Loving Shepherd Ministries
Here is just a little bit about this amazing local ministry!
Caring for Vulnerable Kids
LSM’s mission is to help the world’s most vulnerable children reach their God-given potential. But who are the world’s most vulnerable children?
According to UNICEF, there are 153 million orphans worldwide —innocent children who have lost one or both parents. Orphans are susceptible to abuse, disease, malnutrition, child slavery and poverty. In Ethiopia alone, 2.4 million orphans have lost both parents to HIV/AIDS, and in Haiti, 400,000 children live as orphans.
If the number of these orphans isn’t devastating enough, consider that 40% of the Ethiopian population lives on less than $1.25/day and 80% of Haiti is unemployed. In Ethiopia, this suffocating poverty fuels a prostitution industry that has trapped more than 140,000 women and young girls in Addis Ababa alone. Nearly 80% of these women have children. In Haiti, the poverty and unemployment means that extremely poor families sell their children into child slavery as a means for the child to survive. Over 300,000 children suffer as child slaves in Haiti. Another 300,000 live as street kids.
These children – orphans and child slaves in Haiti and the children of prostitutes in Ethiopia – are our focus. Without intervention, these children are one step away from starvation, crushing physical and sexual abuse or even death. They truly are among the world’s most vulnerable children.
LSM exists to help these children. In the US, this means walking alongside adoptive families in the pre-adoption process as they bring an orphaned child into their home. In Haiti, we place orphaned, exploited and vulnerable children into permanent families called Homes of Hope. And in Ethiopia, we rescue mothers and their children from prostitution, providing them with a dignified, sustainable and healthy family.
Although the way we help vulnerable children looks different in each country, the goal is the same – to help these children be all that God intended them to be.
Providing a Future
Located in the Horn of Africa, Ethiopia has over 86,000,000 inhabitants. Despite being located at the headwaters of the Nile, Ethiopia suffered through a series of famines in the 1980s, which were only compounded by civil wars and adverse geopolitics.
Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere with 80% of the population living under the poverty line and 54% in abject poverty. The 2010 earthquake further decimated the country, affecting 3,500,000 people, killing 220,000 people, seriously injuring more than 300,000 people and leaving 1.5 million homeless.
For these countries, the past is troubled and the present is very difficult. But what about the future? What if there was a way to effectively and constructively meet the needs of these desperate people, particularly the children? What if instead of receiving handouts like food and temporary shelter, they were empowered to learn a skill, earn a living and become self-sustaining so they could help their communities reach a brighter future?
LSM isn’t content to ask “what if?” We are actively implementing strategies to help vulnerable children reach their God-given potential so that, they can bring about a bright future for themselves and their countries.
Change the children, change the community, change the culture.
It is our heart to preserve the rich culture in the countries we work in. But as is often the case, over time cultures can also allow for certain ideas, practices and attitudes that prey on the most vulnerable. And as part of the culture, is hard to see the destruction this causes when it’s been passed down for generations. Sadly, some of these cultural norms run counter to what the Bible says are God’s intentions for humanity. Exploitation, corruption, and the neglect and abuse of vulnerable children are just a few of the practices that violate God’s standards. These severe injustices have developed over the course of generations and it will take a generational approach to reverse them.
So how does LSM sensitively approach those issues in a way that will create sustainable change for future generations? First, we work with the indigenous church, respectfully gaining the insights of our local staff and the communities we work in to gain cultural understanding. With that constant communication, we seek to effectively promote God-honoring changes in the following ways: Equip. Educate. Empower.
By putting important social infrastructure in place, such as permanent families who can provide food, clothing, shelter and a safe, nurturing environment for children, we provide those who are the most in need with the foundation to begin change.
LSM believes that education extends beyond the typical classroom. Accordingly, we offer unique training that provides our children with the economic and leadership opportunities needed to become change agents in their country.
As these equipped and educated children grow into adulthood, they will become community leaders, thought leaders and change agents who begin reversing and eliminating negative cultural beliefs. They will fight poverty, child enslavement and prostitution and become advocates for a better way of life.
Mission, Vision & Values
Helping the world’s most vulnerable children reach their God-given potential.
We do this by:
Creating and sustaining families
Engaging with the church in the US and abroad
Developing educational and business opportunities
As vulnerable children reach their God-given potential, they will grow up to become godly influencers, transforming their culture for Christ.
We believe the following:
Jesus Christ and His teachings are central to all we do.
Ministry must occur from a position of respect for our indigenous partners, their insights and their culture.
We must mentor, equip and empower the local church in the countries we serve to effectively minister to and care for its own.
We must connect and collaborate with the US church to fulfill the biblical mandate to care for the world’s most vulnerable children.
Education, training and vocational opportunities lead to self-sustaining individuals.
While immediate relief efforts are often necessary, development and prevention are critical for long-term change to take place.
We must be good stewards of the resources entrusted to us and use them in a God-honoring manner.
Excellence must pervade every aspect of our organization.
TO FIND OUT EVEN MORE VISIT THEM AT http://loving-shepherd.org/
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LSM exists to help the world's most vulnerable children reach their God-given potential. We do this by: creating and sustaining families, engaging the church in the US and abroad, and by developing educational and business opportunities.
In Ethiopia, we work to rescue exploited women and their children from prostitution. Through counseling and support we help these families leave the streets and start a new life with a meaningful job making beautiful handcrafted purses. This provides long-term, sustainable work for the women so they can provide for their children with dignity.