Of all the important resources that developing countries lack, perhaps the most critical is hope. When despair creeps in, collective participation falters and suffering increases. How can a student focus on studying if they don’t feel safe from local gang activity? Why would a tradesman start a business if they fear their government’s corruption will undermine what they’re trying to build? At LSM, we focus on making families feel safe in spaces that we can control, such as the classroom and the home. By pointing vulnerable kids to our greatest hope, found in Jesus, we’re endeavoring to keep the vital flame of participation alive in a new generation. Will you, too, participate with us by lifting up these efforts in prayer?
𝗜𝗻𝗱𝗶𝘃𝗶𝗱𝘂𝗮𝗹 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗖𝗼𝗹𝗹𝗲𝗰𝘁𝗶𝘃𝗲 𝗖𝘂𝗹𝘁𝘂𝗿𝗲𝘀 𝗖𝗮𝗻 𝗕𝗼𝘁𝗵 𝗚𝗶𝘃𝗲 𝗨𝘀 𝗮 𝗖𝗹𝗲𝗮𝗿𝗲𝗿 𝗨𝗻𝗱𝗲𝗿𝘀𝘁𝗮𝗻𝗱𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗼𝗳 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗞𝗶𝗻𝗴𝗱𝗼𝗺 𝗼𝗳 𝗚𝗼𝗱
“Individualism” is a defining quality of U.S. culture, especially compared to other countries. This is a challenge to LSM because Haiti and Ethiopia, the two primary foreign countries we serve, both have cultures that emphasize “collectivism.” In other words, Americans place a higher value on self-reliance while our friends in Haiti and Ethiopia often focus more on the common good. From a Christian worldview, both perspectives may provide lessons that we can take to heart. For instance, LSM’s international staff might more easily understand that we are not our own (1 Cor. 6:19), that none of us should think of ourselves more highly than we ought (Romans 12:3), and that we should all serve cooperatively within God’s Kingdom rather than just pursue our own interests. At the same time, our American staff might more easily understand that salvation comes from a personal relationship with Jesus (1 Cor. 8:3) and that free, individual choice is one of the most important gifts He’s given us to live a full, abundant life (2 Cor. 3:17). The difficult aspect of working across cultures is that LSM staff must practice teachable humility and stay alert for miscommunications. And the blessing is that every day, we have an opportunity to step out of our cultural lens in order to see God and those around us in a fresh light. Could you and your family benefit from a multicultural perspective? Maybe consider sponsoring a Home of Hope and starting a relationship with a family in Haiti. It could provide just the change in perspective that your family has been looking for!
𝗪𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝗶𝘀 𝗬𝗼𝘂𝗿 𝗪𝗼𝗿𝘀𝗵𝗶𝗽: 𝗔 𝗣𝗿𝗮𝘆𝗲𝗿 𝗳𝗼𝗿 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗠𝗼𝗱𝗲𝗿𝗻 𝗖𝗵𝘂𝗿𝗰𝗵
If we take away the sign out front, is it still worship? Perhaps you come from a church where it may feel less like worship if there isn’t a band and lights, if you don’t raise both hands, or if you don’t post a tweet from the service? Maybe you come from a more traditional church where it might feel less like worship without hymnals and stained glass. What if there isn’t a smile and nod from your friends nearby? What if we remove the Sunday crowd completely? What if there’s no message? Or no music? Is it still worship if it’s just us and God spending a moment together? If He’s asking us for a big leap of faith, do we call that worship? What if He’s asking us to do something small instead, something no one else would ever notice? Do small things matter enough to be worship? Is it worship if the thing God is asking us to do is uncomfortable or unpopular? Is it worship if it hurts our pride or if it stains our khaki pants? Open our eyes, God. To think outside of the box and to remember that our worship is for an Audience of One. To be reminded that Jesus just wants us to sit at His feet like Mary, learn from Him, and then to go out like the Apostles. Seeking Rahab, the thief on the cross, the Samaritan, the tax collector. The destitute, the poor in spirit, the penitent, the vulnerable, the least of these. Open our eyes to worship in all its forms. Show us what it looks like to walk with You today. Give us the grace to escape society and self. Teach us to worship!
