Posts Tagged ‘Village’

A Lot Is Happening At Patmos

Tuesday, February 4th, 2020

A Report Of Recent Events From Rick Fleck

Dear ICC Family,

Your outpouring of love and support for the ICC children in the D.R. Congo is amazing, and the results are fantastic. Sharon and I were able to see this first-hand over New Year during our recent visit to the Patmos Children’s Village on Idjwi Island.

Over the next few issues, I plan to share experiences and pictures that demonstrate that what you are doing for the children has a life-changing impact.

We arrived in Kigali, Rwanda safely — but sadly, our luggage didn’t travel all the way with us. This delayed us a bit in continuing our journey to Idjwi Island.

We are so thankful that there is an additional immigration office, which allowed us to travel to the little town of Kibuye, Rwanda, which is on the shores of Lake Kivu.

A photo showing the view of a small part of Idjwi Island on Lake Kivu, where the Patmos Children’s Village is located, as seen from ICC’s boat.

The view of a small part of Idjwi Island on Lake Kivu, where the Patmos Children’s Village is located, as seen from ICC’s boat.

From there we took our ICC “speed boat” across the lake. Well, that was the plan — to take a quick trip of about 35 minutes to the island. However, when we were far from either shore, the boat stalled and quit.

Lake Kivu is notorious for being dangerous. Storms often sweep across the waters and there are many boats that capsize. A few years ago, one of our ICC boys, Samuel, drowned in the lake when the boat he was riding in capsized during a storm.

This boat is one that we sent in a container to Congo many years ago. Congolese soldiers had confiscated it for their use for a while during skirmishes with rebels. The added wear and age of the boat creates challenges.

Désiré, our director, said we shouldn’t worry because the boat captain was “a very good mechanic!” The captain started taking things apart and putting them back together. The motor worked for about 30 seconds and quit again.

I wasn’t worried. I feel that, as missionaries, our lives are in God’s hands and we can depend upon Him in all circumstances.

More time went by. Still, the motor didn’t work. At that point, I received a notification on my mobile phone. It was my “verse-a-day” Bible text. It wasn’t normally scheduled to send a notification at that time, but there it was. John 16:33

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world,” John 16:33.

This seemed awesomely appropriate! We were safe in God’s hands right here, at the start of our trip, even though we were having trouble. We knew we could rely on God’s care.

The boat captain started removing the spark plugs and gave an indication that this was the problem.

I remembered that I had brought with me a Leatherman multi-tool that I had received as a Christmas gift. I took it out and handed it to the boat captain. He smiled, took out the file tool and started working on a spark plug. Soon he reinserted the spark plug, cranked the motor, and we were on our way again.

I loved this text, and later I shared it with the children during a worship service. Every child there experienced so much trouble and trauma in their lives. I encouraged them that they have a Heavenly Father who is looking after them. They can trust Him!

We were met on the shore by the smiles and singing of our ICC children. They wore paper hats that they had made. On the hats was written the word, “Welcome.”

I wish you could have been with us! You, too, would have received a warm and heartfelt welcome. The children truly do appreciate the opportunity to experience the love and belonging that you have helped to provide.

On Désiré’s agenda for the day, it said there would be a wedding. I wondered a bit that there was not anything else on the agenda for that day. I found out why as the day unfolded!

The wedding started at 10:30 in the morning and when I looked at my watch as we were heading to our guest room at the end of the day, it said, 5:30 p.m. What an eventful day, and what a blessing to be able to attend and participate in three marriage ceremonies for four of our children! Two of our children were marrying each other!

A photo of the brides and grooms who were married as part of a triple wedding at the Patmos Children’s Village in the D.R. Congo.

The brides and grooms who were married as part of a triple wedding at the Patmos Children’s Village in the D.R. Congo.

The ceremony began when the grooms entered and stood with the pastor at the front. Then the procession started with the attendants marching in a rhythmic dance, moving forward and then retreating before continuing down the aisle. It was beautiful.

Then the brides appeared and walked down the aisle with their escorts. The grooms came down, one by one to meet each bride, and then they sat across from one another until it was their turn to approach the minister who conducted their unique ceremony.

