As part of ICM’s 25th anniversary, over the next 12 months we will share monthly stories of ICM employees. Some employees have been with ICM for 25 years, some have only recently started with ICM. Regardless of an employees time at ICM and their role, they are all essential in bringing inspiring hope, providing help and creating change to the poorest of the poor. We hope you enjoy getting to know the ICM staff!
Loretto (Loi) Avila – Network Leader, Dipolog
“Daddy,” asked Loi Avila’s third grade daughter, Melchiah, “Is this what you do at your job, play computer games?”
Since leaving his job as a pastor in Dapitan City, Zamboanga del Norte, in 2004, Loi had worked as a jack of all trades. He had held jobs as an electrician, videographer, mobile phone repairman, security guard and media/events coordinator. His current role paid well, but left him with a great deal of spare time.
Loi was convicted by his daughter’s words. “I will find a noble job, a good one,” he promised his daughter.
A couple of months after the conversation with Melchiah, Loi saw a brochure stating that ICM was hiring.
“I didn’t know who ICM were or what they did, but I was encouraged to apply for a network trainer. I wanted a job that was free of corruption and as I learned what ICM did I thought, “this is good. This is noble.”
Loi applied in December 2013 the next month, the ICM head office called to interview Loi.
‘When I came and spoke with (then) area head Dave Duella, I was so glad. I could tell this was a good company!’ Loi started with ICM shortly after that interview.
“The job as a trainer was good, but it was also very hard. But I would not give up on ICM, and I also needed to provide for my family.” Despite the long hours the job demanded, Loi’s wife and three children, Chag Adonai, Melchiah and Phel Theo, liked that Loi was working at ICM because their father was happy once again.
In his job as a trainer, Loi was daily visiting impoverished communities and seeing the pastors who were actively working with the suffering families there. Over the course of a Transform program he would see the difference in the participants lives and as he observed the relationships, he became wistful, remembering how as a pastor, he had once worked with the people in his community. At the end of ICM’s Transform program, participants experience a 106% increase in income, 28% decrease in serious illness and 48% increase in close friendships.
Last year, Loi was speaking with an ICM counsellor who asked him, ‘What would you like to do if given any opportunity?’
Without hesitating, Loi responded, ‘I would like to get back into ministry.’
The counsellor looked at Loi and asked, ‘What do you think you are doing right now? You are networking with pastors, having meetings with people who need support, empowering and teaching others. You are pastoring the pastors!’
Since that meeting, Loi’s perspective changed. ‘Im still in the fight. Im beating the drum and giving new tools to the people who really need it.’
Loi’s family is grateful for his job at ICM. ‘Yes, the hours are long, but my family is proud of me. I take my kids to meetings and we travel together. My three children, as well as my wife, they are proud of their dad for the work they know I am doing. And I love the work ICM lets me do.’