CARING FOR FOSTER & ADOPTIVE FAMILIES

We are thrilled to be expanding our care for local foster and adoptive families through the LSM BrickHouse program. This summer, LSM gained a new arm to our domestic work with the merge of BrickHouse Family Ministries. (Read more about it here.) As we reimagine this program, we’ve considered how we can best support foster youth in our community – and the families that welcome them home.

 

FREE CHRISTIAN COUNSELING FOR FOSTER & ADOPTIVE FAMILIES

 

It’s clear that foster and adoptive families often face unique challenges as they bring healing to children from hard places. Even if a child has been in the family’s care since they were very young, there are often attachment issues that they bring with them since before birth! Add on the complexities of racial integrations, neglect or abuse a child might have faced, and there’s a myriad of difficult scenarios to navigate through. We want to offer help!

 

 

Adam Carroll, LMFT-A, is our first Christian counselor on staff – and he’s excited to be able to provide free counseling for local foster and adoptive families as he has availability. We’d love to offer this critical support for families in the Bluffton, IN area. If you know of a local family who is currently or who is considering adoption or fostering, please share this with them! To learn more, please email Adam at adam@loving-shepherd.org

 

ADOPTION RESOURCES

 

In addition, we continue to serve hundreds of families each year through our free adoption resources program. The road to adoption is complicated and sometimes eligibility within certain countries is not clear. Our staff can help answer those questions for you, break down the costs and coach you on the right questions to ask – all free of charge. It’s our prayer that these tools will empower you as you seek to care for the vulnerable child God has for you!

 

 

LEARN MORE AND START YOUR ADOPTION RESOURCES FORM TODAY!

 

Whether God has called you to be a foster or adoptive parent, or you’re best suited to financially support others raising vulnerable children, we believe everyone has a place in His work! As we serve together, we want to thank you because none of this is possible without your prayerful support. You are enabling us to help care for these families – and the vulnerable children they love.

 


GET INVOLVED

  1. Pray for foster and adoptive families – and the children they are raising! We pray their stories can be testimonies of His goodness despite the brokenness of this world.

 

  1. Help us provide free counseling and adoption resources for families answering His call. We can’t provide these resources without your help! GIVE HERE.

 

REMEMBERING HURRICANE MATTHEW

“In all of my 65 years in Haiti, I have never seen anything like this.” – Pastor Wilfrid, LSM Home of Hope Director, after Hurricane Matthew, October 2016

 

On October 4, 2016, a massive Category 5 hurricane struck southwest Haiti. Hurricane Matthew’s destructive path hit near several of our Homes of Hope and the surrounding communities. Thankfully, because of good construction, our Home of Hope families were safe. But the wide-spread damage was devastating in surrounding areas. Read our blog from right after the hurricane here and here.

 

 

BBC ESTIMATED THAT DURING HURRICANE MATTHEW:

  • Nearly 900 people died
  • Up to 90% of some areas in SW Haiti were destroyed
  • Getting aid, clean water and clearing off roads took several days and even weeks
  • Some areas in southern Haiti faced “complete destruction”

 

As our Haitian staff and families observed the horrifying destruction, they quickly went to work helping neighbors and friends. Many people lost loved ones. This hurricane had changed them forever. The love and support you showed during this difficult time was a reflection of Christ! YOU responded with tremendous generosity, and we were able to show love and support to the local communities as well as provide new roofs for many homes!

 

 

Long after the storm has passed, and the roofs are replaced, we are still seeing the effects.  Many of our young kids suffered PTSD after the hurricane. Water flooded several homes. The sights and sounds were horrific, and they knew people who did die in the natural disaster. For others, it reminded them of the 2010 earthquake that took hundreds of thousands of Haitian’s lives. That natural disaster stole many of their mothers, fathers and loved ones. It is the reason several of them are orphans today.

 

Through these devastating natural disasters, we are incredibly grateful for our amazing staff and programs that we have to help our children process these difficult experiences. The emotions are immense and sometimes the children don’t know how to verbalize all that is going on inside. Our Trauma Healing Program is there for them and are a safe place for them to process through their emotions. They have learned to discuss what’s troubling them in order to find hope and healing going forward.

