Raul almost lost his life, but God spared him so that he could help children in need. Thanks to your support, Raul can now tell his story.
Hard work, honesty, and people skills–these are the qualities that make Raul one of the best farm managers ICC has. From humble beginnings to now the man in charge of ICC’s largest farming industry in the El Oasis Children’s Village, Raul exemplifies ICC’s mission to support children in need.
Raul came from an unpretentious family dependent on small-scale agriculture and livestock. He was raised with six siblings by parents who taught him the value of integrity in everything they did. At 14-years-old, ready to spread his wings, Raul left home to work with his brother as a colporteur. By age 16–with his parents 3000 km away–he was a young man independent of his family but totally dependent on God.
After beginning his university studies in accounting at the Adventist University in Sonora, Mexico, Raul became an intern on the university farm. He also met his wife Emma Villanueva, who according to Raul “was undoubtedly chosen by my God since I asked for a good wife in many of my prayers.”
After graduating in 2000 and working for the church for the next decade, Raul learned how to be an effective business manager. In 2009 he rescued a school in Ensenada from the verge of bankruptcy. He reimagined their industries with the sale of vegetarian products that helped parents pay their children’s tuition. Things were going well for Raul, until this happened...
“In 2010, I became seriously ill when I was diagnosed with a hypertrophic heart disease,” Raul recalled. “I became a candidate for a transplant as urgently as possible, but there were around 300 patients who were waiting like me for a heart. I had so many plans to develop the work and to raise my twin sons who were only 4 years old, but it seemed that my God was punishing me. But it was during this time that I heard the very clear voice of my heavenly Father telling me not to worry. I accepted that God was in control of my life.”
Miraculously, a cardiologist who specialized in Raul’s disease helped Raul circumvent a heart transplant with an alternative recovery process. “I could feel the hand of God,” said Raul. “In just two weeks I had stabilized enough to be discharged. I thanked my God enormously for the calm that came into my life despite the storm.”
Now on medical leave, Raul dedicated himself to caring for his boys. And it was during those days that he was invited to become the remote accountant for El Oasis.
During one of Raul’s visits to the children’s village in 2016, he met with ICC President, Rick Fleck, and talked about the financial situation of the children's home. Raul made proposals of how they could develop projects that could help improve the finances. A year later they started with small projects such as planting corn for the local market and buying 300 chicks to start an organic egg industry. They also planted watermelons and zucchini, and by the end of the season brought in a good harvest.
At the end of 2017, Raul connected with a children’s village neighbor called Marcos Gómez who directed Trinity Valley farming. Raul asked him what he would recommend to plant. Marcos kindly told him that his boss had been planting jalepeño chili peppers for three years and had done very well.
Raul enlisted his help and together presented the possibilities to ICC. Months later, 15 acres of jalapeño peppers yielded a bountiful crop. The following year, they expanded to 50 acres. Market challenges hit their ability to sell the peppers, but Raul was led by the Holy Spirit to find new buyers for them.
Now, three years later, Raul and his team are planning for 65 acres of produce. God has been incredibly good, and the proceeds combined with what donors around the world provide, have been able to sustain the children’s village to this day. Raul thanks God for how He has blessed his work...and his children.
The twin boys in the photo are Raul’s children, 15 years old now. They are intelligent young men ready to work for God. But these boys are not the only children Raul loves. Raul loves all the ICC children. While Raul works, ICC children play, study, eat, enjoy the company of house parents, do their chores, work in their garden, and get to see the jalapeños grow. All these children are Raul’s children. More than that, all these children are God’s children. It’s a large family. And as an ICC supporter, you are part of the family, too.
Thank you for loving ICC’s children like Raul does. Do keep Raul and other ICC workers in your prayers. And do keep supporting the children, for “at the harvest time many faithful parents will return with joy.” AH533.4
Photo - Raul stands by a jalepeño field with one of his twin sons.