Hands Across the WatersAn offering, collected by the children following the children’s story, funds a mission project to help needy children around the world, which changes every two years. Begun in 2005, this outreach has helped to stock a library at an orphanage in Mexico, assisted widows and orphans in India, assisted in building the first Adventist elementary school in Ukraine, and is accumulating funds to establish a Christian school in Tanzania.
Beginning Sabbath May 9 and continuing through August, the funds that are collected after the Children’s story will be donated to International Children’s Care (ICC). The organization is supported solely by donations and currently cares for more than 600 orphans. They began in Guatemala in 1978 after a devastating earthquake left many children homeless. ICC was started by an Adventist pastor and his wife. Their headquarters are in Vancouver, WA, and the organization is now located in 15 countries around the world, including Romania, Congo, Nicaragua, Dominican Republic, Mexico and of course Guatemala, just to name a few.
ICC does not operate typical orphanages but has a unique program designed to consider the mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical needs of the children. It doesn’t just simply provide food and a roof over the children’s heads, but provides “homes” and “families”, in an atmosphere that brings love and security to the children. They started a group-home plan and, instead of large numbers of children in one building, the children are placed in individual homes, located on small acreages or farms. National couples are chosen to serve as parents to a group of 10 to 12 children, forming a family. The long-term results are much more positive, enabling children to learn basic skills and relate to normal life.
Education is also an important part of their program. They operate elementary schools on their own grounds, accommodating the school program to the needs of the children. The farm is an integral part of the program as well and provides work opportunities for the older children and helps provide food, which lessens the need for outside help.
Lastly, spiritual emphasis is very important. Each home is founded on Christian principles, with morning and evening worship geared to the interest of small children. In this atmosphere, the children learn to make the Bible the foundation of their faith.
We envision our youth participating in mission trips to areas they have supported and catching a vision of how they can be God’s hands in blessing the desperately needy, both at home and abroad.