A Shining Light

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“I was giving up on life…there’s got to be something more. I wanted God to love me, for God to want me if nobody else did.” These are the words of a man named Matthew, a resident at Lighthouse Ministries. Matthew and his mother grew up homeless for the majority of his life, spending many nights under an Amtrak train overpass. Lighthouse Ministries first met the needs of Matthew by giving him a place to live through their residential placement program—then they met his spiritual needs through displaying the love of Jesus Christ.

Lighthouse Ministries’ main objective is to give people hope and change the lives of  struggling people. They meet the needs of the people in the community by going to where the need is, whether it is on the streets, on their campus or thrift stores or in the community. It offers a wide array of services including a rescue shelter, residential ministry, children’s ministry, community preschool, community outreach, thrift stores, adult learning, a hydroponic garden and a hope center.

Steve Turbeville, President and CEO of Lighthouse Ministries said, “We are a Life & Learning Campus For Men, Women, and Children who need a place of refuge to begin a new life. We serve Central Florida with the hope of impacting lives for Jesus by       giving food, clothing, shelter, childcare, education and job placement.”

Two men, who were sensitive and obedient to what God was telling them to do, founded Lighthouse Ministries’. Their names are Carl Warnock and Jim Welch; they started this organization in the mid 1970’s. Through a sequence of events that can be read here, Warnock and Welch were two men with a vision, a plan, and faithfulness to God’s plan.  When Warnock was concerned about his ability to run a shelter, his partner Welch said, “It’s not about ability or inability. It’s about availability.” In 1977, the first Lighthouse Rescue Mission shelter was opened.

Distribution Center

Since that time, Lighthouse Ministries has expanded into numerous campuses with many different ministries all over the Polk County region. It has  seven different buildings,  which includes, five stores, a Hope Center and a Distribution  Center. Not only do these stores provide food and clothing for a very reasonable price, they also provide jobs and volunteer opportunities.

Lighthouse Ministries has provided invaluable support for the community in numerous ways. In 2011 the men’s Rescue Shelter had 4,416 overnight guests, 15,104 meals served and 70 faith decisions. Also in 2011, The One Stop Residential Care Program served 122 people, 40,509 meals, filled 11,929 beds and had 17 faith decisions. These are only two examples of how Lighthouse Ministries has benefited the community; they have served thousands more through their thrift stores and various children’s and tutoring ministries.

Jessica, a woman who was once a person being served by Lighthouse Ministries, stated, “Lighthouse is everything I needed: childcare, education, saving money, a schedule, routine. I didn’t know where to find it, and it was here at Lighthouse.” You can read more about   Jessica’s testimony by clicking here.

Jessica is now an employee of Lighthouse Ministries H.O.P.E. Center.   She is living proof of the positive impact Lighthouse Ministries has on the community.

For organizations such as Lighthouse Ministries their ability to help the community directly comes from donations and volunteers. A nonprofit organization cannot function without people in the community who are willing to give back. The fact that numerous nonprofit organizations can coexist in the one town of Lakeland, FL shows the heart of its residences. The world is full of struggling people who have many different needs, so it is up to the fellow citizens of the world too sacrifice some time and resources for the benefit of the greater good.

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For more information about Lighthouse Ministries’ services and how to get involved click on the links below:

Get Assistance

Lighthouse Ministries Get Involved

Lighthouse Ministries Donations


One Response to A Shining Light

  1. Pingback: A Shining Light « For the People, by the People

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