We’re partnering with other ministries to respond to profound needs in southern Haiti. Please pray for the relief effort.
We’re partnering with other ministries to respond to profound needs in southern Haiti. Please pray for the relief effort.
Please join us in praying for those who lost homes and family members in the recent earthquake.
Dear LSM Supporters,
As you may have heard, a 7.2 magnitude earthquake struck the Les Cayes area of Haiti on Saturday morning. We have been in contact with our program directors and are thankful to report that, as far as we know, all of our staff and Home of Hope children are accounted for. However, some of our staff members lost family members in the tragedy. Also, LSM sustained structural damage at some of our properties. We continue to closely monitor the situation and will keep you updated on any significant developments. There will undoubtedly be more to report.
Saturday’s disaster came on the heels of a political unrest following a presidential assassination. And now the country braces for the arrival of a new calamity: Tropical Storm Grace.
Though our staff members maintain their strong faith in the Lord, many are feeling understandably discouraged. They will greatly appreciate your prayers and support in the days ahead. May we all take refuge in God’s sovereignty and faithfulness during these uncertain times!
“Therefore we will not fear, even though the earth give way, and though the mountains fall into the heart of the sea.” Psalm 42:6
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.
𝗛𝗲𝗿𝗲’𝘀 𝗛𝗼𝘄 𝗬𝗼𝘂 𝗖𝗮𝗻 𝗚𝗲𝘁 𝗜𝗻𝘃𝗼𝗹𝘃𝗲𝗱:
There is a severe fuel shortage in Haiti. For years, Venezuela has provided Haitians with subsidized gasoline and diesel. However in recent months, Venezuela has become less accommodating due to the rise of a humanitarian crisis in their own country. Haiti’s President, Jovenel Moise, and his government owe Venezuela $100 million, which they are unable to repay. The situation has created an extreme fuel shortage, further stoking political dissent and protests. Those most affected in times of crisis tend to be Haiti’s youngest and most vulnerable.
Rationing gas at the pump means Haitians are often prevented from filling their tanks. As a result of this shortfall, the Haitian black market has moved in quickly to run up prices and score a profit. Scarcity of fuel is preventing children from attending school, and transportation of people and commercial goods in Haiti is rapidly grinding to a halt, causing stores and businesses to shut down.
Abdias Victor travels to our Homes of Hope to take pictures and assist with Child Development. He reports that Haiti’s fuel crisis and the resulting riots have affected our ability to reach the children with supplies and training, as well as the general safety of the neighborhoods where our families reside. Many of our kids are missing school due to the riots. On a recent trip to one of LSM’s Homes, Abdias even spotted a violent riot, including burning tires which can produce toxic fumes. Our staff reports that the difficulty of transporting workers and supplies has slowed construction at LSM Tech and also contributed to a shortage of sand at our Industrial Site. We pray that God will protect our staff and our Home of Hope families during these uncertain times!
Moments like these provide a necessary reminder about the vulnerability of Haiti and the importance of LSM’s work to bring holistic transformation by investing in children and in business ventures that move the country forward! While gas stations lock their doors and protesters fill the streets, our children continue to study hard as best they can and grow in their daily walk with Jesus. They are building the foundation for a future in Haiti that looks very different from what we see today.
Staff are also taking proactive measures. “Roof installation has stalled at LSM Tech because of store closures,” says Jose, one of our Project Supervisors. “But I’m proud of our workers, who have come up with creative ways to busy themselves, shift to other projects, and keep the site on schedule.” LSM continues to pursue exciting efforts in solar energy and other alternatives that reduce Haiti’s dependence on fossil fuels, foreign assistance, and even the stability of its own government. In the future, a fuel shortage in Haiti may have far less of an impact.
When you talk to Dio, you are struck with the warmth of his smile. He is compassionate and cares deeply about others. You would never guess the hardships this man has endured over his short 27 years on earth. In 2016, Hurricane Matthew stole his home and his farm. During the clean-up process, Dio was involved in a severe automobile accident. He shattered his hip and had multiple other injuries. He laid in a hospital bed for weeks with a sheet tied around his pelvic bone. He was determined to use his healing time to educate himself and learn English.