𝗣𝗿𝗮𝘆𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗔𝗴𝗮𝗶𝗻𝘀𝘁 𝗦𝘆𝗻𝗰𝗿𝗲𝘁𝗶𝘀𝗺: 𝗪𝗲 𝗗𝗼 𝗡𝗼𝘁 𝗦𝗲𝗿𝘃𝗲 𝗮 𝗚𝗼𝗱 𝗼𝗳 𝗖𝗼𝗻𝗳𝘂𝘀𝗶𝗼𝗻, 𝗕𝘂𝘁 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗙𝗮𝘁𝗵𝗲𝗿 𝗼𝗳 𝗟𝗶𝗴𝗵𝘁𝘀
The U.S. Department of State estimates that 4 out of every 5 Haitians practices a form of voodoo combined with Christianity. Voodoo in Haiti has a dark history of employing fear to abuse and manipulate people. The mixing of Christianity with something untrue, known as “syncretism,” is something we must monitor in our Homes of Hope, where children might come to us with ideas about Jesus that are polluted with untruth. Syncretism also poses a challenge as we seek to share Jesus more broadly through efforts like the Gospel Project. It’s a subject the Bible speaks about extensively. In the Old Testament, God was constantly reminding his people to avoid polluting their beliefs with the destructive ideologies of their neighbors. You may remember Joshua’s command to “choose this day who you will serve” (Josh. 24:15) or Elijah’s question: “how long will you waver between two opinions?” (1 Kings 18:21). In the New Testament, Paul and the early church fathers spent a significant amount of time battling a second iteration of the same fight, reminding believers “you cannot drink from the cup of the Lord and the cup of devils” (1 Cor. 10:21). We do not serve a God of confusion (1 Cor. 14:33). This week, let’s pray for God to make himself clearly known to those in Haiti and around the world who sincerely and diligently seek Him (Jer. 29:13).
𝗛𝗼𝗽𝗲 𝗣𝗿𝗲𝘃𝗮𝗶𝗹𝘀: 𝗧𝗵𝗲 𝗜𝗻𝗰𝗮𝗹𝗰𝘂𝗹𝗮𝗯𝗹𝗲 𝗣𝗼𝘄𝗲𝗿 𝗼𝗳 𝗮 𝗪𝗶𝗹𝗹𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗛𝗲𝗮𝗿𝘁 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗮 𝗦𝗽𝗶𝗿𝗶𝘁 𝗼𝗳 𝗣𝗮𝗿𝘁𝗶𝗰𝗶𝗽𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻
𝗧𝗵𝗲 𝗣𝗼𝘄𝗲𝗿 𝗼𝗳 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗚𝗼𝘀𝗽𝗲𝗹: 𝗚𝗼𝗱 𝗥𝗲𝘄𝗿𝗶𝘁𝗲𝘀 𝗢𝘂𝗿 𝗜𝗻𝗱𝗶𝘃𝗶𝗱𝘂𝗮𝗹 𝗦𝘁𝗼𝗿𝗶𝗲𝘀
If we could read the story of your life, what kind of book would it be? Are there paragraphs where you lost your way, chapters that you wish you could go back and tear out? Romans 3:23 tells us all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Sadly, not one of us can change our identities or expunge our pasts. But we can be thankful to serve a God who can. Through Him alone, our stories can be rewritten, the mistakes and pains of our past blotted out by grace. In John 15:15, Jesus tells us He no longer considers us servants – but friends – and children of our Father in Heaven. This week, let’s remember to walk in that grace and to live each day in close communion with the One who made our redemption story possible.
𝗕𝗮𝗱 𝗡𝗲𝘄𝘀 𝗔𝗿𝗼𝘂𝗻𝗱 𝗨𝘀 𝗗𝗼𝗲𝘀𝗻’𝘁 𝗖𝗵𝗮𝗻𝗴𝗲 𝗔𝗻𝘆𝘁𝗵𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗔𝗯𝗼𝘂𝘁 𝗚𝗼𝗱’𝘀 𝗚𝗼𝗼𝗱 𝗡𝗲𝘄𝘀!
We serve in Haiti, Ethiopia, and the United States, all three of which have dealt with challenges this year: political turmoil in the U.S., an earthquake in Haiti, a regional civil war in Ethiopia, and a global pandemic affecting all three. We’ve grieved losses from these tragedies in turn. But 1 Cor. 4:13 reminds us we’re not to grieve like those who are without hope. No matter what bad news besets us, LSM remains steadfast, resting in the greatest good news of all, the Gospel. Because of Jesus, we know how the story ends. This knowledge emboldens us to stay open to joy in hard times, to rebuild when things fall apart, to help others, and to expand His kingdom!
𝗘𝗻𝘁𝗲𝗿 𝗛𝗶𝘀 𝗚𝗮𝘁𝗲𝘀 𝘄𝗶𝘁𝗵 𝗧𝗵𝗮𝗻𝗸𝘀𝗴𝗶𝘃𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗛𝗶𝘀 𝗖𝗼𝘂𝗿𝘁𝘀 𝘄𝗶𝘁𝗵 𝗣𝗿𝗮𝗶𝘀𝗲, 𝗕𝗲 𝗧𝗵𝗮𝗻𝗸𝗳𝘂𝗹 𝘁𝗼 𝗛𝗶𝗺 & 𝗕𝗹𝗲𝘀𝘀 𝗛𝗶𝘀 𝗡𝗮𝗺𝗲
Want to be happier? Healthier? More resilient? More joyful? More forgiving? More loving? More generous? More relational? More optimistic? Research has shown that practicing gratitude can improve your life in all of these areas! And it’s not difficult to do. Gratitude is like a muscle that can be strengthened through daily use. Today, why not sit down and write out a list of all the blessings in your life? Have you taken time recently to express gratitude to the people who mean the most to you? This week, let’s remember to keep thankful hearts and freely express appreciation to those we love!