BEYOND WHAT WE COULD ASK OR IMAGINE
by Doug Isch, LSM President
Has it been 20 years already? It’s hard to imagine that time has gone by so quickly! When we opened our doors in 2002 with a focus on helping American couples navigate the adoption journey, we never could have imagined that within two decades we would be working directly with hundreds of vulnerable children in Haiti, Ethiopia, and the United States. My mind reflects on Ephesians 3:20 where it says that God gives us the power to accomplish more than we can ask or imagine, and my heart says AMEN! God has truly done more than we could ask or imagine over the past 20 years.
Looking back isn’t just an exercise in remembering. It’s an opportunity to step into a future vision that is built on the foundation of God’s past faithfulness.
Our mission to share the Gospel and care for vulnerable children in a way that honors our Core Values is unwavering. But there are always opportunities to creatively improve our work, to expand successful programs, and to imagine program ideas that we haven’t even thought of yet. I’m reminded of the saying, “If God can do more than we ask and imagine, shouldn’t we ask and imagine more?” After observing God’s goodness and faithfulness over the past 20 years, the answer is a resounding yes! In LSM’s 20 years, God has taken the lives of once impoverished and desperate children and families and redeemed them for His purposes. We praise God for the thousands of vulnerable children, communities, and churches that have been impacted. During our 20th anniversary year, we’ll be sharing with you stories of God’s faithfulness in the past and a vision for where He’s taking us in the future. Thank you for standing alongside us with support, prayer, and advocacy. We can’t do what we do without you!
GRACE IN DARKNESS IN ETHIOPIA
Our Family Preservation program in Ethiopia serves more than 175 children and their mothers by empowering them through biblical discipleship, education, counseling, life skills and small business training. Each family has their own story – a story that comes from a place of desperation and heartache. Many of us spend our time trying to avoid seasons of pain and suffering that the Bible says will inevitably come to every believer (John 16:33). But it is often during these difficult times that God brings us to our knees to rely on Him. This was the experience of a young Ethiopian mother named Alem, as she found God’s deepest grace during her darkest times. This is Alem’s story:
“My childhood was not stable and safe. My dad died when I was only a baby and my mom abandoned me. At a young age, I was all alone. I was sent to live with my grandma, but my alcoholic uncle began to abuse me. In the 6th grade, I left to work as a house servant for a different relative. But after only 4 months, I began to suffer abuse there as well. With nowhere else to go, I reluctantly returned to my grandma. When I became a teenager, I began to work as a house servant again while attending evening school. It was here that I met a young man. Soon, he proposed to me, and we married. I was hopeful for a stable life. However, I soon found out I was pregnant, and my husband immediately left me. I was all alone again. Being on my own, with no one willing to hire a pregnant woman, I entered deep poverty and depression. How could I raise my baby when I couldn’t take care of myself?
After the birth of my daughter, I felt alone and ashamed that I wasn’t able to provide even the basic necessities for my child. During this time, I was brought to my knees in desperation. But God heard my prayer. Soon, I met some LSM staff who shared about their work. After being invited into the program and attending for the first time, I suddenly felt safe and supported. The staff counseled me during my time of deep depression, and I began to attend church with my daughter. Once again, I was on my knees, but this time praising and thanking God! He saw my pain and welcomed me with open arms. After coming to LSM, I learned that God will always guide me through life’s storms. What has changed my future is a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. For the first time in my life, I have dignity and the courage to spread the Gospel and be a godly mother for my daughter!”
BEACON OF HOPE IN HAITI
In Haiti, children from families of wealth and power have huge advantages over kids from poor families, who often fall victim to generational cycles of suffering. This was the path of Josie*, who came from one of the most desperate situations imaginable – abandoned, orphaned, and involved with voodoo.
Josie shares, “I was once forced to participate in voodoo ceremonies when I was young. After coming to my Home of Hope, my faith grew into a personal relationship with Jesus! Today, I attend LSM Tech which will allow me to study law in order to stand up for truth and Christian values, while defending vulnerable children and victims in the future.”
When God led LSM to open our first 2 Homes of Hope in 2007, we couldn’t have imagined Him expanding our reach to help over 250 children in 21 Homes of Hope! Today, children like Josie are a new generation of high school and college graduates, living as beacons of hope as they spread the Gospel in their communities and prepare to lead Haiti into a brighter future.
PRAY FOR LSM
Pray for the families in our FAMILY PRESERVATION PROGRAM IN ETHIOPIA as they experience healing and restoration in Christ. Also pray for an end to the civil war that is affecting many women and children.
Praise God for SHINING A LIGHT IN HAITI as our Home of Hope children take the next steps toward becoming future leaders and impacting Haiti for Christ.
Pray for the BRICKHOUSE USA program to effectively serve vulnerable youth in the foster care system. Pray also for the additional foster parents needed to open several new homes.
Our BrickHouse program helps local at-risk youth in foster care to reach their God-given potential. We walk alongside these vulnerable youth with mentoring and Christian counseling so they find healing and hope for a better future. One of the children in our care recently told us, “I’m learning how to redirect my thinking and control my behavior. It’s really helping!”
LSM once again earned a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator, the nation’s largest, most utilized evaluator of charities. Charity Navigator objectively analyzes thousands of nonprofits on their financial health and accountability. This 4-star accomplishment (the highest possible) means that we greatly exceed industry standards in these areas. Less than 1 in 4 nonprofits in the U.S. receive this rating.