SUMMER 2019 NEWSLETTER
by Doug Isch, President of Loving Shepherd Ministries
Imagine a child, cowering on a dirty street corner, waiting for someone to take pity on them. No one even seems to notice them. They are clearly hungry, barefoot and wearing tattered clothes. They’ve never had the chance to go to school. They have no one to hold them when they get hurt, or provide a bed for them to sleep in. They have become invisible. Voiceless.
Sadly, many of the children LSM serves have known this reality to one degree or another. The Haitian and Ethiopian believers on our staff show these children daily that they are seen, they are valuable, and they can become everything God intended for them.
Many of our LSM staff have their own personal testimony of overcoming tremendous odds. Their faith in Jesus compels them to give back today – and it’s having a huge impact!
LSM is richly blessed with our Christian staff in Haiti and Ethiopia. We don’t take any of these relationships for granted because we know their direct involvement with the children makes all the difference. They model Christ to each child through their testimony and daily interactions.
Over the years, we’ve introduced you to several different people on staff. This time, we want to share more deeply so you can see WHY these believers are so passionately serving the vulnerable in their cultures. We hope you are deeply encouraged by their testimonies as you read and consider how God can use your story to reach the vulnerable too!
THE CHANCE TO LEARN CHANGED MY LIFE
A STAFF TESTIMONY FROM HAITI
Claudin Idoxis is LSM’s Child Development and Education Director in Haiti. Today, he’s a successful leader within his community and is helping the 240 children in our Homes of Hope with personalized education plans. But getting to this point has not been easy.
As the oldest of six children, generational poverty seemed to be his obvious future. His parents hardly knew how to read and although they worked hard as a carpenter and embroiderer, they struggled to care for their children. Claudin also felt the weight of being a darker skin tone than most Haitians, something that further damaged his chance for success. Despite the great odds against him, Claudin says, “I had two great assets: my faith in God and my mother who believed in the value of education.”
Claudin was sponsored through a Christian sponsorship program. He received financial support and was able to go to school and get a good education. Shortly after getting married, Claudin joined the LSM team. Now he ministers to 240 children whose stories he can relate to very well!
Claudin shares from the heart, “I am not ashamed to share my testimony and let them know that I am no different than them. I am very motivated to give to them all that I have been given. It’s my responsibility before God. It is a pleasure to work for the kids.”
He continues, “I want the people who give to LSM to know that they are doing a very good and important job in Haiti. This investment isn’t just for life but for eternity!
We don’t only look after our children’s education, but we also watch over the spiritual part of our children’s lives. If someone invests in LSM, they are investing in eternity. Their reward will be in heaven.”
PASSING IT ON
Wilson’s* father abandoned their family, and his mother couldn’t provide even his basic necessities. When he was 12 years old, he made the difficult transition into his Home of Hope family. For the first time, he was able to receive three meals a day and consistently go to school. Before he came to LSM, he didn’t know how to read or write. Today, he’s one of the brightest kids in his age group with lots of ambition for the future. Claudin works with him and taught him how to tutor some of his younger brothers. Wilson looks up to Claudin as a great example of what you can become with good education and a loving family. Wilson says, “I want to own my own business and give back too.”
WE BELIEVE WILSON HAS A GREAT FUTURE AND KNOW THAT CLAUDIN’S SUPPORT, ALONG WITH HIS HOME OF HOPE PARENTS, CAN HELP HIM REACH FAR BEYOND WHAT HE COULD HAVE DREAMED. YOUR SUPPORT EMPOWERS CHILDREN AND TEACHERS LIKE THIS!
*name changed for privacy
DOUBLE YOUR IMPACT!
Wilson and Samuel (below) are two of nearly 300 children in Haiti and Ethiopia who are receiving a full Continuum of Care within LSM that’s transforming their lives and helping them reach their God-given potential. It’s our vision that they will be leaders who help transform their communities for Christ as adults.
But we can’t do this without you. Each gift you give is stewarded with great care and our prayer is that you are touched as you read these stories of hope. And right now, each gift is DOUBLED by a generous matching grant up to a total of $25,000!
WOULD YOU CONSIDER DOUBLING YOUR GIFT TO HELP SAMUEL AND WILSON THRIVE?
$50 BECOMES $100
for Trauma Healing resources
$100 BECOMES $200
for school uniforms / supplies for a year
$300 BECOMES $600
helps support a Home of Hope family for a month
FROM ORPHANAGE TO FAMILY ADVOCATE
A STAFF TESTIMONY FROM ETHIOPIA
Johnny and Mekdes are part of our Ethiopian Team. They are passionate about empowering families through their ministry with LSM and with the valuable support of many volunteers from the local church. Together, they are empowering over 30 single mothers and their children in a local village with education, counseling, small business training and financial support. Johnny and Mekdes also have their own ministry that focuses on strengthening marriages and counseling families.
There’s a reason why this couple is so passionate about seeing families thrive.
Both Johnny and Mekdes grew up in a massive orphanage (averaging 5,000 – 7,000 children at any given time). They didn’t receive the nurture and love they know is so vital for children to experience in a family. There was only one caregiver for every 50+ children. Not surprisingly, this led to many hardships for the children growing up without loving parental guidance or support.
They say, “Our passion for nurturing healthy families began with our own experience of growing up without a family.”
Being at the orphanage did offer some benefits though. Mekdes shares, “The government orphanage gave us a lifestyle that was so much better than the rest of society, but we didn’t know that the people around us were in deep poverty.” Because of their opportunity to live in the orphanage, they received up to a high school education and were able to experience things that many in their home villages never did.
However, after graduating high school, they had to leave the orphanage. They were totally unprepared for what came next. They didn’t know what poverty and real-life experiences were like. It was a shocking reality when they walked out those doors. Johnny said, “We felt like we were unwanted, resource-wasting and no-good children.”
But there was hope! After leaving the orphanage and finding work near their extended families, Johnny and Mekdes discovered faith in Jesus that changed everything! Although Johnny was abandoned by his extended family after becoming a Christian, he still says it was the best decision he ever made.
“The Holy Spirit touched my heart and brought joy to my soul like I had never experienced before. I raised my heart and hands to Him and He welcomed me with open arms. I felt a very warm love for the first time, and my eyes poured out tears of joy.
I had experienced a long journey of orphan life at an orphanage and now I had a chance to call god, ‘My Father!’ this moment is still very sweet to my heart!”
After all those years in the orphanage, Johnny and Mekdes got married. They were passionate about serving the Lord together and felt a call to serve families first.
Mekdes recounts, “Despite all the blessings we received in the orphanage, our souls missed the natural love of a family. Our caregivers were like ‘professional paid caregivers’ but natural parents are like the ‘loving shepherd’ who sacrifices his life for the sheep. In light of this truth, the vision has grown in our hearts to keep and maintain loving families. Today, we get to provide awareness, training, counseling and empowerment that can save marriages and families for generations to come.”
PASSING IT ON
Samuel,* his sister and single mother are part of the LSM Family Preservation program in Ethiopia. At 16 years old, he watched his father abandon and divorce his mother because she accepted Jesus as her Savior.
Johnny’s own testimony of rejection for his faith has had a powerful influence on Samuel. Knowing that faith in Jesus really is worth the sacrifice is something Johnny lives out every day for children like Samuel in our programs.
These stories don’t always have a happy ending. But as believers in Christ, we can pray for Samuel and his mother who are making the hard decisions to follow Jesus, even when it means difficult circumstances this side of heaven.