILDREN!”

Here’s how your extra gift today will increase the Las Palmas fish industry. By expanding the fish industry to a nearby lake, you will increase the number of fish raised and increase the income to Las Palmas. And it’s all in support of the kids!

This photo shows an example of how the fish farm proposed for Las Palmas would look. Fish are raised in the individual pens. Mature fish are sold to market. A ‘batch’ of fish takes six to nine months to mature. Your donation to this Las Palmas industry will be doubled though a matching grant.

This photo shows an example of how the fish farm proposed for Las Palmas would look. Fish are raised in the individual pens. Mature fish are sold to market. A ‘batch’ of fish takes six to nine months to mature. Your donation to this industry will be doubled though a matching grant.

It’s an incredible, forward-thinking way you can have your extra gift immediately doubled, and you’ll multiply your impact even further by providing income for Las Palmas!

Thank you for supporting the ongoing needs of the children with your regular gifts and for sending an extra gift for the fish industry that will be DOUBLED!

Sarahʼs Story

Friday, June 22nd, 2012

The following is a personal account from Sarah Johnston. Her story was featured by Alcyon Fleck in the July 2012 edition of ICC’s Que Pasa Newsletter.

This is my story about how the Lord has been with me through the years. I was born in 1980 in a Mayan village in Guatemala. There was a civil war going on in Guatemala at that time. I was still a baby when a battle took place in my village in which many people were killed. I was on my mother’s back when a bullet took her life and wounded my feet.

This is all I know about the family I was born into, and the people of my village. In spite of the tragedy God was looking out for me, even though I did not know Him at that time. God sent a nice man who loved children to find me and a little boy. He took us to the military hospital in Guatemala City.

At the hospital they gave me the name “Mercedes Lopez.” The little boy and I did not stay at the hospital for long because the general that found us knew of a lady that loved children and had an orphanage in Guatemala called Los Pinos. The general called Mrs. Fleck and told her to come and see the two children he found. She did come to the military hospital to see us. I was about ten months old and stood in my crib when Mrs. Fleck saw me. The boy’s name was Lazaro, and he was even years old. He had a wound on his head and his hand.

In the limousine on the way to Mrs. Fleck’s home I sat on her lap and Lazaro sat close beside her. Not knowing where I was going I began to scream in terror and clung to Mrs. Fleck’s neck so hard that she could barely breathe. Mrs. Fleck was so nice to me and the boy. She rocked and held me until I went to sleep. In the morning Mrs. Fleck took us to the “Los Pinos” [children’s village] in Guatemala.

Sarah's First Days at Los Pinos

Sarah (in the yellow dress) not long after she came to live at Los Pinos

Juana, one of the ladies that worked at “Los Pinos,” took me to a house where the house mother could handle another little one. I do not know how long I was at “Los Pinos,’ but I do know that God was still looking out for me. Little did I know that God already had a good Christian family for me. This family lived in Vermont on a farm. They had two older children and a little baby boy, but the mother was praying that God would give her a little Indian girl. So when she found a little picture with a story of me in the Adventist Review it touched her heart, and she knew I would fit in the family if it was God’s will.

But it took nine months until they got me, even though they thought I would come at Christmas. It was a good thing I did not come at Christmas because Christine, the mother, had an operation in January and it took her a long time to heal after the operation. When she tried to do so she had a terrible headache which made it impossible for her to stay up or eat sitting erect. After much prayer the Lord urged her to exercise in the snow crawling around crying out for God’s help to be fit for her children and Sarah.

Sarah Lisa was the name they chose after they were told of Mercedes. In God’s time, exactly nine months later, the three year old came and “mommy” was well enough to receive her girl. Roger, the father, had almost traveled to Guatemala to pick me up since they were told to do so by the orphanage, but as it turned out he did not need to since Mrs. Fleck had another girl to bring and brought me up with her. Christine bought a pretty pink and white dress and shoes and mailed it away to Guatemala for me. And then they waited at the Boston airport until the plane I was on arrived. They found me with the pretty dress. I looked like a doll. Christine ran and picked me up. I looked surprised and they were surprised at how small I was.

