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.
One young man, a leader in the community, stood up and proclaimed: “We don’t know who LSM is. They aren’t doing anything for the community. They need to give to the community.”
Jan, one of LSM’s missionaries, a couple of the Haitian staff working at the Ranch (mostly from the same community), and Ed Schwartz (LSM President) shared about the purpose of LSM in helping vulnerable children, how LSM is providing families for orphans and exploited children, and working to empower them long-term through the Ranch. They shared about future jobs the Ranch will provide (and the many it’s already provided for those in the community) and the many orphans from their community who were now in a family because of LSM.
Right after that, the young man who’d spoken out so boldly before stood again. “Now I understand,” he said. “I will get my megaphone and travel through the village and tell the boys and families they shouldn’t break into the Ranch and swim. I’ll take care of LSM here. You don’t need to worry about safety or anything else. We are thankful to have you here.”
It was an abrupt turn-around to say the least. But it didn’t stop there.
Because of this beneficial conversation and the community understanding the intent of LSM more clearly, LSM now has an opportunity to have a community gathering night where the Gospel and popcorn will be shared. Not only will the entire community have a chance to hear about Jesus because of this meeting, but we’ll continue having opportunities to build up solid relationships with the area. Truly God does bring tremendous good from seemingly bad situations.