One year later his father passed away. As the oldest of six children and a mother to care for, Dio knew what he had to do. But in a country where jobs are scarce, how would he provide for all of them?
Then he heard about Loving Shepherd Ministries. A mechanic was needed.
Dio had many of the skills needed for this job. And although he didn’t yet know about the amazing ministry he’d be a part of, he knew that applying meant the chance to feed his family and provide in a once hopeless situation.
Safe transportation is something Dio knows the importance of first hand. Like all Haitians, they know that the reality is, any time you travel on the difficult roads you’re at some level of risk. That’s why LSM prioritizes the safety and availability of our vehicles. It makes a huge difference for our staff and Home of Hope familes!
Vehicles are necessary so we can deliver supplies to our Homes of Hope and transport children for medical needs. Our staff needs safe transportation so they can access the homes and provide education services and deliver supplies. Without Dio and the other mechanics, we would not be able to effectively care for our children.
Today, Dio is the Vehicle Manager for LSM. His excellent communication in English has been a huge benefit as he daily corresponds with our US staff. It was as if God was gently showing Dio how every season of his life was preparing him for this new position!
As part of the automative program at LSM, Dio’s job has made a profound difference in his life as well as his family’s. His brother also works as a mechanic alongside of him. Dio says, “Work is freedom! You have given me the freedom to provide for my family. I can now get them food and care for them because I have work. Thank you!”
One job has transformed the future for an entire family because of your prayers and financial support. Thank you for partnering with us. You are making a difference!
A STAFF TESTIMONY FROM HAITI
One of the many blessings at LSM is seeing the ripple effects of the meaningful, stable jobs we are creating. Rich relationships are being formed as our team continues to grow. Michael Brown, who’s been a part of our Haitian staff for many years began mentoring a young man named Abdias. He saw Abdias’ interests and let him use his professional camera and taught him the basics. Seeing his potential, Michael eventually recommended him for the job of Staff Photographer.
At 26, Abdias is building deep relationships with our Home of Hope families and staff. He travels and photographs events, home life and the many different projects we have going on. Michael continues to mentor Abdias along with a whole crew of godly men and women that he’s working with.
Abdias shares, “I love being a photographer! When I was a young boy, I said, ‘When I become a man, I will become a police officer.’ But when I met Michael Brown, he introduced me to his camera and I loved it. Michael later introduced me to LSM, where he worked. He called me to come help him. Now, I work with communications and photography in Haiti.”
He continues, “Working for the children is a part of me. I am Haitian and LSM is helping my country and my brothers and sisters. It’s a pleasure to work here, and gives me great joy. I love getting up and going to work every day. The team is like family to me. They provide such good counsel for me as a young man!”
We hope you enjoy the fruits of Abdias’ work as you read the blog and see many of our updates throughout the year!
Sometimes there are stories that hit you square between the eyes. Polly’s* is one of them.
Several years ago, Polly stood here with her uncle who was caring for her in front of his hut. Falling apart, dirty, barely providing relief from the elements, the hut was no place to be raising an orphaned little girl. He knew it, and he wanted more for her. However on his own, there was no way he could do anything.
Polly’s uncle brought her to a Home of Hope. He knew that she’d be much better off in a family with Godly upbringing from a loving mom and dad and a solid education. The love and opportunity she’d have was a gift that he would never be able to provide. And so she came.- a forlorn little girl in a tattered white dress with orange-bleached hair from malnutrition. A new world opened for Polly!
A couple of years later, I snapped this picture at LSM’s annual VBS. Polly couldn’t stand still. She giggled and joyfully danced around me. Her life is totally different!
Sometimes, I think it’s easy for us to forget the before when we see smiling pictures of kids. However, when you know their stories and the traumatic things that have brought them here, this work becomes much more meaningful. There is sense of urgency to help more children like Polly.
Today, Polly is able to live and laugh because her uncle made a choice to give her a better life. She has a new mom and dad, loving sisters and an exciting future ahead of her. She can dream and dance without a care in the world, because compassionate people like you have sacrificially given, prayed and showered love on her. Thank you!
