Editor’s Note: You play a critical part in the life transformations that occur at ICC children’s villages around the world. In the following edited testimony, Patrick Kijana shares what it meant to him to grow up and eventually leave the Patmos children’s village. Thank you for your generous support of children like Patrick.

When we arrived at Patmos, we were two brothers accompanied by another brother, a sister, and our uncle. We were still young children.

In those days, transportation options were scarce. Our journey led us to Patmos where a compassionate mother consoled us. The mothers, whom God had prepared for us, welcomed us warmly, and we seamlessly integrated into our new surroundings. Every day  we enjoyed porridge in the morning, lunch during the day, and supper in the evening. This regular nourishment was a stark contrast to our previous home where we ate only once a day. We learned to pray and sing each morning and evening.

Enumerating all the benefits ICC has bestowed upon us is a challenging task. However, here are a few remarkable aspects:

• Exceptional Welcome: Despite being unknown children, we received an exceptional welcome.

• Treated as Biological Children: ICC regarded us as their own, treating us with love and care.

• Nurtured by Dear Mothers: Our dear mothers washed, cared for, and fed us.

• Education: We received education across various levels— primary school, secondary school, and professional training in mechanics and automobiles.

• Clothing and Footwear: ICC ensured we were well- dressed, providing clothes and shoes.

• Life Skills: We acquired practical skills, including agriculture, swimming, and other recreational activities. Our walks and boat trips enriched our experiences.

Our gratitude extends to our dear father (Patmos Director), Désiré Murhima, whom we pray God blesses abundantly. Even after achieving independence, ICC remains our family, and we carry the lessons of self-worth and trust in God wherever we go.

The transition to a new life (living independently) was not without challenges,but with God’s guidance and the lessons imparted by ICC, we gradually found our place. Upon gaining independence, ICC provided us with financial support. However, leaving the paradise of Patmos Village posed difficulties. We were stepping into an unfamiliar world. Despite these challenges, we persevered. The knowledge and skills imparted by ICC helped us integrate into our new reality.

My wife and I were re-baptized, and we now serve as elders in the Muchulo church. Additionally, I hold the positions of church treasurer and primary school principal in the indigenous (Pygmy’s) support project. My path forward involves continued service to God. I am committed to fulfilling my debt to my in-laws (for the marriage dowry) and pursuing further university studies.

With heartfelt gratitude,

Your son,