“The Bible says that our response to trials in life can result in praise, glory, and honor to Jesus Christ (1 Pet 1:6-9). Haiti is currently in the midst of such trials and yet the faith of our Haitian staff is strong and inspiring. We share the below update to encourage you to pray and to remain steadfast in your faith in spite of whatever trials you may be facing.”
– Doug Isch, President of LSM
SPECIAL UPDATE FROM HAITI
Recent months have been uniquely challenging in Haiti. In 2021, Haitians saw the assassination of their President and experienced a devastating 7.2 magnitude earthquake near Les Cayes. This year, Haitians are feeling the effects of rampant inflation that has increased to over 30%. The pain of this inflation is only exacerbated by increased criminal gang violence, protests, and severe gasoline and food shortages. Many in Haiti are barely surviving the higher cost of basic needs.
Despite inflation, earthquakes, civil unrest, and other challenges, our Haitian staff and families continue to trust God and share their faith. Their hope is rooted in the Gospel and their faith is strong despite the constant struggles. Our mission has always been to provide a deep biblical foundation to equip our children for difficult times. By God’s grace, our staff and families in Haiti remain steadfast, fully believing that the current news does not change the greatest news of all, the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
They will have no fear of bad news; their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the Lord. – Psalm 112:7
Our Haitian staff and families remind us that even in difficult times, we should put our faith in God and continue to spread the Good News of God’s love. Will you join us in praying for our Haitian staff and children during these uniquely difficult days?
PRAY WITH US
Please join us in praying against the turmoil, gang violence and fuel and food shortages in Haiti. Pray that Haitians would know that true peace only comes from our Heavenly Father during these difficult times.
As you may have heard, a 7.2 magnitude earthquake struck the Les Cayes area of Haiti on Saturday morning. We have been in contact with our program directors and are thankful to report that, as far as we know, all of our staff and Home of Hope children are accounted for. However, some of our staff members lost family members in the tragedy. Also, LSM sustained structural damage at some of our properties. We continue to closely monitor the situation and will keep you updated on any significant developments.There will undoubtedly be more to report.
Saturday’s disaster came on the heels of a political unrest following a presidential assassination. And now the country braces for the arrival of a new calamity: Tropical Storm Grace.
Though our staff members maintain their strong faith in the Lord, many are feeling understandably discouraged. They will greatly appreciate your prayers and support in the days ahead. May we all take refuge in God’s sovereignty and faithfulness during these uncertain times!
“Therefore we will not fear, even though the earth give way, and though the mountains fall into the heart of the sea.” Psalm 42:6
Our LSM staff is a large, international ensemble of dedicated, hard-working professionals that in many ways reflects the diversity of the Kingdom itself. Below are a few short stories, testimonies and blurbs about the wonderful people who challenge and encourage us every day and who work passionately week after week in our shared mission of serving the last, least, lost and lonely. Many of these friends of ours reflect important qualities of God’s character, and we hope that their examples inspire you as much as they inspire us!
Nehemie serves the important role of accountant or “controller” for LSM in Haiti. Responsible use of funding is key to everything LSM has accomplished, and optimization through accounting is a subject Nehemie has cared deeply about since grade school. But even as “controller,” she recognizes it’s God who ultimately knows what’s best for each of us. When Nehemie needed a job, she took her prayer request to church. Her pastor, our own Wilfrid Remonvil opened the door for her to work at LSM. Next, Nehemie wanted to get married. Unable to resolve this herself, she simply attended to the task before her: helping LSM run effectively, serving as many vulnerable children as possible. Along the way, she fell in love with Evan Forges, a member of LSM’s business staff. The two married, and this summer, they celebrated the birth of a girl. As the name “LSM” reminds us, no matter the control we may or may not feel, the Lord is our shepherd. And because He loves us, we can trust that our true needs are never far from His attention or His Heart!
