Dear Icthus Amigo, November 2016
When a new Icthus kid’s group starts, I imagine the celebration of Angels in heaven. When a new group starts, no matter what time of year, it’s Thanksgiving for me. And, It’s been happening so frequently in Colombia. Let me share this story.
For as long as he can remember, Samuel Ramos dreamed of following in his father’s footsteps and becoming the National Director for Icthus in Colombia. Samuel said, “It was a dream that I didn’t think was possible, but God had it in His plans.” In February his dream came true and he is doing amazing work with his team to grow Icthus in Colombia.
One day, he received a request from Pastor Ovegero. Could Samuel go to La Paz in the Department of Cansare to help the El Alfarero (The Potter) Church start Icthus? One problem though, is that La Paz is very far away from where Samuel lives in Monteria.
It was with trepidation that Samuel boarded the bus and set off alone for La Paz, a trip that would take 18 hours traveling through the night. As the bus pulled away, leaving him in the small pueblo, he knew that people there were suspicious of strangers. Fortunately, the brothers and sisters from the church arrived and greeted him warmly. During the day and a half that he was there, these kind people escorted him everywhere and took care of him. Samuel trained Icthus leaders, gave them materials, and prepared them to start Icthus.
La Paz desperately needed a program like Icthus, but Samuel didn’t know how he was going to continue supporting this group from so far away or whether they could be successful with no one nearby to help.
It’s been five months since Samuel was in La Paz. He’s been able to stay in communication by telephone. The great news is that they’ve not only started Icthus, but they have two programs, a Heroes group (ages 7 through 9) and a Legion group (ages 10 through 13). These groups are growing as the children in Icthus invite their friends.
Pastor Ovegero said, “Thank you for coming here to a place so far away to teach us about Icthus. It has been many years without having such a complete program to work with young people. This is an answer from God.”
This is the group of Icthus guides trained by Samuel in La Paz in July. Pastor Oveguero and his wife Shirley are on the left next to Samuel (reddish shirt).
Friends, despite my joy at what is happening in La Paz, I also have heaviness in my heart because Samuel could do so much more if more financial resources were available. Since Samuel started work in February Icthus has grown from 150 to 202 groups.
Just the other day Samuel told me he has a list of 21 churches that want to start Icthus, but he doesn’t have the money to send the workers to train their leaders, and do the follow-up so they can become successful groups.
If he could do this, it could mean as many as 50 more Icthus groups! My heaviness is that some 800 to 1,000 kids will not have Icthus unless we have the money to send the trainers. Just for reference starting an Icthus group costs an average of $150. Once started most last years and years.
In this light, would you consider giving a Thanksgiving Gift to help Colombia? Breaking It down, $50 would provide help for starting one-third of a group. $100 would provide help for one-half of a group. Whatever you can do will mean that more kids will have this ministry to equip them for Christian service and leadership, just like the 2 groups started in La Paz.
This would make a great Thanksgiving Gift for Colombia. Let’s keep those Heavenly angels rejoicing as these precious kids in Colombia receive the Good News of Jesus.
Lord bless you and Happy Thanksgiving,
Don Weisbrod, President, and Co-founder
PS: Please join us in giving thanks for what the Lord is doing through Samuel and his team. They are helping 202 Icthus groups in 71 churches. There are 50 more groups they could start as funding becomes available. Let’s join Samuel and his team in spreading Icthus.
Jesus told a parable about a lost sheep. He concluded saying, “In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” Luke 15:10 NIV. I can’t help but think that they also celebrate when Icthus groups start.
Samuel says, “I want to take this ministry to all of Colombia and see the fruit of many leaders who say, as I do, ‘I am Icthus, thanks to all I that learned in my Icthus group’.”
The picture to the left shows the new Heroes group (ages 7 to 9) in La Paz with their manuals. The picture below show kids in the Legion group (ages 10 to 13).
The manuals are a big hit. They have never had anythink like them. 30 kids started in Icthus 5 months ago.
In early November, Pastor Ovegero, sent a message saying that the children had completed the first of 8 parts of the Icthus program - the Beginners Section. They had a very festive ceremony in the church with all the kids, their parents and other members. Some of the kids dressed in costume and they shared some of the different things they are learned. Prase the Lord this Icthus groups have reached this milestone and are well on their way. See the pictures below.
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