 

As we reflect  on Hurricane Matthew, will you join us in praying for those who have suffered much over the last three years?  Some of our children have lost loved ones, and this week is a reminder of that pain. But there is always hope in Jesus and healing from the traumatic circumstances they have faced. It is our desire to point them to our One true Healer!

 


GET INVOLVED:

  1. PRAY FOR HAITI.
  2. DONATE TO THE TRAUMA HEALING PROGRAM AND SUPPORT.
  3. STAY IN TOUCH. We’d love keep you updated as major events like this and new things happen at LSM and in the countries we serve!

 

THE POWER OF ONE

WHAT IF YOU HAD THE POWER TO CHANGE A CHILD’S FUTURE?

 

Roseline* lived in a remote village up in the mountains of Southern Haiti. She barely remembers her father, who died when she was very young.  He left behind seven small children. Her mother desperately tried to provide for them, but there was never enough. Hunger and hopelessness became part of their day to day lives.

 

 

When her mother died tragically, Roseline watched in horror as two of her siblings were taken to distant neighbor’s homes to become restaveks (child slaves.) One by one, her siblings were scattered across the countryside. Who would protect her?

 

THAT’S WHEN THE BODY OF CHRIST STEPPED IN

 

LSM’s Haitian staff learned of this orphan girl and brought her into the Isabel Home of Hope family, which means “God’s promise” and “I am God’s Daughter.” That name has become a beautiful testimony for Roseline. As part of the Isabel family, she not only has a loving home, she also receives three healthy meals a day, goes to school and attends lots of additional LSM activities. She no longer worries about what she will eat or who will take her away. She is cared for and protected. Most importantly, Roseline once again has the love of a dad and mom who treat her as their own precious daughter.

 

 

YOU CAN CHANGE A LIFE LIKE ROSELINE’S

 

Roseline’s story isn’t unique. 240 children in our care have been rescued from child slavery, starvation and abandonment. But today, they are thriving in a loving family through LSM!

 


GET INVOLVED:

 

  1. Prayerfully consider becoming a Haiti Family Sponsor and joining the family! You’ll impact the lives of 12 children like Roseline in a powerful way!
  2. Learn more about helpful tools so you can stay connected to your Home of Hope.
  3. Pray for our Home of Hope families who are helping 12 formerly orphaned, at-risk or exploited children find hope and healing.

 


 

WHEN THERE SIMPLY ISN’T ROOM

by Becky Browning, LSM Staff

 

This week, my daughter hobbled into the kitchen, “Mom, my foot hurts. I think I have something stuck in there.” I examined it and then picked up the phone to call the doctor, “We can see her today. Can you come at 3:45?” And just like that, we had an appointment. Normally, a phone call like that would not have stopped me in my tracks. But today it did.

 

 

My life was changed by a 2-year-old little girl in Haiti. When I first met her, she was laying on a dirt floor. There was piles of trash and clothes around her. Chickens were roaming in and out of the room. Her eyes were closed. Her young mom told me that her head was getting bigger. She had a medical condition called, hydrocephalus. The veins deep inside were filling with fluid, causing intense pressure on her tiny brain. The family had no money to pay for surgery. They desperately tried to get her medical help, but every time they showed up at the hospital, they were ignored or turned away. A few weeks later, my friend and I went to visit the family.  They explained to us that once again no doctor would operate on their baby. As I held her, prayed and sang, she made kissing noises and smiled at me. I looked into her big brown eyes. What will happen if she doesn’t get surgery?

 

Then we heard some exciting news! A surgeon from the United States was coming to Haiti for 2 weeks. This little girl’s mom and grandmother gathered enough money and took her on a 5-hour bus ride to the hospital in Port-Au-Prince. When they arrived, there were 48 cases of children with hydrocephalus in the waiting room. They too had heard the surgeon was coming. Sadly, our sweet 2-year-old little friend was once again turned away. There was simply not enough time to help her.

 

Today, she still waits.

 

She’s not alone. Haiti only has 25 trained doctors for every 100,000 people! This reality means that many, many people never get access to the medical care they desperately need.

