Posts Tagged ‘Orphan’

Your Gifts Saved Jacob’s Life

Tuesday, December 3rd, 2019

A matching grant doubles your extra gift till December 31.

Dear Friend of the Children,

This is Jacob. You saved his life.

This is Jacob. You saved his life.

God continues to bless “His Kids” through your kind and generous support.

Before I share Jacob’s story and a holiday update, I’m excited to tell you that some of our dedicated family members have offered a special matching challenge.

From now until December 31, your gift can be doubled to provide even more of a blessing for the children. Please take advantage of this opportunity, and thank you for all you continue to do for the children. YOU are truly a blessing!

This challenge is also to give a little extra — a bit more than you would otherwise give. Please mark this extra gift as “Matching Challenge.” Thank you so much!

I can’t overemphasize or even dramatize the impact you have on the children. When I visit the ICC children’s villages, I see first-hand the transformations that are taking place in the lives of the children. Your support makes these transformations possible.

Smiles on little faces that were once cloudy with fear and suspicion.

Confidence to interact appropriately with others rather than hide in the shadows.

Of course, there’s more than just emotional transformations. Physical transformations are taking place as the children grow healthy and strong from good nutrition, exercise, and medical care.

There are mental transformations, too, as our campus schools provide stimulating learning experiences for the children.

Thank you for supporting the life-transforming ministry on behalf of ICC children.

Thank you for supporting the life-transforming ministry on behalf of ICC children.

Yet the best of all transformations take place when an ICC child is “born again.” I recently received word that two of our teenage girls in Romania made a public demonstration of their commitment to God by being baptized.

This thrills my heart! They were little children when they came to us. And through the years, your support enabled us to provide the nurturing care they needed. And now that they are old enough, they are also wise enough to decide to follow Jesus as their Savior.

This Christmas I praise God for the decision of these girls and others within our ICC family who have been baptized and are waiting and watching for the coming of Jesus — just as wise men of long ago did!

Your support enabled us to grow the Las Palmas herd to over 100 cows!

Your support enabled us to grow the Las Palmas herd to over 100 cows!

This year, your support has enabled us to expand efforts to develop and strengthen sustaining industries. I’m pleased to let you know that “Milky’s Challenge” has been a success. This campaign was developed to help raise funds for the Las Palmas Dairy. Through the support of many, the dairy herd has grown to over 100 head of cows!

We’ve been contacted by the Rica Group, a large food company in the Dominican Republic. They process milk among other products. Not only will they purchase Las Palmas milk, but they will also help our dairy industry enabling you to provide even more support for the children. We see God’s potential leading in this endeavor!

The pepper farm project at the El Oasis Children’s Village continues to gain momentum as it provides funds to help operate the El Oasis project for children

The pepper farm project at the El Oasis Children’s Village continues to gain momentum as it provides funds to help operate the El Oasis project for children

In Mexico, we are completing the harvest of Jalapeño peppers. This has been another excellent year for this crop. The production remained strong even though the market price was lower than anticipated.

At the end of the season, for the second year in a row, we saw God intervene when a killing frost crept over the valley where the El Oasis campus is located. All the other farmers in the valley except our close neighbor lost their crop, but God saved ours so we could harvest more peppers.

The growth and potential of this industry can be seen in the fact that for the first time, an ICC project was able to send support to another project! Additional agri-businesses are being explored at other ICC projects. Thank you for the support you give that enables us to help these projects become more self-sustaining.

Your support of ICC children in the past has enabled them to “pay your support forward” and bless their younger “siblings.” Many of our ICC children return as adults to the same children’s village in which they grew up. They help to share in the care of the children.

Of particular note are two of our former children who for the past couple of years have served as business manager and director of children’s services for the Sweet Home Children’s Village in India.

Because our director there had a medical emergency that required treatment in the US, Udai, our business manager, was asked to take on the management role in the director’s absence.

Both Udai and Nirmala have taken their work very seriously and have done an excellent job of managing the operations of the children’s village. It’s wonderful to see dedicated young people giving back in gratitude for what they were given!

