Getting the winter blues? Needing some inspiration? This is the perfect time to check out some upcoming events that will inspire you and give you opportunities to make a tangible difference in a vulnerable child’s life.
Today is the World Day of Social Justice.
There’s a lot we could talk about with a topic like this. There are 35.8 million people enslaved in the world, millions who are victims to human trafficking and countless vulnerable children effected by circumstances they could never control. Those are statistics that frankly that be pretty far removed from a lot of our everyday lives.
Stop for a moment with me and smile – for the joy in this picture…
Ted* (far right) is totally preoccupied and won’t look at the camera. He’s two, which is so typical.
Ben* (middle) is squirmy and so full of life you feel like you’re constantly watching for the next thing he’ll try.
The other three are all kinds of spice and sweet – full of giggles and life and the ability to let it all out and dance.
These are beautiful, fun-loving, NORMAL kids.
We’ve got a great team in Haiti this week who’s experiencing many things, pitching in on some projects at the Ranch and visiting some of our families. These guys have been busy! But honestly, it’s more than picking up a hammer and working on some projects – as valuable as that is.
“I just can’t seem to get ahead. I have to feed my children. I don’t know what to do.”
Those were the tearful words I heard from the cracked lips of a desperate woman as I stood in her cave-of-a-dwelling, an tiny upstairs room with dung walls and a tarp roof. It wouldn’t hold out the rains with the rainy season. The one room was barely big enough to hold the mattress Betti* shared with her three children. As I’d pulled myself up the narrow ladder through the open hole to the room above, I wondered how many times her baby had almost crawled over and fell through.
It is life’s greatest privilege to see people who were once vulnerable and hopeless find meaning and purpose. We believe this is only completely possible through the power of Jesus Christ in a life, and with each program and project we start, LSM’s heart is to tap into a person’s greatest potential.
In Ethiopia, we’ve found this to be true of each mother who has found herself desperate to provide for her children. Vulnerability leads to exploitation – and a generational cycle of hopelessness. But if a woman can find hope in something else and discover that she is capable of providing for her family with dignity, something powerful changes. Through extensive counselling, discipleship and vocational training, we’ve seen hundreds of women and children leave the streets and start new lives, reaching for their greatest potential.
There’s a beautiful city in Eastern Africa where ancient culture, devoutly religious people and extreme poverty all meet. It is captivating – a paradox of rich and poor and great pain.
“All I ever wanted was to be loved and have a family…” – Shana, sex trafficked in the US
Deep within us is a desire to be loved and accepted. We are made for family. For community. For a place and people who are there for us. When that is stripped away through death, abandonment, or abuse, it leave a void at our very core. Voids are tricky things. Without guidance or support, we’ll go searching for something to fulfill that – and the results are often horrific.
Joe Gerber and Gabe Walder (LSM Staff), took a Vision Team to Haiti last week. Gabe shares his thoughts from their week on today’s blog!
Anyone that is experiencing Haiti for the first time experiences new emotions and realizations from day one. It can be overwhelming to take in any country for the first time and in the case of Haiti realities such as lack of infrastructure, poverty, and domestic slavery can be almost too difficult to understand. Unfortunately, many Americans traveling to Haiti are left feeling helpless or end up supporting non-profits that are thought up by, organized, and run by Americans. These initiatives often fizzle out within the first few years. In contrast LSM’s programs are sustained by the Haitians themselves and are dedicated to transforming the country for God’s glory over the long haul. The understanding that Americans will never save Haiti but only Haitians can have a lasting positive impact on the country remains central to LSM’s beliefs.
Five years ago today, an entire country was flipped upside down in a massive earthquake. We just want to take a moment to remember and pray for Haiti.