She asked my son an honest question, and he gave her a surprising answer: ”Noah, why is your mommy white?”
Noah’s answer was immediate and matter-of-fact. He simply replied (actually, not so simply), “That’s not a question that Martin Luther King, Jr. would ask. It’s the content of your character that matters, not the color of your skin.” Wow… (source: T4A blog post by Dan Cruver)
That’s a pretty powerful response, and I’m sure one that would make every multi-ethnic family glow with pride… this child gets it. He knows he’s loved and a part of a family – accepted for who he is. Skin color has nothing to do with it.
“Caring about orphans is a way to define your faith… It is the heart of God that we care for widows and orphans in their distress. Caring for orphans is a reflection of what God has done for you and me. We were vulnerable and helpless, and orphans are vulnerable and helpless.” – Rick and Kay Warren, God’s Heart for the Orphan
Yesterday, Americans celebrated Labor Day, a day dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It’s a celebration of the many people who have worked for the strength, prosperity and well-being of our country (source: United States Dept of Labor).
As I think about that, I think of the plights of the countries that we work in, and long for the day when Labor Day celebrations are something they can claim for themselves and their countries as well. Today, reality looks much different than that for many vulnerable children though.
Our 5th annual VBS in Haiti runs all next week (August 19-23)! Two of our staff from the States are going down and three LSM missionaries are on the ground that will be there. We’re all present as background support.
With a total of about 300 people present at VBS, how does Camp run with that little American influence? Quite simply, it’s just not an American event. And we think that’s the best thing possible!
At LSM, we’re constantly looking ahead to how what we’re doing translates into long-term sustainability for our kids and their futures. It’s a critical part of our mission in helping vulnerable children reach their God-given potential. This comes in many creative ways that will help guide kids towards the areas they’re gifted in.
One of our latest projects in Haiti is no exception. Bruce Aschliman and his wife Lisa (who’s working with Child Development) are some of the most recent additions to our staff in Haiti. Bruce has been hard at work since hitting the ground earlier this year and we wanted to share some of the exciting progress he’s coordinating!
“I have been many times upon my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere else to go.” -Abraham Lincoln
We see this kind of vulnerability every day, brought on because of deep-seated poverty and generations of spiritual confusion. But unlike Lincoln, these vulnerable children often don’t know where to turn. Orphaned, abandoned, HIV+, child slaves, forced into prostitution, starving… all without any hope that life will turn around.
These are the things Jesus came to change. These are things we have the privilege to walk into too, offering hope in His name and a future to those the world has discarded.
Jen Schwartz (LSM Adoption & Child Development) and team were just in Haiti working with Lisa Aschliman (LSM Haiti Child Development Coordinator) to start several educational enhancements for our Home of Hope kids. Jen describes their recent trip below:
We were so excited to have a team from Emmanuel Community Church travel to Haiti to work in our Homes of Hope for Child Education Development. This was the beginning step for our ongoing project of bringing education and excellence to our LSM kids. God put together a wonderful ECC team of women who were gifted and passionate to help our kids. As the LSM team leader for the trip, I was so touched by each woman’s desire to be the feet of Jesus as we walked alongside our Haiti families and introduced them to critical and creative thinking education skills.
Our mission at LSM is to “help the world’s most vulnerable children reach their God-given potential.” Those words were carefully chosen because of the depth of their meaning. Vulnerable, according to Merriam-Webster’s dictionary, means to be capable of being physically or emotionally wounded, or open to attack or damage.
We believe that no child should have to face the realities behind that word. We believe that as followers of Jesus, we have a high calling of bringing justice and compassion to extremely vulnerable children. And while it would be easy to become overwhelmed by the vast numbers of vulnerable children in the world, we find strength in reaching one child at a time. Children like Merlin…
I sat with three LSM advocates at lunch and listened to their creative brainstorming. It was exciting to watch these women plan events to spread the message of LSM. They are young moms, and could have just as easily been sitting there just chatting about any number of things. But that day, they had a clear focus. They were there thinking of creative ways to advocate for LSM. And if the past is any indication, they’re sure to come up with some really cool things that are rallying support for vulnerable kids in Ethiopia.
You’ve heard the statistics. It’s estimated that there’s now 153,000,000+ orphans worldwide today, struggling to survive physically and emotionally in some of the most degrading places in the world – on the streets and institutions. Unloved, often abused and without the hope of a future.
You also know that God calls us to do something for these children. For the 40+ times He references orphans throughout scripture, there’s countless calls for believers to stand up for them, defend them, care for them. You know this can happen in many ways – one of which being adoption.
If you’ve talked to anyone who’s adopted, are looking into that journey yourself, or have adopted a child, you also know that this is not an easy road. Jami, a foster/adoptive mom wrote this beautiful reminder of God’s heart for adoption on her blog: