CELEBRATING FREEDOM

Happy 4th of July! This weekend, as you celebrate the values of freedom, we hope you’ll join us in the fight to bring those basics to vulnerable children. It takes our collective voices to speak for those who cannot speak for themselves. Our passion is to help those who have lost their natural advocates in life. You can provide the help that is desperately needed for children.

 

NEARLY 10 YEARS AGO, A LITTLE GIRL HAD LOST HOPE.  

 

 

She shifted a heavy load of water on her tiny, bony shoulders and took another weary step. Eight year old Velinda* had been carrying water for over a mile. She did this three times a day for the family she lived with. As a restavek (child slave), Velinda worked 12-14 hour days. She was skin and bones and bore the physical and emotional scars of a broken childhood. After her parents died, she had no idea how hard life was going to be without them.

 

On day, as Velinda was walking home from the river, she met someone very special who works for LSM. She heard about this man, and knew that if there was ever hope at freedom, this was her chance. She dropped her heavy bucket, and ran up to him.

 

“I’m tired of carrying water,” she breathlessly said. “Please, help me!”

 

TODAY, VELINDA KNOWS THE BEAUTY OF FREEDOM.

 

 

LSM was able to negotiate with the family that Velinda had been living with. She was rescued out of that horrible situation, and is now thriving in her Home of Hope family! She no longer carries water from the river, working 12-14 hour days. Instead, she is experiencing true freedom and love in a nurturing family. But most importantly, she knows about the true living water, found in Jesus Christ!

 

Because of the opportunities she has today, Velinda can go to college, get a good paying job and provide for her own family someday. These are dreams she never imagined as a child slave ten years ago.

 

 

ARE YOU WILLING TO LISTEN TO A DESPERATE CRY FOR HELP?

 

We long for all vulnerable children like Velinda to have the freedom to grow as a valued child of God. We want them to know their worth, find healing and love, and have the chance to reach their full, God-given potential.

 

Freedom is a gift. And it’s one we can give together.

 

 


GET INVOLVED:

  1. Help rescue children forced into child slavery in Haiti. Order your copy of Ed’s book “A Rose Among Thorns” to learn more about their plight and help rescue children like Velinda.
  2. Become a Prayer Partner and receive bi-monthly updates from LSM on specific ways to intercede.
  3. Spread the Gospel message of FREEDOM in Haiti through the Gospel Project.

 


*name changed for privacy

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.

 

YOU DON’T HAVE TO WALK THIS ROAD ALONE

The monthly Ethiopia Program updates was looking pretty standard. It was full of positive conversations and new things the team wanted to accomplish. Over 40 families in Ethiopia have access to some incredible programs that are helping single mothers provide for their kids.

 

And then my eyes caught on one word… CANCER.

 

 

Two moms were diagnosed with cancer in the last month. Another young mom lost partial vision in both eyes. I wish I could take away those words and the weight they carry for their sweet families, but I can’t.

 

These precious mommas have faced some terrible things in their life already. They’ve had to make the heartbreaking choice between feeding their child and sending them to school. It’s unbearable to think about life as a single mom in one of the hardest places in the world, deeply entrenched in generational poverty with a stigma around their shoulders. I place myself in their shoes for a moment and imagine  what this diagnosis would feel like and what this means for their children.

 

BUT THEN I’M REMINDED… THEY AREN’T WALKING THIS ROAD ALONE!

 

 

In the last three years, these families have all entered the LSM program in their village. It’s enabled their children to go to school. It’s given them food stipends so they don’t have to worry about whether or not they can feed their children. LSM has helped them start their own businesses and walked alongside them so they can succeed. We have watched these families make huge progress. Beyond all of that though, they’ve connected to a local church and are mentored by volunteers in their community on a regular basis. They have support groups that they’ve started in their own communities. Their fear and stigma have faded and they’ve gained confidence in themselves.

 

 

Cancer, blindness and the pain they’ve faced isn’t fair, but they know we will walk alongside them in this season of their journey just like we have in the last season. Despite the ravages of sickness, poverty and sin in this world, there is a big God who is above it all!

 

And in the middle of our mess, we can point each other to Jesus, take each other’s hand and say simply, “You don’t have to walk this road alone.”

 


GET INVOLVED:

  1. Help us support families like this in Ethiopia as a family sponsor.
  2. Pray for these three moms who are suffering from cancer and blindness.
  3. Learn more about our work in Ethiopia here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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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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Isaiah 43’s Message in Action at VBS 2016

“Behold I am doing a new thing: now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” —Isaiah 43:19

 

During VBS 2016 this past week, this vision was abundant. You might not recognize its power right off the bat. Looking around VBS at Cavaillon, Haiti, at the Cancer Redemption Campus (CRP), you would probably say to yourself, “These look like healthy, smart children who are growing up with loving parents.” And they are.

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God’s Work Through You Transforms Families for Him

sherri weavingSherri* is a talented artisan whose intricate weaving skills have been passed down for centuries. Her hands deftly thread the elaborate loom as her feet pump the threads back and forth. There’s a rhythm to her work: pump, swish, clank. A smile graces her face as she watches her son play at the side of the room, surrounded by a community of women and children who love them. They are at peace.

 

 

But life wasn’t always so safe and serene for Sherri and her children.

 

She was just a young girl coming to the city for the first time. The excitement and opportunities captivated her.

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How the Easter Message is Transforming Lives Around the World

“I know that my redeemer lives and that in the end He will stand on the earth.” Job 19:25

 

The Easter message is a powerful story that many of us have grown up with and has woven into the fabric of our lives. But for millions around the world, their introduction to this message comes in drastically different ways.

 

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Invisible

She picked a small piece of trash from the dirt where she squatted on the side of a busy road. Beeping car horns, stray dogs and a hoard of people zig zagging across the lanes of traffic. She was silent, almost listless as her fingers moved along the ground. It was the same as before. Always the same.

 

Her mother was a short ways off, keeping one eye on her while she tried to sell firewood she had gathered that morning, the other eye desperate for a customer. Perhaps today she would make enough to buy them a real meal. The meager food they survived on was barely enough, and they both felt the depth of their plight.

 

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Faces of Hope

As I’ve been sorting through pictures from VBS this year, I can’t help but smile as I see photo after photo of happy kids, basking in their carefree summer days and having so much fun together. I also can’t help but see great hope written on their faces – made all the more powerful when you know how much it has taken for this smile to grow.

 

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