Dear Friend of the Children,
God continues to bless “His Kids” through your kind and generous support. Before I share 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.
Transforming Children Daily
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. Yet the best of all transformations takes 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!
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! Furthermore, we’ve been contacted by the Rica Group, which is a large food company in the Dominican Republic. Among other products, they process milk. Not only will they purchase Las Palmas milk, they will also help us build out our dairy industry which will enable us to provide even more support for the children. We see God’s potential leading in this endeavor!
El Oasis Jalapeño Farm Supports Other Projects
In Mexico, we are completing the harvest of Jalapeño peppers. This has been another excellent year for this crop. Even though the market price was lower than anticipated, the production remained strong. 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 Your support enables ICC children to learn in an environment appropriate for their ability and needs. 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 have enabled them to “pay your support forward” and bless their younger “siblings.”
Old Family Become New Staff in India
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 give back in gratitude for what they were given! 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 70’s 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 has grown to well over 4,000! That’s a big family of children, many of whom are now raising families of their own!
40 Years of Care at Los Pinos Children’s Village
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. 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.
As You Have Done to the Least of These
Afterwards, as we stood around and talked about this with Manuel and others, Sharon Manuel 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.
“As you have done it unto one of the least of these, you have done it unto Me.” Matthew 25:40, Sharon read, 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!”
59 New Children in Congo
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!
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?
Moved to Tears by a Child’s Transformation
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 Jacob arrived at the Patmos Children’s Village in 2017. He was very close to death. Your gifts saved and transformed his life. Jacob’s transformation is a testament to what you can do by providing nurturing care and love through your gifts.
Over 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: “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.
“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 his 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 These Blessings Possible
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! 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! Thank you!
Rick Fleck, ICC President