Note: This message was recorded before the Coronavirus outbreak that has dramatically affected the U.S., Haiti, and Ethiopia in recent weeks. Therefore, the pandemic is not specifically mentioned or addressed in this message. Nevertheless, the key points of this video remain true.
On Friday night, November 8, nearly 170 people gathered at our newly renovated Event Center for an inspiring evening together. Guest speaker, Tim Goeglein, spoke profoundly from a place of humility about his personal experiences in life. He was once an affluent politician, but pride caused him to fall into repeated plagiarism. When he was caught, he thought his whole world was falling apart. In an act of true grace, President George W. Bush forgave him when he didn’t deserve it and had disgraced the White House. Tim felt the love of Jesus through the forgiveness extended to him. His open and honest testimony is a reminder to all of us that we can show radical grace to others. Today, he is using his words in a different way. No longer seeking to promote self, he is seeking to lift high the name of Jesus! His genuine heart is pointing others to the saving grace of Jesus.
Doug Isch, LSM’s president shared another story of grace that night. From places of hopelessness, ultimate healing has come through the loving gifts of many just like you. For single mothers like Mahret* living in the slums of Ethiopia, the journey was particularly tough. Mahret had nothing – and ultimately, made some pretty desperate decisions to survive. Her little girl was born in the midst of those difficult years. Mahret was scared, and now she had a little one to provide for. At times, they would not eat for days. There was not adequate shelter and they were extremely vulnerable on the streets. Those were long dark years and they barely survived. It wasn’t until LSM was able to come alongside them that Mahret began to see what true hope could look like. That was in 2010.
Today, Mahret and her daughter are living a fully restored life. Her daughter is going to school, has plenty to eat and they have a bright future ahead. With the business skills Mahret learned in LSM’s programs, she’s been able to start her own small business selling coffee and injera, a local bread. They aren’t rich in material things. However, Mahret and her daughter have been introduced to the saving, forgiving grace of Jesus! They know that they are truly rich in things that can never be taken away!
On this special night, we were reminded that our Healer can bring restoration to every situation. We are grateful for that powerful knowledge – and grateful for every person who sat at those tables and gave generously to the work of LSM. Because of you, we were able to exceed our matching grant goal! Now, we can reach more vulnerable families like Mahret and her daughter with the Gospel of Hope. Thank you for being part of this beautiful redemptive story!
Have you ever heard this quote? “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is NOW.” To make a lasting impact, one must act today. Last week, our families in Woliso, Ethiopia participated in the largest tree-planting day in the history of the world! Ethiopia boasted over 350 million trees planted in one day as part of the country’s larger campaign to plant four billion trees.
This effort comes after massive amounts of deforestation that has had many harmful effects on their land and global warming. It’s estimated that less than 4% of Ethiopia’s land is forested today. The country suffers from soil erosion, droughts and flooding. Despite these harsh realities, 80% of the population relies on farming to survive! Ethiopia’s prime minister, Abiy Ahmed, is leading the reforestation campaign called, “Green Legacy”.
Fifty children in our programs participated in this exciting venture for their country! It was a fun day that empowered our kids to be a part of something exciting in their community. 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.
These children have come from desperately poor, marginalized single parent homes. Participating in activities as simple as planting trees gives them a sense of purpose and connection. When we join others in meaningful work, it doesn’t feel like work. Instead, our combined effort becomes a joyful gift that keeps on giving.
With efforts like, “Green Legacy” and a generation of children learning the importance of sustainable agricultural practices, it’s a great step for their country.
Trees need a healthy environment to grow, so do our children. You can help us sow into these precious lives by becoming a family sponsor today. -Because, “the next best time to plant is now.”
1. Become a family sponsorand help single mothers and their children in Ethiopia thrive and become leaders in their communities!
Timmy* is now 8 years old and is excelling in 2nd grade! He still remembers clearly his very first day of school. He was so excited. He got his little uniform on, lovingly took his new notebook and pencils out of his backpack, just to gaze at them for a moment, before tucking them securely back inside and hoisting the bag onto his back.
