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:
She was barely 15 when her mother told her it was time. Tigist* didn’t question what that meant. She knew the inevitable day was coming and that night, she spent her first of many long, dark nights on the streets waiting for the next customer. Tigist’s mother, also a prostitute, knew no other way to provide for her daughter, and no other lifestyle to teach her about – and so she trained her, teaching her what to do.
This weekend is special as we celebrate the dads in our lives. Today’s post is by Joe Gerber, National Mobilization Coordinator for LSM. As a passionate advocate for the fatherless, and a dad himself, Joe’s got a wide expanse of knowledge and heart to share our Father’s Day message.
We are passionate about working to give every child the chance to know what it’s like to have a Godly mom and dad in their lives. But what about the 143,000,000 + orphans who don’t have the luxuries many of our kids are growing up with – like the love of a family and basics for survival? How can you teach your kids to appreciate family and have a healthy outlook towards the world as they grow up? Below’s a few ideas to help integrate a heart for the orphans into your family dynamics.
June 2010 marked the start of one family’s journey – a journey that has become an inspiration for many. One would not naturally think of cancer that way, especially not in someone so young. But as Zach Bertsch and his wife Jenny processed the fact that he had terminal cancer, they had one overwhelming response… they wanted to redeem it.
The past three years have been an incredible outpouring of that desire. That same year, they began partnering with LSM to start the Cancer Redemption Project. (Learn more about it here.) Today, that dream in partnership with LSM has become a campus in Haiti with four Home of Hope families, a church and school, and room for growth.
Earlier this year, I heard Gary Haugen, President of IJM (International Justice Mission) speak at the Justice Conference. It was a powerful message with one statement that I’ve thought back to often. He said this:
“Justice requires LONG obedience in the same direction.”
The tension was unnaturally thick in the concrete building last week. Nearly 40 people were there facing several LSM staff in what was quickly turning into a different meeting than LSM anticipated. They’d met last Tuesday to discuss with the community the security issues around the 40-acre LSM Ranch. Some local boys had been wriggling through the barbed wire and cactus fence to go swimming in a steep and deep pond on the LSM property. Concerned for their safety, LSM staff had told the boys to stop, and then approached the mayor when they kept sneaking over. But now, sitting across from some upset men, women and the local judge, LSM staff sensed it was about a lot more than boys swimming where they shouldn’t.