HOUSE OF WONDERFUL, GREAT LOVE

By Becky Browning, LSM Staff in Haiti

 

When I was a little girl, every picture that I drew of our house had a happy smiling sun above it. I used my red crayon and made big smiles on my dad, my mom and us four little girls. We were lined up next to our little dog. He too had a smile drawn on his fluffy face. I drew colorful flowers around my pretty house, and warm smoke coming out of the chimney. Inside the smoky clouds, written in my best handwriting were these words: “House of Wonderful Great Love.” It was a picture of my childhood. I felt loved, happy and secure tucked away in my safe home with my family all around me.

 

 

 

35 years later, my husband and I walked through a village in Haiti. There was a much different picture. Crying toddlers with distended bellies, sitting in front of a crooked hut, diaper-less babies covered in itching scabies and skinny stray dogs digging in piles of trash. Food and water was scarce. And hope seemed even more scarce. I did not see many smiling faces. What words would be written over their homes?

Hungry? Sad? Despair? Hopelesness?

 

 

It caused me to think, “What if our lives were switched? What would I want?” I would want food and clothing. I would want someone to love and care about me. I would want someone to take me to the doctors when I am sick. I would want to feel safe. And most importantly, I would want someone to care beyond this earthly life and introduce me to Jesus.

 

 

This is what Loving Shepherd Ministries does. There are many vulnerable children who need homes of “wonderful great love.” We call them “Homes of Hope.” We would love to have you partner with us and support one of our Homes.

 

 


GET INVOLVED:

 

  1. Learn more about our unique model that provides a complete Continuum of Care for vulnerable children from childhood through adulthood – within the love and stability of a FAMILY.

 

  1. Become a Family Sponsor (min $35/month) and partner directly with vulnerable children you can get to know!

 

A New Beginning

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.”

 

  


GET INVOLVED:

  1. Become an Ethiopia Family Sponsor and help families like this thrive.
  2. Sign up for our Email list and get regular updates about how we’re serving the vulnerable.
  3. Pray with us this year. Join our bi-monthly prayer emails.

 

*names changed for privacy

 

Orphan Sunday & Beyond

“A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. God sets the lonely in families.” – Psalm 68.5-6

ORPHAN SUNDAY AT LSM

On Orphan Sunday, we opened our doors to the community and brought out all the holiday cheer for one clear purpose. We stood with believers all over the world to share God’s heart for the orphan. As people flooded in, they experienced vulnerable children’s stories of great pain that, for these few, has turned into incredible joy.

From tasting traditional foods of Doro Wat (Ethiopia) and Kremas (Haiti) to petting a live goat and chicks, we provided a small chance to step into the lives of these children around the world.

This hope is made possible because of people just like you who give from your blessings to help these children find love in a stable family. You make it possible for children to receive an education and healing from their trauma. You make it possible for them to go on to college and get good jobs. Ultimately, you make it possible for these children to change their cultures for Christ.

 


FAMILY SPONSORSHIP

But this story goes far beyond one day a year. One of the best ways to connect with these precious children even more is through our Family Sponsorship program. As a Family Sponsor, you will be connected to an entire family in Haiti (or Ethiopia) where you have access to an Online Family Room (including regular stories, updates, pictures and information about their culture and daily life.)

 

Learn more about how you can invest in one of our Home of Hope families HERE.

 


GIFTS OF HOPE

 If you’d like to help a child thrive by making a one-time gift, we have a variety of opportunities through our Gifts of Hope Christmas Catalog.

 

View the catalog here.

 

 


 

Kotukan’s Testimony of Hope

Kotukan* lives with her two small children in a rural village in Ethiopia. Like mothers everywhere, she’s a busy mom! In the morning, she gets Kena, her son, ready for kindergarten and her one-year-old, Teto, hoisted on her back for the day. Then they’re off.