Every day in class, Timmy eagerly soaked up the lessons he was taught. And every day after school, his mom, Tabitha, was there to pick him up and listen to the new fidel (Ethiopian Amharic script) he had learned. Timmy wondered why his mom would sometimes cry while he recited his fidel to her.
“Why is mom sad I’m learning so many wonderful new things?”
His mother’s tears were not of sadness. They were tears of great joy and thankfulness!
Tabitha birthed Timmy in one of the slums of Addis Ababa. They were both desperately hungry, and Timmy almost starved to death in his first few precious weeks. Life had been filled with poverty and hardships for Timmy’s mother…until she came to LSM.
Because of your love, prayers, financial support and advocacy, Timmy and his mother’s story has changed. Your actions showed that their lives were worth more!
Tabitha began working for Moriya Ethiopian Accessories, a business we helped start for a group of impoverished moms. Using the skills she learned as part of the Moriya team, she has since branched out on her own. Today, Tabitha owns a successful sewing business. She is providing for her son with a dignified, stable job. She is remarried and expecting a baby.
Timmy is no longer hungry and hopeless. He has continued to excel in school and dreams about his future with excitement! He loves his new dad, and is anxiously awaiting his new sibling.
Timmy and his mother are a living example for those in their community. Their lives display hard work ethic, leadership and an overflowing love of Christ!
Most importantly, little Timmy knows the hope of a life filled with the love of Jesus, because people like you believed he and his mother were worth it! Thank you for making a difference!
A baby boy was born in a rural village in Ethiopia. Baby Meleke* curled his tiny fingers around his mother’s pinky. A difficult life was ahead of this little one. Just a few months earlier, his mom Shali* went to Arat Kilo, a slum area of Ethiopia’s capital in search of new opportunities. It was only temporary until she could find work. Everything changed when she got a boyfriend and soon found out she was pregnant. But he wanted nothing to do with baby Meleke. He walked out—never to be heard from again. Alone and scared, this young mom was left to fend for herself and the life growing inside her womb.
With no income, no support, and a child to care for, how would they survive?
For the next few years, life became more and more desperate. Shali did whatever she could to feed her son, but there was never enough. School was out of the question for Mekele. They were just trying to survive. There was very little chance that they would ever be able to break out of this cycle of poverty. Despair and hopelessness began to settle in.
But this is not a story of despair. God used LSM to bring hope to this precious family!
One day, Shali and Mekele were introduced to LSM. Our staff shared the love of Jesus with them. Today, they are thriving in the LSM trauma healing program. Through LSM, Shali learned how to weave. She is a talented artisan and runs her own business. Because they now have an income, Mekele can attend school. They are surrounded by women and children who love and care for them. A mother’s life was redeemed, and the fruits of this transformation have been passed on to her child.What once appeared to be bleak strands of pain and hopelessness have been woven together with threads of hope and love. A beautiful tapestry created for the glory of God!
Right now, there are countless moms and children suffering like Shali and Mekele once did. Will you help us reach them with the hope and love of Jesus?
The monthly Ethiopia Program updates was looking pretty standard. It was full of positive conversations and new things the team wanted to accomplish. Over 40 families in Ethiopia have access to some incredible programs that are helping single mothers provide for their kids.
And then my eyes caught on one word… CANCER.
Two moms were diagnosed with cancer in the last month. Another young mom lost partial vision in both eyes. I wish I could take away those words and the weight they carry for their sweet families, but I can’t.
These precious mommas have faced some terrible things in their life already. They’ve had to make the heartbreaking choice between feeding their child and sending them to school. It’s unbearable to think about life as a single mom in one of the hardest places in the world, deeply entrenched in generational poverty with a stigma around their shoulders. I place myself in their shoes for a moment and imagine what this diagnosis would feel like and what this means for their children.
BUT THEN I’M REMINDED… THEY AREN’T WALKING THIS ROAD ALONE!
