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

REDEMPTION

excerpt from page 35, Glimpses of Hope, a collection of devotionals

Doug Isch, LSM President


 

Rose’s day started out like any other on January 10, 2010. But unlike the rest of the routine days of her eight-year-old life, this day would change the course of her life forever. At 4:53 pm the walls began to shake as a 7.0 magnitude earthquake shook Port au Prince, Haiti and the surrounding regions until an estimated 300,000 people were killed and over a million people were forced from their homes. Tragically, Rose’s parents were both killed in the earthquake. As her world turned upside down she was moved nearly five hours away to live with an aunt.

 

 

Rose doesn’t talk much about the events of that day or how she dealt with the grief that had to grip her. How does an eight-year-old process this kind of devastation and loss? For many living in extreme poverty this would have been one more chapter in a life of disappointment and loss, but Rose’s story takes an unexpected twist. Unbeknownst to her, thousands of miles away a young man named Zach Bertsch was diagnosed with terminal cancer at almost the same time she moved in with her aunt.

 

Zach’s heart and passion was to redeem his cancer for God’s glory. Rose is one part of that redemption story. Rose was selected to become a part of the Moriah Home of Hope family on the Redemption Campus. Rose is now going to school, attending church, growing up with a new mom and dad and has 11 sisters to live life with.

 

 

To redeem something means to free it from what distresses or harms it.

 

Major steps have been taken in Rose’s life to free her from the pain and distresses she has experienced. But her past is still her past and she will always have tragedy as part of her story. As we have seen many times, God uses the pain of the past to help us become more like Jesus. Rose’s story won’t fully be redeemed until Jesus returns and God finally wipes all the tears from our eyes. What we see now are some of the first fruits of that redemption story. I am so excited for Rose to see her parents again and introduce them to the couple who raised her in their place and to meet Zach and share with him the beauty that was brought from the tragedies of both of their lives.

 

Revelation 7:17 – “For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all the tears from their eyes.”

 


GET INVOLVED:

  1. Order your copy of Glimpses of Hope here.
  2. Learn more about the ongoing work of the Redemption Campus and our Homes of Hope here.

 

POLLY

Sometimes there are stories that hit you square between the eyes. Polly’s* is one of them.

 

Several years ago, Polly stood here with her uncle who was caring for her in front of his hut. Falling apart, dirty, barely providing relief from the elements, the hut was no place to be raising an orphaned little girl. He knew it, and he wanted more for her. However on his own, there was no way he could do anything.

 

 

Polly’s uncle brought her to a Home of Hope. He knew that she’d be much better off in a family with Godly upbringing from a loving mom and dad and a solid education. The love and opportunity she’d have was a gift that he would never be able to provide. And so she came.- a forlorn little girl in a tattered white dress with orange-bleached hair from malnutrition. A new world opened for Polly!

 

 

A couple of years later, I snapped this picture at LSM’s annual VBS. Polly couldn’t stand still. She giggled and joyfully danced around me. Her life is totally different!

 

Sometimes, I think it’s easy for us to forget the before when we see smiling pictures of kids. However, when you know their stories and the traumatic things that have brought them here, this work becomes much more meaningful. There is sense of urgency to help more children like Polly.

 

Today, Polly is able to live and laugh because her uncle made a choice to give her a better life. She has a new mom and dad, loving sisters and an exciting future ahead of her. She can dream and dance without a care in the world, because compassionate people like you have sacrificially given, prayed and showered love on her. Thank you!

 

This is the picture I don’t want to forget. It represents a far greater story than a week of games and fun. The contrast is evident: New life. New stories. New chapters. New beginnings.

 


GET INVOLVED: 

Help make more stories like Polly’s possible by becoming an ongoing sponsor here.


*name changed for privacy

HOUSE OF WONDERFUL, GREAT LOVE

By Becky Browning, LSM Staff in Haiti

 

When I was a little girl, every picture that I drew of our house had a happy smiling sun above it. I used my red crayon and made big smiles on my dad, my mom and us four little girls. We were lined up next to our little dog. He too had a smile drawn on his fluffy face. I drew colorful flowers around my pretty house, and warm smoke coming out of the chimney. Inside the smoky clouds, written in my best handwriting were these words: “House of Wonderful Great Love.” It was a picture of my childhood. I felt loved, happy and secure tucked away in my safe home with my family all around me.

 

 

 

35 years later, my husband and I walked through a village in Haiti. There was a much different picture. Crying toddlers with distended bellies, sitting in front of a crooked hut, diaper-less babies covered in itching scabies and skinny stray dogs digging in piles of trash. Food and water was scarce. And hope seemed even more scarce. I did not see many smiling faces. What words would be written over their homes?

Hungry? Sad? Despair? Hopelesness?

 

 

It caused me to think, “What if our lives were switched? What would I want?” I would want food and clothing. I would want someone to love and care about me. I would want someone to take me to the doctors when I am sick. I would want to feel safe. And most importantly, I would want someone to care beyond this earthly life and introduce me to Jesus.

 

 

This is what Loving Shepherd Ministries does. There are many vulnerable children who need homes of “wonderful great love.” We call them “Homes of Hope.” We would love to have you partner with us and support one of our Homes.

 

 


GET INVOLVED:

 

  1. Learn more about our unique model that provides a complete Continuum of Care for vulnerable children from childhood through adulthood – within the love and stability of a FAMILY.

 

  1. Become a Family Sponsor (min $35/month) and partner directly with vulnerable children you can get to know!

 

LEARNING TO LISTEN

excerpt from page 159, Glimpses of Hope, a collection of devotionals

by Gabriel Walder


 

When my wife Lindsay and I decided to become foster parents, I was excited, nervous, skeptical, and afraid. She came to me with the idea out of nowhere one day. I knew very little about foster care and even less about what it was like to become a foster parent. I mainly had negative images in mind when it came to the “system.” Kids in and out of care, parents who don’t care, or do care but cannot overcome their problems, under-resourced agencies, a faceless governmental structure that at the end of the day just wanted to do what was easiest, not what was best. So needless to say, when she approached me about whether we should become foster parents by initial gut reaction was “no.”

 

 

At the time, I worked for Loving Shepherd Ministries and I care about vulnerable kids, but to invite them into my home to live with me, eat my food, mess up my living room and sleep schedule was a next level calling.

 

Nevertheless, I agreed to go to the training sessions just to see what it was like. After hearing about the intensity of the need in my own backyard and the lack of good homes, the weight of the problem began to lay on my shoulders. I knew I was being called to stand up. I knew we had a God who cared about the afflicted and fatherless and He was calling me to care alongside Him.

 

Psalm 10:14 – “But you, God, see the trouble of the afflicted; you consider their grief and take it in hand. The victims commit themselves to you; you are the helper of the fatherless.”

 

 

After a whirlwind of training sessions, physicals, home studies, and background checks we received a call for our first placement before we had even received our license in the mail. On the other end of the line they said there was a little boy named Isaiah who was four months old at the hospital that needed a home. We had 30 minutes to decide. Lindsay drove to pick him up. When she arrived, she was surprised to find a little boy named Martell who was only two months old. It brings tears to my eyes to say that this little boy is almost three years old now and has been my officially adopted son for the last six months. He is one of the biggest joys of my life and I don’t want to imagine my life without him in it.

 

The moral of the story is that if God (and your wife) are calling you to something, you would be wise to listen.

 


 

GET INVOLVED:

  1. Learn more about foster care and adoption here.
  2. Pray for the families considering adoption and foster care in your church and community.
  3. Order your copy of Glimpses of Hope here.

 


 

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