When Jean Noel first agreed to direct our Welsh School in Haiti, the school was not under LSM management. They couldn’t even afford to pay him, but Jean Noel agreed to help because when he looked around his community, he saw a cycle of uneducated kids growing up to become adults without hope or opportunities – like their parents before them. “The school had no money to pay me, but I knew if I didn’t act in faith, then nothing would ever change. Someone had to step up in faith for these kids, and I couldn’t say no!” Since that time, LSM has acquired the school, and Jean now receives a living wage for his work. During this Season of Giving, let’s pause and reflect on Jean’s favorite Scripture: “Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all will be added unto you” (Matthew 6:33). How is God asking you to step out in faith?
Talking to Dio, LSM’s Vehicle Manager, one is struck by his smile, his compassion, and his deep care for others. You would never guess the hardships he’s endured. Four years ago, he lost his family’s farm and house to Hurricane Matthew. Dio also lost his father around that time and was the victim of a severe car accident. The oldest of six, he was left alone to care for his mother and siblings – but his injuries confined him to bed. Undeterred, Dio read books and taught himself English during the recovery. Soon after, he learned about a job opportunity at LSM, and Dio’s mechanical skills, as well as his new ability to speak English, earned him the job. Huge thanks to Dio for helping us keep essential LSM vehicles on the road!
In his first letter to Thessalonica, Paul reminds the church to “encourage each other and build each other up.” The person on LSM’s team who knows the most about physical building is Troy Leyse, our Construction Manager. Troy is the primary staff person responsible for managing construction of our new Homes of Hope and businesses in Haiti, as well as installation of other key features such as wells, security walls, bridges, and solar panel arrays. But as Troy would be the first to tell you, his biggest responsibility is overseeing the building up of people, not structures. In everything LSM does, our goal is to equip local workers and to empower local leaders who God is raising up to help usher in a new dawn for Haiti!
𝗠𝗶𝗰𝗵𝗲𝗹𝗶𝗻𝗲 𝗧𝗮𝘃𝗲𝗿𝗻𝗲: 𝗧𝗵𝗲 𝗟𝗮𝘀𝘁𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗜𝗺𝗽𝗮𝗰𝘁 𝗼𝗳 𝗞𝗶𝗻𝗱𝗻𝗲𝘀𝘀
Micheline Taverne, LSM’s Impact Program Coordinator, says a big part of her role is encouraging our children and empowering them to reach their full potential. She helps the children track individual progress and reach academic and behavioral benchmarks so that they can unlock advanced educational support through LSM’s new Impact Program. “Working together, LSM staff and Home of Hope parents are creating an environment for these kids’ hearts and minds to be transformed,” Micheline says. “We want them to achieve their potential so they can share that success with others and bless Haiti, beginning with those around them.” Micheline’s favorite Scripture is Col. 3:23: “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men!”
Rebecca Webb, LSM’s Administrative Assistant, wears many hats. As she puts it, a big part of her job is “creating and maintaining a good first impression of LSM.” Anyone who’s ever visited or called our U.S. office has almost certainly interacted with Rebecca, who besides serving as a public face, manages our gift shop, supports our effort to record gifts and stay in touch with donors, assists with event planning, manages our supply inventory, schedules the staff calendar, and plans our recurring “Lunch and Learns,” which have become a highly anticipated tradition for the team each month. She says: “My heart’s been touched to learn about dire situations in Haiti and Ethiopia, as well as the promise of a brighter future.”
Paulos Mamo, one of our dedicated program managers in Ethiopia, has served LSM for more than ten years, helping children and their single moms break cycles of desperation and poverty through our business, education, trauma healing, and discipleship programs. Early in Paulos’ ministry, he still remembers the first time he and LSM helped a young mother who was on the verge of resorting to prostitution to feed her kids. A decade later, Paulos has collected hundreds of similar stories. The work is difficult, but also inspiring. Paulos says he has “no greater joy” than helping our moms become business owners and seeing the kids achieve their full, God-given potential.
