THE LOVING SHEPHERD
FALL 2019 Newsletter // Volume 16, Issue 3
WITH EVERY STEP
by Doug Isch, LSM President
It felt like a giant unknown when Ed Schwartz asked me to join him in starting a non-profit. It was also exciting to think about providing free adoption resources to families in the States, and helping orphans find loving families. We had no idea how God would show up and bless our efforts. Armed with a prayer for wisdom and humility, we have followed many open doors since that living room discussion in January 2002.
In 2007, we felt God expanding our vision and opened our first Home of Hope in a remote little mountain village in Haiti. We never dreamed of the 240 children and 20 families who would be in our care today. Nor of the amazing efforts that would follow to give these children hope for their future with education, life-skills and work opportunities.
Two years later, the Spirit again led us. This time, to Ethiopia where we began helping vulnerable children and their single mothers who were making desperate choices for survival. To date, we have helped bring healing to hundreds of single mothers and their kids, who are now living a vastly different story.
It’s been an amazing journey! And now, God is expanding our reach yet again, as BrickHouse Family Ministries becomes a part of LSM. We provide residential care for vulnerable young men in the foster care system right here in the United States.
There is no doubt in my mind that God has heard our prayers, and led us to every child we’ve reached. We are so thankful for each one of you who believes in LSM’s vision and intention in the Spirit. None of these stories would be possible without you. Thank you!
EXPANDING OUR DOMESTIC PROGRAMS
LSM’s leadership began praying for God to expand our domestic programs as we saw the overwhelming needs in foster care. We are pleased to announce that He has answered our prayers by bringing BrickHouse Family Ministries (a local Bluffton, IN residential program) into LSM’s domestic program!
BRICKHOUSE FAMILY MINISTRIES BACKGROUND:
BrickHouse Family Ministries began in 2006 as a local ministry hoping to mentor vulnerable young men. They started as a private placement residential home where parents would send their troubled teen sons. Teens would receive private schooling, individual/family counseling as well as work on the 40-acre farm. Over the last 13 years, the program has expanded to include a robust Farm Store that provides sustainable income for the ministry. To date, their residential and non-residential support has helped hundreds of teens and their families.
Tom Felger, Founder of BrickHouse shared, “We have been praying for an opportunity for God to expand the number of vulnerable children and families we serve. The chance to join LSM and combine our efforts is truly an answer to our prayers. We are very excited for the growth that can happen.”
OUR FRESH VISION AS THE LSM BRICKHOUSE PROGRAM:
Reimagining the future of LSM BrickHouse requires our combined expertise. We are especially excited as we begin to serve the biggest need in our local foster care system – teen boys, typically from the ages of 13 – 17. Without immediate intervention, these young men will statistically be prone to end up in the criminal justice system, homeless or become young parents perpetuating this cycle of poverty, violence and abandonment (see infographic).
THE REIMAGINED LSM BRICKHOUSE PROGRAM INCLUDES:
• Foster Family Care on site for teen boys
• Work opportunities (through the LSM Brickhouse Farm)
• Life Skills Training
• Emotional/Trauma Healing
• Discipleship Training
• Opportunities for community/church involvement
• Additional foster care support for local foster families
As with each new project at LSM, we step out into a new initiative with openness to how God leads. We have been given a great opportunity and are excited to see God move in the lives of vulnerable young men. A decade from now, we hope we will look back with awe at how He has provided far above what we could ask or imagine.
A YOUNG MAN FINDING HIS PURPOSE
Lawrence* came to an LSM Home of Hope several years ago. From orphan to son and caring young man, he shares, “I want to be successful and help others the same way LSM has served me. If I hadn’t come to this family, I would still be out on the streets. But God, in His love, put LSM in my path.”
Through LSM’s internship program, he was able to study under Jose, LSM’s Haitian architect, and learn valuable skills. In January 2020, Lawrence will move to LSM Tech. In addition to his University training, he will also receive education in English, computer skills, Bible and leadership classes on our campus! We are thrilled for the opportunities that this young man has. It is our prayer to see lives transformed for all the young men we serve in Haiti, Ethiopia and now locally, too!
*name changed for privacy
PRAY FOR LSM BRICKHOUSE
- The program will effectively help vulnerable young men in the foster system.
- This will be a fruitful ministry that helps struggling teens become thriving adults.
- LSM’s staff and leadership could create a program that reaches the significant foster needs in our area.
- This ministry will become a beautiful expression of engaging the church.
YOUR PARTNERSHIP gives vulnerable children a chance to thrive both locally and globally. We can’t do any of this without you. Will you join us?
LSM TECH UPDATE: HAITI
Construction of our classrooms are in full swing at LSM TECH this summer as we prepare to welcome our first group of Home of Hope students in January 2020! Six students will be attending this year. Four children have just graduated, and two more graduated last year and already attend local universities.
TREE PLANTING: ETHIOPIA
In early August, 50 of our families in Ethiopia participated in a national tree planting initiative. Ethiopia boasted over 350 million trees planted in one day as part of the country’s larger campaign to plant four billion trees. Servant-leadership is something that we want our children to know, and put into practice. What a privilege to see that lived out as they joined in the effort to give back to their country!