GIFTS OF HOPE 2019

As you gather with your family for the holidays, we hope you’ll make our GIFTS OF HOPE CHRISTMAS CATALOG a part of those memories too! Each gift can spark a meaningful conversation about caring for others around the world, from buying a tank of gas in Haiti to providing one month’s supply of food for a family in Ethiopia. There are also ways to care for vulnerable children right in our own backyard!

 

 

ONE LITTLE GIRL’S GIFT

Last year, the Gifts of Hope Catalog sparked some amazing stories like Mylin’s in Bluffton, IN. Eight year old Mylin picked out a gift in the catalog that she wanted to give, and began working hard to raise her own money. Many children her age make lists and circle pictures in magazines of what they want for Christmas. But Mylin’s focus was on giving not getting. Her hard-earned dollars went directly to help a little girl in Ethiopia who does not have a daddy to care for her. Mylin’s sweet story touched our hearts. You can read about it here.

 

 

SHARE YOUR STORY WITH US

We’d love to hear your family’s story about giving this Christmas, too! Email us at info@loving-shepherd.org and share how God’s been working on your family’s hearts this year. Because the greatest gifts are not usually found tucked under a Christmas tree. Sometimes, it looks like a hope-filled smile across a little girl’s face in Ethiopia.

 

 

HOW TO MAXIMIZE THE GIFTS OF HOPE EXPERIENCE

The Gifts of Hope Catalog is a wonderful way to open up conversations with your kids about giving. Perhaps your Sunday School group would like to get together and raise money for a family in need? Maybe you could put an empty gas can at your work or school and ask for donations to help the fuel crisis in Haiti?  We hope this catalog provides a special way to connect and give with purpose this Christmas. Thank you for partnering with LSM in caring for the world’s most vulnerable children. Your gifts are truly changing lives!

 


GET INVOLVED

  1. Check out our Gifts of Hope Christmas Catalog and give here.
  2. Consider giving a general gift this Christmas. See how God is moving at LSM HERE.

 

RUNNING ON EMPTY: HAITI’S FUEL CRISIS

There is a severe fuel shortage in Haiti. For years, Venezuela has provided Haitians with subsidized gasoline and diesel. However in recent months, Venezuela has become less accommodating due to the rise of a humanitarian crisis in their own country. Haiti’s President, Jovenel Moise, and his government owe Venezuela $100 million, which they are unable to repay. The situation has created an extreme fuel shortage, further stoking political dissent and protests. Those most affected in times of crisis tend to be Haiti’s youngest and most vulnerable.

 

 

Rationing gas at the pump means Haitians are often prevented from filling their tanks. As a result of this shortfall, the Haitian black market has moved in quickly to run up prices and score a profit. Scarcity of fuel is preventing children from attending school, and transportation of people and commercial goods in Haiti is rapidly grinding to a halt, causing stores and businesses to shut down.

 

 

 

HOW DOES THIS AFFECT LSM?

 

Abdias Victor travels to our Homes of Hope to take pictures and assist with Child Development. He reports that Haiti’s fuel crisis and the resulting riots have affected our ability to reach the children with supplies and training, as well as the general safety of the neighborhoods where our families reside. Many of our kids are missing school due to the riots. On a recent trip to one of LSM’s Homes, Abdias even spotted a violent riot, including burning tires which can produce toxic fumes. Our staff reports that the difficulty of transporting workers and supplies has slowed construction at LSM Tech and also contributed to a shortage of sand at our Industrial Site. We pray that God will protect our staff and our Home of Hope families during these uncertain times!

 

 

 

WHAT IS LSM’S RESPONSE? 

 

Moments like these provide a necessary reminder about the vulnerability of Haiti and the importance of LSM’s work to bring holistic transformation by investing in children and in business ventures that move the country forward! While gas stations lock their doors and protesters fill the streets, our children continue to study hard as best they can and grow in their daily walk with Jesus. They are building the foundation for a future in Haiti that looks very different from what we see today.  

 

 

Staff are also taking proactive measures. “Roof installation has stalled at LSM Tech because of store closures,” says Jose, one of our Project Supervisors. “But I’m proud of our workers, who have come up with creative ways to busy themselves, shift to other projects, and keep the site on schedule.” LSM continues to pursue exciting efforts in solar energy and other alternatives that reduce Haiti’s dependence on fossil fuels, foreign assistance, and even the stability of its own government. In the future, a fuel shortage in Haiti may have far less of an impact. 

 


WHAT CAN I DO? 

 

  1. Sign up for our email list and our our bi-monthly prayer emails to receive regular updates on this and other important issues affecting communities LSM serves around the world. 
  2. Pray for the safety of our Home of Hope families and staff. Pray also for those who are suffering and for Haiti’s leaders, that they would seek wise solutions to end this crisis.  
  3. Ask God to embolden believers in Haiti who are reaching out to their neighbors with the love and mercy of Jesus! 

