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

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

You May Never Know the Impact You’ve Had

Your life in the U.S. can have a powerful impact on another person’s life halfway around the world. Sound impossible? Here’s just one of the countless examples how this can happen every day.


 

Ammet is a single mother in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. She grew up in hopeless poverty with no food to eat, no school to attend and no peace in her life. Her father was an abusive alcoholic. She was just 12 years old when she ran away and stayed with her uncle, hoping to finally be able to go to school and have a chance at a better life.

 

Quickly, though, Ammet found herself the forced personal servant to her aunt, who severely abused her. Finally, she escaped, and married a young man, grasping once again at hope for a better life. But things rapidly spiraled further downhill. Ammet suffered more abuse, this time even inflicted upon her child, Aben. To save herself and her son, Ammet fled to the city, forced to forge a way for both of them. Which often meant simply surviving from one day to the next.

 

 

It wasn’t until LSM found Ammet and started working with LSM that a flame of hope was struck in an otherwise dark life of desperate survival.

 

Ammet received small business training so that she could provide for Aben. But the support from LSM was more than the chance at earning a dignified, living wage. More even than having people surrounding her who proved to her that she was worth it. Is this:

 

“Because of LSM, I am now receiving Jesus Christ as my personal Savior. It’s the biggest blessing in my life. One I can pass down to my son.”

 

 

We are here today, helping her child, Aben, now 10 years old, from continuing that cycle of poverty and abuse into the next generation. We are helping to provide stability for their family by connecting them to an active church community, ongoing support and education for Aben. We, arm-in-arm with our donors, are the hands and feet of Jesus in their lives.

 

Here are three things you can do right now to help Ammet and Aben succeed as an independent family filled with dignity and hope:

 


  1. Pray.

Pray for success in Ammet’s small business and confidence in her heart as she leads her family with dignity and hope. Pray for Aben and the life-changing opportunity he has to attend school. Most importantly, pray for his salvation and that his mother would continue to grow in her faith.

 

 

 

 


2. Join us at Seeds of Hope.

Join us on July 8 to hear more about Ammet and other vulnerable families at our SEEDS OF HOPE event. Learn more here.

 

 

 

 

 


3. Become an Ethiopia Family Sponsor.

Become an ongoing Ethiopian Sponsor and change the futures of many families like Ammet and Aben with us! You’ll receive powerful updates like this on a regular basis and see the transformation coming to a new generation in Ethiopia.

 

 

*names changed for privacy

International Women’s Day

Bellame* is a single mom, who struggled for far too long to provide for her children and give them a better life than she’s ever known. Her self-sacrifice is evident.

 

Belaynesh-25

 

She was there when her best friend died in childbirth. In that moment, she didn’t think twice about taking the baby as her own, knowing that if she didn’t the baby would not survive. Her selfless decision is even more incredible considering she was still grieving the loss of her husband, who had just died. Cradling the child in her arms, she had no idea how she would feed this new baby and her other children.

 

Her decision to give when she had nothing in herself took great courage.

 

Through the coming years, as her three children grew, the struggle to put food in their hungry bellies became harder and harder. But Bellame did not give up. She worked in horrifying conditions, started small businesses trying to make ends meet and made the best of the dung-wall loft with a tarp-roof they called home. Coloring book pictures lined the brown walls and a single tapestry covered the single mattress they all shared.

 

But Bellame’s story doesn’t end there. Far from it.

 

Help came in the form of some incredible Ethiopian staff at LSM.

 

Belaynesh-29

 

Today, Bellame is starting a new chapter in life. She lives in a furnished apartment with her children who go to school each morning thanks to the support she receives through LSM. Bellame knows that she can withstand great trials and thrive. She knows she can teach that courage to her own children—and that they can break a cycle of desperation that has crushed her country for far too long.

 

TODAY, ON INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY, WE CELEBRATE ALL WOMEN!

 


Belaynesh-6Children around the world are being raised by courageous women just like Bellame, who are building up their families and giving everything they’ve got to make a better world for the next generation. Others are finding friends, mentors and business leaders in women who have overcome great odds with grace, dignity and hope. These women inspire us to live well and help them succeed.


Learn more about how you can support families like Bellame’s here.

 

 

*name changed for privacy

Abner’s Dream

At only 10 years old, Abner* has already experienced a lifetime of hunger, faced rejection from his father and seen his single mother struggle to provide for her children. Mekdes, one of our Ethiopian staff, asked him what he feels like his biggest life lesson is from all of this. Solemnly, he raised his head and said quietly,

 

“Poverty … especially not being able to provide for your kids is bad. But I will change this when I grow up.” 

