A young Linda Adams (holding her brother, Paul) in a rowboat.
I have childhood memories of General Conference in Winona Lake, Indiana. Well, I don’t exactly remember the business sessions in which my dad was a delegate — I remember the fun! We kids enjoyed daily boat rides on the lake, nightly lemon ice cream cones at the Eskimo, and making friends from exotic places like Kansas. I could hardly wait for the next five years to pass so we could go again.
It’s been a long time since then. In fact, the GC I just described was 50 years ago, in 1964. Little did I know that on the other side of the world a ministry was about to be birthed that would one day encircle the world and land in my lap. International Child Care Ministries wasn’t called that yet, but in 1965 the first few Chinese refugee children in a rooftop school in Hong Kong were sponsored and ICCM was born. Now 20,000 kids in 30 countries enjoy the benefits of sponsorship and scholarship that ICCM offers.
On July 14, 2015, at GC15, we’re going to celebrate ICCM’s Year of Jubilee with a great banquet. You’re invited. In fact, if you have children in first through sixth grade, you’ll be pulling out your phone after dinner to record them singing in a great global kids choir.
GC15 promises to be an unforgettable event for families once again. We won’t have a lake, but we’ll have a fabulous swimming pool. I can’t promise lemon ice cream, but I know there will be great gatherings as full of fun and fellowship as any old-fashioned ice cream social. And the friends you meet will be from much more exotic places than Kansas — try Kenya, India and the Philippines!
Jubilee Kids! will give first-through-sixth-graders four days of deep exposure to God’s work in the world and how they can join in — not just when they grow up, but now. Organized around the Old Testament theme of Jubilee echoed in Jesus’ inaugural address, kids will learn about family, freedom, fruitfulness and favor.
In the Year of Jubilee, families that had been divided because of hardship were restored to one another. In the world today, God is joining the global Free Methodist family into one, through many means. Fatherless families are finding help in the church as widows and orphans discover what it is to belong to the family of God. Jubilee Kids! will have Skype conversations with brothers and sisters in ICCM programs in other countries and learn from ICCM leaders from India and the Philippines.
Jubilee signaled freedom for slaves, and the Set Free Movement allows us to do our part to set the captives free. Some children are already leading the way by raising funds to protect kids and free exploited children. Our kids are kingdom kids. Set Free staff will inspire the kids with true (age-appropriate) stories.
When God established the Jubilee pattern, He said the land would be so fruitful in the 48th year that the people would be able to eat in the 49th and 50th year without all the usual hard work of farming. Eden Reforestation Projects leaders will help GC15 children learn about creation care, how God has designed the earth for fruitfulness. Children will get their hands in the dirt to plant seedlings and will see videos of a forest in Ethiopia that was a desert only 10 years ago.
Jesus proclaimed the year of the Lord’s favor. How we long to please God! How we want our kids to dream God’s dreams after Him! How much good can be done in this world when children catch the vision to be God’s difference-makers! The year of the Lord’s favor highlights God’s active presence in all we do and our wholehearted loving response to Him.
Jubilee was signaled by a blast on the ram’s horn — and we’ll have a loud one the kids can blow. You won’t want the kids in your life to miss this opportunity for immersion in the sights, sounds, smells, touches and tastes of joyful celebration and global good works in the cause of Christ. Help us get the word out. See you in Orlando.
Join the Jubilee
We’re looking for adult and teen helpers to staff this event. Helping at Jubilee Kids! is one option for the GC15 mission teams. Team members will join all the mission groups who arrive on Wednesday evening, July 8, and then share in the cross-cultural training of Thursday, July 9. When others leave on Friday, July 10, the Jubilee Kids! staff will have an intensive day of preparation for the subsequent Monday-to-Thursday event. They’ll be available to attend the Set Free activities on the weekend and special pre-GC worship services on Sunday. Contact Jen Finley, ICCM’s director of church relations, at 800-342-5531 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
A June 5 shooting at Seattle Pacific University claimed the life of student Paul Lee and injured others. Student Jon Meis is being praised for his efforts to stop the gunman, identified by police as Aaron Ybarra. Go to fmchr.ch/spushootings for more coverage and to fmchr.ch/sputhomas for Bishop Matthew Thomas’ response to the tragedy.
Central Michigan FMC was approached by Isabella County Restoration House about opening a homeless shelter in Isabella County. The congregation is now partnering with other area churches for a rotating shelter that has received extensive coverage in local media. Visit fmcusa.org/yourstory for the perspective of Hope Brookens, one of the shelter’s coordinators.
BUILDING FOR GROWTH
After several years of pencil chewing, prayer, planning, and patient giving and saving, Wilmore FMC is digging a hole in the ground. Members hope it will become a new building with more space for the church to grow and help others. The construction will connect the sanctuary and activities buildings. Visit fmchr.ch/wilmoreky for details.
Monee FMC recently heard from Olivet Nazarene University students who attend the church and plan to swim across Lake Michigan to raise money for clean water in Africa. Pictured (left to right) are Andrew Fischer, Brendan Shea, Simon Pheasant, Catherine Lugo, Calvin Price, Samie Niel, Nathan DiCamillo and Pastor Kevin DeVries. Visit fmchr.ch/moneewater for details.0