A photo of one of the couples taking part in the triple wedding as they receive a blessing from the presiding pastor.

One of the couples taking part in the triple wedding as they receive a blessing from the presiding pastor.

When the weddings were over, we all went to the school and spent the remainder of the day celebrating the marriages of these young people.As you might expect, there was food in abundance at the reception along with singing and people sharing personal thoughts and wishes for the couples.

When it was time for gift-giving, two attendants joined each couple and they held a large cloth between themselves like a hammock. People came forward and placed gifts inside the cloth.

For those gifts that wouldn’t fit, like goats for the couples, they were brought forward on a leash. In the case where a cow was given, a piece of rope that would lead a cow was given as a token of the gift.

A photo of the newly-married couples as they enter the post-wedding festivities at the Patmos Children’s Village in the D.R. Congo

The newly-married couples as they enter the post-wedding festivities at the Patmos Children’s Village in the D.R. Congo

Désiré announced that ICC and sponsors who had supported the children had also given gifts for the couples. These were not obvious but included the reception meal as well as special items, such as furniture, for their homes.

How fitting that on our first day, we were able to attend a culminating event in the lives of our kids. The “finishing touch” completed, they were now embarking in lives independent from our care.

What a blessing you have been to them as you have helped them to reach this important milestone.

Through your support, they have received the love and nurturing care of a family. And now, they are pledging themselves to their spouses and are starting homes of their own. From an orphan child all alone to a dearly beloved spouse. On their behalf, I want to say thank you for helping to make this miracle of transformation possible!

As I reflect on this special occasion in the lives of not only the happy couples but all our ICC family in Congo, I am very pleased with the success God is providing for this project and the children.

Many are becoming successfully independent. This is so different from what may be expected in the general population of young people in Congo. This is especially true for our girls. They have an education, or a trade, or a skill that they can use to help provide for themselves and their families when they are established.

This experience gives me the courage to continue our mission for the children in Congo! And we cannot continue this mission without your ongoing care and commitment and generosity.

Several new children arrived literally at our doorstep during our visit. I will be sharing their stories with you next month, but in the meantime, won’t you please consider giving a special gift this month to help this mission for children?

Thanks so very much for what you do for “His kids!”

In His Service,

 

 

 

Rick Fleck
President

10 Days of Prayer for Orphans

Tuesday, January 14th, 2020

Keep the prayers ascending for “His Kids” January 19-28, immediately following the world church’s 10-Days of Prayer.

Please join in a special 10 Days of Prayer for Orphans in our ICC Children’s Villages. This event will take place January 19–28, and follows the world-wide week of prayer sponsored by the SDA Church.

There will be a different prayer focus on each of the 10 days. The following are suggested prayer topics…

 


1• Sab, Jan 19 —

Pray for the healing of the “Holes in the Hearts” of orphaned and abandoned children.

When a new child comes to live at an ICC children’s village, he or she is immediately placed in a loving family. Yet, emotional healing does not take place overnight. The pain of being neglected, abused, or orphaned leaves a big hole in the heart of a child. It takes a while for a hurting child to be happy and to feel loved.

Pray for children that are still healing. Pray that they can accept the change that is taking place in their lives and that they will trust the love that is freely given to them.

2 • Sun, Jan 20 —

Pray for the education of ICC’s young school children.

Every child at an ICC children’s village is provided education. Yet, outside of ICC, education is not a guarantee for many children around the world. Those who have been orphaned or abused are even more disadvantaged.

It’s not uncommon for children to arrive at ICC with no prior formal education, or to be delayed in learning because of trauma. Pray that children may overcome these disadvantages, so that they may do well in school. Pray that they may catch up to the grade level for their age and that they will be blessed by their Christian education.

3 • Mon, Jan 21 —

Pray for the education of ICC’s grown children.

As children grow, they must prepare for life outside of the Children’s Village. Thanks to the care of donors, like you, higher education and technical training are possible. It is this “finishing touch” that helps these young people to thrive on their own in the world. Yet, it can be difficult for them to decide on the best way to be independent.

Pray for the young people as they make important decisions about their education and future. Pray for them to do well in school. Pray that they follow God’s guidance and that they become productive and thriving members of the community.

