More than 600 people from 24 nations attended International Child Care Ministries’ Jubilee Celebration during General Conference 2015.
“We’ve calculated that we’ve sponsored about 100,000 kids in these 50 years,” ICCM Director Linda Adams said at the July 14 banquet that also streamed live online for a global audience. “As we comprehend the growth of the church around the world, we’ve been told many times that our strong partnership has been, in fact, very instrumental.”
Several of the global Free Methodist leaders at GC15 revealed that they were sponsored by ICCM when they were children. Because many churches have started following the establishment of an ICCM school, Adams called ICCM “the front edge of a church-planting movement.”
ICCM Canada Director Paula Moriarity shared about the legacy of ICCM founder Alton Gould, a Canadian Free Methodist missionary who decided five decades ago to help refugee children receive education at rooftop schools in Hong Kong. Four months before Gould’s death on Jan. 5, 2013, Moriarity met with Gould and asked him about his vision for ICCM.
“He told me the importance of prayer and evangelism and that they both went hand in hand,” Moriarity said. “As he spoke, he looked at me, and in a very, very quiet voice, he said, ‘We need to reach them all,’ and that was the last thing Dr. Alton Gould had said to me. And so, over the past 50 years, that is exactly what we’ve been doing. We’ve been reaching them all, and we continue to do that today.”
Adams presented the Fanya Freedom Award to Jack Munos on behalf of his late wife, Jeanne Acheson-Munos, who first alerted ICCM to the realities of child slavery — including a Haitian girl named Fanya whom the Munos family observed working daily until Fanya died at age 4 in 2007 after she fell into a fire she was tending.
“Jeanne paved the way for us to get our hearts broken for the cause of children who are enslaved and exploited, and now we are part of the Set Free Movement,” Adams said. “Her persistence and passion fueled abolitionist awareness in International Child Care Ministries. Countless children are benefiting because Jeanne woke us up.”
Acheson-Munos lost her life when a 7.0 magnitude earthquake hit Haiti on Jan. 12, 2010.
“When Fanya died, Jeanne got mad at God. She said, ‘When we go to Dessalines, Fanya’s not going to be outside the gate. I can’t hug her anymore,’” Jack Munos said. “But God told Jeanne, ‘When you come through my gate, Fanya will be waiting for you.’”
The event also included children from GC15’s ICCM Jubilee Kids! program carrying flags from different nations and then singing Michael W. Smith’s “A New Hallelujah” along with ICCM children appearing via video from India, Kenya and the Philippines.
At the end of the banquet, Adams asked each attendee to pull a noisemaker out of a bag underneath each chair, and she held up a shofar from Israel.
“This is a jubilee,” Adams said. “I’m going to blow on this shofar, and we’re going to say that the gospel declares freedom for the captives. Jesus said, ‘This is the year of the Lord’s favor.’ … We definitely say that we are with Jesus to declare freedom for the captives, good news for the poor.”