Your support of the ICC Romania project has made it possible for Ukrainian refugees to find a place of peace and safety during the war that rages in their country. The following is a report from Gabriela Costache, ICC Romania Administrator:
It’s been five years since the children’s village in Odobesti closed its gates. The last remaining girls, now young ladies, are in high school or colleges. They regularly come back to the campus to meet their family (the ICC family). Here the children’s village supervisor, Simona, being alone, gladly welcomes them. They bring their friends, husbands, children, and they meet for birthdays. They are happy to walk down the memory lane of their childhood.
Since the war started in Ukraine, an idea blossomed in our minds — the ICC Romania’s team and in a phone call with ICC headquarters. I was asked if we can do something for the refugees without a house and without a hope. We decided together to do whatever we can to help. We started praying and discussing with colleagues and acquaintances, and ever since the miracles started pouring.
My colleagues from the hospital where I work, after finding out about my wish to get involved in this project, were eager to help and get involved as well. After only one week, we had the money necessary to go paint and renovate the first children’s house which had been uninhabited for over five years. Those that couldn’t participate donated money, clothes or anything needed. A colleague who had no money was happy to get involved raising the money through donations. When the day came to go and renovate the house, we had everything we needed. On the 6th of March 2022, together with a team of 13 volunteers, we left with two vans. All the colleagues were extremely excited and happy. However, we had challenges. On the way there a truck in front of us hit a branch. It broke the windshield of one of our vans. Later that day, I fell and broke my hand.
In two days, the house was repaired and equipped with a new refrigerator, curtains, and clothes and toys that we had received for the children. The first house was ready to welcome guests.
But the real challenge was only just starting because the ICC Village is very far from the border with Ukraine. Most refugees want to stay close to the border hoping the war will end soon so they can go back to their homes. We started praying to God so that we could help.
Shortly after, I saw a Facebook post from a friend who was volunteering at the border. He was asking if anyone could help or receive a mother with eight children and was also pregnant with the ninth. They wanted to stay in Romania for the long term as their region in Ukraine had been bombed and destroyed, and she didn’t think she could get back there anytime soon.
I contacted him immediately letting him know we had a house for them with everything they need, and we could tend to them in the long term.
He answered that he was sure they would be very happy here and that he would talk to the ADRA Director. After two days he let me know that they decided to come. A friend lent us a van to pick them up from the border, and the colleague’s husband drove it. So, after a long, 300 km (186 mile) journey the family arrived in Odobesti. The children were very happy to get to a safe place, and we were very happy that God answered our prayers.
They settled in and felt happy there. In the meantime, the mother gave birth to another girl, and the grandmother came from Ukraine as well.
The girls love Rebeca and Sami — Simona’s daughter and son-in-law. Every time they come home, they spend time with the girls and play volleyball, tennis, and go for walks.
One day, on a Friday, it was the birthday of one of the girls. She was disappointed the entire day because she had not received a gift and cake. Simona was busy during the day but when she went to buy groceries, she bought her a cake and a gift too. Simona went to them in the evening when the girls were playing in the living room. Simona went in through the back door and turned off the lights. When the little girl turned around to look, she saw the cake with the candles. The girl started crying. She had waited the entire day to have a cake for her birthday. She was very happy.
In the meantime, we continued raising funds for the next two houses for the repairs and new curtains. Again, we formed a team and worked happily. In the end, the houses looked like real homes. We went with the team a third time for the third house.
One day a woman working at a foundation in Bucharest called to ask if we could receive 14 refugees — parents, grandparents, children — for up to two months. They’ve been hosted in a summer camp, but during the summer they couldn’t stay there any longer. They needed a place to stay for the summer. In the contract with the foundation, they also provided a daily food allowance. God’s grace was incredible.
The 14 Ukrainian refugees arrived and were very excited and happy with the conditions they found here. In the summer camp, they lived with lots of people in one common space. They lacked the comfort and intimacy they found in our homes. Even more, the money they received from the foundation for food was to receive food from a local restaurant. But here, as they had all the conditions to cook for themselves, they go and purchase groceries with Simona in the nearest town. They buy everything they need, cook for themselves, and with the rest of the money saved they can take turns and buy shoes and other things they need. They are very happy. Simona asks them every now and then if they want to receive food from a restaurant, but they always say it’s better this way.