Your support enables ICC children to learn in an environment appropriate for their ability and needs.

Your support enables ICC children to learn in an environment appropriate for their ability and needs.

My parents, Ken and Alcyon Fleck, had no way of imagining how the work of ICC would grow and develop through the years.

Back in the late ’70s, they set out to help a few orphan children in Guatemala. Over the past four decades, the number of children who call or who have called

ICC home and family have grown to well over 4,000! That’s a big family of children, many of whom are now raising families of their own!

In October I had the privilege of attending the 40-year anniversary celebration of the opening of the Los Pinos Children’s Village in Guatemala.

It was thrilling to spend several days of celebrations at Los Pinos. There were many of our kids, who are independent now, who came with their families. Also, there were former parents, teachers, and administration. What a joy to listen to the stories of how God has led through the years.

Manuel (right) and his family attended the 40th anniversary celebration at the Los Pinos Children’s Village. His life story was depicted in a video created by the current staff and children.

Manuel (right) and his family attended the 40th-anniversary celebration at the Los Pinos Children’s Village. His life story was depicted in a video created by the current staff and children.

The kids and staff put together a video reenacting the story of Manuel, one of the first-generation kids, who is now a pastor and was there with his family.

We were all so moved to tears by his story and how God brought him to Los Pinos after his parents were killed by rebel soldiers; how he grew to know Jesus and studied to become a pastor.

Manual, with tears, got up and said this was the best video he had ever seen. He brought all the “actors” to the platform and personally thanked them for doing the video.

Afterwards, as we stood around and talked about this with Manuel and others, Sharon commented, with emotion choking her voice, “That story was so real that we saw today, and it was the reality that started ICC 40 years ago — a reality that so many of these kids went through who are adults today. Now, the situation in Guatemala is different — not the civil war that existed back then, but the poverty and sinfulness that still causes so much suffering with the children.”

But then she paused and said, “Now we are seeing that same reality being faced and lived out in the lives of many little children today in other countries such as in Congo where we recently took in 59 little children five years old and under! Those precious little ones just recently experienced this same reality of war and unimaginable violence at such a young and vulnerable age. God help us to find the means to help them!”

Yes, this year we saw the ICC family of children grow by 59 in an instant. We were challenged by the urgent call from the D.R. Congo that these newly-orphaned children needed our immediate intervention.

We counted on your support to provide for the children and stepped out in faith believing that God would move upon the hearts of our ICC family members to include these children, too, at the “ICC family table.” And yes, you came through with the support that was needed to provide for the initial care of the children. On behalf of these children, thank you very much!

“As you have done it unto one of the least of these, you have done it unto Me.” Matthew 25:40

“As you have done it unto one of the least of these, you have done it unto Me.” Matthew 25:40

We’ve been challenged with creating the profiles of the children whose identities and background information are difficult to track since their parents were massacred and the children are so very young.

But I have good news! We are now finally able to assign sponsors to at least some of these new children! This will mean so much to them and aid in their transformations. Would You like to sponsor one of these special little kids?

Speaking yet again of transformations, I want to include the following incident in this letter.

Many of you know our ICC sponsorship supervisor, Alanna Jones. She recently shared the following account of what happened to her when she received the picture of Jacob, who had arrived at the Congo Patmos Children’s Village in 2017.

You must realize that Alanna has served the children of ICC for 11 years. During that time, she has seen many of the pictures of the new children who arrive at “ICC’s front door.” But Jacob’s picture touched her deeply. Here’s how she described it:

Jacob arrived at the Patmos Children’s Village in 2017. He was very close to death. Your gifts saved and transformed his life.

Jacob arrived at the Patmos Children’s Village in 2017. He was very close to death. Your gifts saved and transformed his life.

“I felt my heart clutch when I saw Jacob’s picture. He appeared to me to be very near death, and he was so skinny.

His little legs looked like bones with a thin layer of skin pulled tight. He looked like he would not be able to even lift his head a little bit. And the blank look in his eyes was haunting — frightening.

“I have a 2-year-old grandson, and I started to imagine how horrible it would be if he were suddenly on his own with no way to eat or care for himself. I had to stop myself from these thoughts because it was terrifying.

