A New Beginning

On January 10, two days after Ethiopia’s Christmas, Biruan* and Greta bounded home from the LSM Christmas party in their rural village. Laughter filled the air as they chattered about the games and Bible lessons they shared. Ten year old Biruan talked about some of the recent discussions kids her class had with LSM staff about finding their identity and purpose.

 

 

Their mother Shashi smiles and thinks about the journey they’ve been on. These conversations and the quick smiles her children show are a far cry from their desperate, gaunt faces only three years ago. You see, after their father suddenly died nearly seven years ago, Biruan and Greta watched their mom struggle to make their small farm sustainable. They never had enough food, and there never seemed to be enough money for them to go to school or get new clothes. Life changed after joining LSM’s programs. For the first time, the whole family experienced relief and true hope.

 

 

The laughter and smiles after a fun Christmas program are just the beginning. Today, Biruan and Greta have enough to eat because of LSM’s support and intervention in their distress. Their mom has gained valuable training on how to run her small farming business effectively so she can provide for their family. The kids are learning in school and are passing classes with top grades! They are enjoying a variety of small group programs with LSM staff and local volunteers. Most importantly, they’re learning about their true identity and hope in Christ – and are seeing it lived out in tangible ways from the LSM staff around them.

 

 

It’s a testimony of hope we believe will change their future – and the future of their community as these kids grow with a heart for Jesus and skills to serve.

 

 

Shashi said, “Your support is bringing light in my life and I am feeling that I found a helper to accomplish my dreams for my children. Before joining the project I didn’t know about saving money. I wasted my money and lend my money to people who couldn’t pay me back. Because of that, I had conflict with many people. Since I have joined the LSM project I have learned how to live with people and also manage and save money. The project’s training, coaching, mentoring has changed me a lot and taught me how to raise my children in ethical and biblical ways.”

 

  


GET INVOLVED:

  1. Become an Ethiopia Family Sponsor and help families like this thrive.
  2. Sign up for our Email list and get regular updates about how we’re serving the vulnerable.
  3. Pray with us this year. Join our bi-monthly prayer emails.

 

*names changed for privacy

 

Seeing Hope in Africa

Visiting missionaries can be a huge blessing. Blare and Janel Gerber and their kids experienced this first-hand. Just before Christmas, they packed up their four children, and took off on an adventure to Africa to visit a missionary family working in a village in rural Ethiopia. On their way through the capital, the Gerbers asked if they could meet with some of LSM’s staff and families to see our work first hand.

 

 

This trip is one that their family will never forget. Beyond the sights and sounds of a new culture, there’s nothing like seeing how your dollars and prayers are being used for His glory. Meeting Tegen* was one of those moments.

 

 

Tegen welcomed the Gerber family into her little home. She served them strong Ethiopian coffee from her little black pottery cups. Next, she taught the children how to have a traditional coffee ceremony. Our staff translated each step. Tegen’s large sewing machine sat in the corner, taking up much of the home’s space. The Gerbers were thrilled to listen to her beautiful testimony, and see her thriving sewing business. Beri, her son, proudly displayed his school books. Our staff spoke how well he has been doing in school. A small home business and attending school may seem like mundane things, but for Tegen and Beri, it was an answer to prayer.

 

Janel said, “I think just seeing the way people live in hard life circumstances, but yet have so much joy and purpose really impacted all of us.”

 

 

This trip was foundational in the lives of Blare and Janel and their four children. God is moving around the world, and He calls us to action.  Whether traveling to far off lands or praying from your kitchen table, you have a chance to take part in His kingdom work. We’re grateful the Gerber family got to see a small part of the lives touched with prayers, financial gifts and advocacy for LSM. The Gerbers can testify that Tegen and Beri now live with stability and hope because of your love and support. Thank you!

 


GET INVOLVED:

  1. Become an Ethiopia Family Sponsor and get to know families just like Tegen and Beri.
  2. Become a prayer partner in 2019.
  3. Consider giving a one-time gift to Ethiopia to impact families like this.

 

*names of LSM families changed for privacy

 

 

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

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. 
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