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

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

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.

 

 

 

 

Kotukan’s Testimony of Hope

Kotukan* lives with her two small children in a rural village in Ethiopia. Like mothers everywhere, she’s a busy mom! In the morning, she gets Kena, her son, ready for kindergarten and her one-year-old, Teto, hoisted on her back for the day. Then they’re off.

 

 

After dropping Kena off at school, Kotukan prepares mixtures of spices that she sells to vendors at the market. It’s a growing business, and she talks often with her business advisors about the best ways to market her spices and budget for her business expenses and family needs. Not only is Kotukan learning valuable information, she’s excited to be caring for her family as a self-sufficient business owner!

 

 

Later, after the day’s work is done, Kotukan will pick Kena up from school and he’ll excitedly share what he’s learning. She’s already noticing how much more confident, social and eager to study he is. For so long, they had done nothing but make it from one day to the next. Now, Kotukan thanks God every day for the drastic turnaround in both of their lives.

 

 

At their small rented apartment, she makes the three of them a meal, thanking God once again for the food she is now able to provide through the success of her own small business. She is saving money and planning on building a small house of their own, planning carefully for this next big step in their lives.

 

HOW IS ALL OF THIS POSSIBLE?

 

Kotukan’s husband abandoned them after going bankrupt. With two small children, she had to figure out how she was going to provide for them. She’d been working several small jobs, braiding hair and washing clothes, but it was never enough. Her own health suffered, but she had no means to go to the doctor. Overwhelmed, Kotukan was nearly hopeless. She prayed, pleading with God to provide a miracle.

 

 

LSM’s began working with Kotukan and her family a year ago. Since then, Kena has been attending private school for the first time, Kotukan continues to grow her business through small business training, using the basic support she has received as a stepping stone to building a better, self-sufficient life. In just a year, Kotukan is rising above the challenges of her situation, praising God for the loving help she’s receiving!

 

Today, Kotukan says, “I am so grateful! Please pray that God will provide me a house of my own. Pray that my business would grow and that He would give me grace as I interact with people through the week. I am doing this because I have big hopes that my children will see my hard work and learn that God will provide when we turn to Him!”

 

By the grace of God and the generosity of people like you, Kotukan and her children are heading towards a better, brighter, hope-filled future.

 


 

GET INVOLVED:

 


*names changed for privacy

Gifts that Give Hope This Christmas Season

As you consider ways to give back this Christmas season, here’s a few special projects that will have a lasting impact throughout this coming year. You can choose from feeding a family as they work towards self-sufficiency, to providing long-term educational programs for our Home of Hope kids, to purchasing some unique gifts that those you love will cherish – with all proceeds going straight back to the life-changing work of Loving Shepherd Ministries.
We hope you’ll find some meaningful ways to make a difference. Each gift  helps change the lives of formerly vulnerable children and equip them to become godly leaders in their communities, ultimately transforming their cultures for Christ!

VIEW YOUR GIFT OPTIONS HERE.

What a powerful impact we can have together. Thanks for making it possible!

Thankful

This Thanksgiving, the hearts of many, many once vulnerable children are now full. Over the last 15 years of ministry, we have seen an outpouring of the Spirit working through you to radically transform the lives of forgotten and lonely boys and girls all over the world.

 


This year alone, you’ve helped us:

 

  • Purchase and move to our new offices that will provide more space for more changed lives and new volunteer opportunities!

 

 

  • Open a New Home of Hope in La Source, Haiti, that provides a nurturing Christian family for 12 orphaned and at-risk boys.

 

  • Grow our Business Development initiatives and begin Aggregate Plant, Concrete Block and Pre-cast businesses.

 

  • Provide new programs and practical work and life skills to help free families in Ethiopia who were once mired in poverty.

 

The list can go on and on. God is on the move and it’s so humbling to see it in action. Lives are changing. Generations are finding hope in Jesus. This is Kingdom work. And it’s happening because of you.

 


 

Because of you, Meseret’s family knows Jesus!

You can help change a future generation in Ethiopia. We’re seeing it happen every day. In fact, Meseret*, a young single mother in Ethiopia, raising two beautiful children on her own, will tell you herself that your prayers for the ministry of LSM and your financial gifts have completely changed their lives:

 


 

“I feel empowered. I am now relying on God to lead my path and am 
making wiser decisions. I now have a support system to encourage 
and help me. My children are receiving a good education and, 
because of LSM, they have the support they need to complete it!” 
 
Meseret’s own single mother knew how important it was to get an education. Somehow, she managed to scrape enough together for Meseret to attend school, even though it meant 4 hours travel every day!
 

 

When she finished 8th grade, Meseret had to go to the city to attend high school, a rare opportunity for a young woman in her village. But when she got there, a series of poor decisions, difficultly finding resources and little support left her with two small children, an unfinished high school career and living in severe poverty, at the young age of twenty-nine.

 

 

With our staff and church support, her family has been introduced to a personal, saving relationship with Jesus. She went through small business training and is now growing her own business, selling spices in the market. And her children are looking ahead with great hope.

 

With every prayer, with every gift and with every introduction to Jesus, lives like Meseret’s and her children are changing forever.

 

You are a part of this. Your prayers and your giving does make a difference. 