Jacob was someone’s baby at one point. How would they feel if they knew how badly he was doing? Their precious tiny boy. I did not assign any sponsors to him because I was afraid that he was not going to make it. I didn’t want a sponsor to know that kind of heartache if he did pass.

Jacob’s transformation is a testament to what you can do by providing nurturing care and love through your gifts.

Jacob’s transformation is a testament to what you can do by providing nurturing care and love through your gifts.

“When the latest set of pictures arrived on my desk recently, I saw his name on the label on the back of his picture before I saw his face. I think I may have cheered out loud. I know I did in my head. OH! YAY! Jacob!

“He looks so healthy now. He has put on some weight, has cute round cheeks and a darling smile. I was so excited and impressed by his improvement that I printed his first picture and the newest picture and kept them on my desk for a few weeks. I just kept looking at them trying to believe it was actually the same sweet boy.

“I always feel very honored to be able to work at ICC, to have the privilege of seeing the children and reading their stories of how they came to be in our care and to be a small part of helping them get the support they need. I especially felt this honor and happiness when Jacob’s new picture arrived.

“Sponsors get to know a few children — but I get to see all of them. That to me is a privilege. I am thankful that Alcyon responded to the call so many years ago and that ICC is still operating and saving children’s lives.”

You make transformations like this possible! And now, through the end of the year, your EXTRA gift of love and support can be doubled — literally transformed — to be twice the blessing for children like Jacob.

That’s right! Because there are children like Jacob who desperately need the nurturing care that ICC provides, some of our faithful supporters have stepped forward to challenge you to match their gifts. You can now double any special EXTRA donation you give until December 31 or until a total amount of $100,000 is reached. Please mark your gift, “Matching Challenge.”

The reality is that this Christmas we depend upon the generosity of ICC family members to change the reality for all these children. Close to a quarter of the funds needed to support ICC’s mission for children is given in December. If that doesn’t happen, how will we provide a place of healing and transformation for children like Jacob? And there are so many more children who need the nurturing care in which ICC specializes. At this time of year, budgets are stretched taking care of children who have already found their place within the ICC family.

So, wherever the need is greatest, your gift brings help — and hope!

The world has little use for orphan children. After all, what can they contribute? I believe there is a real counterpoint that can be said for the mission of ICC. Once an orphan child receives the nurturing care needed, he or she has such great capacity to contribute and to pay forward the support given. That transformation is what makes this ministry worthwhile!

And YOUR support tells the children…

“I care for you. I believe in you. I want to help you!”

Please — Use This Link — to make your gift today.

On behalf of ICC’s worldwide family of children, caregivers and support staff, thank-you for the blessing you are this Christmas!

In His Service,

 

 

Rick Fleck
President

P.S. To take advantage of year-end-tax benefits, please respond by December 31. And to take part in the matching challenge, please respond as quickly as possible! Thank you!

Questions Of Importance & A Quiz

Tuesday, November 19th, 2019

1. What year was ICC incorporated?

a. 1976
b. 1978
c. 1981

2. How many children have you helped through your support since ICC began?

a. 4,112
b. 5,217
c. 3,921

3. What is the average cost of one meal for one child living in one of the children’s villages?

a. $1.13
b. $0.71
c. $2.11

4. What percentage of the yearly financial needs for the children are given during the month of December?

a. 17%
b. 33%
c. 23%

Answers to the Quiz:

Question 1 = B
Question 2 = A
Question 3 = B
Question 4 = C

Questions Of Importance

A photo of Doug Congleton with several of the children from the Las Palmas Children’s Village in the Dominican Republic

Doug Congleton with ICC kids

I hope you enjoyed learning more about the children of ICC by taking a few moments and going through the “ICC Informational Quiz” above.

It’s always fun and rewarding to learn more about the lives of the children and what is all involved in their various programs.

I hope that one of the questions of importance that stood out to you in the informational quiz was the fact that December is such an important month for the children as far as yearly funding is concerned.

There is no other month that means more to the children than December does, this month actually decides if we even have children’s villages in the coming year.

