International Child Care Ministries (ICCM) tackles injustice in the name of Jesus because every child is made in the image of God. Partnering with the global Free Methodist Church, ICCM currently provides education, meals, clothing and basic medical care to 20,000 children in more than 30 countries for just a dollar a day.
For more than 50 years, ICCM has sponsored more than 100,000 children collectively, but according to UNICEF 2014 statistics, 150,000 children are still orphans. That means these children are more vulnerable to abuse and exploitation through sex trafficking and child labor. In some locations, children can be bought for $3. That’s less than the cost of a drink at Starbucks.
“ICCM is a means of connecting those of us who have more than enough with children in the parts of the world where they just can’t take for granted nutritious meals, education and medical care,” Linda Adams, Director of ICCM, said.
With at least 821 references to the poor, widows and orphans in the Bible, Jesus clearly makes caring for the vulnerable a priority. After all, it was He who gathered the children on his lap, challenging his followers not only to become childlike, but also to care for them.
“God sees our care for vulnerable children as a central act for justice and mercy because that’s His heart,” Linda said.
In one region of Thailand, children can’t even walk to school without the danger of being kidnapped and sold into slavery. In response, ICCM and their sponsors built a hostel near the school to prevent the children from having to make the long, risky journey.
Many human rights and anti-trafficking groups agree that child sponsorship is the number one defense against child slavery.
“People can spare a dollar a day,” Linda said. “It slips through our fingers like nothing; yet, for one dollar a day we can transform a child’s life.”
Linda has been the director of ICCM for eight years. In that time, she has traveled to 33 countries, seeing the return on investment of that dollar multiplied in the lives of thousands.
In the Philippines, a community lives in a garbage dump in bamboo houses. The men collect recyclables for income. Although they still live in the trash dump, one woman says everything has changed.
She met Linda, grinning from ear to ear, saying, “We were lost without Jesus in our hearts,” she said. “We were not married to our men and our children were running wild in the streets.”
Now, they have the praise of Jesus on their lips and their children do their homework each night.
ICCM began in 1965 in Hong Kong in response to the need to protect the defenseless. Although that school no longer exists, some children who attended there now sponsor other children, compounding the interest on the original dollar. This reinvestment continues today in many countries, but Linda relates one from the Philippines.
ICCM gathered up abandoned street children. They became family. Many young women who were abandoned found true love for the very first time. Not content to keep their hope to themselves, these young women now lead in ministries to younger children.
Other children who got their start as sponsored children now impact thousands as teachers, business leaders, bishops and university founders. Education provided by child sponsorship is often a prerequisite to church planting and growth. After obtaining basic literacy, church members can activate their gifts, read the Bible or lead Sunday school.
“Who could imagine that a dollar a day could do this much?” she asked.
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