Loving Shepherd Opens New Facility
The Wells County Chamber of Commerce staff and Chamber Ambassadors were on hand Tuesday, April 18, to celebrate the opening of Loving Shepherd Ministries’ new facility at 1935 N. Main St.
Ed Schwartz and Doug Isch, LSM leaders, said staff and volunteers began remodeling the building last summer and the organization relocated to the site in mid-November. They give full credit to God for making the building available and leading them to it.
Loving Shepherd Ministries has a staff of 12 people in Bluffton and more in Haiti and Ethiopia.
LSM was formerly 100 percent focused on adoption. In 2006, the organization shifted its focus toward caring for orphans in other countries. Today, LSM works about 5 percent on adoption, 80 percent caring for children in Haiti, and 15 percent caring for children in Ethiopia.
“We have a deep focus on a concentrated area,” Schwartz said about the two nations. Haiti was a natural fit because of the need and the existing relationships there.
The new facility has given LSM more space for programs such as the Gospel Project. This start-up program gives church groups the opportunity to pack humanitarian aid that will benefit children in Haiti and Ethiopia. Volunteers are not only providing a valuable service but are also teaching life lessons locally about helping others.
Haiti has a 75 percent unemployment rate but Loving Shepherd Ministries now employs 160 Haitians. That makes those workers self-sufficient, and they are also generating revenue that helps service the more than 240 children supported by the ministry. The eventual goal is to make the program self-sufficient.
A ribbon-cutting was held Tuesday to mark the ceremonial opening of Loving Shepherd Ministries’ new facility at 1935 N. Main St. Pictured from left are Ambassador Rita Haneline, Drew Neuenschwander and Allen Stoller of LSM, Mayor Ted Ellis, Tony Crowell, John Reinhard, and Ed Schwartz of LSM, Ambassador Jen Kinyo, Kathy Meyer, Doug Isch, Amber Steffen, and Rick Schwartz of LSM, Ambassadors Doug Brown and Cyndee Fiechter, Jen Schwartz of LSM, Ambassador Erica Lehman, Danny Bartsch, Rebecca Webb, and Troy Leyse of LSM, and Sarah Campbell of the Wells County Chamber of Commerce. (Photo provided)