TIMMY

Timmy* is now 8 years old and is excelling in 2nd grade! He still remembers clearly his very first day of school. 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?”

 

 

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. They were both desperately hungry, and Timmy almost starved to death in his first few precious weeks. Life had been filled with poverty and hardships for Timmy’s mother…until she came to LSM.

 

 

Because of your love, prayers, financial support and advocacy, Timmy and his mother’s story has changed. Your actions showed that their lives were worth more!

 

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

 

 

Timmy is no longer hungry and hopeless. He has continued to excel in school and dreams about his future with excitement! He loves his new dad, and is anxiously awaiting his new sibling.

 

Timmy and his mother are a living example for those in their community. Their lives display hard work ethic, leadership and an overflowing love of Christ!

 

Most importantly, little Timmy knows the hope of a life filled with the love of Jesus, because people like you believed he and his mother were worth it! Thank you for making a difference!


GET INVOLVED: 


*names changed for privacy

Johnny & Mekdes – A Staff Testimony

Johnny and Mekdes are part of our Ethiopian Team. They are passionate about empowering families through their ministry with LSM and with the valuable support of many volunteers from the local church. Together, we are empowering over 30 single mothers and their children in a local village with education, counseling, small business training and physical support. Johnny and Mekdes also have their own ministry- strengthening marriages and counseling families.

 

There’s a reason why this couple is so passionate about seeing families thrive.

 

 

Both Johnny and Mekdes grew up in an orphanage and didn’t receive the nurture and love they know is so vital for children to experience in a family. Johnny was five years old when he went to the orphanage. Mekdes was eight. After their fathers died, their mothers felt that they had no choice but to send them somewhere else with the hopes they could survive and maybe receive an education. The huge government orphanage they found themselves in was a necessary reality.

 

Growing up in an orphanage was better than many children received in the poverty – striken country, but it wasn’t perfect. This massive institution was home to 5,000 – 7,000 children at any given time. There was only one caregiver for every 50+ children. Not surprisingly, this led to many hardships for the children growing up without parental guidance or support.

 

They say, “Our passion for nurturing healthy families began with our own experience of growing up without ‘divine family love.’” 

 

Mekdes talking to women in our family today

 

Mekdes shares about their life there, “The government orphanage gave us a lifestyle that was so much better than the rest of society, but we didn’t know that the people around us were in deep poverty.”  Because of their opportunity to live in the orphanage, they received up to a high school education and were able to experience things that many in their home villages never could have.

 

 

However, after graduating high school, they had to leave the orphanage, totally unprepared. Except for brief summer trips to visit their mothers, both young adults had lived most of their lives within the walls of the orphanage and had little interaction with the outside world. They didn’t know what poverty and real-life experiences were like. It was a shocking reality when they walked out those doors. Around the same time, the ruling government that had been supportive of their orphanage was ousted. Now, they felt vulnerable without the powerful figure who they always thought would protect them and their country.  Johnny said, “We felt like we were unwanted, resource-wasting and no-good children of the former regime.”

 

Johnny working with vulnerable children today

 

But there was hope! After leaving the orphanage and finding work near their biological families, they discovered a faith in Jesus that changed everything! Although Johnny was abandoned by his family after becoming a Christian, he still says it was the best decision he ever made.

 

“The Holy Spirit touched my heart and brought joy to my soul like I had never experienced before… I raised my heart and hands to Him and He welcomed me with open arms. I felt a very warm love for the first time, and my eyes poured out tears of joy. I had experienced a long journey of orphan life at an orphanage and now I had a chance to say, “’My Father!’ It is still very sweet to my heart!”

 

Later, Johnny and Mekdes reconnected after all those years in the orphanage and got married. They were passionate about serving the Lord together, and felt a call to serve families first.

 

Mekdes recounts,Despite all the blessings we received in the orphanage, our souls missed the natural love of divine family love. Our caregivers are like “professional paid caregivers” but natural parents are like the “loving shepherd” who sacrifices their own life for their sheep. In light of this truth, the vision has grown in our hearts to keep and maintain natural and divine love. Today, we get to provide awareness, training, counseling and empowerment that can save marriages and families for generations to come.”

 

Johnny and Mekdes passing out Christmas supplies to vulnerable families in rural Ethiopia

 

We are so grateful for the passion and experiences that God allowed Johnny and Mekdes to live through that brought them where they are today. Like them, we can look at our life’s tragedies and let them define us for good or for ill. We are so grateful that this couple has chosen to rise above their past, and let it be their legacy for the Kingdom of God!

 


GET INVOLVED:

  1. Learn more about LSM’s vision and FAMILY MODEL that gives every child we serve the love and stability of a family.
  2. Learn more about our work to keep families together in Ethiopia.

 

THREADS OF HOPE

A baby boy was born in a rural village in Ethiopia. Baby Meleke* curled his tiny fingers around his mother’s pinky. A difficult life was ahead of this little one. Just a few months earlier, his mom Shali* went to Arat Kilo, a slum area of Ethiopia’s capital in search of new opportunities. It was only temporary until she could find work. Everything changed when she got a boyfriend and soon found out she was pregnant. But he wanted nothing to do with baby Meleke. He walked out—never to be heard from again. Alone and scared, this young mom was left to fend for herself and the life growing inside her womb.

 

 

With no income, no support, and a child to care for, how would they survive?

 

For the next few years, life became more and more desperate. Shali did whatever she could to feed her son, but there was never enough. School was out of the question for Mekele. They were just trying to survive. There was very little chance that they would ever be able to break out of this cycle of poverty. Despair and hopelessness began to settle in.

