Fruit from the Shadows

A poor, rural farming family had sunk deep into despair. The ground was tough and hard to plough. After hours of backbreaking work, there was little to show for it. Desperation had left them with nothing. Food was scarce. There was never enough to go around. A skinny, quiet little girl went unnoticed in the shadows.

 

Until one day, God led someone to the shadows… and they saw her.

 

 

This malnourished little girl who couldn’t even look you in the eye was brought into a loving Home of Hope family. Her name is Martine*. Her new parents gently showed her love and gave her the opportunity to flourish. A community of teachers, mentors and pastoral staff circled around her, and taught her what she could be.

 

In the last ten years, Martine’s story has taken her far beyond the shadows.

She’s a bubbly teenager who loves spending time with her sisters. She has dreams of building infrastructure and hospitals to help her community. Martine is learning about what it means to be a godly leader, and she’s intrigued. She knows the feeling of hopelessness and she knows what true hope is!

Martine and her sisters recently sang in front of church, “I Want to Bear Fruit.”  It is a song that reflects on John 15. We think it’s a pretty good representation of how she is living today.

 

Jesus said he is the true vine, Christians are the branches.

It cuts off branches that are not fruitful

God help me progress, so I do not throw myself away

I want to grow fruit

Many Christians refuse to bear fruit


God patiently let me grow…. Let me say you never gave up, Oh God!


Let me participate

 

 

 

Someone looked in the shadows and saw Martine’s worth. The little girl who once went unnoticed in the dark is now living in the light of Jesus! This is just one story. Right now, there is another little girl who is fading into hopelessness. Her worth is so much more. Together, we can give her a voice. A future. A life lived on purpose for Christ. Will you join us in bringing this kind of hope to more vulnerable children?

 



Get Involved:

  1. Join our prayer list
  2. Become a family sponsor
  3. Make a one-time gift to support our vision

 


*name changed for privacy

Don’t Miss Out!

Vulnerable children around the world would give anything to know the love and security of a family. LSM is passionate about providing just that, however we can’t do it without your prayers, advocacy and financial support.

 

If you’re in the area, we would love to see you at these upcoming events. Would you please join us in praying for the impact of these nights?


 

IL BENEFIT AUCTION (OCT 12)

 

This Friday, our Central IL friends and family will gather at Five Points Washington for a benefit auction. Each dollar raised will help in making a tangible difference in hundreds of lives! Learn more here and please pray with us.

 

Friday, Oct 12

Starting at 5:30 pm

Five Points Washington, 360 N Wilmor Rd, Washington, IL 61571

 


 

ORPHAN SUNDAY (NOV 11)

 

Churches around the world are uniting in prayer, advocacy and action on Sunday, Nov 11 for Orphan Sunday. We hope you’ll join us for a family-friendly event where you will have the opportunity to step into Haiti and Ethiopia, and walk in an orphan’s shoes. Enjoy a petting zoo and LIVE Gifts of Hope Christmas Catalog experience, do some Christmas shopping and visit our Family Sponsorship Christmas tree. It is our hope that these events will help you connect to the heart of the orphan, and make a real difference! Learn more here and please pray for this global movement to stir many hearts for the vulnerable!

 

Sunday, November 11

4 – 7 pm

LSM Offices: 1935 N Main Street, Bluffton, IN 46714

 

If you can’t make the event, you can still participate!


 

Take Action:

  1. Sign up for our emails and don’t miss updates and future events.
  2. Join our prayer emails.
  3. You can still give if you can’t make it to an event. Partner here.

 


 

Baking Cakes & Dreaming Big

Kathrine* is like many 16 year old girls you might know. She loves to bake cakes with her mom. She looks forward to summer camp with her friends and enjoys singing. She’s excelling in school and working hard to do well. Kathrine is full of life and talent, and we’re thrilled for the direction she’s going in life.

 

 

But it hasn’t always been this way. When Kathrine was a very small child, she realized quickly to get out of her father’s way when he arrived home drunk. She hid in the shadows to avoid another beating. Things got worse when her mother died unexpectedly. Her dad said he couldn’t afford to send her to school. Kathrine couldn’t help but think it was somehow her fault that so many things were bad in her life. Abuse, fear and hopeless days felt like they would never end.