Yes, it is important for the children. When you think about 23% of the total year’s donations coming in the month of December, it is vitally important!

Isn’t it ironic that we always celebrate the birth of Jesus at this time of year, and now it is also the same time of year that decides how His Kids lives will be saved and changed as well? Just think about that.

I am asking you to prayerfully consider your year-end giving plan this next month to include a very special gift for His kids.

This has been a difficult year financially for all of the projects. We are doing everything we can to try to shore up the financial pillars of each project.

This year we have given lots of effort and time into developing industries at the children’s villages in order to help them financially contribute by offsetting some of their ever-increasing budgets.

This is starting to help, but we just started these efforts, and we are far from making the difference we hope to make in the future.

These efforts take money to initiate, and as always, we work very hard to be good stewards of what comes in for the children. This is why you see an occasional special request letter asking to help support a specific industry in a children’s village.

We always want to make sure that we spend every dollar wisely for its intended purpose.

I also want to thank each one of you for your continued, faithful support on behalf of the children. Your love and support are what keeps the doors open, food on the table, and most importantly, hope for today and a heavenly home for the futures of His kids.

God bless you for everything that you continue to do for the children. I am so excited for the day when they can walk up to you in our heavenly home and thank you personally for what you have done for them each day while we are on this earth. That will be such a special moment for me, and an amazing and rewarding moment for you!

In Service for His kids,

Doug Congleton's Signature

 

 

 

Doug Congleton

Because Of You 3 Kids Have New Families

Tuesday, November 12th, 2019

These kids are thankful you gave them their new family

Thanksgiving offers us a season to reflect and be truly grateful for the way God has touched and blessed our lives.

For orphan children like Raji, Marissa, and Henri they are truly grateful for the blessings you bring to them all year long!

This is Raji

This is Raji

Raji has been through a lot in his young life. In order to provide for his family, Raji’s father went to a distant state in India for a welding job. He had to leave behind his wife, Raji and his younger brother.

But the job was a good one and it offered good wages. Raji’s father was only able to visit home once or twice a year and this wasn’t enough to keep the home fires of love burning brightly.

Raji’s mother developed a relationship with another man. When Raji’s father returned home the next time, his wife refused to live with him. She no longer wanted him nor Raji or his brother.

The breakup of this home was devastating. The mother didn’t want Raji, and the father was more like a stranger than a father. He couldn’t keep his job and keep the boys. As is often the case, the broken life of a child is the sad result of a broken marriage.

Raji’s father begged us to accept the boys into our care. And knowing of the compassionate heart that you and other ICC family members have for children like Raji, who need the nurturing care of a loving Christian family, our administrator welcomed Raji and his little brother into the ICC family.

This is Marissa

This is Marissa

Marissa, along with her siblings, was found wandering the streets of a city in Guatemala. As a result of a court order, they became a part of the ICC family at Los Pinos.
Efforts were made to locate family members. When the authorities found out the mother was not working in a reputable occupation and was not providing any care for

Marissa and her siblings were taken into care by the government.

These children were initially sent to one children’s home and then another before finally becoming a part of our ICC family.

Joel Carpio, our Los Pinos director, knew of the emotional and psychological trauma the children had experienced from being moved around. Rather than letting the children be dropped off yet again at another facility, he arranged to pick them up himself and drive them to the Los Pinos Children’s Village.

They had a pleasant trip with him and were excited and full of joy as soon as they arrived. That day was the Father’s Day celebration and they became very involved in the program. That day Marissa and her siblings began to experience first-hand what it means to be a part of a loving family—with a mom and dad.

Imagine coming to the Los Pinos campus when the families were celebrating fathers. Marissa’s own father was not a part of her life. Yet, thanks to ICC family members like you, she can now experience the love of an earthly father. And more importantly, within the ICC family, she will learn of her heavenly father and the home He is preparing for her.

This is Henri

This is Henri

Henri’s mother died as a result of being caught up in the war between rebels and government forces in the D.R. Congo. His father is blind and had no way to protect Henri or provide for him.

Henri’s story is similar to other children who have come to us from this country filled with violence and natural disasters.