They are hardworking people, clean and extremely grateful. They are very happy when Simona visits them and tastes the food they prepared.
They are supposed to stay until the 20th of August according to the contract, but part of them already asked if they could stay longer. They don’t want to go back. Simona told them she would talk to the board, and after deliberation, we told them they could stay. When they found out one of the grandmothers was so happy, she started crying. She was so grateful.
We are very happy to see God’s work. We still have spaces, but they need more significant repairs. The war continues, and the sympathy for the refugees fades away. In Europe, they’re not welcome anymore, so lots of them come back. We don’t know what will happen, but we know that in the right time God will help us gather the necessary resources and at the same time lead us to the people in need.
Paying Tribute to a True Friend of “His Kids”
Doug Congleton retiring, but not leaving the ICC Family
“My times are in Thy hand.” — Psalm 31:15
Many of you have had the opportunity to meet with or speak to Doug Congleton, ICC’s Executive Director. If so, you know him to be warm-hearted and caring.
For a quarter of a century, the lives of ICC children and family members have been forever blessed by Doug’s dedication and compassion. He has faithfully championed the cause of orphan children around the world and has been a true friend to ICC children, staff, and supporters. Thus, it is with sadness that we announce that Doug is retiring so that he will be able to spend more time with his family.
Doug has travelled to many of the children’s projects. His enthusiastic smile, cheerful voice, and loving embrace have warmed the hearts and lives of ICC children. Doug well knew that he represented you to the children. Doug took it upon himself to carry your love to them, to tell the children about you and how much you care for them. Through all these years, Doug has been a caring and effective representative for you.
Though this will be a time of transition for Doug and ICC, Doug continues to be passionate about this mission for orphan children. He wants to continue to be supportive, and we are exploring ways to make it possible for him to remain active in the ministry of ICC.
Rick Fleck, ICC President, has shared that;
“Doug has been a great friend, even before he joined the ICC ministry, and I know that he is truly passionate about saving and mending these broken lives, working hand in hand with our Savior, Jesus. We wish Doug God’s richest blessings and look forward to still working with him as he is available.”
If you’ve known or worked with Doug, what a nice gesture it would be for you to reach out to him and express your love and appreciation. You can reach him by e-mail at DougC@ForHisKids.org.
Your Support Produces “Ripples of Hope”
Editor’s Note: Early this Spring, ICC’s Director of Donor Relations, Pastor Rick Bowes, shared some compelling thoughts with several of our ICC family members. Those thoughts continue to ring true, and we wanted to share an excerpt with you, our Que Pasa readers.
Thank you for your generosity to the ICC kids. Through your continued donations you are not only changing lives, but you are saving lives.
To the right you can see a photo of the “inspiration bookcase” that is in my office at the ICC headquarters. The photos that I’ve taped to the shelves not only represent what’s going on in my life, but I believe that they may, in a sense, represent your lives as well. Though I didn’t intend it when I put them up there, the photos can be classified into two specific categories; my own personal family, and my ICC family.
Please notice that right in the middle of the bookcase, to the left of ICC founders Ken and Alcyon Fleck, there is a quote from a political speech that I had copied down years ago and wrote out to my teenage son and daughter. The core message of that quote is that when we stand up for an ideal, when we act to improve the lot of another, and when we strike out against injustice, it is at those times that we send out “Ripples of Hope” that build into a current that sweeps down the mightiest walls of oppression.
My message to you today is to thank you for being “Ripples of Hope” to our ICC kids. Throughout the world our kids are thriving because you have given them this hope, which in turn has given them a second chance at life.
A closing thought — with first, an unprecedented pandemic, and now with acts of aggression that threaten the entire world, it seems that all we’ve known is disintegrating before our eyes. That said, there are three short words of scriptural counsel that have been coming to my mind time and time again —
“Do not fear; Be at peace; Occupy till I come.”
Though all three listed above are critically important, the last one, “Occupy till I come”, speaks to our understanding that we are locked in the grip of a great controversy of good and evil, and that it’s our job to stay faithful to the ministry of Jesus. In short, “staying faithful to the ministry of Jesus” is what we are trying to do here at ICC. Thank you for helping us to do just that.
Initiate a “Ripple of Hope” this month by supporting the children with a special gift. Thank you!