 

 

 

The children that God has placed in our Homes of Hope have a variety of medical needs – from being HIV+ to coming into our care severely malnourished.  They, like many Haitians, lacked access to clean drinking water and proper nutrition. Some of our children had broken bones and have been through significant trauma. Others did not have access to life-giving drugs that would keep their disease under control.

 

Today, as a child in a Home of Hope, they no longer have to suffer and wait. Their mom or dad can pick up the phone just like I did, and know the funds are there (because of you!) to get them to a hospital when they need it. And beyond that, we’re raising up a generation of nurses, doctors and professionals who will be able to impact those staggering statistics so more little girls like the one I met in that dirt hut can get the surgery they desperately need too.

 

But it starts one small step at a time. If you would like to know more about providing care to one of our Homes of Hope, learn more here.

 


GET INVOLVED

 

  1. Pray for the millions of children around the world who lack access to basic medical care in the world. Ask Him how you can be His hands and feet to a hurting world.
  2. Become a Family Sponsor where your donations help cover the basic needs of 12 children and much more!
  3. Give to our Homes of Hope with a one-time gift.

 


 

 

 

YOU’RE A PRINCESS, LITTLE GIRL

My 4-year-old niece slipped her little hand into mine as we descended the stairs, one small step at a time. “I’m a princess,” she stated, gazing at her sundress that she just promptly declared as her princess gown. “Daddy tells me all the time. But why don’t I have a crown? I just need a princess crown.”

 

Reaching the bottom of the stairs, she danced out the door all giggles and twirls. I paused for a moment and soaked in the sweetness of that comment. “I’m a princess. Daddy tells me all the time.”

 

 

Oh, that every child in this world would have a daddy who tells them how loved and precious they are.

 

Far too many little girls (many who are now part of LSM’s families) have not had that kind of affirmation. Instead, they have grown up with feelings of rejection, abandonment and fear at the hands of the men in their lives. We’ve seen the devastating effects that it can have in the life of a child.

 

 

It has also been my privilege to see 20 dads in Haiti who are scooping up those broken hearts and telling their kids how deeply loved they are. These dads (and their wives, moms to these precious kids) wrestle with the effects that trauma and abuse have left on their children’s lives. But with the support of an amazing Haitian staff and the prayers of many of you, they are raising them today with all the love and care of a daddy who tells his 4-year-old she’s a princess. And best of all, it gives them a beautiful opportunity to introduce them to our Father, where they truly are daughters and sons of the King!

 

2 Corinthians 6:18 “I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty!”

 


GET INVOLVED

  1. Tell your kids how precious they are today. Pray with your family for an orphaned child who hasn’t yet been told how valuable they are in the eyes of the Father.
  2. Support our Homes of Hope that are giving vulnerable children a loving mom and dad who will care for them and support them through adulthood.
  3. Give a one-time gift to help hurting children find healing through our Trauma Healing program and biblical discipleship initiatives.

 

 

THE BEST TIME TO PLANT IS TODAY

Have you ever heard this quote? “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is NOW.”  To make a lasting impact, one must act today. Last week, our families in Woliso, Ethiopia participated in the largest tree-planting day in the history of the world! Ethiopia boasted over 350 million trees planted in one day as part of the country’s larger campaign to plant four billion trees.

 

 

This effort comes after massive amounts of deforestation that has had many harmful effects on their land and global warming. It’s estimated that less than 4% of Ethiopia’s land is forested today. The country suffers from soil erosion, droughts and flooding. Despite these harsh realities, 80% of the population relies on farming to survive! Ethiopia’s prime minister, Abiy Ahmed, is leading the reforestation campaign called, “Green Legacy”.

 

 

 

Fifty children in our programs participated in this exciting venture for their country! It was a fun day that empowered our kids to be a part of something exciting in their community.  Servant-leadership is something that we want our children to know, and put into practice. What a privilege to see that lived out as they joined in the effort to give back to their country.

 

 

These children have come from desperately poor, marginalized single parent homes. Participating in activities as simple as planting trees gives them a sense of purpose and connection. When we join others in meaningful work, it doesn’t feel like work. Instead, our combined effort becomes a joyful gift that keeps on giving.

 

 

With efforts like, “Green Legacy” and a generation of children learning the importance of sustainable agricultural practices, it’s a great step for their country.

