Dear Friend of IOCC,
God’s mercy and our brokenness are themes intimately woven throughout the period of Great Lent. Even more importantly, though, they are present in our daily living. Sick and broken persons live among us often as unknown strangers. They may be the refugee family trying to rebuild a life after fleeing their homeland, a mother debilitated by disease with children desperate for food and medicine, or even the clerk at your local supermarket.
The words of the Lenten prayer, “Send but a drop of your mercy, O Christ, on this sick and broken person,” are not just a personal plea, but extend to all those who are sick and broken. We beg for God’s mercy for ourselves and for other hurting people. With but a “drop” of God’s mercy we, and other hurting people, have the opportunity to be healed, healthy, whole, and holy.
As instruments of God’s mercy you have brought new hope and healing to hurting and broken people like:
CLEO, who lost her home in Hurricane Katrina. Through IOCC’s Volunteer in the Gulf Coast initiative, in cooperation with Habitat for Humanity, she will be moving into her new home this spring in Covington, LA. Teams of IOCC volunteers will continue traveling to the Gulf Coast through July to help others, like Cleo, get back on their feet by helping them construct a new home;
NIKO and his siblings who founded an “ecological” farm in Leondari, Greece to keep the old-world traditions of their ancestors alive. But last summer’s wildfires devastated their organic stables and their open range pastures. IOCC has delivered over 700 tons of animal feed in Greece helping farmers like Niko maintain their farms and livelihoods;
HAFTUM, a young boy in Ethiopia lost his father to AIDS five years ago and his mother some two years later. He lives with his grandmother Kerose in Axum, Ethiopia, but she did not have enough money to support Haftum. Through start-up capital from IOCC, Kerose was able to purchase three sheep whose offspring can be raised and sold. “I am too old to meet the demands of starting a business but the sheep are more manageable,” says Kerose;
MARIE CHAHINE, a school principal in Lebanon who, with IOCC’s assistance, is endeavoring to rebuild her broken school and the fragile young students who attend it. IOCC is providing 206 public schools throughout Lebanon with computer labs and new furniture and laboratory supplies for science instruction. Chahine observes, “We used to be a traditional school with only theoretical instruction, but now we have equipment, labs, and technology that allow us to make education more practical.”
Thank you for your past support. Your hand of compassion goes a long way to impact real people like Cleo, Niko, Haftum and Marie’s students. Your Lenten gift will become healing for many of the sick and broken people at home and around the world.
I pray you have a blessed and fruitful Great Lent experiencing Christ’s mercy in anticipation of His life-giving resurrection.
Yours in Christ,
Constantine M. Triantafilou
P.S. Let us all keep the “unknown strangers” in our thoughts and prayers this Lenten season.