Dear Icthus Friends,
I want to thank everyone who helped, prayed for, and encouraged the 50th Anniversary Celebration Banquet in Arcadia, California, November 8th, 2014. It was a wonderful time and success. One hundred twenty people enjoyed an evening of fun, food, and fellowship. I’m very pleased with how it turned out. Here’s an overview:
Before the banquet volunteers decorated the room and the tables with orchids. Others were there to greet, register, and help guests find their tables. As guests arrived they enjoyed wonderful chips and salsa while chatting and had an opportunity to look at an exhibit of historical Icthus pictures.
Cheryl Rotundo played the harp as guests arrived, during dinner as well as during the program, and at the conclusion. The music was beautiful and added to the pleasure and elegance of the evening.
Glen Thorp was the MC. He not only kept things going, but gave a short remembrance of John Shackelford with stories and pictures, including a picture of the type of motorcycle John rode in the jungles of Colombia when he was a missionary. John passed away on March 29th 2014.
John's son, Fred, daughter, Pep, and granddaughter, Lisa Joy, were at the banquet. The Lord used John to motivate me to start Icthus and he was the one who gave this ministry its name. John was an encourager and helped Icthus through all 50 years.
Frank Tranzow, who is the current chair of the Icthus Board of Directors, gave a special recognition to Andy Lay for 20 years of service on the Board, most of that time as the chair. Andy received a statue of a Roman Soldier representing the armor that God mentioned in Ephesians 6:13-18.
A special movie was presented showing some of the many things that have been achieved through the 50 years – it was a flowing river of pictures accompanied by jazz – many pictures had not been shared before.
Then I shared pictures and three stories to answer the question, "why Icthus" – why do we do Icthus? This is the most important question to ask of any mission or endeavor. Each story represented a fundamental part of being a Christian that we teach children in Icthus - Love God and your Neighbor as Yourself.
I concluded that through Icthus we invite young people into the Kingdom of God and show them ways to live positive lives that are pleasing to God.
Francisco Campos, our guest from Honduras, shared how Icthus has impacted most of his life. He and his two brothers and sister lived in a very difficult neighborhood and were raised by his single mother. It was a hard way to grow up. He shared how Icthus attracted him at 10 years of age, as well as his siblings, and provided him with guidance and experience that taught a healthy way to live.
The experiences and leadership training he gained through Icthus is helping him today in his role as assistant director of a medical mission in Honduras which helps thousands of people.
Next, before introducing Andy Lay, I shared that Icthus is really a part of the Lord’s multiplication process where two loaves of bread and 5 fish become food for thousands. Icthus helps churches be more effective in reaching and guiding more children. It has proven to be a highly effective tool. I shared our desire to help more of the thousands of churches in Latin America reach more children.
The major obstacle to that is we need more full and part time workers in the different countries. Jesus said the harvest is great, but the laborers are few. I introduced our vision for the future for increasing the laborers to reach more children. It is called IcthusNext. It will increase the number of staff in each country and provide for a Regional coordinator to work more closely with the countries to help them grow.
Finally Andy Lay shared an incredible, very doable way for those of us who wish we could give more to the Icthus ministry. Beyond giving donations he encouraged us to considering giving assets such as cars, property, and insurance policies that we no longer need. And in addition to give legacy gifts of a charitable annuity and including Icthus in our wills.
The evening ended with an offering. Thanks to the generosity of Icthus Friends more than $15,500 was raised through gifts given at the event, sponsorships, and gifts included with the RSVP cards.In addition, we received two gifts-in-kind of a piece of land and a car. That, plus the new Icthus Friends we made that night will make it possible to provide the Icthus ministry to more children - inviting them into the Kingdom of God and showing them how to live positive lives that are pleasing to the Lord.
I’m praising the Lord for making such a wonderful celebration possible and for helping to provide all these resources for children. What an incredible coming together of the international family to invite children into the Kingdom of God and show them how to live positive lives that are pleasing to the Lord.
Lord bless you,
PS: I wish we had more room in this report to show the many pictures of this wonderful event that you helped to make possible. See more pictures at: www.IcthusKids.org and Facebook: www.facebook.com/Icthus.Kids
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