4 • Tue, Jan 22 —

Pray for the children’s caregivers.

It is a true mission to be a house parent at an ICC Children’s Village. Children come to ICC from all different situations and walks of life. Also, each child responds to trauma in different ways. Some children respond to pain by acting out, others by suppressing their emotions.

Caretakers have to be capable, adaptable, and available to many different children. They are truly the on-the-ground “hands and feet” of Christ. Pray that they may have wisdom. Pray that they find comfort and support in this critical mission work.

5 • Wed, Jan 23 —

Pray for the safekeeping of the ICC Children’s Villages.

When we see photos of the smiling faces of our dear children around the world, it’s easy to forget that they live in dangerous parts of the world. Stories of warfare in DR Congo are shocking. Even in Central American countries, the fear of gang violence and political upheaval can threaten the safety of the children.

Praise God for the protection that He daily provides.

Pray that the children may continue to be kept safe from external danger.

6•  Thu, Jan 24 —

Pray for the campus industries.

A thriving industry is an essential way for ICC children to receive the quality, ongoing care they need. The more self-sustaining a project can be, the more consistent the care is for the children.

It’s also an effective way for the generous gifts of donors to be multiplied, giving back to the children. As sustaining industry options are explored and built upon, pray that they may reach their highest potential. Pray that the workers may have wisdom, and pray for a full harvest.

7• Fri, Jan 25 —

Pray that the villages have a positive impact on their communities.
While the main purpose of ICC is to care for orphaned and abandoned children, there is often a secondary mission work to reach out to and positively impact the surrounding communities of a Children’s Village.

Outside of the blessing of adding jobs and income to communities, the Villages also provide opportunities for others to learn about Jesus. Churches have been planted and communities have benefited from the blessings God provides to His children.

Pray that the communities surrounding ICC Children’s Villages come to know and love Christ, and pray that the Children’s Villages may continue to have a positive impact on those around them.

8•  Sab, Jan 26 —

Pray for the administration and staff.

In the words of an old African Proverb, “It takes a village to raise a child.” This is especially true at ICC. Orphaned and abandoned children benefit from the personal love of house parents, in addition to love from the administration and staff who bless the children daily on campus.

The on-campus administration is responsible for making sure that children are cared for properly and that the Villages run smoothly.

Pray that their efforts are blessed to have a deep impact on the children. Pray that the staff and administration know that they, too, are loved and are doing good work.

9•  Sun, Jan 27 —

Pray for the governments to realize the need for facilities like ICC’s.

One of the greatest challenges that the Children’s Villages face is governmental regulations.

Many countries where our villages are located receive funding from North America and other developed countries to help with the care of children. The problem is that this funding often comes with the pressure to stop the use of child-care institutions, such as traditional orphanages.

ICC falls into the category of an institution, but it is not an institution in a traditional sense. Children live with parents in a home and are part of a community where they can receive the specialized care they need.

Pray that governments see the difference between traditional institutionalized care and the very personal approach of ICC. Pray that they will see the need for our villages and that they continue to send children to ICC’s care.

10• Mon, Jan 28 —

Pray for the worldwide ICC family.

ICC is only possible because of the many generous donors, like you, who give from the heart. We recognize that it’s not always easy to give and that it often requires sacrifice.
Praise God for those who have given of their time and funds to support the children!

Pray for each donor and volunteer to have joy throughout this new year. Pray that they realize the importance of their support. Pray that they may be abundantly blessed.

 


Thank you for your prayers on behalf of the children. With the start of a new year comes a spirit of new beginnings. That spirit beats in the heart of every child who no longer lives in poverty, fear, and neglect; who now lives in security and love.

The transforming power that comes with new beginnings is proven to be effective in the lives of ICC children, thanks to your support. That will be the case this New Year, and abundantly so, as we pray together each day.

 


Correction: When this story was first posted, incorrect days were assigned to the dates of the 10 Days of Prayer. While the dates themselves were correct, the days corresponding were from the 2019 calendar rather than the 2020 calendar. We apologize for any confusion this may have caused.

Growing Plants Helps Children Grow Too!

