By Rick Bowes

An image of a blurry eye exam chart, As seen by someone with poor vision.

Not long ago my world began to change significantly. I couldn’t see as well as I could in the past. I was having trouble driving at night. I was having trouble recognizing people from across the room. I was having trouble reading the fine print. 

I had to admit that my vision was dimming. When I sought medical help the diagnosis came back, “cataracts.”

At first, I said to myself, “How can that be, I’m only 37 years old?”, but then my wife reminded me that I was actually 73.

Long story short, I had surgery, and now I see perfectly.

As we began this new year, I want to share a different kind of vision, the vision that was lived out in the life of ICC founder, Alcyon Fleck.

It began with Alcyon reading a weekly newspaper strip about the life of Little Orphan Annie, who lived in a large, austere orphanage. The orphanage director, Miss Meany, ruling with an iron hand, was always picking on Annie, who therefore lived in a state of perpetual fear.

One day after reading of a particularly painful incident in Little Orphan Annie’s life, Alcyon emphatically told her mom,  “When I grow up I want to have a different kind of orphanage where children will be happy and have a real home.”

Years later those poignant words would prove to be prophetic when Alcyon was called to Guatemala to give aid to 5,000 orphans whose parents had been killed in a devastating earthquake.

After landing in Guatemala City Alcyon was taken to a camp for earthquake victims where she met with six children whose father had been killed, and whose mom could not be located. 

Alcyon recorded the moment in her journal saying, “These poor children had absolutely nothing. The oldest child, a teenage girl, was doing her best to care for her siblings, while her brother had gone into the city looking for their mother. The rest stair-steps in age, were all in rags with dirty faces, runny noses, and matted hair.” Truly, though Alcyon had seen much in her long missionary career, she had never seen anything quite like this. She concluded her journal entry with the words, “When I left the camp my heart was heavy with the thought of what will happen to those children?”

These words echoed in Alcyon’s heart, and as she thought of her childhood vision, she began to pray that God would somehow guide her in caring for orphaned children in such a way that each one would “be happy and have a real home.”

Gradually, the plan that God laid on her heart become clear, and the ICC model of orphan care was born. It’s been 46 years since Alcyon met those orphans in Guatemala City, and during that time through the establishment of Children’s Villages, hundreds of young lives have been changed and saved.

Today though wars, natural disasters, governmental regulations, and political chaos have worked to derail us from that original childhood vision, it is still very much alive and well  thanks to YOU!

But, just as I had to do what was needed to maintain my physical vision, (Cataract surgery), so  ICC is constantly engaged in the work of maintaining the original vision. And that requires faith, perseverance, prayer, and the generous financial support of our ICC family. 

Please won’t you consider giving an extra special gift today to help keep the vision alive in 2023?