ONE JOB SECURES A FAMILY’S SURVIVAL

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!

 


GET INVOLVED: 

  1. Pray for the country of Haiti, where many struggle to provide for their families. This leaves children some of the most vulnerable!
  2. Praise God with us for the 200+ Haitian employees that LSM is able to work with. These amazing people are giving back to their communities and providing for their families. We believe that ripple effect will have an impact in the Kingdom!
  3. Join us by making a financial gift to Haiti so we can maintain good vehicles that will keep our operations moving and our families and staff safe!

 

ARMED WITH A CAMERA AND A SMILE

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!

POLLY

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.

 


GET INVOLVED: 

Help make more stories like Polly’s possible by becoming an ongoing sponsor here.


*name changed for privacy

HAITI’S FLAG DAY 2019

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.

 

 

Learn more and order your copy of THE TRADE WINDS today!

FROM A MOTHER’S ARMS

 

By Becky Browning, LSM Staff

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!


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.”


THIS MOTHER’S DAY, YOU CAN:

  1. Pray for desperate mothers around the world who are forced to make difficult choices for the survival of their children.

 

  1. Pray for our Home of Hope moms by name. They are caring for children who have come to their family through tragedies. Pray for their strength and love as they raise their children and help provide healing.

 

  1. Give a gift in honor of your Mother to help mommas in Haiti and Ethiopia care for vulnerable children in their communities.

 

SHARING THE GOSPEL IN HAITI

Our faith guides everything we do at LSM. It has fueled our hearts for the vulnerable and caused us to go deep with the children we serve to provide holistic healing and growth. We continue to provide new opportunities so each child can reach their full, God-given potential.

 

 

Last year, we introduced The Gospel Project to help teach our kids in Haiti more about sharing their faith and modeling the compassion of Jesus. Gospel kits are packaged in the States by volunteers and sent to Haiti where our families are able to reach out in their communities and share God’s love.

 

The love and support of many of you through LSM has allowed these children to find personal relationships with Jesus. Now, it’s something they are excited to share with others! The gospel kits allow them to build relationships and pray for their neighbors. As a result, individuals are learning about Jesus and giving their hearts to Him!

 

 

This month, as one family shared kits in their community, they were able to pray with a neighbor who accepted Christ!

 

 

What an extra blessing to see the ripple effects of our work with individual children! Imagine what God can do as this grows and 240 children who are passionate about Jesus are reaching out in their communities!

 


GET INVOLVED:

  1. Learn more about opportunities your group can bring to The Gospel Project.
  2. Schedule a tour of the Haiti Education Wing at the LSM Offices.
  3. Pray for those receiving Gospel kits and for our children as they grow in their faith and boldness with evangelism!

 

RIOTING IN HAITI: THE CURRENT SITUATION

“Finally, the country has received some calm Monday, but we want to hear the final decisions of the heads of state of the country. The traffic was painful, then every 500 meters the protesters burned tires, totally preventing the way. Fear was everywhere. We rely a lot on the help of your prayers and hope that everything will be better in the coming days.” – Abdias, LSM Haitian Staff Member

 

 

Abdias’ words sum up much of the feelings from our Haitian staff. Over the last 12 days, mass rioting and road blocks across the country have left people with no choice but to stay indoors, unable to work, go to school or buy food. We thank God that today, things seem to be getting back to normal in Les Cayes.

 

Our staff is back to the office and markets are re-opening. Rioting continues in Port au Prince. Fuel is not able to be transported to Les Cayes, creating a shortage. The calm in Les Cayes is a temporary reprieve since the bigger problems in the country remain unsolved.

 

 

Becky Browning and her family have been in Haiti with LSM for the last several weeks and shared this, “While it is quiet in this house, it is not quiet outside. Roadblocks have been set up. Cars and tires are burning all over the country. Businesses, banks, gas stations and schools are closed. We’ve heard gun shots and yelling. Haiti is in crisis. The people are hurting and want answers from their government. We are praying for sustaining peace and a resolution for this country that is so dear to our hearts.”

 

WHAT HAVE THE RIOTS BEEN ABOUT?

 

“A riot is the language of the unheard.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

As is often the case in societies where people feel unheard and have few options for reform, Haiti has a long history of manifestations, or protesting, like the kind we’ve seen recently. There are few other viable ways for Haitians to voice their frustration with the government.