 

Trees need a healthy environment to grow, so do our children. You can help us sow into these precious lives by becoming a family sponsor today. -Because, “the next best time to plant is now.”

 

 


GET INVOLVED

1. Become a family sponsor and help single mothers and their children in Ethiopia thrive and become leaders in their communities!

2. Subscribe to our blog to keep in touch with these weekly stories!


 

ARMED WITH A CAMERA AND A SMILE

A STAFF TESTIMONY FROM HAITI

 

One of the many blessings at LSM is seeing the ripple effects of the meaningful, stable jobs we are creating. Rich relationships are being formed as our team continues to grow. Michael Brown, who’s been a part of our Haitian staff for many years began mentoring a young man named Abdias. He saw Abdias’ interests and let him use his professional camera and taught him the basics. Seeing his potential, Michael eventually recommended him for the job of Staff Photographer.

 

 

At 26, Abdias is building deep relationships with our Home of Hope families and staff. He travels and photographs events, home life and the many different projects we have going on. Michael continues to mentor Abdias along with a whole crew of godly men and women that he’s working with.

 

 

Abdias shares, “I love being a photographer! When I was a young boy, I said, ‘When I become a man, I will become a police officer.’ But when I met Michael Brown, he introduced me to his camera and I loved it. Michael later introduced me to LSM, where he worked. He called me to come help him. Now, I work with communications and photography in Haiti.”

 

 

He continues, “Working for the children is a part of me. I am Haitian and LSM is helping my country and my brothers and sisters. It’s a pleasure to work here, and gives me great joy. I love getting up and going to work every day. The team is like family to me. They provide such good counsel for me as a young man!”

 

 

We hope you enjoy the fruits of Abdias’ work as you read the blog and see many of our updates throughout the year!

BUILDING A FUTURE AT LSM TECH

 

Working all day in 100 degree + temps outside doing heavy lifting is exhausting! That’s what our construction crew is navigating this summer at our LSM Tech campus. We are preparing to welcome our first round of Home of Hope students in January 2020!

 

 

Six students will be coming this year. Four children have just graduating, and two more graduated last year and attend local universities. They were waiting for the campus to be completed, and a bigger group to transition with. Magda* is one of those early graduates.

 

 

For young adults like Magda, this is a tremendous opportunity! Magda was orphaned at eight. She was very skinny and looked frail. When she came into her Home of Hope family, she had nothing – no joy, no hope and no idea what lay ahead.

 

 

Today, Magda knows what hope is because of the chance she’s been given! She adores her new mom and dad, and has learned a lot from them. She looks forward to attending LSM Tech. She also looks forward to the opportunity to go home, and enjoy sitting on their front steps, braiding her sister’s hair and laughing together.

 

 

Going to LSM Tech is a wonderful opportunity to learn valuable skills and have better work than most in the surrounding cities. Magda recently received some great references from her internship with LSM last summer. She’s attending a local business and technology institute already. She is looking forward to getting additional training, life skills and community at LSM Tech. We can’t wait to see where these opportunities take her!

 

But we’re not quite ready for Magda and the others yet! Our construction team, Education Directors and the entire staff will be working hard to get everything ready for January!

 

 


 

PLEASE PRAY WITH US FOR:

  • Smooth construction schedule and work at the campus before students arrive
  • Peace with the Fondfrede community where LSM Tech is located
  • Magda and the other five students who will be moving to the campus this winter
  • For our Dean of Students, Jean Wesly, and his new bride Valencia, who will be working with administration at LSM Tech

 


 

*name changed for privacy

A HOPE-FILLED VISION FOR ETHIOPIA

A STAFF TESTIMONY

 

Hilina Wendossen grew up in a missional family. From a young age, her father instilled in her a passion for the hurting. She knew that whatever she did in life, she wanted to make the world a better place. As a young Ethiopian, she has a passion and vision to see her country thrive. Becoming a part of Loving Shepherd Ministries in Addis Ababa has been an inspiring and beautiful way to live out that passion!

 

 

With a bright smile, she says, “I have a vision that my country will no longer be an example of poverty, sickness and war. I will contribute my best effort make this happen.”