 

 

After dropping Kena off at school, Kotukan prepares mixtures of spices that she sells to vendors at the market. It’s a growing business, and she talks often with her business advisors about the best ways to market her spices and budget for her business expenses and family needs. Not only is Kotukan learning valuable information, she’s excited to be caring for her family as a self-sufficient business owner!

 

 

Later, after the day’s work is done, Kotukan will pick Kena up from school and he’ll excitedly share what he’s learning. She’s already noticing how much more confident, social and eager to study he is. For so long, they had done nothing but make it from one day to the next. Now, Kotukan thanks God every day for the drastic turnaround in both of their lives.

 

 

At their small rented apartment, she makes the three of them a meal, thanking God once again for the food she is now able to provide through the success of her own small business. She is saving money and planning on building a small house of their own, planning carefully for this next big step in their lives.

 

HOW IS ALL OF THIS POSSIBLE?

 

Kotukan’s husband abandoned them after going bankrupt. With two small children, she had to figure out how she was going to provide for them. She’d been working several small jobs, braiding hair and washing clothes, but it was never enough. Her own health suffered, but she had no means to go to the doctor. Overwhelmed, Kotukan was nearly hopeless. She prayed, pleading with God to provide a miracle.

 

 

LSM’s began working with Kotukan and her family a year ago. Since then, Kena has been attending private school for the first time, Kotukan continues to grow her business through small business training, using the basic support she has received as a stepping stone to building a better, self-sufficient life. In just a year, Kotukan is rising above the challenges of her situation, praising God for the loving help she’s receiving!

 

Today, Kotukan says, “I am so grateful! Please pray that God will provide me a house of my own. Pray that my business would grow and that He would give me grace as I interact with people through the week. I am doing this because I have big hopes that my children will see my hard work and learn that God will provide when we turn to Him!”

 

By the grace of God and the generosity of people like you, Kotukan and her children are heading towards a better, brighter, hope-filled future.

 


 

GET INVOLVED:

 


*names changed for privacy

Modeling Faith Takes Us All – And We Need You to Do Your Part!

Every dad wants to pass on something to her girls. Something that her little girls will remember fondly and proudly say, “I got that from my dad!”

 

Moise longs for that too… and no less so for the 12 girls he calls her own, not by blood, but through their Home of Hope. And so he’s intentional about passing on special skills, like how to care for their rabbits, chickens and turkeys.

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A Little Girl’s Dream Can Come True Because of You!

The small hut she called home was nothing much to speak of. She and twelve other siblings lived in what was generously called a hut – thatch walls and a leaky roof. There was no running water. It was remote – deep in the mountains of Southern Haiti. Betti remembers many days of hard work carrying heavy buckets of water the long distance from the river to the hut, cooking, cleaning. It never seemed to end.

 

She would dream about one day being able to go school… and maybe even becoming a teacher when she grew up. But with the poverty and lack of opportunity around her, seven year old Betti nearly gave up hope.

 

And then an epidemic broke out in her village.

 

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Heritage: A Family Building a Lasting Legacy

The Heritage Home of Hope has a special name for a reason. Honor, pride, courage—these are three words the 12 girls in this home are embracing as they leave behind words that had previously identified them—orphan, slave, worthless. But you don’t live up to a word like Heritage overnight. 

 

Although we yearn for a rich heritage of faith that would continue to guide them as confident, mature adults who love Jesus, we know that this does not happen without intentional, step-by-step care as they grow. This is what happens in a Home of Hope.

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Preparing for Another Life-Changing Week of VBS

We are less than two weeks away from the highlight of the summer for 223 kids in Haiti—VBS. This year, all 19 Home of Hope families will gather at the Cancer Redemption Project Campus (CRP) in Cavaillon, Haiti, from August 11-14, 2016, for several days of activities, bible lessons and relationship building!

 

If you’ve followed us throughout the week of Camp before, you’ll know that this time together is full of laughter, life-enriching lessons and lots of time for deep relationships to form. It’s our prayer that this year of VBS is all of that and so much more.

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