Tuesday, January 7th, 2020

Los Pinos School Teaches Principles of Gardening and Responsibility

Your support of the children through sponsorship and/or monthly giving is helping to provide the children with a rich educational experience.

Because of you, the children at Los Pinos are able to learn valuable skills, such as gardening and money management, that will help them throughout life.

Because of you, the children at Los Pinos are able to learn valuable skills, such as gardening and money management, that will help them throughout life.

At the Los Pinos Children’s Village in Guatemala, the curriculum includes more than just reading, writing and arithmetic, the “three R’s” that were coined many years ago as being early requirements in education. It also includes a fourth R: Responsibility.

The Los Pinos elementary school has classes for children in first through sixth grade. One of the special classes that has been developed for the children is called “productivity and development.”

Each child participates in this class and is given an old tire they use as a mini garden. The children are taught how to prepare the soil, select their crop, plant seeds, and nurture and care for their garden. One of the older boys who grew up in Los Pinos serves as the instructor for his younger “siblings.”

An important part of this class is teaching the children principles of budgeting and sales. Whatever the children grow may be sold for cash that they can use as they choose.

Sonja Hernandez, the school principal says that “It’s been a nice experience because it’s something the kids really like to do. When they get their money, they learn about tithing. They learn about budgeting, and we’ve taught them that they can buy seeds from the little money.”

Because of the long growing season in Guatemala, during a typical school year, the children can have three and possibly even more crops. Vegetables the children grow include things like cilantro, radishes, and peppers.

One of the major crops in the “big garden” at Los Pinos are bell peppers grown in a greenhouse. This crop helps feed the children and staff with the surplus being sold to supplement the budget.

In a small way, these children are learning early the important principles of responsibility that will help them grow.

Thank you for supporting the children. God is working through you and the caring staff at the ICC Children’s Villages like Los Pinos. You really are making a huge difference in their lives. And just as the garden plants require nurturing care, so these young children need your support throughout the year.

As the calendar has now turned to a new year, please remember the children. January is often a very difficult month financially as people recover from the holidays. But the children still need daily care — just like the plants.

You may use this link to make a special gift to help provide for the needs of the children.

Thank you!

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!

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.

Putting On Love With Special Dresses

Tuesday, July 9th, 2019

Girls at Las Palmas have been gifted hand-made Sabbath dresses

Two of the girls from Las Palmas with their hand-made Sabbath dresses

Orphan children don’t have much of this world’s goods when they arrive at an ICC children’s village. Often, they have only the clothes they are wearing.

Two of the girls from Las Palmas with their hand-made Sabbath dressesImagine how a little orphan girl feels when she is given several sets of clothing that include a special Sabbath dress.

The most recent recipients of these special dresses are the girls from the Las Palmas children’s village in the Dominican Republic. The happy faces in these pictures tell of the positive impact of these dresses.

Those dresses are the craftsmanship of Rebecca Loveless and her team of volunteers. Rebecca created a ministry called “Clothed with Love” to make these dresses for the girls. Rebecca was inspired by Colossians 3:14, “But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection.”

Four of the girls from Las Palmas with their hand-made Sabbath dresses“I wanted to create a dress for the girls, the orphans, to symbolize them being clothed with love,” said Rebecca. “For them to know how special and valuable they are, how precious they are to Jesus, and how much they are loved.”

Rebecca and her team continue their work of blessing ICC children. They are currently working to provide dresses for girls at ICC’s largest project — the Patmos Children’s Village in the DR Congo.

Thank you, Rebecca, the volunteer seamstresses and all our ICC family for your loving support of the children!

Five of the girls from Las Palmas with their hand-made Sabbath dresses.

You Made Christmas 2018 Memorable for His Kids

Tuesday, February 19th, 2019

“For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given…” Isaiah 9:6

In a very real sense, the ICC family has been given very special children. We believe that Jesus entrusts these children to us so we can be His guardians to care for them and teach them about Him.

And there’s no better time to do that than at Christmas. Christmas is one of the most special occasions at ICC children’s villages around the world. Your contributions, especially to the gift fund, help to make this a memorable time for all the children.

Christmas 2018 at the Hogar Escuela Adventista Children’s Village in El Salvador.

