“Lord, we are so thankful for the way you pour out your generosity…”
Pastor Jim—Senior Pastor at Holy Spirit Lutheran Church—opened the ceremony with a prayer of gratitude as those gathered around him bowed their heads in agreement, closing with an emphatic “Amen!”
Lutheran Services Florida hosted the ceremony earlier this summer to celebrate reaching its $250,000 goal for funds to support Lippman Youth Shelter, located in Broward County.
Sam Sipes, LSF President and CEO, walked to the podium to express his appreciation for those who participated in the effort.
“If you were to visit this shelter, you’d see staff working with troubled youth. So far, our funding has been enough to cover the kids’ care, but not the facility. But the fact that we’ve been able to [receive this] money during a pandemic is… kind of a miracle, in my opinion.”
Led by Pastor Gary Leopard of St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church serving as Chair, LSF’s fundraising committee launched the capital campaign, “Beauty is a Silent Teacher,” to restore beauty to the aging shelter, a space that provided a safe environment for more than 100 vulnerable children last year alone. When the campaign launched in October 2020, it was only one month before participants raised $146,000. By June of 2021, community members had given even more, and the team exceeded its goal.
During the ceremony, Reverend James spoke to what motivated his congregation to contribute.
“Our congregation has a long history of investing in the future and faith lives of children. When we become aware of children in need, there’s an outpouring of resources offered in the certain hope that will somehow use the resources to make a significant impact in their lives. We’re so grateful to partner with Lutheran Services Florida [for this cause].”
LSF has an estimated 98 percent success rate of youth returning home to their families to rebuild their lives following their stay at one of the shelters. Many of the young people stay in touch with the counselors who have helped them through their most difficult times. Some have even said the shelters feel like a second home.
And for the times when they feel hopeless and discouraged during the experience, Reverend James offered a word of encouragement:
“Who gives during a pandemic? People who believe that God is able to overcome any obstacle. And to the young people in this shelter: Trust God with your future even when it may not seem incredibly certain in this moment, because God will surprise you in wonderful ways.”
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