 

REMEMBERING HURRICANE MATTHEW

“In all of my 65 years in Haiti, I have never seen anything like this.” – Pastor Wilfrid, LSM Home of Hope Director, after Hurricane Matthew, October 2016

 

On October 4, 2016, a massive Category 5 hurricane struck southwest Haiti. Hurricane Matthew’s destructive path hit near several of our Homes of Hope and the surrounding communities. Thankfully, because of good construction, our Home of Hope families were safe. But the wide-spread damage was devastating in surrounding areas. Read our blog from right after the hurricane here and here.

 

 

BBC ESTIMATED THAT DURING HURRICANE MATTHEW:

  • Nearly 900 people died
  • Up to 90% of some areas in SW Haiti were destroyed
  • Getting aid, clean water and clearing off roads took several days and even weeks
  • Some areas in southern Haiti faced “complete destruction”

 

As our Haitian staff and families observed the horrifying destruction, they quickly went to work helping neighbors and friends. Many people lost loved ones. This hurricane had changed them forever. The love and support you showed during this difficult time was a reflection of Christ! YOU responded with tremendous generosity, and we were able to show love and support to the local communities as well as provide new roofs for many homes!

 

 

Long after the storm has passed, and the roofs are replaced, we are still seeing the effects.  Many of our young kids suffered PTSD after the hurricane. Water flooded several homes. The sights and sounds were horrific, and they knew people who did die in the natural disaster. For others, it reminded them of the 2010 earthquake that took hundreds of thousands of Haitian’s lives. That natural disaster stole many of their mothers, fathers and loved ones. It is the reason several of them are orphans today.

 

Through these devastating natural disasters, we are incredibly grateful for our amazing staff and programs that we have to help our children process these difficult experiences. The emotions are immense and sometimes the children don’t know how to verbalize all that is going on inside. Our Trauma Healing Program is there for them and are a safe place for them to process through their emotions. They have learned to discuss what’s troubling them in order to find hope and healing going forward.

 

As we reflect  on Hurricane Matthew, will you join us in praying for those who have suffered much over the last three years?  Some of our children have lost loved ones, and this week is a reminder of that pain. But there is always hope in Jesus and healing from the traumatic circumstances they have faced. It is our desire to point them to our One true Healer!

 


GET INVOLVED:

  1. PRAY FOR HAITI.
  2. DONATE TO THE TRAUMA HEALING PROGRAM AND SUPPORT.
  3. STAY IN TOUCH. We’d love keep you updated as major events like this and new things happen at LSM and in the countries we serve!

 

THE POWER OF ONE

WHAT IF YOU HAD THE POWER TO CHANGE A CHILD’S FUTURE?

 

Roseline* lived in a remote village up in the mountains of Southern Haiti. She barely remembers her father, who died when she was very young.  He left behind seven small children. Her mother desperately tried to provide for them, but there was never enough. Hunger and hopelessness became part of their day to day lives.

 

 

When her mother died tragically, Roseline watched in horror as two of her siblings were taken to distant neighbor’s homes to become restaveks (child slaves.) One by one, her siblings were scattered across the countryside. Who would protect her?

 

THAT’S WHEN THE BODY OF CHRIST STEPPED IN

 

LSM’s Haitian staff learned of this orphan girl and brought her into the Isabel Home of Hope family, which means “God’s promise” and “I am God’s Daughter.” That name has become a beautiful testimony for Roseline. As part of the Isabel family, she not only has a loving home, she also receives three healthy meals a day, goes to school and attends lots of additional LSM activities. She no longer worries about what she will eat or who will take her away. She is cared for and protected. Most importantly, Roseline once again has the love of a dad and mom who treat her as their own precious daughter.

 

 

YOU CAN CHANGE A LIFE LIKE ROSELINE’S

 

Roseline’s story isn’t unique. 240 children in our care have been rescued from child slavery, starvation and abandonment. But today, they are thriving in a loving family through LSM!

 


GET INVOLVED:

 

  1. Prayerfully consider becoming a Haiti Family Sponsor and joining the family! You’ll impact the lives of 12 children like Roseline in a powerful way!
  2. Learn more about helpful tools so you can stay connected to your Home of Hope.
  3. Pray for our Home of Hope families who are helping 12 formerly orphaned, at-risk or exploited children find hope and healing.

 


 

ONE JOB SECURES A FAMILY’S SURVIVAL

When you talk to Dio, you are struck with the warmth of his smile. He is compassionate and cares deeply about others.  You would never guess the hardships this man has endured over his short 27 years on earth. In 2016, Hurricane Matthew stole his home and his farm. During the clean-up process, Dio was involved in a severe automobile accident. He shattered his hip and had multiple other injuries.  He laid in a hospital bed for weeks with a sheet tied around his pelvic bone. He was determined to use his healing time to educate himself and learn English.

