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 YOUNG BOY’S HEALING JOURNEY

Riderson* drew his bony knees up to his chin and huddled beside an abandoned cart. Darkness was falling, and he was hungry. He stared at his dusty fingers and longed for his momma. But she didn’t come. She couldn’t come. Slowly, he picked himself up and thought about going back to his grandmother. He was exhausted and hopeless. He hadn’t found any food for them tonight.

 

It would be months before Riderson had a full belly. In those long days, Riderson remembered the pain of losing his mother, the rejection he felt from a father he’d never known, and the deep heartache as he watched his sickly grandmother fading away. What was he going to do?

 

 

SADLY, RIDERSON’S STORY IS NOT UNCOMMON. SCIENCE HAS PROVEN THAT TRAUMATIC EXPERIENCES LIKE THIS HAVE LONG-TERM AFFECTS ON HEALTH.

 

Watch this TedTalk to learn more about how Childhood Trauma Affects Health Across a Lifetime

 

Thankfully, Riderson was able to come to an LSM Home of Hope at the age of 9. Although we can’t take away the pain of his early childhood, we can help him find healing today.

 

Through our Trauma Healing Program, Riderson is learning how to regulate and express his emotions in healthy ways.  Our LSM Child Development Program is helping create personalized education plans so he can have the support of tutors and additional programs. Riderson is no longer hungry and is now safe in a loving Home of Hope family. His mom and dad love him as their own son. His life has completely changed!

 

 

Through these gifts of love, education and healing, we have great hope for Riderson’s future. It’s not without struggles, and we can’t reverse what happened to him before. But we believe in the healing power of God and the love of family! And we believe that can make all the difference for his future.

 

There are so many more children like Riderson, still waiting in the darkness.  Will you help us reach them with the love of Jesus?

 


GET INVOLVED:

  1. Learn more about what our Homes of Hope are able to provide for kids like Riderson.
  2. Become a Family Sponsor and help kids like Riderson find healing and thrive in their family.
  3. Consider joining us at CAFO SUMMIT 2019 to learn more about best practices in caring for vulnerable children and see how you can get involved! May 8-10 in Louisville, KY https://cafo.org/summit/


*name changed for privacy

 

God’s Hand in Sadie’s Life

Do you remember a time when life felt completely overwhelming, like you could do absolutely nothing to change the whirlwind around you? Imagine that knot in your stomach, the feeling of panic inside as you tried desperately to reach for some sense of normal …

 

That’s exactly how Sadie* felt every day as a child. She was overwhelmed with grief when she lost her mom at a very young age. Her father, who had long ago abandoned their family, never returned. After her mother’s death, Sadie’s grandmother cared for her and her siblings. But it wasn’t long before she realized she didn’t have the resources to take care of that many children. Being the oldest and most likely to survive on her own, Sadie would have to go.
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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

 

Baking Cakes & Dreaming Big

Kathrine* is like many 16 year old girls you might know. She loves to bake cakes with her mom. She looks forward to summer camp with her friends and enjoys singing. She’s excelling in school and working hard to do well. Kathrine is full of life and talent, and we’re thrilled for the direction she’s going in life.

 

 

But it hasn’t always been this way. When Kathrine was a very small child, she realized quickly to get out of her father’s way when he arrived home drunk. She hid in the shadows to avoid another beating. Things got worse when her mother died unexpectedly. Her dad said he couldn’t afford to send her to school. Kathrine couldn’t help but think it was somehow her fault that so many things were bad in her life. Abuse, fear and hopeless days felt like they would never end.

 

 

But God saw her pain. Eventually, Kathrine’s dad was unable to care for her at all. She needed somewhere to go, and God provided an open door for her to come to an LSM Home of Hope that was opening! Kathrine joined her new family. Her loving parents protect her and treat her with great love. She’s catching up in school from her late start. It’s within this family that Kathrine is learning, growing and ultimately finding the safety and security she needs to thrive.

 

 

Kathrine’s biggest joy is being introduced to a personal relationship with Jesus! She talks about how He has been with her, even in those dark days before coming to her Home of Hope family. She finds a lot of peace singing and spending time with her church youth group. We give God the glory for this wonderful transformation!

 

Baking cakes with her mom might seem like a small thing – but it’s a beautiful picture of the healing, hope and love that she knows today. And we bet those cakes are pretty delicious!

 


Get involved:

  1. Become a family sponsor and get to know children like Kathrine through some amazing personal connections.

*name changed for privacy

Beating the Odds

The school year is coming to a close – and we’re proud to announce that two of our Home of Hope children in Haiti are graduating High School! Lukenson and Sadwina* have worked so hard to get to this point – and we couldn’t be more proud of them!

 

LSM is helping them beat the odds with opportunities they never could have dreamed of before.

 

LUKENSON’S JOURNEY

 

Through a tremendous continuum of care and the support of his Home of Hope parents, LSM staff and brothers, Lukenson is planning to attend University in the Fall for Civil Engineering!

 

But what an incredible journey it’s been to this point.

 

Before LSM, Lukenson’s family farmed and had many children to feed. Education was a luxury they couldn’t afford. Every time Lukenson would begin classes, someone would get sick from drinking unclean water or from severe malnutrition and the money would run out. Distraught with the weight of an increasingly desperate situation, it was likely he would be sent away to live with another family as a restavek (child slave.)

Terrified at the thought of an unknown future and desperate for hope, Lukenson never dreamed of the opportunities that would come in his future, or the incredible turn of events that would change his life.