War tears children from their mother’s arms. And the children are left with little hope and nothing to live for unless help comes from outside.

And again, thanks to your support, Henri has been given a new life within the ICC family at Patmos Children’s Village. And the pieces of his life are being slowly put back together.

Through the support of ICC family members like you, Raji, Marissa, and Henri have found a place of safety and a place to belong. They are thankful for the blessings you help to provide for them each day.

World Orphan Day Spotlights the Plight of Orphans

November 11 is World Orphan Day. On this day, many people around the world will be paying special attention to the needs of orphans. We are so very grateful that you care about orphans, not just on November 11, but every day of the year!

Your loving and generous support makes it possible for our dedicated family of caregivers to provide all that Raji, Marissa and Henri and others like them need.
These children don’t really care about a day of the year that focuses on their needs. What they need is daily care. That is only possible as you continue to partner with us to love them and provide for them.

As we celebrate this year’s Thanksgiving holiday here in the U.S., we’ll be reminded of the bountiful blessings God has given to us throughout another year — good health (or at least access to quality health care), loving family relationships, opportunities to grow, develop and succeed.

As we reflect upon those blessings God’s given during this Thanksgiving season, please consider giving a special thank you gift to help support children like Raji, Marissa, and Henri who are finding out what it means to be a part of a loving family.

Thank you!

May God bless you with a Happy Thanksgiving!

10 Facts You Didn’t Know About Idjwi Island

Tuesday, November 5th, 2019

By William Hurtado

An aerial map showing Idjwi Island and the surrounding area.“Africans, we are lucky.”Jacques Sebisaho, MD, speaking at a Ted Talk, continues; “We have other creative minds that are focusing their efforts, wealth, and education to make our continent a better world. We are grateful to have them help us.”

Jacques is from one of the remotest places in Africa: Idjwi island on Lake Kivu between the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda. The Patmos Children’s Village is located there and is home to 164 orphans supported by contributors like you.

While neighboring countries have endured wars and violence, Idjwi has remained a peaceful oasis for around 260,000 people. But when Sebisaho returned to Idjwi, he was shattered by what he saw and called “a forgotten place.”

Idjwi Island, the size of Atlanta, GA or Portland, OR has no electricity except through generators and solar panels, and much of the island lacks potable drinking water and paved roads.

As Sebisaho built a hospital on Idjwi to help relieve his people’s medical needs, he realized that helping Africans is more than financial. It is partnering with the right organizations who help natives maximize their own strength and creativity.

In his Ted Talk Sebisaho concluded, “today, I would like to introduce to you the less known creative minds that are also solving Africa’s problems. The women, the pygmies, and children. These are the people I know. While they are grateful for all of the great minds, all of the wealthy and educated people who are focusing on Africa, they are in themselves a powerful solution to their problems.” When their creativity is empowered, there are no limits.

A photo of Munaneza while he was living at the Patmos Children's Village on Idjwi IslandAnd that, ICC ministry partner, is what you do every time you support ICC’s children. Whether it be in Africa, Central America, or a country in between, every dollar you give translates to empowerment for a once-orphaned child. Through your faithful gifts, you give children, like Munyaneza, a new life.

Recently, I connected with Munyaneza Louis from the D.R. Congo. He says, “l’m at Patmos on Idjwi Island now. God is our protector.”

Munyaneza was taken to the Patmos Children’s Village after he lost his parents in an accident.

There he was cared for and given the opportunity to become educated. Even though the old school building at Patmos needed serious updating, the children still received an education that helped Munyaneza eventually become a nurse.

A photo of Munyaneza while he was training to become a nurseThis year Munyaneza finished nurses training and is ready to help people in his country. He is giving back. Through people like you, he is achieving so much! What he recently wrote to me he writes to you. “I’m your child.”

Munyaneza is one of many stories of children growing up into Christ-likeness from the 41 years of faithful giving from donors like you. You make stories like this possible!
You make an eternal difference in the lives of children. The investments of money and time you make are considered “pure and undefiled religion” by our Heavenly Father.