A Summer of Firsts for Children in Ethiopia

More than 40 vulnerable families are finding new hope through the life-giving work of LSM in Ethiopia. To see the faces and hear the stories of once vulnerable women and children who have now been freed from the cycle of poverty and desperation, we encourage you to check out this page to learn more.

 

 

As we work with single mothers and help them create sustainable small businesses to care for their families, our Ethiopian staff has also been growing programs, seminars and opportunities to ensure their children are growing up in a safe, nurturing environment. This summer, they held their first ever Vacation Bible School in Woliso, Ethiopia! As the children came together learn about Jesus, it was a richly rewarding time for everyone.

 

These pictures give a deeply meaningful look at what they experienced for the first time over the last three months! 

 

The kids learned worship songs and prayed together every day. They received powerful bible lessons and did crafts they were able to take home and share with their mothers!

 

 

From oldest to youngest, we know all the children and their families were incredibly blessed by this new program this summer. What a privilege to continually be adding enriching experiences into the lives of these vulnerable children.

 

 


If you’d like to get more involved with the work we’re doing with 40 vulnerable families in Ethiopia, here are three ways you can get started right where you are: 

 

    1. Become an ongoing Ethiopia Family Sponsor! 
    2. Give a one-time gift to help make child development initiatives like VBS a possibility.
    3. Become a prayer partner with LSM. 

 


 

Planting Seeds of Hope

Last Saturday, July 8, a group of over 140 women sat down for a beautiful morning at the SEEDS OF HOPE Ladies’ Brunch. In the middle of daisy bouquets and coffee shop treats, they took a stand together for sisters, daughters and mothers on the other side of the world just like them but who were tragically born into abject poverty and pain. It was a powerful morning learning about the plight of vulnerable families in Ethiopia and considering how each one of us can make a tangible difference.

Throughout the morning, seeds of hope were planted by women just like you into the lives of mothers who are struggling to provide even the basics for their children.

Our Ethiopian Servers!

We sincerely believe that Saturday’s commitments will grow into a beautiful harvest in the next generation—both for 40 precious families in Ethiopia and for the families right here who are changed with every connection, story and investment they make in the lives of the hurting.

We’re grateful to the local businesses that hosted tables and brought together their own passionate groups of women! A special thanks to those who invited and encouraged their friends and co-workers to come.

 

Additional Sponsors include: IN Balance Books and Courtney and Jodi Pfister

 

Our volunteer committee poured many details into the SEEDS OF HOPE Ladies’ Brunch to bring beauty, artistic flair and a smooth flow to the entire event! We’re so pleased with their efforts, and we know that because of the passion and inspiration their unique gifts inspired in the attendees, many vulnerable families in Ethiopia will receive the life-giving support they desperately need.

Quiche from Crimson House (Ossian, IN) and Cinnamon Roll / Coffee from Hugh’s Coffehouse (Bluffton, IN)

From fair trade shopping that creates dignified jobs for single mothers to ongoing family sponsorships and commitments to prayer, there was an incredible outpouring of support.

GET INVOLVED:

  • Do you have a passion to serve vulnerable women and children? We’d love to talk to you about hosting a SEEDS OF HOPE Ladies’ Brunch in your city. Email amber@loving-shepherd.org to learn more.
  • You can begin helping vulnerable women and children today, right where you are. Learn more about become an Ethiopian family sponsor here: https://loving-shepherd.org/ethiopiafamilysponsor/
  • You can also purchase beautiful handmade accessories straight from some of these mothers in Ethiopia. Shop here.

Tears of Joy for a Life of Hope

Timmy* is six years old and just started school last year. The first day, he was so excited. He got his little uniform on, lovingly took his new notebook and pencils out of his backpack, just to gaze at them for a moment, before tucking them securely back inside and hoisting the bag onto his back.

Every day in class, Timmy eagerly soaked up the lessons he was taught. And every day after school, his mom, Tabitha, was there to pick him up and listen to the new fidel (Ethiopian Amharic script) he had learned. Timmy wondered why his mom would sometimes cry while he recited his fidel to her.

Why is mom sad I’m learning so many wonderful new things?

But his mother’s tears were not of sadness. They were tears of great joy and thankfulness.

Tabitha birthed Timmy in one of the slums of Addis Ababa. Desperately hungry, they both almost starved to death in his first few precious weeks. Life had been so incredibly difficult for Timmy’s mother … until she came to LSM, where things drastically changed for the better.

Through people like you, committed to Timmy and his mom and a belief that their lives were worth more, united with the Body of Christ, working together in prayer, financial support and advocacy—the story you just read became reality.

Tabitha began working for Moriya Ethiopian Accessories, a business we helped a group of moms just like her start. Using the skills she learned as part of the Moriya team, she has since branched out on her own and started a successful sewing business. Today, Tabitha is providing for her son with a dignified, stable job.

Timmy now has the opportunity to choose his own career, always has enough to eat, knows the hope of a life filled with the love of Jesus, and dreams about his future because people like you believed he and his mother were worth it!


You can join us in making more stories like Tabitha’s and Timmy’s possible by:

*names changed for privacy

*originally posted December 5, 2015

1 2 3