 

 

But God saw her pain. Eventually, Kathrine’s dad was unable to care for her at all. She needed somewhere to go, and God provided an open door for her to come to an LSM Home of Hope that was opening! Kathrine joined her new family. Her loving parents protect her and treat her with great love. She’s catching up in school from her late start. It’s within this family that Kathrine is learning, growing and ultimately finding the safety and security she needs to thrive.

 

 

Kathrine’s biggest joy is being introduced to a personal relationship with Jesus! She talks about how He has been with her, even in those dark days before coming to her Home of Hope family. She finds a lot of peace singing and spending time with her church youth group. We give God the glory for this wonderful transformation!

 

Baking cakes with her mom might seem like a small thing – but it’s a beautiful picture of the healing, hope and love that she knows today. And we bet those cakes are pretty delicious!

 


Get involved:

  1. Become a family sponsor and get to know children like Kathrine through some amazing personal connections.

*name changed for privacy

Summer Highlights from Haiti

This summer was full of great activities for our Homes of Hope! Here are a few highlights:


Summer Internships

Six of our older Home of Hope kids had internships this summer! Five children spent the summer working at LSM’s Nouvelle Aube Grocery store, and one interned with our architect, Jose. We’re thankful for the amazing opportunities these young adults had!

 

Field Trips & Picnics

Our Haitian staff arranged a field trip for several Home of Hope children who excelled in school this year. They had a fun day at the beach, exploring a cave, and visiting a nearby village. There are many Bible contests and soccer tournaments that Home of Hope children participate in at VBS. The winners were treated to a picnic as a reward!

 

 

Parent Seminars

Jean Wesly, our new Trauma Healing Coordinator, held a parent seminar to continue teaching our parents about the effects of trauma in their children’s lives. There were helpful discussions and testimonies as parents shared what has worked well for them. These quarterly seminars are crucial for our Home of Hope parents in equipping them, and helping them feel supported in their parenting!

 

 

Leadership Camps

Seventeen older Home of Hope kids visited LSM Tech for our first annual Leadership Camp. They toured LSM’s Industrial Site, Block Plant and Ag Park. They heard motivational speakers and even worked on their own public speaking skills. We’re excited to see how events like this can aid and support these young adults as they reach adulthood!

 


This work is crucial to our mission: equipping children to reach their full, God-given potential. But we can’t do it without you. Here are three ways you can get involved:

  1. Join the prayer team.

  2. Become a Family sponsor.

  3. Give a one-time gift.


 

You can also keep up to speed on the big things happening at LSM through our Monthly Ministry Updates and Newsletters! If you’re not currently subscribed, do that here.

 


 

Ethiopia VBS 2018

“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!”  – 1 John 3:1

 

 

Inja* is seven years old, and just completed first grade. She was so excited for our second annual Vacation Bible School this month! Since she and her family joined our programs, Inja has been attending Sunday School and our after-school tutoring programs where she is hearing about Jesus! She has also been learning about responsibility and personal hygiene. When some of our staff and volunteers from the local church set up for camp, she watched intently from the door of the church.  They hung a large banner with these words printed in Oromiffa, (their local language): “Ani Ijoolle Waaqayyoo Dhaa!”  It means, “I’m a Child of God!”  This was the theme for VBS.

 

 

Inja made paper crowns and listened to lessons about God’s love for her each morning. In the afternoon, she had fun playing games with her friends. For five days, Inja heard a consistent message of Jesus’ love for her. We hope it’s a message she will tuck away in her heart.

 

 

Her mom was so thankful to see Inja’s happy smiles after returning home from VBS each day. The prayer of her mother’s heart is that, “God fills my children with wisdom and understanding in school and their faith. I pray that they will be listening, and ready for the doors God opens for them!” We pray that too… for Inja and dozens of other precious children who hear this Gospel message of hope taught in practical, loving ways.  Not just at VBS, but throughout the whole year!