This is the picture I don’t want to forget. It represents a far greater story than a week of games and fun. The contrast is evident: New life. New stories. New chapters. New beginnings.
Help make more stories like Polly’s possible by becoming an ongoing sponsor here.
*name changed for privacy
Haiti celebrates FLAG DAY on May 18. It’s an important day of celebration for the country as they remember their hard-won independence!
The Haitian flag features a full coat of arms with weapons representing their nation’s history defending their freedom. The royal palm at the center symbolizes their independence. They are the first nation of Africans to ever rise up and win freedom for their country.
Our Home of Hope families celebrated in their communities too. We love that our kids are learning about their rich cultural heritage from a young age. While Haiti still has a lot to overcome, we hope they always feel freedom to celebrate their flag and the good of what that represents. Though there are dark and painful pieces to their cultural history as well, knowing the good and bad helps the next generation learn from their country’s experiences.
We hope days like this (and our staff, parents and mentors) will empower our children to become the next generation of leaders who will help transform their culture for Christ!
If you’re not familiar with Haiti’s difficult history, you’re not alone. In fact, LSM’s Founder, Ed Schwartz wrote a historical novel depicting the rise of Haiti for just that reason! The Trade Winds was written to help us understand the complexity and history of Haiti and where it is today. It also gives us a passion to help vulnerable children (like the ones we serve!) who have been trapped in ongoing slavery (restavek system) to this day.
By Becky Browning, LSM Staff
Early one morning, I went for a walk through a small Haitian village. I heard singing. I looked over to see a mamma sitting on the front steps of her home, her daughter snug between her knees as she combed her hair. I smiled and waved. She smiled back and nodded her head. Her hands were obviously busy.
On another day, I passed by a little fruit and vegetable stand where a young mamma was selling mangos, coconuts, bananas, peppers and beans. Her little one was sound asleep on a shelf that was low to the ground. She smiled sweetly as our eyes met – a mutual acknowledgement of our mother-love.
Then I saw an elderly woman walking with her grown daughter, with a chair carefully balanced on her head. She looked tired from a lifetime of providing for others. Her weathered face looked like she had many stories to tell.
I watched as these mammas as they were going about their day to day work. I wished I could sit down and talk motherhood with each one.
But there was one young mom that I did get a chance to talk to, and I will never forget it. I met her on the dirt road. She was walking toward me, holding her baby girl. I stopped to tell her how beautiful her baby was. Her little one smiled a big toothless grin and reached her arms out to me. As I held her, she wrapped her baby arms around my neck for a big squishy hug. I couldn’t help but laugh as she tried to touch my hair, my nose and my face. She was adorably curious.
When I tried to hand her back to her mamma, she did not immediately take her. Instead she said, “Do you love babies?” I told her that I loved babies very much. She asked me if I had any children. I said, “I have five, but they are grown now.” Then she said something that made my heart race. “Do you want her?”
Since I only had a few lessons in Creole, I figured I must have misunderstood her. I repeated the question. She nodded her head and pointed to her daughter, “Baby has no dad. I have no dad and mom. Do you want her?” I got very nervous and handed her smiling baby back. I told her she was a good mom. She said something else, but I couldn’t understand. That was the end of my Creole.
We each walked away in separate directions. My heart was so heavy. I turned back over my shoulder a few times until she disappeared. I cried for that mamma. Can you imagine feeling so hopeless that you would be willing to give your baby to a complete stranger that you just met on a dirt road? The heartbreaking reality is that this story is not uncommon. That evening, several missionary ladies told me that they too have been asked to take babies.
Many of the 240 children in LSM’s Homes of Hope lost their mommas before they could remember them – whether from death, extreme poverty or violence. Each of these precious children has suffered loss and lack of attachment. But today, through the powerful work in these godly families, they have a mom and dad who call them theirs. And we believe that’s the very essence of what it means to be His hands and feet in this world. To pull a child close and tell them that despite all the darkness they’ve known, they are seen and they are loved.
David Livingstone once said, “Sympathy is no substitute for action.”