While many of the stories we tell come to us from Haiti and Ethiopia, the addition of the BrickHouse program to our LSM family has given us more to talk about on the domestic front. The BrickHouse program provides structured foster care services to hard-to-place young people living in Northeast Indiana and offers free counseling services to area foster and adoptive families. Our BrickHouse farm store helps fund our efforts by selling delicious, reasonably-priced meat and eggs, and all for an excellent cause. In addition to BrickHouse, we must also remember that God is working through LSM family sponsorship and service opportunities to touch the hearts of those here in the U.S. who are freely giving and volunteering. We often tell the stories of those who are recipients of generosity, but sometimes the stories of how God transforms and touches the heart of the giver are equally important. Here are several stories of generosity and ingenuity that have come out of the U.S. recently – as well as a notes regarding a couple of crucial opportunities that are still available.
“At the heart of LSM Family Sponsorship is the idea of a lot of people doing a little bit. For us, budgeting to give to LSM each month is something we can do fairly easily. It hardly changes our lives. And yet we see that for those hurting or in need, our giving truly can make a life-changing impact. We appreciate how LSM takes the long approach, not just in terms of sustainable change, but also eternity. We’ve been particularly impressed by how LSM uses business as a tool for ministry, and we always look forward to Ed’s updates. But fundamentally, we know that the focus remains on helping vulnerable children and families. We love the concept of families helping families for God’s glory. Glad to do our part!” –Blaine and Alyssa Aschliman
The best person to guide any of us on our path to obtaining a new quality of character or new set of skills is a mentor, someone who has walked the path ahead of us. Mentors are particularly crucial to the hard-to-place foster youth in our care at LSM BrickHouse, who often need a little extra help in finding their way to the path that is possible for them. Do you have a skill that you would like to teach our children, such as leadership or public speaking? Maybe something hands-on like servicing a vehicle or playing a musical instrument? Contact Adam Carroll, email@example.com, to learn how you can step up and change the course of young lives!
LSM BrickHouse offers structured foster care for hard-to-place foster care youth living in Northeast Indiana. At our girls’ home in downtown Bluffton, Kevin and Michele Mechling provide a loving home, plus valuable mentorship opportunities, skills training, and life experiences to help the girls reach their God-given potential. Do you know a couple in the Bluffton area who might be a good fit for our program? LSM is seeking foster parents to take residence at our 40-acre farm and provide a home for hard-to-place boys. After empowering vulnerable children in Haiti and Ethiopia for years, we’re excited to see God bring similar restoration and redemption to our own community here in the United States!
In 1985, our founder, Ed Schwartz, who was a church minister back then, traveled to Haiti for the first time to help build a school. That trip planted the seed for what would become LSM’s work in the country 20 years later. On his 1985 trip, Ed met a hard-working young man named Sylvain, a former orphan who was being helped by the two missionaries overseeing the repair project. Fast forward to 2019 when Sylvain, now an experienced supervisor, was hired to join our construction team. He recently played a significant part in our construction of the new steel building at LSM’s Industrial Site: “I never dreamed I’d work with Ed again. It is only by God’s grace!”
In the summer of 2020, a group of local Boy Scouts donated their time at LSM’s BrickHouse farm in Bluffton, IN. Projects included stacking nearly 180 bales of straw, mulching around and cleaning the interior of the farm house, cleaning out pens and a feeder wagon, and washing vehicles. During the group’s lunch break, Adam Carroll led a short training on the importance of positive thinking. When their projects were completed, the boys celebrated their hard work with a water balloon fight. Our farm exists to help bring vital foster care and counseling resources to hard-to-place youth in the area. August Stettner, 13, says, “Volunteering at BrickHouse was a great chance to work with friends and to help others at the same time!” Thanks for lending us a hand, Troop 140!