 

 


Get Involved:

  1. VBS is just one thing that we provide for vulnerable families in Ethiopia. Learn more about our work with single moms and their children here.
  2. Become a family sponsor and help families like Inja’s reach their God-given potential.

 


 

*names changed for privacy

Haiti VBS 2018

The kids had a blast. The parents swapped stories and encouragement with each other. Our Haitian staff pulled off an amazing week at our 9th annual VBS!

Here are a few highlights of this much-anticipated week!

 

A DREAM FOR HAITI

The Torbeck Home of Hope performed a skit one night called, “A Dream for Haiti.” They dream that someday, all people will meet – nurses, lawyers, agronomists – with one goal to save Haiti. People won’t need to go to Chile, Brazil or Argentina, but will join hands as one,  serving together. They gave thanks to God, LSM and the staff in the US and all those who support the work to make their families possible.

What a beautiful vision! We pray this dream becomes a reality through these amazing kids!

 

SOCCER TOURNAMENTS

These soccer games are intense and so fun for everyone to watch! This year, it included some of the younger staff willing to take on the older boys at a couple of homes. It’s so good to see the parents and staff having fun with the kids, and deepening their relationships.

 

MENTORS & TALKING ABOUT THE FUTURE

Erve and Jean Wesly, two of our Haitian staff who attended college in the States, shared a talk with the older kids on “How to Choose your Career.” They were well received. The kids really appreciated the insights of successful men who are working hard to improve their country. We are so blessed with countless great examples in our staff that are mentoring our kids as they grow up.

 

GAMES, BIBLE QUIZZES, WORSHIP, GOSPEL STORIES AND SHARED MEALS

 

VBS is not only their highlight of summer, but also a beautiful reminder of the transformation  these children have experienced in their short lives. We hope you enjoy seeing them grow up in these photos too!

 


Get involved:

  1. Become a family sponsor, and be partnered with a specific Home of Hope family.
  2. Give a one-time gift to Haiti to help us continue to provide these amazing camps at VBS and shorter events throughout the year.

Rain, Rain Go Away

Many of the single moms in our Ethiopia program have started small businesses buying wholesale and selling produce at the local market. But there’s a catch. When the rainy season hits, food becomes scarce and wholesalers simply have nothing to sell them. Spices and other products typically prepared over open fires or in poorly constructed kitchens are rained out. 

 

It’s an everyday occurrence we don’t even think about. However for these moms, it’s a matter of being able to feed their children this month or not… at least it was.  

Since being a part of our program, these moms are learning a new way of conducting business. Our staff hosted a seminar this month. Together, we brainstormed how business can thrive during the rainy season. From storing up through the year to accommodate the harsher conditions to changing business tactics during these months, it was a very helpful discussion. Many hardworking moms who have been reaching for what seemed like a dead-end road felt hope again. Beyond that, LSM also provides food supplements and physical support as they learn better ways to prepare for the lean times. This two year support program helps mothers during a difficult season of business without creating long-term dependency. 

For moms like Dimka* and her five children, it’s making all the difference. 

“Before I came to this project, I had lots of up and downs. I have lived in very deep poverty with my five children since their father died. Thanks to God, but now things have changed. God visited me through these people who came to help, and I believe He shines His face on me. This program has offered many skills, awareness and start-up funds for my business.I am thankful for my children’s school opportunity and provision, food and clothing from the LSM project here in my country. In general, through both Life Skill and Business Skill trainings I have learned the importance of initiating work opportunities myself, persistence, time management, saving culture/trend without scarcity or shortage of money, business skills, and how to handle my business.”

Because of simple things like learning how to manage a business in a rainy season, this family is beating the odds. 
Odds they never imagined they’d be capable of reachingWith the support of people on the other side of the world, Dimka’s children are well fed, educated and learning this important truth: “If you work hard and lean on God’s help, you can do great things.

Get Involved: 

 


*name changed for privacy

Unrest in Haiti

“A riot is the language of the unheard.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

On Friday, the Haitian government announced a steep increase in fuel prices (38% increase in gasoline, 47% for diesel and 51% for kerosene) that resulted in violent protests across the country.