Thank you so much for taking the time to be His hands and feet. It is true — Your gifts save and empower lives!

P.S. Were you able to find 10 interesting facts about Idjwi Island? Try sharing them with a friend! You never know, through your encouragement and their new support, all of us may be hugging more children in Heaven soon.

Unusual Legacy Donation Blesses Children

Tuesday, October 29th, 2019

Editor’s Note: ICC’s ministry is a world-wide ministry that touches the lives of not only orphan children, but many people who have a compassionate heart for “His Kids!”

A photo of Richard Van der Pols, director of IKN (ICC Netherlands)The following is a report from Richard Van der Pols, ICC Netherlands director. He shares a recent experience of how God blessed the children of ICC through an unusual manner.


I recently received a call from a man who lives in Utrecht. He wanted to make a donation. But first, he wanted to talk to me in person, so he got on the train to Leeuwarden and we met at the ICC Netherlands office.

Piet (not his real name) told me that his uncle died and that he had received a legacy from him. He never had a real relationship with his uncle, so for Piet it felt a bit weird to have this money.

That is why he started a search. During the search, he found out that his uncle was a donor of ICC Netherlands.

Piet told me that he did not want to use the legacy for himself. He wanted to give it to ICC Netherlands. And he also does not want his name to be used with the money. It is an anonymous gift.

I promised him that we would treat the gift as he wishes. The total amount will be around € 49.000 (about $54,000).

Isn’t this amazing? I thanked Piet with tears in my eyes and told him that his legacy will give us the opportunity to support a lot of children. His gift is very generous. It’s not every day that you meet a person like Piet.


Note: Many ICC family members generously include ICC in their estate planning.

We are happy to provide information to you free of charge that may help you be a further blessing to “His Kids.” Call Doug Congleton at 800-422-7729 for more details.

Urgent Equipment Needs @ Los Pinos

Tuesday, October 22nd, 2019

Guatemala Needs Your Help

An illustration of an elderly, ill, stone-age computer being evaluated by a computer “doctor.”Remember the last time your old, slow, but still somewhat trusty-ish computer suddenly wheezed its last, went blue in the screen, and simply gave up?

Leaving you having to acquire (before you were really ready) a current, functioning computer?

It’s during events such as these that we’re abruptly reminded (and probably not for the first time) how important it is to have up-to-date techology to sucessfully function in today’s world.

Like you, the staff at our Los Pinos Children’s Village in Guatemala also need and benefit from computers and tech equipment that is up-to-date and functions properly.

Los Pinos needs to replace three computers. The current computers are old, outdated, and do not function properly. New computers will help the project secretary, the accountant, and the school manage information about the children for the Secretary of Education.

Two video projectors are needed as well to replace one projector for the school and another projector used by the Los Pinos on-campus social worker and psychologist.

Please make a gift today to help purchase one or more of these much-needed and necessary technolgy items for your family at Los Pinos.

Thank you!

2 Computers — $878 Each For the Los Pinos office staff

1 Laptop — $649 For the children’s
 school records

2 Video Projectors — $621 Each For our school and on-campus social workers

School is in Session on El Oasis Campus

Tuesday, October 15th, 2019

Much of the recent news we’ve shared about ICC’s El Oasis project in Mexico has centered on the growth of the Jalapeño pepper project. God continues to bless, and the little seeds have sprung up into a successful crop that is still being harvested.

While the pepper project is one way that God has blessed us in helping to provide for the children, agriculture is not ICC’s primary focus. It’s the children! They are like growing plants that have such potential to be a part of the harvest that Jesus will take with Him to Heaven. And one way that the children grow best, is to have them experience quality education.

School has recently started for ICC children at El Oasis, and we’re excited to report that the children are attending their classes at the school on campus.

A photo of the school facility on the El Oasis campus in Mexico

Even though a school facility has been provided on campus through the generosity of the Malcolm Smith Foundation, it just hasn’t been feasible for ICC to operate the school. It has been very difficult to obtain the necessary approvals from the government.

However, ICC’s model of care is best realized, and the children flourish best in a school program that accommodates for their special needs. A campus school provides a safe and nurturing environment for the children.