In the last three years, these families have all entered the LSM program in their village. It’s enabled their children to go to school. It’s given them food stipends so they don’t have to worry about whether or not they can feed their children. LSM has helped them start their own businesses and walked alongside them so they can succeed. We have watched these families make huge progress. Beyond all of that though, they’ve connected to a local church and are mentored by volunteers in their community on a regular basis. They have support groups that they’ve started in their own communities. Their fear and stigma have faded and they’ve gained confidence in themselves.
Cancer, blindness and the pain they’ve faced isn’t fair, but they know we will walk alongside them in this season of their journey just like we have in the last season. Despite the ravages of sickness, poverty and sin in this world, there is a big God who is above it all!
And in the middle of our mess, we can point each other to Jesus, take each other’s hand and say simply, “You don’t have to walk this road alone.”
On January 10, two days after Ethiopia’s Christmas, Biruan* and Greta bounded home from the LSM Christmas party in their rural village. Laughter filled the air as they chattered about the games and Bible lessons they shared. Ten year old Biruan talked about some of the recent discussions kids her class had with LSM staff about finding their identity and purpose.
Their mother Shashi smiles and thinks about the journey they’ve been on. These conversations and the quick smiles her children show are a far cry from their desperate, gaunt faces only three years ago. You see, after their father suddenly died nearly seven years ago, Biruan and Greta watched their mom struggle to make their small farm sustainable. They never had enough food, and there never seemed to be enough money for them to go to school or get new clothes. Life changed after joining LSM’s programs. For the first time, the whole family experienced relief and true hope.
The laughter and smiles after a fun Christmas program are just the beginning. Today, Biruan and Greta have enough to eat because of LSM’s support and intervention in their distress. Their mom has gained valuable training on how to run her small farming business effectively so she can provide for their family. The kids are learning in school and are passing classes with top grades! They are enjoying a variety of small group programs with LSM staff and local volunteers. Most importantly, they’re learning about their true identity and hope in Christ – and are seeing it lived out in tangible ways from the LSM staff around them.
It’s a testimony of hope we believe will change their future – and the future of their community as these kids grow with a heart for Jesus and skills to serve.
Shashi said, “Your support is bringing light in my life and I am feeling that I found a helper to accomplish my dreams for my children. Before joining the project I didn’t know about saving money. I wasted my money and lend my money to people who couldn’t pay me back. Because of that, I had conflict with many people. Since I have joined the LSM project I have learned how to live with people and also manage and save money. The project’s training, coaching, mentoring has changed me a lot and taught me how to raise my children in ethical and biblical ways.”
Visiting missionaries can be a huge blessing. Blare and Janel Gerber and their kids experienced this first-hand. Just before Christmas, they packed up their four children, and took off on an adventure to Africa to visit a missionary family working in a village in rural Ethiopia. On their way through the capital, the Gerbers asked if they could meet with some of LSM’s staff and families to see our work first hand.
This trip is one that their family will never forget. Beyond the sights and sounds of a new culture, there’s nothing like seeing how your dollars and prayers are being used for His glory. Meeting Tegen* was one of those moments.
Tegen welcomed the Gerber family into her little home. She served them strong Ethiopian coffee from her little black pottery cups. Next, she taught the children how to have a traditional coffee ceremony. Our staff translated each step. Tegen’s large sewing machine sat in the corner, taking up much of the home’s space. The Gerbers were thrilled to listen to her beautiful testimony, and see her thriving sewing business. Beri, her son, proudly displayed his school books. Our staff spoke how well he has been doing in school. A small home business and attending school may seem like mundane things, but for Tegen and Beri, it was an answer to prayer.
Janel said, “I think just seeing the way people live in hard life circumstances, but yet have so much joy and purpose really impacted all of us.”
This trip was foundational in the lives of Blare and Janel and their four children. God is moving around the world, and He calls us to action. Whether traveling to far off lands or praying from your kitchen table, you have a chance to take part in His kingdom work. We’re grateful the Gerber family got to see a small part of the lives touched with prayers, financial gifts and advocacy for LSM. The Gerbers can testify that Tegen and Beri now live with stability and hope because of your love and support. Thank you!
