A Surprise Christmas Gift

“ ‘Maybe Christmas,’ he thought, ‘doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas… perhaps… means a little bit more!” – Dr. Seuss, How the Grinch Stole Christmas

 

As Christmas approaches, we’re caught in the last minute hustle and bustle of the holiday fundraising efforts. Something special happened this week that made us pause and smile. A visit from a little girl reminded us how small acts of kindness can be multiplied!

 

 

Eight year old Mylin walked into Loving Shepherd Ministries with something in hand…her very own donation for the Gifts of Hope Christmas Catalog. When Mylin’s family received the catalog in the mail, she saw pictures of children who do not have a dad to provide for them in Ethiopia. Mylin decided she wanted to raise money for them. She made a plan and went to work. She babysat little ones for moms, and helped both her grandmothers clean out their cabinets. She worked hard and saved every dollar until her goal was reached.

 

Mylin’s mom, Rachel, brought her to the office so they could hand-deliver the hardworking, sacrificial gift together. While they were here, we  shared pictures and stories of the families that she’s helping. She was also able to see our Haiti Education Wing and learn more about kids her age who live in many places around the world!

 

We’re celebrating God’s work in the hearts of little girls who are being raised with compassion to care for the least of these. A big thanks to Mylin and her family for remembering these precious moms and kids in Ethiopia this Christmas! Mylin understands that Christmas is about something so much more. We’re grateful for her donation that’s helping bring that message to children in Ethiopia too! Some of the most meaningful gifts can’t be wrapped be in paper. Instead, they are wrapped in love. Thank you, Mylin!

 


GET INVOLVED:

  1. Give a Gift of Hope this Christmas
  2. Schedule your Haiti Education Wing Tour and learn more about the Gospel Project and other volunteer opportunities

 

Change in Jesus’ Name

Firesa* sorts vegetables on a mat and lays them out in pretty patterns along the ground. It’s the weekend, and the sun is beaming along the street. Her sons have come with her today and sit nearby studying their books. She hands them both some fresh veggies for a snack and smiles. This simple act means so much.

 

A DIFFICULT PAST

When Firesa and her two sons came to LSM’s program two years ago, they were in a desperate place. After her husband died, she could not find reliable work to provide for her children. With no formal education of her own, Firesa felt as if she had no good skills to offer. At 11 and 7, her boys never had a consistent education. The family barely had enough food to survive – and every day was focused on doing whatever they could to find something to eat.

 

LSM’S INTERVENTION

Through the loving support of LSM’s staff and local church volunteers, Firesa was able to attend small business development trainings where she received counseling and spiritual discipleship. Mentors helped her start her vegetable market business, which she continues to grow in new areas. LSM provided the funds to send her children to school for the first time. Our staff came alongside with financial support so they could eat and have proper clothing. These practical things displayed the love of Jesus, and showed Firesa that she was not alone.

 

A BRIGHT FUTURE

Firesa and her boys have begun to thrive because of the loving care of the church and LSM staff. No longer hopeless, this widow can now care for her family with dignity. She knows her worth is in Jesus. Today, they have a small home that they call their own. The boys love their English and physics classes, as well as playing with their new friends at school. With enough food in their bellies, they have the energy they need to focus and learn. This family has been shown a great deal of love in Jesus’ name. And it’s changing everything!

 

 

Your support enables us to come together and provide life-changing education, support and basic necessities so families like this can thrive. Without you, none of this is possible. Thank you!

 


 

If you haven’t already, we hope you’ll consider joining us this Christmas to help more families like Firesa’s thrive in Haiti and Ethiopia. This Christmas season, every dollar given will be MULTIPLIED by our matching grant opportunities!

GIVE TODAY.

 


 

*name changed for privacy

Radical Change for the Long-Haul

Four years ago, we shared a video about Hannah. No longer living in fear of voodoo, Hannah is thriving today. See where her journey has taken her!

Hannah is more than a label of orphan or child slave. Her story is one out of 240 children in Haiti who have been rescued, and are now receiving amazing opportunities.

Here’s just a few new projects started in 2018 that are empowering Hannah and other Home of Hope children. Through each effort, these children are equipped to reach their full, God-given potential and ultimately, transform their country for Christ!


TRAUMA HEALING PROGRAM

Jean Wesly and our amazing Child Development team have been hard at work with monthly seminars. The curriculum they are using has been adapted from David C. Cook. This program combines biblical principles, life skills and healing themes of hope to help our kids process their painful pasts.

The team has also developed quarterly seminars for our parents. Several topics have been utilized from “Trauma Competent Caregiving” (Back2Back Ministries), “Empowered to Connect” and other trauma healing programs. Our prayer is that these seminars will enable our parents to best serve their children. Parents are deeply encouraged by these resources and thankful for the intentional support from our staff.


GOSPEL PROJECT

Gospel and hygiene kits have been packed by volunteer groups in the U.S. are now being passed out in Haiti by our Home of Hope families! We are thrilled to see the Gospel shared with each of these kits given in Jesus’ name.


LEADERSHIP TRAINING

This summer marked the first Leadership Camp for our older Home of Hope children at LSM Tech. We are excited for growing opportunities that teach our children the value of hard work, leadership and education. As our kids begin to graduate and move to LSM Tech, we want to equip them with the educational, practical and spiritual tools they need to thrive on their own.

 


SUMMER INTERNSHIPS

Our Business Development efforts are up and running and providing internship opportunities for some of our older children. What a blessing to see how God is moving and developing these efforts that not only teach our kids, but also provide quality, sustainable jobs for hundreds of Haitians.


This Continuum of Care for every child we serve is equipping children with the tools they need to reach their full, God-given potential. We can’t wait to see where Hannah and many others go with this love and support.


Will you join us? We can’t do it without your help. Watch our  2018 year in review here and see how your gift of any amount can be MULTIPIED this Christmas season: https://loving-shepherd.org/2018review/

 

Orphan Sunday & Beyond

“A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. God sets the lonely in families.” – Psalm 68.5-6

ORPHAN SUNDAY AT LSM

On Orphan Sunday, we opened our doors to the community and brought out all the holiday cheer for one clear purpose. We stood with believers all over the world to share God’s heart for the orphan. As people flooded in, they experienced vulnerable children’s stories of great pain that, for these few, has turned into incredible joy.

From tasting traditional foods of Doro Wat (Ethiopia) and Kremas (Haiti) to petting a live goat and chicks, we provided a small chance to step into the lives of these children around the world.

This hope is made possible because of people just like you who give from your blessings to help these children find love in a stable family. You make it possible for children to receive an education and healing from their trauma. You make it possible for them to go on to college and get good jobs. Ultimately, you make it possible for these children to change their cultures for Christ.

 


FAMILY SPONSORSHIP

But this story goes far beyond one day a year. One of the best ways to connect with these precious children even more is through our Family Sponsorship program. As a Family Sponsor, you will be connected to an entire family in Haiti (or Ethiopia) where you have access to an Online Family Room (including regular stories, updates, pictures and information about their culture and daily life.)

 

Learn more about how you can invest in one of our Home of Hope families HERE.

 


GIFTS OF HOPE

 If you’d like to help a child thrive by making a one-time gift, we have a variety of opportunities through our Gifts of Hope Christmas Catalog.

 

View the catalog here.

 

 


 

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.
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