Jasmine

Meet Jasmine, a young woman who discovered God’s love and a new kind of family at Shepherd of the City Lutheran Church in Philadelphia.

Two years ago, Jasmine White found “the truth” at Shepherd of the City Lutheran Church, Philadelphia. “God is here,” the 24-year-old says confidently, “and I want everyone to find the truth as well.”

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Portrait of Jasmine White, at Shepherd of the City Lutheran Church on Thursday, Aug. 25, 2016, in Philadelphia.

LCMS Communications/Erik M. Lunsford

That’s why she is constantly encouraging everyone she knows to come to church: her mother, who has been abusing drugs and alcohol since before Jasmine was born; her sisters, who ridicule her for her faith; and even her Muslim friends.

But despite the opposition she sometimes faces, Jasmine is speaking up. By sharing her story through the #eyesoflife campaign, she is giving voice to what millions of others believe as well: that all life, from conception to natural death, is sacred, valued and a gift from God.

Due to her mother’s addictions, Jasmine had a tumultuous childhood. She spent time in foster care before going to live with an uncle in Boston. Several years later, her uncle battled cancer, and she was sent back to Philadelphia to live with another uncle.

Over the years, Jasmine says she’s had to distance herself from her mother and several other family members because of the lifestyles they lead. But she never stops loving them, encouraging them to seek help and praying her “hardest prayers” that they might come to know the amazing grace of God.

“What my Mom did affected the whole family, but I still have to love her,” Jasmine says. “God says honor your father and your mother. I can’t say, ‘I don’t want you in my life anymore’ because of it.”

Eventually, a friend invited Jasmine to Shepherd of the City, where God provided her with a new family — one forged around faith in her Savior, Jesus Christ. It’s a small church family of just 12 members, but it’s close knit.

“I come to church because I love the family,” she says. “They aren’t my biological family, but in God’s name they are family.”

Jasmine doesn’t just come to church on Sunday; she also comes for the new member class on Monday, the Bible study on Thursday and to help out in any way she can. Even after finishing the new member class, she just kept coming. She wanted to learn everything she could about a God who loved her so much that He sent His Son to die on the cross for her.

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Jasmine White listens to the Rev. Adam DeGroot, national missionary pastor at Shepherd of the City Lutheran Church, during bible study on Thursday, Aug. 25, 2016, at the church in Philadelphia.

LCMS Communications/Erik M. Lunsford

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