 

Abner

 

Abner can say this with confidence now because there’s a new reality in his future. He’s an intelligent student, and his dream of becoming a scientist when he grows up  is being encouraged by the hope springing up in his family.

 

He sees his mother, Alem, starting her own business with the support of LSM’s staff. Through this training, financial start-up and ongoing support, Alem will be empowered to grow her business with dignity and support her children.

 

Abner sees the local church providing support, encouragement and mentoring for his mother, sister and himself, and realizes that there are people who care about his family and want to help them succeed. And more than that, they’ve introduced them to Jesus, who is changing everything!

 

Abner and Mother

 

He knows there are people in the United States that are sponsoring his family and making it possible for them to rise out of abject poverty, together.

 

Because of all of this, Abner believes he can succeed, even when every generation before him faced the same seemingly endless cycle of poverty and desperation.

 

He knows life can be different now. And that’s because of the impact of people like you.

 

working

 

__________________________________

Shop Moriya Ethiopian Accessories and help provide sustainable jobs for mothers like Alem to provide for their children with dignity.

 

*names changed for privacy

The Best & Blessed of 2016

2016 has been a formative year for LSM both inside and out. Through the incredible programs launched, schools built and disasters navigated, we have emerged stronger than ever, with you at our side and a humble thankfulness for all God has done.

 

In 2016, we were so blessed through your partnership to:

 

Child Development - Welsh School1. Open a brand new school in Welsh, Haiti where over 200 children from two of our Home of Hope families, as well as boys and girls throughout the local community, are now attending! The school was dedicated in June and, ever since, it has been a powerful source of outreach in a desperately poor area where many children have never before had access to an education.

 

 

 

 


laptops2. Launch exciting new resources in our Child Development program in Haiti! Through the generosity of our donors, we were able to meet and exceed the $40,000 matching challenge for our Summer Newsletter with all the funds going to Child Development.

Among other things, this allowed us to provide laptops for all the kids to help with schooling! Dominique, our Chantal 1 Dad is now the tech/computer advisor for each Home of Hope to ensure they know how to use their new tools effectively for school and research!

 

 

 

 


Ethiopia 3(1)3. Launch new programs in Ethiopia to expand our reach to more vulnerable single mothers and their children. These programs are PREVENTING some of the atrocities that we have worked tirelessly to bring healing to in the past. Through these prevention programs, at-risk families are empowered to succeed with the financial, educational and emotional support they need, all with the support of the local Ethiopian evangelical church.

 

 

 

 


hurricane4. Rally around our staff, families and local communities in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew in the Les Cayes, Haiti area. Not only were we able to repair several damaged LSM buildings and property, but through your giving, we were able to reach out into some poor, totally devastated areas and provide food programs, sheet metal for roofs and much more.

 

 

 

 

 


That’s certainly not all. Read here for more of the incredible ventures God led us through in 2016.

 

All of this is done with a powerful, clear end-goal in mind – something we strive to keep front and center in everything we do. We believe that as these vulnerable children are empowered to grow into self-sufficient adults, they will go out and transform their communities and culture for Christ.

 

What a powerful thing to work towards together: the expansion of Christ’s Kingdom through the “least of these.” Every child we serve is a part of this vision. And we pray that it’s part of yours as well.

 

We are so excited for the ways God will use LSM—and especially all of you—to make this a reachable goal in 2017.


 Port Salut Beach, Haiti

Here are two ways you can get involved right now

 

BECOME A PRAYER PARTNER AND BE A PART OF THE INCREDIBLY IMPORTANT WORK OF INTERCESSION IN 2017.

 

MAKE A TAX-DEDUCTIBLE DONATION HERE TO HELP US REACH MORE VULNERABLE CHILDREN, FAMILIES AND COMMUNITIES IN THE COMING YEAR. 

All gifts will still be tax deductible for 2016 until midnight on Dec 31! You still have time.

motionmailapp.com

 

God’s Work Through You Transforms Families for Him

sherri weavingSherri* is a talented artisan whose intricate weaving skills have been passed down for centuries. Her hands deftly thread the elaborate loom as her feet pump the threads back and forth. There’s a rhythm to her work: pump, swish, clank. A smile graces her face as she watches her son play at the side of the room, surrounded by a community of women and children who love them. They are at peace.

 

 

But life wasn’t always so safe and serene for Sherri and her children.

 

She was just a young girl coming to the city for the first time. The excitement and opportunities captivated her.

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