SPRING 2017 NEWSLETTER
THE LOVING SHEPHERD /Volume 14, Issue 1
HIS GUIDING HAND
by Ed Schwartz, Founder & President
In 2002, LSM began assisting families in the US through their adoption journeys with a vision of helping vulnerable children thrive in a loving family. There were 21,500 international adoptions in that year alone, and it grew to 23,000 in 2004—the all-time high. We had no idea that by 2015, the number would slide to just 5,700 international adoptions.
As in all things, God knew what he was doing and began preparing a new path long before the unfortunate decline. He placed a vision on LSM in 2004 to begin exploring on-the-ground care of orphans as an alternative to intercountry adoption.
In 2006 we built the first LSM Haitian Home of Hope, launching our model of helping Haitians care for vulnerable children in their own country. Today, there are 20 Homes of Hope in Haiti providing permanent families for 240 children. These children receive a continuum of care from childhood through young adulthood that gives them the tools they need to be godly leaders in their own communities as adults!
In 2009, God opened doors in Ethiopia to begin working with at-risk single mothers and their children. Hundreds of families have been given counseling, support and small business training so they can live with dignity and hope. As these families are empowered with the tools they need to thrive, Christ is introduced and entire communities are impacted by the Gospel.
God is accomplishing His mission and we can say with confidence that these children are: “With family. For Christ.”
NO LONGER VULNERABLE. BECAUSE OF YOU.
Without your commitment, prayers and ongoing financial support of LSM, the incredible stories you’ve just read are not possible. And the stories don’t stop with these children. The long-term power of this ministry happens when these children grow up and become godly leaders in their own communities, ultimately transforming their culture for Christ!
Would you consider contributing a special gift today to help children like Josmie, and single mothers and their families like Bellame’s, reach their God-given potential?
JOSMIE NEVER EXPECTED THIS
Josmie* and her three siblings were born to a single mother. Malnourished and living in squalor, Josmie grew up small and frail from years of too little food, never went to school, and lived only to barely survive another day.
Josmie’s mother was so desperate that she was planning to send her daughter to live with another family where Josmie would become a restavek, or child slave. Her mother could only hope that at least there she would have enough food.
Instead, a kind neighbor brought her to LSM’s new Home of Hope, where 12 girls were selected to grow up in a stable family. Overnight, Josmie exchanged a slave labor position for a secure, loving home. She could barely comprehend the radical change in her life.
Now, at 16, Josmie is receiving the best education available, finding hope in the love of Christ with a stable family, and knows the love of an entire community who is rooting for her success.
“I want to have a good job,” Josmie says, “and get married and have my own beautiful family. I want to do this and help other children because I know what it means to have been given so much help.”
RIPPLE EFFECTS FOR THE KINGDOM
In early October 2016, Hurricane Matthew hit Southern Haiti and devastated the area. You responded, providing the support we needed to rebuild schools, churches and many homes both for our staff and the surrounding communities.
The ripple effect of your support continues to build relationships for the Kingdom in the communities we serve.
NEW LAND FOR NEW BUSINESSES
In February, we were able to purchase two pieces of land in Les Cayes, Haiti, for the start of LSM’s Business Development initiatives. The businesses we operate will provide revenue to care for the children in LSM Homes of Hope.
The eight-acre Retail Park will host a variety of retail stores.
The ten-acre Industrial Park will include an aggregate crushing and washing plant, concrete block making and a pre-cast concrete operation.
With these business projects, we will be able to:
• Provide future job opportunities for LSM Home of Hope young men and women
• Provide employment opportunities to Haitians from the local community
• Provide a revenue stream for our Homes of Hope
A NEW CHAPTER
Bellame*, a single mother with three children, one of which she adopted when her best friend died in childbirth, worked desperately to try and make ends meet. She and her children lived in a dung-wall loft with a tarp-roof they called home.
LSM’s Ethiopian staff learned about Bellame’s situation and offered to help her and her family.
Today, they are starting a new chapter living in their own apartment. Bellame is receiving training and support to start a new small business. They go to a local Ethiopian church, where church volunteers are mentoring their family and helping them get on their feet.
Because of the support, prayers and financial gifts from people just like you on the other side of the world, Bellame and her family are working towards a much better future than they ever dreamed.
KEEPING FAMILIES TOGETHER
We are working with over 30 new families in Ethiopia just like Bellame’s where single mothers are now able to care for their children with dignity.
Through LSM’s support, they receive:
• Small Business Development Training to start their own enterprise
• Education for their children
• Support and Mentoring through the local Ethiopian church
• Financial support as they start their businesses and build stability
Your partnership helps provide a fresh start for vulnerable children whose families have been entrenched in desperate poverty for generations. Through their introduction to the Gospel and transformed lives, we believe that entire communities can be impacted for Christ!
We just held our Annual Benefit Auction in Bluffton, IN. This community is where we started with such humble beginnings in 2002. The growth and support from our local area has been deeply encouraging! Whether through local benefit auctions, hosting events, praying for this work, or traveling to Haiti and giving from the heart, each of you has a powerful role in this ministry. Thank you for investing in the Kingdom!