Our vision. Our registered non-profit Christian ministry works to raise awareness of the "forgotten ones". This includes widows and orphans. We began with the purpose of helping street kids and orphans. However, over the years the Lord has also directed us to minister to widows, preachers, and staff working in these areas. We find small ministries that are actively involved in these types of activities, get to know them over time, and eventually partner with them in projects, prayers, and programs. Our job here in the United States is to promote the problem through presentations, newsletters, books, articles, and conference displays. Weekly we are communicated with our overseas partners, raise funding, meet with key supporters, and many other activities. Most of our Ukraine partners receive occasional grants, needed supplies, always encouragement, and prayer. We built our orphanage in Nabarangpur, India and support the staff and 24 boys with sponsorships, and many grants for needed projects. Thought we have a vision to help the "forgotten ones" we also have a heart for spreading the gospel and new church work. We are always utilizing opportunities to share the Gospel through speaking overseas, conferences there, giving out Bibles, and encouraging new church development.
Where did your name originate? When we began I was remembering how two workers in Ukraine found a nine-year old boy frozen in a doorway. He had tried to sleep there the night before and died. The shocking thing was that people were walking like he wasn't there. It was pretty common to see kids sleeping on sidewalks. This put me in mind of weeds growing through the cracks of city sidewalks and how peopole don't notice them as they walk by. Yet, the weeds survive somehow.
I punched in a google search for weed growing through sidewalk. The first thing that came up was one called, "Shepherd's Purse". I had never heard of it or seen it. It was described as a noxious plant with herbal values. It has cross shaped flowers and tiny heart shaped seed pods filled with hundreds of seeds. The reason for its name is because, upside down, the heart pods look like medieval purses the Shepherd's carried.
I then found out the plant has also been called, "Mother's Heart", and, "Pick pocket". That clinched it. Our name was chosen.
Later that year I told friends to watch for this plant because I wanted to get pictures. One day our friend Andrey was visiting from Ukraine and I told him I wanted to mow our tiny lawn. It would only take a few minutes. In the process I noticed something growning next to our one tree out front. I bent over and was shocked to see tiny cross shaped flowers and perfect little hearts. All excited, I ran in and showed Andrey. I said, "Here, take this back to Kherson as a sign of good things to come." He laughed and informed me that this stuff grows all over Kherson.
The next spring trip we took we saw what he meant. Everywhere we walked there were large clusters of lush white Shepherd's Purse in bloom. We took it as a good sign.
It is very hardy but short lived. It usually does not make it through the summer. We pray that this is not fulfilled in the lives of the kids.
What is the purpose of Shepherd's Purse? Our goal is to raise awareness by speaking in colleges, churches and civic groups. We also publish a monthly newsletters, maintain a website and Facebook, take teams to the sites and ship supplies. Our partners in country work with the kids on a continual basis. We support them with prayers, supplies, finances, and teams. We are all a team to help the forgotten children.
How long have you existed? In the spring of 2003 I saw a video of Nastya during a mission report from Master Provisions after my son's trip to Ukraine. It broke my heart. I began emailing ministries in Kherson to find out about her and that is when I discoved there were literally millions of these kids at that time.
In January of 2004 I made my first trip to Russia to teach in a pastoral training school and it was on Christmas day (January 7th) that I first visited a day center for street kids. When I returned from that trip in January I announced (surprising even myself), that I was starting Shepherd's Purse.
We were adopted into "The Father's Heart" ministry that spring and they fostered our beginning months of growth.
In the fall of 2004 we actually formed our own independant non-profit status. Since that time we have shipped many supplies, built relationship with numerous non-profits in-country, and taken eight trips with teams to see the problem first hand.
What is Your Statement of Faith Statement of Faith
We believe the Bible is the inerrant word of God and speaks for itself in these matters. We adhere to the statement, "No creed but Christ", but for the purposes of brief introduction on some key issues we present the following thoughts.
1. We believe there is one God, eternally existent in three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit
2. We believe the Bible is God's inspired and infallible Word and is our only rule of faith and practice
3. We believe in the deity of our Lord Jesus Christ, His virgin birth, the shedding of His blood on the cross for all sins, His bodily resurrection from the dead, and His return in power and glory.
4. We believe that salvation is a gift from God established by His mercy and grace. By faith, we receive salvation from God through baptism after believing and confessing that Jesus Christ is Lord and that our sin has separated us from Him.
Water baptism is an essential part of New Testament salvation and not merely a symbolic ritual. It is part of entering into the kingdom of God (God's church, the bride of Christ), and therefore, it is not merely a part of local church membership. (See John 3:5; Galatians 3:27).
Mode of Baptism
Water baptism is to be administered only by immersion. Paul said, "We are buried with him [Jesus Christ] by baptism (Romans 6:4; see Colossians 2:12), Jesus came up "out of the water" (Mark 1:10), and Philip and the eunuch went down "into the water" and came up "out of the water" (Acts 8:38-39). Jesus' death, burial and resurrection are applied to our lives when we experience New Testament salvation: "Repent [death to sin], and be baptized [burial] every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost [resurrection]." (See Acts 2:38; Romans 6:1-7; 8:2). Sprinkling, pouring, or infant baptism of any kind cannot be substantiated by the Word of God, but are only human traditions.
5. We believe the Holy Spirit is the Promise of the Father, the Comforter who indwells and bestows spiritual gifts upon the Church and convicts the world of sin and the judgment to come. While all believers are in-dwelt by the Spirit of God, we believe the baptism in the Holy Spirit is a definite endowment of power for service and separate from conversion.
6. We believe that Christ is the head of the church and that the church is the Body of Christ.
7. We believe that the motivation for everything we do is love. Since Christ first loved us, we are called to have that same love towards one another.
8. We believe in the resurrection of the just and the unjust. Christians will appear before the Judgement Seat of Christ and the unbelievers will stand before God.