Sarah After Joining Her New Family

Sarah after she was adopted into her new family

My new family was prepared for crying and a sleepless night as we all slept in a hotel. But I slept and their one and a half year old baby boy slept also. On the long trip home we stopped to get some food, and that is when they found out that I had the biggest appetite a tiny girl could have. I ate until all of the food was gone, and Christine wondered if maybe she gave me too much. Eating was something that I knew how to do. The next day my mom was shocked at how my little tummy got so big. Then she discovered that I had eaten five big pancakes. All night my mom worried that I may be sick, and yet I lived through it. I clung to my mother’s neck as she carried me up into the bedrooms, and I would not let go until she put me into my crib.

My mom was a good mother. She loved me and taught me about Jesus, but sad to say, I wasn’t always a nice little girl or have Jesus in my heart. I used to get so angry at my mom and brother, and I also stole. What made it worse was that I lied to my mom. It made her sad and Jesus, too, but thank God my mom did not give up on me. She did a lot of praying for me, and God answered her prayers. I asked Jesus into my heart when I was sixteen and was baptized.

I used to wonder why God spared my life and not my mom’s, but now I know why, because He wanted to use me to tell others of Him. I really do like children and they like me. My mom did some babysitting, and I helped her with the children. When I was twenty-eight, I helped take care of three foster children. I enjoyed it a lot. I sang Jesus songs with them and read stories to them. They enjoyed it, too. I become an aunt when I was seven and a half year old. I do not mind being an aunt, because I love my nieces and nephews. The only thing is that they all grew big and tall and I stayed short. But that’s OK.

I left home when I was twenty-nine and went to work up at Laurelbrook Academy. I worked at the nursing home doing different things. I also worked in the garden with some of the students. I also worked at the day care. I enjoyed doing that. I also helped out in Sabbath School with the little children.

Sarah Today

Sarah as she is today

Now I am thirty-one and married, and I know God will still use me as long as I am willing to be used. It does not make any difference how big or small or how old you are or what your background is or was. He can and wants to use you to help others to be ready when Jesus comes. May my story be an encouragement that God does work things out in our lives for His good. One of my favorite Bible verses is “All things work out together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28

May God bless you,
Sarah Johnston

Agriculture—Reaping the Benefits

Wednesday, July 13th, 2011

The agriculture programs at ICC’s children’s villages are busy with activity this summer. One such program is at the Fountain of Life Children’s Village. Recently we received an update about their first harvest of plantains. Felix, the project director, reports that “In one month we’ll be harvesting continuously, and we’ll be able to sell some of the harvest—not in great quantity, but we will no longer be buying and we’ll start getting some income.”

Plantains that are part of the first harvest from our farm at the Fuente de Vida Children's Village in Nicaragua

The First of the First. The first plantains to be harvested at the ICC Nicaragua farm.

Agriculture is such a vital part of our ICC children’s villages. It benefits the children in so many positive ways by providing a balanced diet, practical work experience, and income from the sale of extra produce. However, there are subtle benefits as well.

This child from the Fuente de Vida Children's Village in Nicaragua helps to harvest a bunch of plantains almost as big as he is!

This child from the Fuente de Vida Children's Village in Nicaragua helps to harvest a bunch of plantains almost as big as he is!

Imagine a young child being rescued from life on the streets. He has no concept of the safety and security of a home and family, and begging food may be how he survives. Now, place that same child in an ICC village and give him love, security and nutritious meals.

Take him to the garden and patiently teach him about the ways of plants. Let him prepare the soil for planting, sow seeds, and wait expectantly for sunshine and rain. Watch him search day-by-day for the first tiny leaf to poke through the soil. Help him care for the tender plant and harvest the first fruits of diligent labor.

Then teach him about his Heavenly Father who loves and cares for him and who has a plan for him to grow and develop and bear fruit. With such therapy, an orphan child cannot help but gain a positive sense of belonging. And when that occurs, the orphan is no longer really an orphan and can grow to his or her full potential just like a well cared for plant in the garden.

You can see from these pictures that the plantain crop is well cared for in Nicaragua. The children have much for which to be thankful, and because you care, we are able to care. Your investment in the children’s programs of ICC enables agriculture programs like the one in Nicaragua to flourish.