 

 

But this is not a story of despair. God used LSM to bring hope to this precious family!

 

One day, Shali and Mekele were introduced to LSM. Our staff shared the love of Jesus with them. Today, they are thriving in the LSM trauma healing program. Through LSM, Shali learned how to weave. She is a talented artisan and runs her own business. Because they now have an income, Mekele can attend school. They are surrounded by women and children who love and care for them. A mother’s life was redeemed, and the fruits of this transformation have been passed on to her child. What once appeared to be bleak strands of pain and hopelessness have been woven together with threads of hope and love. A beautiful tapestry created for the glory of God!

 

 

Right now, there are countless moms and children suffering like Shali and Mekele once did. Will you help us reach them with the hope and love of Jesus?

 


GET INVOLVED:

  1. Purchase a Moriya Ethiopian Accessory purse where 100% of the profits go back into our Ethiopia programs.
  2. Give a one-time gift to help families like Shali and Mekele’s thrive.
  3. Pray that God would continue to open doors for our ministry expansion in Ethiopia.

 

*name changed for privacy

YOU DON’T HAVE TO WALK THIS ROAD ALONE

The monthly Ethiopia Program updates was looking pretty standard. It was full of positive conversations and new things the team wanted to accomplish. Over 40 families in Ethiopia have access to some incredible programs that are helping single mothers provide for their kids.

 

And then my eyes caught on one word… CANCER.

 

 

Two moms were diagnosed with cancer in the last month. Another young mom lost partial vision in both eyes. I wish I could take away those words and the weight they carry for their sweet families, but I can’t.

 

These precious mommas have faced some terrible things in their life already. They’ve had to make the heartbreaking choice between feeding their child and sending them to school. It’s unbearable to think about life as a single mom in one of the hardest places in the world, deeply entrenched in generational poverty with a stigma around their shoulders. I place myself in their shoes for a moment and imagine  what this diagnosis would feel like and what this means for their children.

 

BUT THEN I’M REMINDED… THEY AREN’T WALKING THIS ROAD ALONE!

 

 

In the last three years, these families have all entered the LSM program in their village. It’s enabled their children to go to school. It’s given them food stipends so they don’t have to worry about whether or not they can feed their children. LSM has helped them start their own businesses and walked alongside them so they can succeed. We have watched these families make huge progress. Beyond all of that though, they’ve connected to a local church and are mentored by volunteers in their community on a regular basis. They have support groups that they’ve started in their own communities. Their fear and stigma have faded and they’ve gained confidence in themselves.

 

 

Cancer, blindness and the pain they’ve faced isn’t fair, but they know we will walk alongside them in this season of their journey just like we have in the last season. Despite the ravages of sickness, poverty and sin in this world, there is a big God who is above it all!

 

And in the middle of our mess, we can point each other to Jesus, take each other’s hand and say simply, “You don’t have to walk this road alone.”

 


GET INVOLVED:

  1. Help us support families like this in Ethiopia as a family sponsor.
  2. Pray for these three moms who are suffering from cancer and blindness.
  3. Learn more about our work in Ethiopia here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bringing Healing from Trauma

In 2018, LSM launched an exciting new program in Haiti – and now Ethiopia too! The Trauma Healing Program is equipping LSM’s children with the tools they need to heal from their difficult pasts. Ultimately, we hope each child can become emotionally and socially competent adults who will help others find healing too!

 

WHY IS ADDRESSING TRAUMA SO IMPORTANT?

 

Our children come from difficult stories. Every child in our care has suffered loss, pain and heartache, whether from the death of a parent, crushing poverty or abuse. Many have suffered significant traumas. Although a loving family, education and physical needs are provided, we also see the deep need for emotional and spiritual healing. This new program is already having incredible results, for both parents and children.

 

 

Jean Wesly, LSM’s Haiti Trauma Healing Coordinator, says, “When I hear the word ‘change’ some people think it needs to be big. But to me, having simple conversations with the kids, listening to them and praying for them is making a difference in their lives. Protecting our kids is a huge responsibility. We need to make sure our kids feel safe. I will always listen to the kids. Now, we can see day by day change in their lives!”

 

WITHIN THE LAST YEAR, THE TRAUMA HEALING PROGRAM HAS:

 

  1. LAUNCHED QUARTERLY PARENT SEMINARS where parents learn about trauma and its developmental effects. These seminars provide practical tools for parents so they are able to help their children regulate difficult emotions. Our parents are feeling more equipped to handle difficulties at home with their 12 children. It is important that they feel supported in this journey.

 

 

  1. BEGUN MONTHLY SEMINARS FOR THE KIDS IN THE HOMES where the kids are learning how to name and regulate their emotions. Teaching our children healthy ways to express themselves is an important life skill that will aid them in all their relationships. We’ve utilized a variety of biblical training modules to craft lessons that foster communication with staff, parents and children.

 

 

  1. STARTED A PILOT TRAUMA HEALING PROGRAM IN ETHIOPIA where a small group of children in our programs are going through the same curriculum on regular Saturday programs (stay tuned to hear more about this in the future!) This gives us the opportunity to learn and adapt the materials for a different culture.

 

 

We are grateful for the many powerful resources and ministries who have done trainings and shared a wealth of information at the start of this new venture. We are already seeing God’s healing hand through intentional support for each of our families.

 


GET INVOLVED:

  1. Pray specifically for the growth of our Trauma Healing Program in both Haiti and Ethiopia this year! As we implement seminars, lessons and practical tools, pray that God would continue to work through our staff and parents to help bring healing in our children’s lives.
  2.  Give a financial gift to LSM so we can continue to support these life-changing resources for our parents and children to thrive.

 


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

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