Christmas 2018 at the Hogar Escuela Adventista Children’s Village in El Salvador.

These pictures sent from Guatemala and El Salvador show some of the decorations and programing from their special celebrations during the recent holiday.

Christmas 2018 at the Las Palmas Children’s in Guatemala.

Christmas 2018 at the Los Pinos Children’s Village in Guatemala.

Thanks to your support, the children had a wonderful time of family togetherness, sharing, gift giving and most importantly, remembering Jesus, God’s most precious gift.

Thank you for helping to make these celebrations possible.

Christmas 2018 at the Los Pinos Children’s Village in Guatemala.

Christmas 2018 at the Los Pinos Children’s Village in Guatemala.

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!

Give A Child A New Home

Tuesday, December 4th, 2018

December 1, 2018

Dear Friend,

You can give a child a place to belong. A gift sent by December 31 will be doubled through a matching grant

Everyone wants to feel that they belong — that they have a special place where they fit in, where they are loved and accepted for who they are.

This is especially true at Christmas. Our hearts go out to those who must spend the holiday alone. It just doesn’t seem right.

This need for belongingness makes the plight of orphan children so desperate. An orphan child is set adrift on the stormy sea of life with

no sail, no rudder, no anchor.

The orphan child needs help from outside. But will that help come? And will that help come from you?

During the last 40 years, many of you have joined ICC in providing children like Sarita (see story on second page) and thousands of other children like her with not only the basics of life, like food and shelter, but, just as important, we have been providing orphan children with “a place to belong!”

Of all the important elements of effective orphan care, this is one of the most important. And it is making a difference in the lives of orphan children like Sarita. Here’s her story.

Sarita’s mother died when she was very little. She was left in the care of her older sisters and her father. When her father disappeared, the sisters turned her over to an orphanage for girls run by Catholic nuns. Sarita stayed there until one Christmas when one of her sisters came and picked her up for the holiday.

Because of you Sarita has a new home

Sarita never returned to that orphanage. Her two sisters then took turns caring for her and sometimes had others taking care of her. But she would be given back to them because her sisters didn’t pay what they promised.

Passed around, neglected, abused.

Sarita desperately needed a loving place to belong! Fortunately God intervened, and she was brought to the Los Pinos Children’s Village in Guatemala where she found a home within the ICC family. Here is how Sarita described what happened.

“[The authorities] took me to this place because I ran away from the house where I was living. One of my sisters left me in the house of a lady that she was going to pay to take care of me. My sister started making the payments, but, little by little, she stopped paying, until one day she never returned. The lady started to mistreat me.”

This Christmas, Sarita has a place to belong within her loving and nurturing family at Los Pinos. Generous ICC family members like you make her belongingness possible.

Sarita still has many challenges ahead as she learns to trust those who provide for her care. That is why it is very important this Christmas that her ICC family continues to provide for the support that she and other children like her need.

And right now, you can participate in a special Christmas Matching Challenge. These funds will help children like Sarita to have the one thing they need the most this Christmas — “a place to belong!”

That’s right. Because every child needs “a place to belong” one of our loyal donors has stepped forward to challenge you to match their gift. You can now double any donation you give until December 31 or until a total amount of $50,000 is reached.

The reality is that this Christmas, we depend upon the generosity of ICC family members. About 22% of funds needed to support ICC’s mission for children is given in December.

If that doesn’t happen, it restricts our ability to provide a place to belong for children like Sarita. 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 to belong. So, wherever the need is greatest, your gift brings help — and hope!

The world tells orphans, “You don’t belong!” But your gift will tell them

“I care”          “I want you to belong”          “I will help you.”

It was because God loved the world so much that he sent His Son to earth so that we could experience a sense of belonging as part of His eternal family. I pray that because of your support, orphan children will come to know and experience their Heavenly Father’s love as well. For Sarita, and for all the children, this will be the ultimate experience in belonging!

Please, make your gift today!.

On behalf of the children, thank you for blessing them this Christmas!

In His Service,

Rick Fleck

 

 

 

Rick Fleck
President

P.S. To take advantage of year-end-tax benefits please respond before December 31. And to make sure your gift is matched, helping twice as many children in need, please respond as quickly as possible! Thank you!