Note: This message was recorded before the Coronavirus outbreak that has dramatically affected the U.S., Haiti, and Ethiopia in recent weeks. Therefore, the pandemic is not specifically mentioned or addressed in this message. Nevertheless, the key points of this video remain true.
In case you’ve missed some of the incredible stories from this year on the blog, we wanted to share a few of our favorites. There are many testimonies praising God’s faithful work here at LSM – from volunteers in the States to staff in Ethiopia and an orphaned child in Haiti. Their stories are a beacon of hope. Each life touched is precious and each life is connected to you. It takes money, sacrifice, love and prayer to make this ministry possible. That has come from all of you!
The beauty of this ministry is seeing lives changed, as well as watching the Body of Christ come together with genuine love on behalf of the vulnerable children and families we serve. You are the life blood of LSM – and we hope that you’ll be deeply encouraged by these stories today. And if you’re not feeling connected, we’d love to bring you closer into the LSM family this coming year so you can witness these miraculous stories first hand.
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 email@example.com 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!
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.
“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.
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!
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!
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!
Pray for the country of Haiti, where many struggle to provide for their families. This leaves children some of the most vulnerable!
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!
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.
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.
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!”
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.
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.
Give a one-time gift to help hurting children find healing through our Trauma Healing program and biblical discipleship initiatives.
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!