By Rick Bowes

With each passing year it seems that memories of my mom don’t fade away, they actually become more vivid.

She was born at the end of WWI, and when she was just 3 months old her father died. Though her mom, my grandmother, worked several jobs and tried her best, their life in rural Iowa was extremely hard. For years they lived together in dire poverty.

The one bright spot as my mom grew into her teenage years was the tender, loving care that she received from a local church member named Mrs. McDonald.

When it was mom’s birthday, Mrs. McDonald would bake a cake. When mom tore a dress, Mrs. McDonald would make a new one. When mom was struggling with teenage emotions, Mrs. McDonald was a listening ear. Life seemed to be getting better and better as mom progressed through her teenage years, but then came the day when she received the horrible news that Mrs. McDonald was moving away to Madison, Tennessee.

There was an incredibly sad farewell, and just after that, mom’s life went downhill. She became depressed. She stopped going to church. She began hanging around with questionable friends. Everything went from bad to worse. Try as she might, my grandmother could do nothing to stop mom’s downward slide.

Then one day a letter came from Mrs. McDonald saying that she had dreamed about mom. In her dream Mrs. McDonald had seen a swift flowing river filled with struggling teenagers trying to save themselves. As the dream progressed Mrs. McDonald saw herself running alongside the river trying in vain to pull at least one of them to safety. She missed one. She missed another, but finally she was able to grasp onto the hair of a teenage girl. That teenage girl was my mom!

The letter ended with an invitation for my grandmother and mom to start a new life in Madison, Tennessee. A long story made short, they made the move, and thus began a positive transformation in my mom. In later years she met my dad, and as they say, “The rest is history.”

As I thought about this story last week in the context of ICC, I realized that in a very real sense all of you are like Mrs. McDonald. You may not be able to bake a cake, sew a dress, or listen to the pain of a suffering child, but through your financial support, you are actually snatching orphan children out of raging rivers of abuse, neglect and abandonment. 

Thank you for holding onto them with a firm grip.

Thank you for giving them a second chance at life.

Thank you for saying to these precious children, “I will never let you go.”

The Children Need You

Over the past several months, ICC villages have received many new children. They have been snatched from the raging river of abuse, neglect, or abandonment. They need your help as project budgets continue to outpace resources.

During the month of May, please support the children by giving an extra gift in recognition of your mom, or dad, or a special “Mrs. McDonald” in your life. Go to

If you let us know who you are recognizing, we’ll publish it in the July edition of the Que Pasa. Thank you!