This is the first installment of a Q&A with ICC President, Rick Fleck. Part 2 will be made available next month!
Q: How is the pandemic impacting ICC children and the staff who provide care for them?
A: Part of the impact has been an increase in the cost of living. Products that you might consider as cheaper, such as vegetables, are maybe less safe for us to use in our children’s villages because they come from markets where there are lots of people. Our administrators are buying more of their products in places that are more sanitary like a supermarket.
The pandemic has affected ICC around the world in terms of education. We’ve had to get computers and tablets because many of our schools are using quite a bit of online learning – especially at secondary school and college. Most of the kids do not like this. They are missing being in school with their teachers.
On the positive side, the good thing that we experienced is that because these are children’s villages, it is sort of a bubble where the kids and parents are safe. The kids are able to run around and play. We have room for them to be out and about. So, in that sense, emotionally, they are not quite as impacted as in some places.
Q: How has the pandemic altered the way you manage and support the children’s projects?
A: This morning, I noticed by 10 o’clock that I’d had a conversation with about 10 different people in seven different countries. That’s kind of a typical day. Over the years, communication with children’s villages has been a challenge. I’ve used everything from HAM radio, years ago, to fax machines and then e-mail. Telephones have never seemed to work well, but it is getting better as there are more cell phone towers in countries where our children’s villages are located.
But the one thing we’re not doing is going to visit the projects in person. That’s very hard. It’s hard on them… It’s hard on us… Because we develop fairly close relationships with the children, with the house parents, with the administration.
On the opening day of school in the Dominican Republic this year at our campus, I was in the Zoom meeting that they had for all the children. It was interesting. All these little windows with the children. The teacher was talking, and they were doing the national anthem. It was an interesting experience. At least they could see that I was a part of that.
Q: What is giving you hope right now that the children will continue to be provided for?
A: Looking back over the last twelve months is what really gives me hope for the next twelve months. There was so much uncertainty during 2020, and yet, from month to month, we were able to make our budgets. It was a stretch sometimes. There were times when we didn’t know if we were going to make it. We did have to cut back here and there. Yet, the basic needs and essentials, we were able to meet.
I find that the donors of ICC are very loyal, and they’re very committed and sacrificial. The battle is not ours, the battle is the Lord’s, and this ministry is the Lord’s ministry. We leave this in God’s hands. We do the best we can.
Ultimately, we depend 100 percent on the Lord to take care of these kids, and we see that He has come through for the kids in the past twelve months. We are encouraged and we are certain that He will come through in the next twelve months, and beyond if time should last.
Q: Is there anything you would like to share with the ICC family of supporters?
A: One of the things I’m hearing from our administration, from our kids, from the people in these other countries, is a lot of appreciation for the donors of ICC. There has been a lot of fear that the donors who have lost their jobs or who don’t have the income that they used to have may not be able to support as much as before, and it’s true in some cases.
Yet, the Lord has really blessed us, and our projects have been able to have the things they need. There’s a huge amount of appreciation from the children and from the staff, that this is so incredible, that God has blessed, and that the donors really have their backs and are really helping them during this difficult time.
Check back here next month for more Q&A, as well as for an upcoming companion video in The Gathering Place series.