 

In recent months, the cost of living in Haiti has increased dramatically, causing rising discontent and anger at the difficulties of daily life. Fuel increases became a tipping point in already rising frustrations.

 

 

While President Moise has now put a temporary hold on this fuel increase in an effort to appease the protesters, the situation remains tense.

 

It’s been a scary weekend for many in Haiti amidst burning cars, roadblocks and looting. LSM’s staff and families are safe, but everyone remains on high alert.

 


Please pray for:

  • The continued safety of our staff and Home of Hope families
  • Vigilant caution from our staff as they maintain operations
  • Peace in the country and economic solutions for the poor who struggle every day just to survive
  • For the vulnerable children (orphans, child slaves and at-risk children) who are often the first to suffer the downstream effects of the unrest

 

Find more background & pictures here.

 

Announcing the New President of LSM!

Sixteen years ago, in 2002, Loving Shepherd Ministries began operations caring for the world’s most vulnerable children and helping them reach their God-given potential.

 

IN THE LAST 16 YEARS, LSM…

…Assisted over 8,000 U.S. families in their adoption journeys. The operations in Haiti have dramatically grown to 20 Homes of Hope providing permanent families for 240 children. There are now multiple businesses in Haiti providing long-term sustainability. In Ethiopia, programs are assisting many young single mothers with vulnerable children to find employment, healing and thus hope for their future.

 

 

A NEW SEASON

Ed Schwartz, as Founder & President, along with LSM’s Board of Directors are pleased to announce that effective June 10, 2018, Doug Isch, LSM’s Vice President, assumed the responsibility and position of President of Loving Shepherd Ministries.

 

Ed will continue as Director of New Initiatives, providing the direction for future new projects and growth opportunities.

 

A NOTE FROM ED & DOUG

Regarding the changes, Ed states, “It’s been a joy to work alongside Doug for 16 years. His gifts and talents provide great attention to detail and excellence, which is the focus LSM has had and will be having as we look to the future. I look forward to his leadership. I’m thankful for an excellent staff and board of directors, who make it all happen. We thank God who certainly has done exceeding abundantly above all we could have ever imagined or thought.”

 

Doug states, “I am thankful to have had such a great example of servant leadership from Ed over the last 16 years. I am thankful he will continue on with the leadership team of LSM as we continue to work to achieve the mission and vision God has given to LSM. We have a great organization with extremely talented and godly people who help to make LSM an instrument God can use in His Kingdom purposes.”

 


We are excited for the future, and thank each of you for your prayers, partnership and advocacy on behalf of the world’s most vulnerable children!

Read more about the history of LSM here.


 

A Modern-Day Atrocity That You Can Impact

A ROSE AMONG THORNS – a novel by LSM’s Founder, Ed Schwartz highlights the plight of a staggering 300,000+ child slaves (restaveks) in Haiti today. You’ll follow the story of five children –forced into a life they couldn’t escape, wondering how a loving God could allow such pain.

 

It’s a modern-day atrocity we are trying to reverse.

 

 

With your help, all proceeds from this book will help us fund a new campus with 6 Homes of Hope in Haiti called Redemption West, which will become home to 72 formerly vulnerable children! Some of whom were restaveks themselves. Some of whom were on the verge of being sent into this horrific life.

 

 

That’s 72 kids whose lives will take a dramatically different turn.

It’s 72 lives that will have the opportunity to reach their God-given potential and THRIVE.

It’s a reality far too few children receive.

 

 

To help make this campus a reality, a generous donor will match the first $45,000 of proceeds from this book! That means your gifts of $50, $100 or even $500 will have DOUBLE THE IMPACT! Another donor provided the funds for printing the books which means 100% of your gift will go to helping the vulnerable children in Haiti.

 

 

 


Here’s what you can do:

– Order a copy of A Rose Among Thorns.

– When you order, make a donation (min $20) that will help us fund Redemption West.

– Purchase extra copies for your friends.


 

Learn more about the book and how you can be a part of this life-changing work here.

 

 

 

 

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