Firesa* sorts vegetables on a mat and lays them out in pretty patterns along the ground. It’s the weekend, and the sun is beaming along the street. Her sons have come with her today and sit nearby studying their books. She hands them both some fresh veggies for a snack and smiles. This simple act means so much.
A DIFFICULT PAST
When Firesa and her two sons came to LSM’s program two years ago, they were in a desperate place. After her husband died, she could not find reliable work to provide for her children. With no formal education of her own, Firesa felt as if she had no good skills to offer. At 11 and 7, her boys never had a consistent education. The family barely had enough food to survive – and every day was focused on doing whatever they could to find something to eat.
Through the loving support of LSM’s staff and local church volunteers, Firesa was able to attend small business development trainings where she received counseling and spiritual discipleship. Mentors helped her start her vegetable market business, which she continues to grow in new areas. LSM provided the funds to send her children to school for the first time. Our staff came alongside with financial support so they could eat and have proper clothing. These practical things displayed the love of Jesus, and showed Firesa that she was not alone.
A BRIGHT FUTURE
Firesa and her boys have begun to thrive because of the loving care of the church and LSM staff. No longer hopeless, this widow can now care for her family with dignity. She knows her worth is in Jesus. Today, they have a small home that they call their own. The boys love their English and physics classes, as well as playing with their new friends at school. With enough food in their bellies, they have the energy they need to focus and learn. This family has been shown a great deal of love in Jesus’ name. And it’s changing everything!
Your support enables us to come together and provide life-changing education, support and basic necessities so families like this can thrive. Without you, none of this is possible. Thank you!
If you haven’t already, we hope you’ll consider joining us this Christmas to help more families like Firesa’s thrive in Haiti and Ethiopia. This Christmas season, every dollar given will be MULTIPLIED by our matching grant opportunities!
We celebrated this new season God has given LSM with an Open House on April 15. It was an incredible gathering of 434 guests – both new faces from the local community and people who have deeply invested their time, talents and finances with the ministry over the years.
Official Ribbon Cutting with the Chamber of Commerce and Mayor Ted Ellis.
“Sometimes our missions and visions are restricted by our lack of faith or lack of space. God took care of both when He made this facility available to LSM. Having the new campus opened our eyes to huge possibilities of old and new ways to serve Him while serving others. He truly is able to do exceeding abundantly above all we ask or think.” – Ed Schwartz, Founder & President
HERE’S JUST A FEW OF THE INCREDIBLE DOORS THAT HAVE BEEN OPENED THROUGH THIS NEW SPACE:
HAITI EDUCATION WING
Our brand-new HAITI EDUCATION WING provides an immersive experience for the whole family, following the life of Anne Marie (a former Haitian child slave) through our complete Continuum of Care. As you work your way through interactive displays and listen to her story, you’ll be deeply touched by the journey both she, and many of our children, have faced – and the amazing opportunities open to them today.
It’s a powerful way to learn about life in Haiti, see the challenges facing vulnerable children and be encouraged at the work that is changing lives!
THE GOSPEL PROJECT
This new location has allowed us to start new endeavors like THE GOSPEL PROJECT which will reach rural Haitians with the Gospel, give exciting volunteer opportunities for local US groups and teach our Home of Hope children the value of sharing with their neighbors.
ETHIOPIA & ADOPTION RESOURCES
Guests also learned more about our programs in Ethiopia and the U.S. and were encouraged at the scope of what is happening around the world. From working with single mothers and their vulnerable children in Ethiopia to providing high quality, FREE Adoption Resources for families in the US– LSM is all about empowering the vulnerable to reach their God-given potential. For many, the Open House provided a great space to ask questions and learn more about the scope of our work they were less familiar with in different countries.
The Open House was a beautiful reminder of what is to come. God is working, and opportunities are growing. Many thanks to everyone who came and showed support! We can’t wait to see what God does in the future!