𝗕𝗿𝗶𝗰𝗸𝗛𝗼𝘂𝘀𝗲 𝗔𝗻𝗻𝗼𝘂𝗻𝗰𝗲𝗺𝗲𝗻𝘁: 𝗧𝗵𝗲 𝗠𝗲𝗰𝗵𝗹𝗶𝗻𝗴𝘀 𝗠𝗼𝘃𝗲 𝗜𝗻!
In the summer of 2020, Kevin and Michele Mechling moved into LSM’s BrickHouse property in downtown Bluffton as foster parents. Together, the two of them provide the love of a Christian family for up to five hard-to-place teenage girls! LSM BrickHouse also provides additional support by helping to equip these young ladies with valuable life skills, including emotional and spiritual counseling, preparing them to thrive and positively impact our community for Christ! Thank you for your continued support as we pursue these exciting avenues for helping vulnerable teens in Adams and Wells Counties and engage with the needs here on our own doorstep!
IN early 2020, LSM received an opportunity to invest in the next generation of advocates for vulnerable children and families at Taylor University’s Care Conference, hosted by TU’s Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC) office. We had numerous exciting encounters throughout the scheduled lineup of speakers, panels, and breakout sessions, including Keegan, a junior at TU who was mentored years ago by an LSM staff member that shared with him our Business Development Plan for Haiti, inspiring him to attend TU and study OVC and Business Development. Seeds planted today may bring a harvest in generations to come!
In early 2020, Construction Project Manager Troy Leyse used our office studio to record a video for Haitian Home of Hope parents in which he explained and demonstrated some exciting new cooking equipment. A rice cooker and warmer, two induction burners, and a set of compatible pots and pans were shipped down to nearly all of LSM’s Homes of Hope to replace more expensive and less reliable propane burners and equipment. The cost of propane was going up, and we anticipated that the rise would continue. Also, unrest in Haiti at the time was causing a supply shortage that further escalated the issue. Our solution uses electrical solar panels, meaning our Homes will be able to cook effectively and inexpensively without propane – or even local power. Bon Appétit!
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.
We are thrilled to be expanding our care for local foster and adoptive families through the LSM BrickHouse program. This summer, LSM gained a new arm to our domestic work with the merge of BrickHouse Family Ministries. (Read more about it here.) As we reimagine this program, we’ve considered how we can best support foster youth in our community – and the families that welcome them home.
FREE CHRISTIAN COUNSELING FOR FOSTER & ADOPTIVE FAMILIES
It’s clear that foster and adoptive families often face unique challenges as they bring healing to children from hard places. Even if a child has been in the family’s care since they were very young, there are often attachment issues that they bring with them since before birth! Add on the complexities of racial integrations, neglect or abuse a child might have faced, and there’s a myriad of difficult scenarios to navigate through. We want to offer help!
Adam Carroll, LMFT-A, is our first Christian counselor on staff – and he’s excited to be able to provide free counseling for local foster and adoptive families as he has availability. We’d love to offer this critical support for families in the Bluffton, IN area. If you know of a local family who is currently or who is considering adoption or fostering, please share this with them! To learn more, please email Adam at firstname.lastname@example.org
In addition, we continue to serve hundreds of families each year through our free adoption resources program. The road to adoption is complicated and sometimes eligibility within certain countries is not clear. Our staff can help answer those questions for you, break down the costs and coach you on the right questions to ask – all free of charge. It’s our prayer that these tools will empower you as you seek to care for the vulnerable child God has for you!
Whether God has called you to be a foster or adoptive parent, or you’re best suited to financially support others raising vulnerable children, we believe everyone has a place in His work! As we serve together, we want to thank you because none of this is possible without your prayerful support. You are enabling us to help care for these families – and the vulnerable children they love.
Pray for foster and adoptive families – and the children they are raising! We pray their stories can be testimonies of His goodness despite the brokenness of this world.
Help us provide free counseling and adoption resources for families answering His call. We can’t provide these resources without your help! GIVE HERE.
“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!
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!