HAMPTON, Va. (WAVY) – A non-profit in Hampton is showing just how far-reaching philanthropy can be — the group just reached a major milestone, building their 5,000th church across the globe.
The office of International Cooperating Ministries (ICM) on the corner of Armistead Avenue is small, staffed with less than 40 people. But over the years, what started as putting push-pins in a map to mark the spreading of their faith has turned into a ministry spanning 69 countries, worldwide.
“I’m a lay person,” ICM Founder Dois Rosser said. “I’m not a theologian. I’m just a guy that wants to work for Christ. Today, it may not sound like it’d be easy to build churches in Egypt, and it’s not, but we’re doing it. It’ll take about 2,031 churches to blanket India, and we’re at 1,400 some odd churches.”
Twenty-seven years ago, Rosser had an idea to follow McDonald’s model of branching out restaurants, to build churches. Today, 26 churches are completed in Guatemala, 230 in Cuba, and 29 under construction in Peru, to name a few. Still, Rosser and his daughter are still surprised by their latest milestone: it was India where they reached church number 5,000.
“To reach 5,000 projects has truly been what we sense is kind of witnessing a God-sized miracle,” CEO Janice Rosser Allen said. “We keep under construction on average about 450 to 500 church projects being built all the time. Everything is being accomplished through empowering these leaders that oversee organizations that exist in these developing countries where we work.”
ICM reaches indigenous leaders in developing countries who know the culture and people’s needs. They get land and permits, and the people who will eventually pray there lay the foundation, brick by brick, using their resources from the U.S. via ICM.
Rosser said they started in Hampton Roads just thinking of how they could touch cities. They never imagined the blessing their little office could end up being around the world.
10 On Your Side asked what happens once the churches are built, and we were told ICM sponsors plan about eight trips a year to go overseas and see how they’re doing. One of those trips is to Vietnam, where many veterans accompany them to see the change and the healing since the Vietnam War.