With that in mind, the El Oasis administrative team has been trying to find a way to make this possible. And this year, through God’s blessing, we can operate a type of home school program on campus. Students in the lower grades are enrolled in a school some distance away and students in the upper grades are enrolled in a different school. Under the supervision of El Oasis staff, the children will take their class work on campus and will only have to travel to the school in which they are enrolled to take standardized tests.

This is a huge blessing for the children!

In time we hope to be able to grow the program further so that we can operate the school on campus for the benefit of the children.

Please pray that God will bless the children this school year as they daily engage in their studies on campus. Thank you!

Severe Drought Ends Just in Time!

Tuesday, October 8th, 2019

Showers of Blessings at Las Palmas by Rick Fleck

“If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14

Water flows from a stand pipe at Las Palmas as the drought came to an end

Sharon and I recently visited the Las Palmas Children’s Village in the Dominican Republic. They had been enduring a serous drought over the past several months. Yet through the difficulties this has created, God has yet again shown his mercy in caring for “His Kids” and even the cows.

The drought has been so severe that many of the elderly in the community can’t recall a time when it has been so bad. Even though this country lies in the tropics, there has been little rain. Water levels in rivers and reservoirs have dropped so low that the government has had to implement water rationing. People have been able to drive on the dry bed of one reservoir.

The staff at Las Palmas have been increasingly alarmed as water levels in the stream which provides our main source of water went lower and lower. The water is needed to help replenish the fish farm ponds and furnish irrigation for the gardens and water for the cows at the Las Palmas dairy. They were still able to purchase bottled water for drinking, but there was little to no water on some days in the homes for bathing, washing clothes and cleaning.

On Friday, September 6, the water was so low that the dairy manager came to me and said, “There is literally not a drop of water for the cows!” We acted quickly to rent a small pump to get some water from a very small creek or a fish pond to fill the water troughs of the cattle — we have about 80 head, including calves.

As the Las Palmas family gathered for evening worship at the chapel that night, there were fervent prayers for rain, for water, for relief from the drought. That evening, I listened as they emphasized reading and depending on the Word of God. Family members shared texts of encouragement like the one above in 2 Chronicles 7:14. Would God heal their land? Would He provide water for crops and the herd?

And then it happened! Seemingly from out of nowhere and quite unexpected, it started to rain!

The rain lasted for a short time, but it was a foretaste of what was to come. The next day it rained more heavily and the next day still even more heavily. The recent rain has been enough to lift the drought!

You can imagine the impact this has had on the expectant and praying ICC family members at Las Palmas. On the day the water ran out, God sent the rain. This is yet another visible example of God’s loving care!

You are also a significant channel through which God takes care of “His Kids!” Thank you for the showers of blessing you provide for the children through your prayers and financial support.

Picking More Than A Peck Of Peppers

Tuesday, September 24th, 2019

Update from the El Oasis jalapeño farm

Thanks to the generous support of ICC family members we exceeded the matching grant offer to expand the Jalapeño crop at the El Oasis Children’s Village in Mexico. This has provided over $100,000 of capital for this important Agribusiness.

We are excited to announce that the harvest of Jalapeño peppers has begun. Not only has your support enabled us to triple the size of the field under cultivation this year, we’re also seeking to increase profitability by separating the peppers into various sizes and categories.

Better quality peppers can be sold for a higher price. To help with this, we’ve been able to borrow a conveyor belt which you can see in the picture below and in this video.

If all goes as planned, there will be several pickings during harvest season. One picking takes several days to complete.

The first picking should yield between 65–75 tons of peppers. With God’s blessing and good weather, the yield this season could be up to 1,000 tons! That’s a lot of peppers — and a huge means of support for the El Oasis project.

Please join with us in praying for this pepper project. And thank you for your ongoing support in helping us develop sustaining industries which will bless the children for years to come!

The Impact Of Your Support

Tuesday, September 17th, 2019

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

} By Makala James

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Did you always stay in the same family?

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

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

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

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

How does having an advanced education impact your life?

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

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

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

Share a bit about when you felt called to ministry?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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