 

That was 10 years ago.

 

 

Instead of becoming a restavek in distant area, Lukenson was able to come to an LSM Home of Hope! Dominque and Mereville, Lukenson’s Home of Hope parents, have loved and supported him through years of catching up in school, and raised him as their own. Today, he’s become a talented and sweet young man who has big dreams for his future. And although proud of their son – it’s bittersweet as they watch their precious child move on to college.

 

And next year, when more students graduate, both he and Sadwina will be able to move to LSM Tech, a campus setting where they can live while attending University. At LSM Tech they’ll also receive biblical training, computer and English skills and more leadership training. At the same time, they’ll work at the Ag Park as part of their tuition, further expanding their skill set and work ethic.

 

10 years is a labor of love. But it’s one that’s worth investing in.

 

Lukenson, Sadwina and 240+ children that follow them are receiving a full continuum of care that equips them as godly leaders in their community. We can’t wait to see what God does with Lukenson and the rest of the children he’s granted into our Homes.

 


GET INVOLVED:

  1. Become a Family Sponsor and get to know these children on a personal basis.
  2. Invest in our Home of Hope children’s future. (select LSM Tech in the drop down menu.)
  3. Become a prayer partner.

*names changed for privacy

From Grief to Great Love

In the blur of a child’s memory, Sedmy has few memories of a tragedy he is only just beginning to understand. A far-off village, screeching tires, screaming for his mother to wake up. His father’s gruff arms picking him up and running. A grandmother pushing him away. Loss. Hurt. Tears.

 

Sedmy’s father fled from their home in the Dominican Republic after his mother was tragically killed. Returning to their country of origin, his father left Sedmy with his grandmother. In her own grief and old age, she knew she couldn’t adequately care for him, but had little choice. What was she to do with a four-year-old child grieving the loss of both parents?

 

Miraculously, Sedmy’s story doesn’t end with this pain.

 

A new Home of Hope was opening in a nearby village.  A pastor came and shared about an opportunity for children like Sedmy who needed a family. His aging grandmother spoke up. She knew she wasn’t in a good place physically or financially to raise a small child. She knew he needed far more than she could provide. Out of hundreds of children wanting to come to a place like this, Sedmy was chosen.

 

 

From that place of broken memories, he is now finding a new way of life.

 

His new mom and dad often wrap him up in their arms, holding him close, reminding him that he is loved. He and his Home of Hope brothers laugh and joke and play soccer. They read the Bible together and talk about how much Jesus loves them. Sedmy falls asleep with a full belly and in a bed, all his own.

 

 

Better still, Sedmy looks forward to a future far beyond the grief he’s experienced.

 

With the loving support of his family and LSM staff, Sedmy will get a quality education. He’ll find solid resources and opportunities to choose a trade, become a leader and be fully equipped to go out and transform his community for Christ.

 

But he doesn’t need to think about all of that now. At six years old, Sedmy only needs to know that he is entirely cherished and loved by a family who chose him – and more than that – loved by God who chose and loves him deeply.

 

That’s a powerful gift. And one that you help make possible.

 


YOU CAN CHANGE LIVES LIKE SEDMY’S BY:

  1. Becoming an ongoing Family Sponsor.

  2. Joining the Prayer Team.


 

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

Because of you, Meseret’s family knows Jesus!

You can help change a future generation in Ethiopia. We’re seeing it happen every day. In fact, Meseret*, a young single mother in Ethiopia, raising two beautiful children on her own, will tell you herself that your prayers for the ministry of LSM and your financial gifts have completely changed their lives:

 


 

“I feel empowered. I am now relying on God to lead my path and am 
making wiser decisions. I now have a support system to encourage 
and help me. My children are receiving a good education and, 
because of LSM, they have the support they need to complete it!” 
 
Meseret’s own single mother knew how important it was to get an education. Somehow, she managed to scrape enough together for Meseret to attend school, even though it meant 4 hours travel every day!
 

 

When she finished 8th grade, Meseret had to go to the city to attend high school, a rare opportunity for a young woman in her village. But when she got there, a series of poor decisions, difficultly finding resources and little support left her with two small children, an unfinished high school career and living in severe poverty, at the young age of twenty-nine.

 

 

With our staff and church support, her family has been introduced to a personal, saving relationship with Jesus. She went through small business training and is now growing her own business, selling spices in the market. And her children are looking ahead with great hope.

 

With every prayer, with every gift and with every introduction to Jesus, lives like Meseret’s and her children are changing forever.

 

You are a part of this. Your prayers and your giving does make a difference. 

12 Little Boys Are Welcomed Home!

This summer, because of your heartfelt prayers and financial support, 12 little boys were rescued from a life of rejection, pain and exploitation as we opened the doors to their new home-the La Source Home of Hope!

 

For the first time, each one of these boys can look toward a future free of fear and full of possibilities, surrounded by the love of a mom and dad within a safe, nurturing family!

 

First picture as a family of 14!

 

Imagine the ripple effects these little boys will have on their community as they reach their God-given potential! 

 

 

Thank you for the powerful ways you are making life transformations with once vulnerable children. It is both humbling and exciting to see the Body of Christ working together far beyond what we could ever imagine, bringing lasting hope to children who need it most.

 

The family shared their first meal together at the opening celebration. Many of the boys have never seen this much food at one time!

 

Our LSM team shared their passion and joy at the opening of La Source.

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