YOU’RE A PRINCESS, LITTLE GIRL

My 4-year-old niece slipped her little hand into mine as we descended the stairs, one small step at a time. “I’m a princess,” she stated, gazing at her sundress that she just promptly declared as her princess gown. “Daddy tells me all the time. But why don’t I have a crown? I just need a princess crown.”

 

Reaching the bottom of the stairs, she danced out the door all giggles and twirls. I paused for a moment and soaked in the sweetness of that comment. “I’m a princess. Daddy tells me all the time.”

 

 

Oh, that every child in this world would have a daddy who tells them how loved and precious they are.

 

Far too many little girls (many who are now part of LSM’s families) have not had that kind of affirmation. Instead, they have grown up with feelings of rejection, abandonment and fear at the hands of the men in their lives. We’ve seen the devastating effects that it can have in the life of a child.

 

 

It has also been my privilege to see 20 dads in Haiti who are scooping up those broken hearts and telling their kids how deeply loved they are. These dads (and their wives, moms to these precious kids) wrestle with the effects that trauma and abuse have left on their children’s lives. But with the support of an amazing Haitian staff and the prayers of many of you, they are raising them today with all the love and care of a daddy who tells his 4-year-old she’s a princess. And best of all, it gives them a beautiful opportunity to introduce them to our Father, where they truly are daughters and sons of the King!

 

2 Corinthians 6:18 “I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty!”

 


GET INVOLVED

  1. Tell your kids how precious they are today. Pray with your family for an orphaned child who hasn’t yet been told how valuable they are in the eyes of the Father.
  2. Support our Homes of Hope that are giving vulnerable children a loving mom and dad who will care for them and support them through adulthood.
  3. Give a one-time gift to help hurting children find healing through our Trauma Healing program and biblical discipleship initiatives.

 

 

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

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!

 

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.

 

BEHIND THE PICTURE

With a curious smirk, sporting a vest and tie, you smile and think, “What a cute little boy!”  What isn’t captured is how powerful this moment really is. You see, Obie* had just joined his new Home of Hope family on the very day this photo was taken.

 

 

It was his first day in a new home. His first time ever eating three full meals. His first night sleeping in his very own bed.  It was the first of many new things that he never had before. Pictures can speak a thousand words, but sometimes they miss the powerful significance behind the moment.

 

In one single day, Obie found a family to love him.  He entered a life surrounded by a loving family and a community of people who will champion him and make sure he has every opportunity to become all that God has for him.

 

 

The first picture was taken in 2012 when Obie was seven years old. Over the next seven years, Obie excelled in school, learned about leadership and how to help others. Most importantly, he’s experienced the love and safety of his Heavenly Father through his parents and LSM staff. Obie has big dreams. He wants to be a doctor and help the hurting in his country. We think that’s a noble goal – and wherever this life takes him, we hope that passion for serving others continues to be a driving force in his life.

 


GET INVOLVED:

  1. Become a family sponsor and give this kind of hope to children like Obie.
  2. Learn more about LSM Tech and the future opportunities for Obie.

*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.
Read More

Fruit from the Shadows

A poor, rural farming family had sunk deep into despair. The ground was tough and hard to plough. After hours of backbreaking work, there was little to show for it. Desperation had left them with nothing. Food was scarce. There was never enough to go around. A skinny, quiet little girl went unnoticed in the shadows.

 

Until one day, God led someone to the shadows… and they saw her.

 

 

This malnourished little girl who couldn’t even look you in the eye was brought into a loving Home of Hope family. Her name is Martine*. Her new parents gently showed her love and gave her the opportunity to flourish. A community of teachers, mentors and pastoral staff circled around her, and taught her what she could be.

 

In the last ten years, Martine’s story has taken her far beyond the shadows.

She’s a bubbly teenager who loves spending time with her sisters. She has dreams of building infrastructure and hospitals to help her community. Martine is learning about what it means to be a godly leader, and she’s intrigued. She knows the feeling of hopelessness and she knows what true hope is!

Martine and her sisters recently sang in front of church, “I Want to Bear Fruit.”  It is a song that reflects on John 15. We think it’s a pretty good representation of how she is living today.

 

Jesus said he is the true vine, Christians are the branches.

It cuts off branches that are not fruitful

God help me progress, so I do not throw myself away

I want to grow fruit

Many Christians refuse to bear fruit


God patiently let me grow…. Let me say you never gave up, Oh God!


Let me participate

 

 

 

Someone looked in the shadows and saw Martine’s worth. The little girl who once went unnoticed in the dark is now living in the light of Jesus! This is just one story. Right now, there is another little girl who is fading into hopelessness. Her worth is so much more. Together, we can give her a voice. A future. A life lived on purpose for Christ. Will you join us in bringing this kind of hope to more vulnerable children?

 



Get Involved:

  1. Join our prayer list
  2. Become a family sponsor
  3. Make a one-time gift to support our vision

 


*name changed for privacy

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.

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.


 

1 2 3