As the director of International Child Care Ministries, I get a front-row seat to watch God work through people. It will happen this month. Some people will learn about a need in these pages and be moved to direct their donation very specifically. Maybe a photo will grab someone’s heart, and they will respond to the need.
I love people’s passion when they give in this way. Gifts to special projects or for “where needed most” often show up in the nick of time, in exactly the right amount.
Some of the most amazing of these gifts come from wills and trusts established long ago. The donors never saw the precise situation where the need arose, but they gave in faith and their gift was perfectly timed, many years later. This just happened again, and I’m freshly amazed.
On Dec. 6, 2015, an ICCM staff house in the Philippines burned down. A vibrant young woman, 25-year-old Nova Nuez, perished in the flames. Nova had been an ICCM-sponsored child and a recipient of our scholarship program. She was working in our national office and as a leader of the Door of Hope ICCM program in Davao City. Everyone loved Nova.
The tragic loss has now been felt for two years by the children in the program and the staff. This year, Door of Hope Pastor Johnny Campos proposed a two-story children’s activity center to replace the charred remains of the staff house adjacent to the church building. His proposal made its way through all the proper channels and lacked only the funding — $40,000. He and the children were praying for a bright new children’s space to be raised up from the ashes.
When I learned about this opportunity, I asked the Rev. Gerry Coates, the director of global church advocacy for Free Methodist World Missions, “Do you have $40,000 for ICCM?” He was probably perplexed, because I’ve never done that before.
“No,” he replied. “Not that I know of.”
Four days later, Gerry walked into my office with a big smile and handed me a check.
“I think this is yours,” he said.
I looked at the amount: $42,854.46. After deducting our administrative costs, that would still send more than $40,000 to the Philippines.
Where did that mysterious check come from and why did Gerry give it to me?
In 1992 (25 years ago), John and Ruby Schlosser — missionaries to the Philippines — established a Charitable Remainder Unitrust with the Free Methodist Foundation. The terms of the trust stipulated that after they died, the funds were to be used for “an essential urban property in a city of the Philippines.” The gift had grown over the years to reach the exact amount needed in 2017 for this essential urban property in Davao City — with some to spare.
I love how the story illustrates the unity of our global family — Free Methodist World Missions, ICCM, national leaders, sponsored children and the Free Methodist Foundation. We work with one purpose, toward common aims. Whether through a credit card five minutes from now or through an estate plan prepared 25 years ago, givers partner with God for the good of the world.
Linda Adams is the director of International Child Care Ministries — the child sponsorship program of the global Free Methodist Church. Before becoming ICCM director, she served as a Free Methodist pastor for 17 years.