Recently, I had the privilege of visiting the El Oasis Children’s Village in Baja California, Mexico. It had been over 20 years since my first visit. That’s a generation of children ago, and like our newsletter name indicates, I was eager to find out “que pasa” (what’s happening)! Since you do so much for the children, I want to include you in some of the sweet experiences I had by sharing them with you.

Children’s Praise and Worship

Our first full day was Sabbath. It was sunny, but cool. The children gathered at the campus church, and when our group entered, the ICC Mexico family was singing with gusto. How heartwarming and soul-stirring it was!

The various children’s families sat together. As the program unfolded, it was amazing to see that each of the El Oasis families had prepared their own special parts to share. There were readings, group songs, and instrumental solos. It’s a testament to the moms and dads and other staff of El Oasis that they were able to work with their children to prepare such a lovely service.

It was also inspiring to see how attentive these young children were throughout the service that day. They were engaged actively as family units in worshiping and praising God. Their talents are being developed for sharing with others here on earth. And these are talents that can be used and expanded throughout eternity!

Someone to Look Up To

Juan and his wife, Eni, are house parents for ten boys aged 11 to 14. Can you imagine the amount of energy and potential mischief that resides in their home? I noticed during the worship service that there were several guitars that were laying on the platform. I was curious about what this could mean. On queue and at the appointed time, Juan and his boys walked up front and collected their guitars. Some of the boys sat in chairs while others stood. As Juan struck the first chord to the song, all the boys joined him. What a lovely song. What fascinating moments of unity and purpose.

But one thing captured my gaze as the song proceeded. Where were the boys looking? At their father, Juan! They watched the chords he was playing. They watched the rhythm. They watched his mouth as he sang the lyrics of the song.They watched their father.

This is what YOU are helping to provide for ICC children. A father like Juan who is harnessing the energy and creativity of his boys and producing anthems of praise and beauty to the Heavenly Father. Juan is setting a positive example of what it means to be a man of God! He is giving his boys someone to look up to!

After the service, when Juan and his boys were outside, they played together again. 

If you’d like to see and hear them, click the following link:

El Oasis Guitar Group on Vimeo

Someone to Lean Upon

What Juan is doing for his boys is quite visible for all to see. Yet, there were also subtle things happening that may not have been noticeable to many. But even so, they were significant.

One of the smaller boys was sitting next to Maria, his house mother. His Bible was opened on his lap. He wasn’t just sitting by his house mother. He was leaning into her arm. I asked someone later about his story and why he was at El Oasis. I can only imagine how it would feel to have a family on the outside that has been torn apart by tragedy and suffering and the healthiest place is somewhere else. But for this little boy, he has learned from Maria what a mother’s love is all about.

And he was leaning in. Not only that, with his Bible open on His lap, he was being directed to his Heavenly Father and His love, too. Seeing this reminded me of the old gospel hymn “Leaning on the Everlasting Arms.” He was leaning into the arm of his house mother while learning to lean on the arms of the Almighty. 

This is another fitting example of what your support is providing for ICC’s children. It gives these children the love of a mom and dad and knowledge of their Father in Heaven.

The Song Says It All

The rest of the weekend passed quickly: Sabbath afternoon walk and evening vespers, Sunday morning tour of the farm animals and an afternoon dedication for this year’s vegetable crop followed by a lively soccer game. Monday morning came. It was almost time to leave. Shortly before departing, I witnessed yet again another example of the good things ICC parents are doing for the children. This time it was Clemente, father of the littlest boys and girls on campus. While his wife was busy inside the house, he had taken the little ones outside and was watching over them and interacting with them as they played. The two youngest ones are boys probably not more than two years old.

Clemente took them on a walk and as he did, I could hear him whistling “Jesus Loves Me.” This song is probably sung (and whistled) to children in most every country that has heard the gospel. 

The little boys may not know much about Jesus now, but be assured that Clemente is doing what he can to not only tell them about Jesus’ love, but he is also demonstrating through his gentle actions what love is all about.

You can access a short video clip of this moment by clicking the following link:

El Oasis — Clemente Whistling on Vimeo

Celebrating Mothers and Fathers

There are special days set aside each year to celebrate mothers and fathers.

However, at ICC, it seems we should be celebrating the house mothers and house fathers every day. They are doing such an amazing ministry for the children. And even though you’re not able to go and provide the nurturing care the children need, please know that there are loving mothers and fathers like Juan, Maria and Clemente who stand in your place.