 

 

One year later his father passed away. As the oldest of six children and a mother to care for, Dio knew what he had to do. But in a country where jobs are scarce, how would he provide for all of them?

 

Then he heard about Loving Shepherd Ministries. A mechanic was needed.

 

Dio had many of the skills needed for this job. And although he didn’t yet know about the amazing ministry he’d be a part of, he knew that applying meant the chance to feed his family and provide in a once hopeless situation.

 

 

Safe transportation is something Dio knows the importance of first hand. Like all Haitians, they know that the reality is, any time you travel on the difficult roads you’re at some level of risk. That’s why LSM prioritizes the safety and availability of our vehicles. It makes a huge difference for our staff and Home of Hope familes!

 

Vehicles are necessary so we can deliver supplies to our Homes of Hope and transport children for medical needs. Our staff needs safe transportation so they can access the homes and provide education services and deliver supplies. Without Dio and the other mechanics, we would not be able to effectively care for our children.

 

 

Today, Dio is the Vehicle Manager for LSM. His excellent communication in English has been a huge benefit as he daily corresponds with our US staff. It was as if God was gently showing Dio how every season of his life was preparing him for this new position!

 

As part of the automative program at LSM, Dio’s job has made a profound difference in his life as well as his family’s. His brother also works as a mechanic alongside of him.  Dio says, “Work is freedom! You have given me the freedom to provide for my family. I can now get them food and care for them because I have work. Thank you!”

 

One job has transformed the future for an entire family because of your prayers and financial support. Thank you for partnering with us. You are making a difference!

 


GET INVOLVED: 

  1. Pray for the country of Haiti, where many struggle to provide for their families. This leaves children some of the most vulnerable!
  2. Praise God with us for the 200+ Haitian employees that LSM is able to work with. These amazing people are giving back to their communities and providing for their families. We believe that ripple effect will have an impact in the Kingdom!
  3. Join us by making a financial gift to Haiti so we can maintain good vehicles that will keep our operations moving and our families and staff safe!

 

WHEN THERE SIMPLY ISN’T ROOM

by Becky Browning, LSM Staff

 

This week, my daughter hobbled into the kitchen, “Mom, my foot hurts. I think I have something stuck in there.” I examined it and then picked up the phone to call the doctor, “We can see her today. Can you come at 3:45?” And just like that, we had an appointment. Normally, a phone call like that would not have stopped me in my tracks. But today it did.

 

 

My life was changed by a 2-year-old little girl in Haiti. When I first met her, she was laying on a dirt floor. There was piles of trash and clothes around her. Chickens were roaming in and out of the room. Her eyes were closed. Her young mom told me that her head was getting bigger. She had a medical condition called, hydrocephalus. The veins deep inside were filling with fluid, causing intense pressure on her tiny brain. The family had no money to pay for surgery. They desperately tried to get her medical help, but every time they showed up at the hospital, they were ignored or turned away. A few weeks later, my friend and I went to visit the family.  They explained to us that once again no doctor would operate on their baby. As I held her, prayed and sang, she made kissing noises and smiled at me. I looked into her big brown eyes. What will happen if she doesn’t get surgery?

 

Then we heard some exciting news! A surgeon from the United States was coming to Haiti for 2 weeks. This little girl’s mom and grandmother gathered enough money and took her on a 5-hour bus ride to the hospital in Port-Au-Prince. When they arrived, there were 48 cases of children with hydrocephalus in the waiting room. They too had heard the surgeon was coming. Sadly, our sweet 2-year-old little friend was once again turned away. There was simply not enough time to help her.

 

Today, she still waits.

 

She’s not alone. Haiti only has 25 trained doctors for every 100,000 people! This reality means that many, many people never get access to the medical care they desperately need.

 

 

 

The children that God has placed in our Homes of Hope have a variety of medical needs – from being HIV+ to coming into our care severely malnourished.  They, like many Haitians, lacked access to clean drinking water and proper nutrition. Some of our children had broken bones and have been through significant trauma. Others did not have access to life-giving drugs that would keep their disease under control.

 

Today, as a child in a Home of Hope, they no longer have to suffer and wait. Their mom or dad can pick up the phone just like I did, and know the funds are there (because of you!) to get them to a hospital when they need it. And beyond that, we’re raising up a generation of nurses, doctors and professionals who will be able to impact those staggering statistics so more little girls like the one I met in that dirt hut can get the surgery they desperately need too.

 

But it starts one small step at a time. If you would like to know more about providing care to one of our Homes of Hope, learn more here.

 


GET INVOLVED

 

  1. Pray for the millions of children around the world who lack access to basic medical care in the world. Ask Him how you can be His hands and feet to a hurting world.
  2. Become a Family Sponsor where your donations help cover the basic needs of 12 children and much more!
  3. Give to our Homes of Hope with a one-time gift.

 


 

 

 

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.

 

 

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!

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.

 

1 2 3 7