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ICAP Celebrates 50 Years Educating Young People

“So far the Lord has helped us.”

On two different weekends in May, the ICAP secondary school celebrated 50 years of providing quality Christian education to students in Guatemala, many of whom have been from the Los Pinos Children’s Village which is located on adjoining land. The first event occurred from May 7–9 and included the participation of about 50 pioneering alumni from the 1970s. The festivities began with a procession of alumni carrying a torch. The first student of the institution, Antonio Peralta, oversaw the lighting of the torch.

The second event, the one traditionally celebrated, was held May 26–29. In addition to students and staff of ICAP, there were about one hundred and fifty visitors, mostly alumni and former staff. On Friday, much to everyone’s delight, staff and students prepared a food fair focused on delicious national cuisine. Sabbath activities included special guest speakers, a concert, and testimonies. Sunday was full of sporting activity and ended with a lovely gala dinner that evening. For those who may not be aware, ICAP is formally known as “Instituto

de Capacitación Adventista del Petén.” It provides course work or vocational training options for students in the following areas: basic education, accounting, computers, biology, early childhood education, auto mechanics, and agronomy.

ICAP was originally operated by the Adventist mission. In 1991, ICC agreed to assume the management of the school. This year, ICAP has an enrolment of 219 students. Thanks to the vision and determination of ICAP founders, the Bechtels and Ira Nation, ICAP continues to provide excellent Christian education that blesses not only Los Pinos children, but also a wider collection of youth who live in Guatemala. And in words taken from 1 Samuel 7: 12 and quoted by ICAP director, Mario René Bonilla, “We say again, ‘so far the Lord has helped us.’”

A Special Message From ICC President, Rick Fleck

God has been so good to us these last two years!

You might wonder why I would say that when there has been so much suffering in this world. In fact you probably have been personally touched by the pandemic and its far-reaching effects. But our God is above all the scourges that sin has brought to this planet, and we can rest assured that He has wonderful plans for each one of us, and that His blessings abound each and every day. Psalm 34:17 says that the Lord is close to all whose hearts are crushed by pain.

But my statement has special meaning for ICC and the children that are sheltered within loving homes around the world. I have the privilege of talking with the administrators of ICC Children’s Villages, and they have been telling me those exact words: “God has been so good to us these last two years!” Joel Carpio in Guatemala went on to say, “It is unbelievable that, in the middle of the economic chaos resulting from this pandemic, the ICC donors and sponsors have been so amazingly faithful and that we have been able to receive our monthly budgets so that our children do not go hungry, do not go without clothing or shoes, and continue to receive a Christian education.” Yes, things ARE more difficult, more expensive, more painful. And through it all, we have a God who continues to love us and care for the least of each one of us.

Personally, I am amazed at the faithfulness of donors who have a heart for these unfortunate children. I know that many of you can’t really afford to send monthly donations, and yet in some cases you have sent more. Also, when some folks are not able to send funds, others rise to the occasion, inspired by the Holy Spirit. God does not expect everyone to give the same, but in the same spirit. I have seen what the Lord can do, and I know He will continue to provide for the homeless and helpless, and I praise Him that we can be part of His wonderful work in their lives. Even during the most difficult times, when everything seems so hopeless, He is here with each one of us. ICC is facing shortfalls at the same time that we are experiencing high rates of inflation.

But we are teaching these children every day that Jesus loves them and that He will provide for their needs. The beautiful part of this story is that we — each one of us, in whatever way we can — are privileged to be a part of the work that is accomplished in the lives of these children. God has been so good to us these last two years! (and always!)

The Impact of Your Support of Patmos Children

Q & A with Patmos Director, Désiré Murhima

Editor’s Note: Thanks to your support, ICC children in the D.R. Congo are thriving within loving families at the Patmos Children’s Village. Recently, ICC president, Rick Fleck, asked some questions of Patmos director, Désiré Murhima, regarding ICC’s ministry for children there. Following is an edited excerpt from what Désiré shared.

Q: How important it is for the children to live within a family environment?

A: While there are many different types of families, we are solely going to focus on families with children, and how the relationships within this structure benefits both the caretaker and child.

Q: What are the benefits for the children?

A: Growing up is, in a word, scary. The world around us is so complex and remarkable, which makes it quite difficult to understand. That’s where family comes in.

Family creates the building blocks a child needs in order to go out and face the world. As a child is forming their own sense of self, the attitudes and the values of the parents will influence the child. For example, the first relationships we form with our family sets the standards we seek when forming new relationships. If family members treat their child with respect, offer good communication, and act positively, then the child will also seek these qualities out in their other relationships. Spending time with family has also been shown to make the child more sociable, leading to more relationships and more happiness in their future.

Family environment is also beneficial for the child’s self-confidence. Growing up in a stable, unified home gives the child the ability to go out and face the world without the worry that they won’t have a support system to back them up. Not only do these family qualities influence their child’s self-confidence, they have also been shown to create better communication skills.

This implies that parents or guardians hold a great influence on their child’s education. Parents can help prepare their children for school in early childhood, leading to more success in the classroom. Additionally, parents can help make sure their child stays on the right path by ensuring that homework is completed and good grades are encouraged.

Q: What are the benefits for the house mothers who take care of children in homes at Patmos village?

A: Having something in your life to raise and cherish gives a whole new meaning to who you are. Not only do mothers help children grow into adulthood, but children can help mothers grow into a better person.

Being a guardian means being responsible for a whole other being. It is a 24/7 job that requires a person to care for the needs of someone else and be unselfish, patient, and loving. Parenting also gives the opportunities to find out things people never even knew about themselves, whether it’s that they are annoyed by the sound of certain child’s toys or that they are more capable of love than they ever imagined.

Children can also be one of life’s greatest teachers. This can be done indirectly, such as having to research to answer the endless questions of why the sky is blue or how fish can breathe underwater! However, it can also be done when a person’s limits are being tested. Dealing with a fussy child teaches their caretaker how to be patient and how to use discipline in a constructive way. Having so much going on helps teach someone how to prioritize things and figure out what is truly important to them.

Having a family environment is beneficial in so many ways and for so many reasons. Family helps strengthen their child’s abilities and qualities, while children show and teach parents things that they might never have even considered. Everyone deserves a family, and that family is there to bring out the best in everyone.

All in all, having a child grow up in a family environment leads them to seek out better relationships, have better communication and social skills, are better prepared for school, and helps them get ready to experience success in their lives.

Q: How do you see the children’s lives transformed once they’ve arrived at Patmos?

A: Children’s lives are positively transformed. We receive them while they are orphaned, abandoned, malnourished, sick, and hungry as wolves. Many of them can’t walk though they are the age of walking.

The transformation is achieved when they are treated appropriately, healed from all types of diseases, have three meals a day, cured when they are sick, nourished spiritually, cared for in parental love, dressed, provided with a safe environment to live in, schooled, receive motherly love as well as fatherly love.

When everything above is added together to give new life and hope to dying children, they start growing well. They recover and develop into charming, healthy and well-fed children. Here is concrete evidence.

When our lovely and charming daughter, Elise, arrived at the project, the whole staff of Patmos village lost hope. Nobody expected that she could be restored to normal health status as today. She was very skinny with a very big head; you could only touch her bones and the flesh seemed to leave her. She was in such a situation simply because she lost her parents and had no one to care for her after her parents’ deaths.

Elise is being transformed to such an extent that everything regarding her health has improved. She recovered and has changed into a good-looking and charming girl. We praise the Lord for saving her, and we express our gratitude on her behalf.

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