LIV San Antonio came about when God highlighted the numbers of neglected children in San Antonio to Mark and Veronica Lugo. If you were to take all of the neglected children in Bexar County to the AT&T Center and give them a seat, they’d fill about a third of it.
Anais Biera Miracle, Chief Public Relations Officer at The Children’s Shelter, says that in 2018, Bexar County confirmed 5,865 victims of child abuse and neglect. Averaged, that equals 16 cases every day of the year. Currently, about half of those go to a relative or another caregiver. But the other half – a little over 2,500 – are placed in foster care. “The demand for foster care grows in Bexar County,” says Anais.
In 2018, while LIV Founders Tich and Joan Smith visited the USA to create awareness for LIV, Mark and Veronica Lugo attended one of their vision casting events. Tich and Joan shared the LIV Documentary with the attendants and the Lugo’s were captured by the video. “It’s the six minutes that changed our lives forever,” says Veronica.
Mark and Veronica have been doing groundwork in San Antonio and established Mark Lugo Ministries just over a year ago. This nonprofit is designed to bring San Antonio together to advocate for urban missions and reach the disadvantaged children and teens in the community. “Through this – when we started doing community outreach – we saw that the children were the first to respond.”
At the moment, LIV San Antonio is being birthed in the spirit through intercessory prayer. Actively involved in the spiritual preparation for this future village, are Rune and Berta Brannstrom, who are the Lugo’s spiritual mentors and have been given positions on the LIV San Antonio board. The team is trusting for 100 acres of land on the south side of San Antonio, where this village will be built. They are also collaborating with the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services’ faith-based specialist, Hope Shelton, to learn how organizations like LIV San Antonio can provide for children in foster care.
Over 2018 Christmas time, Mark and Veronica had the privilege to visit LIV Durban – the mother ship of the vision that was given to Tich Smith in 1997. They were struck by the lack of an “orphan spirit” during their visit, regardless of the fact that these children are parentless. Mark’s vision for LIV San Antonio mirrors the South African model with its emphasis on providing security, unconditional love and a holistic approach, which will affect the next generation.
The Lugo’s dream of a San Antonio where there will be no neglected children by providing a solution to the massive problem the community is facing. At LIV San Antonio, children will receive an education that will prepare them to be released as stars into the rest of the USA. Apart from different opportunities offered to them, Mark envisions a place where the children can receive special therapy through interventions like an equestrian center – and thrive from good food and excellent medical services. All of this would give them a future instead of feeling lost with no direction.
The LIV model is long term cluster foster care, where children have a sense of belonging in a supportive community. We place orphaned and vulnerable children into a family environment with a trained foster mother to love them, a school to educate them, and where they receive spiritual discipleship, care and nurturing.