On behalf of the children, thank-you for your continued support,

Kent Greve
International Development Director ICC

Violent Storm Damages Las Palmas Crops

Tuesday, June 7th, 2011

We’ve received some disturbing news from Mario Lora, ICC’s business and farm manager at the Las Palmas Campus in the Dominican Republic. On Friday, May 27 an isolated and violent storm swept through the Las Palmas campus and caused extensive damage to the farm crops which had been growing in such abundance.

Weather forecasts had not predicted the storm, and it hit the campus unexpectedly and with terrific force. According to Mario, “Its radius of action was practically in our locality and towards the mountains. In fact, the nearby city of Bonao had no damage.

“We understand that it affected an area of about 10 square kilometers with us in the center. We haven’t heard anything about it on the news, and everyone who comes here is surprised when they see the destruction.

“In fact, one of the engineers in charge of the greenhouse project, when he came here was stunned because he didn’t know this had happened, and he was investigating a lot to see what happened. It was quick, only lasting about 20 to 25 minutes as a strong storm, and then the rain lasted for a long time afterward. There was no warning to prepare.”

Plantain trees from the Las Palmas farm destroyed by a focused storm.

Some of the destroyed plantain trees from the Las Palmas farm

About 2/3 of the plantain crop was damaged by the heavy winds and rain that accompanied the storm. Many of the trees were laden with plantains and according to Mario, “With a few exceptions, all trees that had stalks (bunches) of plantains fell to the ground. The stalks varied a lot, from ones that were just flowering to those that were ready to harvest.

Of the trees that didn’t have stalks, only a few fell to the ground, but a very small percentage. We think that about 2,500 plantain trees fell over. Each stalk has about 30 to 40 plantains, which at the current market price are worth between 5 and 7 pesos, so each stalk is worth about 150 pesos [$4.05]. When we multiply that by 2,500 trees, it comes out to a loss of about 375,000 pesos [$10,135]. Also, we were left with about 1,250 trees which will start flowering in the next three months.”

The loss of the trees means more than the loss of the crop. A tree can produce several crops, plus they produce other “children” – small trees that grow up to the next generation. Mario, the staff and children at Las Palmas have quickly started the process of rehabilitating trees that can be salvaged and planting new trees.

Mario states that, “when we plant a new crop it takes about 8 or 9 months to start producing.” One piece of good news is that the project already has enough seeds to do the replanting and together with rehabilitating the damaged trees, the project should be able to expand the crop. This will have to wait until the rains allow the workers to prepare the land.

Plantains are a staple crop at the children’s village. This loss will certainly impact the project. Mario continues. “Of the production that we had projected, we consume almost the entire crop. What was happening at this moment was that as the plantains would get ripe we would cut them for use in the homes. They were not all ready to cut at the same time. In fact, many times we have had to cut them before they were really ready because of the needs in the homes.”

One of the other important crops at Las Palmas is Yucca. Mario estimated that perhaps 30% to 40% was affected. Since Yucca are tubers, it’s difficult to say at this time what the effect of the storm may be. However, there was significant damage to the plants themselves and the tubers may rot or not develop normally.

Garden vegetables were also hit hard, and according to Mario, “everything we had was ruined.” The house father and children of house 4 on the Las Palmas campus had put forth dedicated effort to supply the homes with vegetables. Mario estimates that this was valued at the equivalent of $135 per week so over the next 8 weeks as they wait for new crops to mature, they’ll need to spend about $1,080 to replace what was lost.

Two hatchlings sleep in their nest after the storm.

Two hatchlings sleep in their nest after the storm

There are some bright spots in all this discouraging news. All the children and staff escaped unharmed. Praise God for that! Also, the sweet potato, corn and pineapple crops were not damaged. As well, there is something telling about how Mario describes the attitude of the staff and children on campus. “What has impressed me the most in all this,” he states, “is the good spirit that exists among the employees and the kids. We can see complete unity in order to reestablish, with God’s help and our efforts, what has been damaged. We have courage to continue on as long as the Lord gives us the strength.”

We’re pleased to report that when the Versacare Foundation heard about this tragedy, they immediately provided a donation of $10,000 to help with this food emergency. What a blessing this is! Additional funds are needed, and if you would like to help, please mark your donation “Las Palmas Farm and Food Fund.” It will directly assist with this need.

Thank you for your generous support.

Kent Greve
Director International Development ICC