Leading this outreach to teenagers is exciting, unpredictable, and just plain hard. On a weekly basis I am excited to see solid character developing as I observe how one of our kids responds to a difficult set of circumstances. Lest I get too proud of the work we are doing and the progress we are making, I am quickly reminded of the pit of despair that so many are stuck in, due to circumstances beyond their control or the consequences of their own poor choices. I am often left wondering, is there any way we can rescue them. At our Lighthouse gatherings this fall we have been talking about our hearts, our character, about who-we-are. In so many areas of life, we are recognized by our achievements (or lack thereof). The awards and recognition given for achievement very often results in us striving to put on a great performance independent of the cost to our character. The nature of solid character development, however, cannot be driven by awards and recognition. Somehow we must demonstrate that the rewards of being outweigh the awards of doing. The challenge I have is in providing a way, an environment, that is safe for young people to admit their character flaws, to confess where they are struggling, and regardless of what they say, to be able to confidently say “this can change.” This is our mission here at The Lighthouse, to help young people find their way.
We can see this truth, the importance of who-you-are versus what-you-do, as we read the Christmas story. What can a baby do other than make faces, silly noises, eat, and dirty his diaper? And yet there was such an incredible celebration at the birth of this baby named Jesus, even though at the time of his birth he could do nothing. The celebration and the hope was there because of who the baby was. Matthew 1:23 says, “ ‘Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel’ (which means, God with us).” The angels, the shepherds, the wise men, