A LASTING FRUITFUL HARVEST
by Doug Isch, LSM President
Throughout the Bible, the theme of “harvesting” carries spiritual significance. Jesus spoke of a great spiritual harvest waiting to be reaped (Mt. 9, Lk. 10), and one of His most famous parables is about the harvest that ultimately comes (or doesn’t come) from seeds scattered by a sower (Mt. 13, Mk. 4, Lk. 8). While Jesus often uses imagery tied to seeds of grain, He also talks about producing and harvesting fruit. Indeed, it is in the context of talking about fruit that Jesus makes a very important statement. He says in John 15:16 that He wants His disciples to go and produce a particular kind of fruit – fruit that will last.
What does it mean to produce fruit that will last? It means that what’s harvested is picked at the right time and with the right care. Not hastily thrown into a basket before it’s ready. The wisdom of Jesus’ statement has impacted me following Haiti’s earthquake. Before the earthquake, many Haitian buildings were made with low quality concrete blocks – blocks that were not going to last during an earthquake. Over 100,000 buildings collapsed or were damaged. No one is to blame for this, but it does make an important illustration.
People ask why LSM works so deeply in Haiti, Ethiopia and the U.S. Why not just make bigger buildings to house more vulnerable children? The answer is we want to produce and harvest a particular kind of fruit – fruit that will last. This is why LSM does not define success solely by how well we are ministering to the kids currently in our care but rather by how well those kids will minister to their own kids in the next generation. Now THAT is fruit that will last!
We are thankful for each of you who come alongside our ministry. Your support allows us to sow seeds of faith in vulnerable children, cultivate the youthful plants as they grow, and then reap the harvest of generational impact. Please pray for us as we seek to produce fruit – fruit that will last for His glory!
FROM DARKNESS TO LIGHT,
FROM SEEDS TO HARVEST
Our Family Preservation program in Ethiopia comes alongside single mothers and their children at their time of greatest need, pulling them out of the darkest of circumstances so that they can ultimately be a light to others. Geta* is one such example.
At the young age of 10, Geta’s life changed forever when her mother died. Although only a child, she felt the weight of increased responsibilities fall on her small shoulders and eventually was forced to stop attending school in the 7th grade. At 14 years old, her father arranged for her to be married in order for him to collect a dowry. Geta was married for 20 years. During this time, her Christian faith began to sprout and grow, and she actively shared the Gospel with her 6 children. Sadly however, her husband began to despise her faith in Jesus and forced her and their children out on the streets -completely abandoning them. Now a single mother, Geta understandably struggled to provide basic needs for her children. She was in agony as she watched her children suffer from hunger and not be able to attend school. Her Christian faith began to waver as she struggled to survive.
But that’s when LSM found Geta. Her telling of the story is powerful:
One day, LSM’s Family Preservation staff saw my family homeless on the streets. They took us in when we had nowhere else to go. Through business training, I began to support my family by breeding and selling cattle. Through all my struggles, I have learned God saved my family and is my Rescuer from this life’s suffering. My biggest blessing is my faith in Christ and the hope, peace and rest He gives me. I pray my children will grow in the fear of God and continue revealing His glory to others. Before being a part of LSM’s Family Preservation program, I struggled with standing strong in my faith. Now with consistent teachings at church, I realize I can trust God with everything. My faith has grown drastically. I attend church and am taking a one-year discipleship class on Christian Discipleship Foundation. My family is now sharing our faith with others in our community. I tell others how blessed my family is, even during hard times, and how God did not abandon us. God has continually grown the seeds of faith He planted in my family years ago.
Imagine these words coming from a woman who was once homeless with her 6 children! Despite being abandoned by her husband, Geta finds strength and love in God. Her personal relationship with Jesus paves the way to plant Gospel seeds in her community that will ultimately lead to a harvest for His Kingdom. As God reminds us in Galatians 6:9, ”And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” Thank you for helping to make this possible!
LSM STAFF SACRIFICE TO ASSIST
THOSE IMPACTED BY EARTHQUAKE
There are occasions when the sacrificial love of our Haitian staff leaves us humbled. After a massive earthquake hit Haiti on August 14, they immediately took action to help their neighbors. Their dedication was on full display as they quickly created and began administering LSM’s Emergency Grant Program that distributed supplies to those most in need as well as helping their community through their own personal funds. This act of distributing supplies and funds took an incredible amount of courage because inevitably there is not enough to go around and people can quickly become angry and threatening. But our staff persevered at significant risk to themselves.
It was also remarkable that when our Haitian staff called LSM’s President to report the earthquake, they didn’t first mention the personal damage and loss that they had suffered. Instead, they worried about those who had lost everything and asked how God might uniquely use them and LSM to help. In fact, as one of our employees traveled around the Les Cayes area giving out personal funds to those suffering the most, she suddenly realized she had given away her entire paycheck. She had nothing left for herself!
This act of generosity is even more remarkable because her own home had been so damaged that she and her family were unable to live in it. And yet she gave away her entire paycheck helping others! We’re thankful that many of our supporters have also shown amazing generosity by donating to our earthquake relief efforts, which will allow us to assist this employee and other staff with home repairs.
Each of our staff members found creative ways to use their gifts to assist those affected by the earthquake. Whether it is meeting physical, emotional, or spiritual needs, our staff is stepping up to the challenge of being salt and light for Jesus during this difficult time in Haiti.
BRICKHOUSE PROGRAM PROVIDES
STABILITY AFTER CHAOS
Over the past year, LSM’s BrickHouse Program has provided a safe and stable environment for at-risk foster girls in our local community. One young lady, Beth*, came to us after years of being placed in foster home after foster home. She even found herself homeless and living in a shelter for a time. She was unsure if her life would ever feel safe.
This instability prevented Beth from having security and confidence to reach her full potential. After moving into our BrickHouse home, Beth shared, “It’s nice to feel safe enough to relax.” All children should have a safe place like this. Through therapeutic counseling and supportive relationships with her foster parents and others in the community, Beth began healing from her past experiences and trauma.
Beth has now been reunified with her relatives. Our hope is that she will continue to grow and become a secure and strong example of the redemptive work of our great God, who can make beauty from ashes (Isaiah 61 ).
PERSEVERANCE IN HAITI
It’s not all bad news in Haiti. As the world focused its attention on the assassination of Haiti’s president in July and the earthquake in August, LSM’s staff was diligently laying the groundwork to open up a new Home of Hope in September. By God’s grace, our staff persevered and the new Naomi Home of Hope for 12 girls successfully opened on September 27th! You’ll be hearing more about this family soon.
In spite of the present hardships in Haiti and the damage we suffered from the earthquake, God is calling us to do even more. There is an unprecedented opportunity to help build and re-build southwest Haiti for God’s Kingdom, and by His grace, LSM will play a vital and strategic role!
PRAY FOR LSM
Pray for HAITI and the devastation after the recent earthquake in the Les Cayes community. We praise God for our Haitian staff who are sharing the Gospel to those in need.
Pray for for our FAMILY PRESERVATION PROGRAM IN ETHIOPIA as single mothers are being empowered to share their faith with others in their community and testify how God is blessing them even in difficult times.
Pray for LSM’S BRICKHOUSE PROGRAM to impact and bring stability to even more at-risk youth with God’s healing love.