It’s remarkable that construction on the ICR Discovery Center for Science and Earth History is now underway—less than 18 months after we started raising funds. Moreover, this major initiative began with no lead gift, which is unusual for a facility of this size and quality. But this is typical for ICR. We receive very few substantial gifts, and those often arrive as complete surprises in the afternoon mail! Rather, ICR’s ministry is upheld by thousands of faithful supporters who understand the importance of our ministry and are committed to our mission.
This is perhaps the most convincing evidence of the Lord’s blessing, not only on ICR’s ministry as a whole but on our discovery center in particular. We hoped this dynamic “teaching museum”—uniquely focused on showcasing the abundant scientific evidence that confirms the Bible—would generate excitement within the Kingdom. This was, by far, the largest project we’ve ever attempted and would cost many times our usual operating budget. The timing seemed right, and we believed God was leading us to begin (James 4:15).
In many respects, the lessons learned during the Great Recession of 2008 not only taught us to rely on God’s supply but also prepared us for larger projects to follow. That was a time of great economic hardship on a national scale, and many were hurting. ICR certainly felt the financial pinch, but not nearly as deeply as other, much larger and more well-known ministries. Why? In hindsight, God revealed His provision through many long-time, faithful supporters who gave what they could when they could. Through His people, God supplied just what we needed at just the right time—just as He promised (Philippians 4:19). Not only did ICR survive those trying times, but today we are thriving as never before. All glory to Him!
As 2016 began and our fundraising focus turned almost exclusively to the discovery center, we were concerned about maintaining our normal operational budget. ICR’s budget has been quite stable over the years, and we wondered if our core research and ministry programs might suffer if giving was diverted to this major project. But believing that God was leading us, we submitted the matter to prayer and stepped out in faith. And God provided as only He could! Thousands of supporters responded to our call, and as 2016 came to a close, not only were our normal operational needs met in full, but God doubled the funds received for the year—the rest going to the discovery center. Truly, “this was the LORD’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes” (Psalm 118:23)!
It’s clear from the encouraging notes we’ve received that many people are excited about what ICR is doing and are giving sacrificially to our work. One recent note was especially poignant. A couple rather apologetically wrote that they couldn’t accept our invitation to attend the ICR Discovery Center groundbreaking ceremony this past April. Instead, they included an extra gift in lieu of the money they would’ve spent on travel expenses. It wasn’t a particularly large gift, and I didn’t give it much thought at the time. I later discovered this couple has faithfully supported ICR since the mid-1980s and over the past decade has given every single month! And their extra gift was the single largest gift they had ever made. This story of faithfulness and sacrifice is representative of so many others and demonstrates the true strength of ICR—the people of God.
* Mr. Morris is Director of Donor Relations at the Institute for Creation Research.