 

Hilina began working for LSM in 2010 as a fresh graduate. To her surprise, she immediately found meaningful and spiritually grounded work! With a degree in social work / counseling, she thrived in her everyday interactions, caring for vulnerable young women who had been forced to make desperate decisions just to feed their babies.

 

 

Hilina remembers, “At times, I would have a counselee who was the same age as me (mid 20’s) sitting across from me. I remember early on, working with one young mom and her son in particular. They had been through such trauma and pain. You could easily see their despair and loneliness. Every time we talked, I put myself in her shoes and I started looking at my life and asked, ‘What if I was on the street every night in the cold weather making those desperate choices? Could I hold my head up high?’

 

I gained so much compassion for her. It gave me the stamina for the long work it takes to help someone who has been through that trauma find healing. It is worth sticking through the difficult seasons with this vision. There’s no greater success in life than seeing someone find TRUE hope.”

 

 

She continues, “The best part of this work is seeing a poor, hopeless, depressed and traumatized family become totally transformed! When you see them becoming fully happy, hopeful, energetic, courageous and thankful to witness the work of God and acknowledge Him in their future… there’s nothing better!”

 

This long, hard work is really just getting started. Hilina is thrilled for the opportunities LSM has in the future with the current Ethiopian government. As she and the Ethiopian team work together tirelessly on behalf of vulnerable single mothers and their children, she asks for prayer. Will you join us in praying for her?

 

 


 

HILINA’S PRAYER REQUESTS:

  • Pray that God would give me wisdom as I serve these vulnerable children and their mothers.
  • For successful and smooth relationships with the government as we serve vulnerable families and communities.
  • Pray for Ethiopia’s peace and stability.

 


GET INVOLVED:

  • Learn more about our work in Ethiopia here.
  • Become an Ethiopia Family Sponsor here.

 

CELEBRATING FREEDOM

Happy 4th of July! This weekend, as you celebrate the values of freedom, we hope you’ll join us in the fight to bring those basics to vulnerable children. It takes our collective voices to speak for those who cannot speak for themselves. Our passion is to help those who have lost their natural advocates in life. You can provide the help that is desperately needed for children.

 

NEARLY 10 YEARS AGO, A LITTLE GIRL HAD LOST HOPE.  

 

 

She shifted a heavy load of water on her tiny, bony shoulders and took another weary step. Eight year old Velinda* had been carrying water for over a mile. She did this three times a day for the family she lived with. As a restavek (child slave), Velinda worked 12-14 hour days. She was skin and bones and bore the physical and emotional scars of a broken childhood. After her parents died, she had no idea how hard life was going to be without them.

 

On day, as Velinda was walking home from the river, she met someone very special who works for LSM. She heard about this man, and knew that if there was ever hope at freedom, this was her chance. She dropped her heavy bucket, and ran up to him.

 

“I’m tired of carrying water,” she breathlessly said. “Please, help me!”

 

TODAY, VELINDA KNOWS THE BEAUTY OF FREEDOM.

 

 

LSM was able to negotiate with the family that Velinda had been living with. She was rescued out of that horrible situation, and is now thriving in her Home of Hope family! She no longer carries water from the river, working 12-14 hour days. Instead, she is experiencing true freedom and love in a nurturing family. But most importantly, she knows about the true living water, found in Jesus Christ!

 

Because of the opportunities she has today, Velinda can go to college, get a good paying job and provide for her own family someday. These are dreams she never imagined as a child slave ten years ago.

 

 

ARE YOU WILLING TO LISTEN TO A DESPERATE CRY FOR HELP?

 

We long for all vulnerable children like Velinda to have the freedom to grow as a valued child of God. We want them to know their worth, find healing and love, and have the chance to reach their full, God-given potential.

 

Freedom is a gift. And it’s one we can give together.

 

 


GET INVOLVED:

  1. Help rescue children forced into child slavery in Haiti. Order your copy of Ed’s book “A Rose Among Thorns” to learn more about their plight and help rescue children like Velinda.
  2. Become a Prayer Partner and receive bi-monthly updates from LSM on specific ways to intercede.
  3. Spread the Gospel message of FREEDOM in Haiti through the Gospel Project.

 


*name changed for privacy

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