 

Over the last couple of years, Haitians have been navigating cost of living increases by as much as 50%. This increase puts a strain on many already living in desperate poverty. It has a downstream effect on our Homes of Hope and ministry costs in country, as well as the personal lives of our Haitian staff and their families.

 

The recent riots over the last several days are protesting this and how the government is handling the situation, particularly President Moise who came to power after a failed electoral process and shaky election, is handling the situation. Read more here: Haiti On Edge from IPA Institute for Public Accuracy

 

Protests have been off and on since July but escalated to another level on February 7. You can read more about this from a post we shared in July 2018.

 

AN UPDATE ON OUR STAFF AND FAMILIES

 

Our Home of Hope families have been safe with plenty of supplies at their homes. Our staff returned to the office today, and it seems like things are calming down in Les Cayes. We are grateful that everyone has been well, although scared for the past several days.

 

 

HOW YOU CAN PRAY

  • Please keep praying for safety and peace for our Home of Hope families and staff.
  • Pray that the country can find resolutions to the rising food and cost of living expenses.
  • Pray for the many people suffering during these riots.
  • Pray that believers in Haiti would reach out with the love of Jesus to their neighbors and be beacons of hope in the darkness.

 

Haiti VBS 2018

The kids had a blast. The parents swapped stories and encouragement with each other. Our Haitian staff pulled off an amazing week at our 9th annual VBS!

Here are a few highlights of this much-anticipated week!

 

A DREAM FOR HAITI

The Torbeck Home of Hope performed a skit one night called, “A Dream for Haiti.” They dream that someday, all people will meet – nurses, lawyers, agronomists – with one goal to save Haiti. People won’t need to go to Chile, Brazil or Argentina, but will join hands as one,  serving together. They gave thanks to God, LSM and the staff in the US and all those who support the work to make their families possible.

What a beautiful vision! We pray this dream becomes a reality through these amazing kids!

 

SOCCER TOURNAMENTS

These soccer games are intense and so fun for everyone to watch! This year, it included some of the younger staff willing to take on the older boys at a couple of homes. It’s so good to see the parents and staff having fun with the kids, and deepening their relationships.

 

MENTORS & TALKING ABOUT THE FUTURE

Erve and Jean Wesly, two of our Haitian staff who attended college in the States, shared a talk with the older kids on “How to Choose your Career.” They were well received. The kids really appreciated the insights of successful men who are working hard to improve their country. We are so blessed with countless great examples in our staff that are mentoring our kids as they grow up.

 

GAMES, BIBLE QUIZZES, WORSHIP, GOSPEL STORIES AND SHARED MEALS

 

VBS is not only their highlight of summer, but also a beautiful reminder of the transformation  these children have experienced in their short lives. We hope you enjoy seeing them grow up in these photos too!

 


Get involved:

  1. Become a family sponsor, and be partnered with a specific Home of Hope family.
  2. Give a one-time gift to Haiti to help us continue to provide these amazing camps at VBS and shorter events throughout the year.

A Modern-Day Atrocity That You Can Impact

A ROSE AMONG THORNS – a novel by LSM’s Founder, Ed Schwartz highlights the plight of a staggering 300,000+ child slaves (restaveks) in Haiti today. You’ll follow the story of five children –forced into a life they couldn’t escape, wondering how a loving God could allow such pain.

 

It’s a modern-day atrocity we are trying to reverse.

 

 

With your help, all proceeds from this book will help us fund a new campus with 6 Homes of Hope in Haiti called Redemption West, which will become home to 72 formerly vulnerable children! Some of whom were restaveks themselves. Some of whom were on the verge of being sent into this horrific life.

 

 

That’s 72 kids whose lives will take a dramatically different turn.

It’s 72 lives that will have the opportunity to reach their God-given potential and THRIVE.

It’s a reality far too few children receive.

 

 

To help make this campus a reality, a generous donor will match the first $45,000 of proceeds from this book! That means your gifts of $50, $100 or even $500 will have DOUBLE THE IMPACT! Another donor provided the funds for printing the books which means 100% of your gift will go to helping the vulnerable children in Haiti.

 

 

 


Here’s what you can do:

– Order a copy of A Rose Among Thorns.

– When you order, make a donation (min $20) that will help us fund Redemption West.

– Purchase extra copies for your friends.


 

Learn more about the book and how you can be a part of this life-changing work here.

 

 

 

 

Open House, Open Doors

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!

 


 

GET INVOLVED:

 If you would like to be on a mailing list for future volunteer opportunities and to experience the Haiti Education Wing,

please sign up here! 

 


 

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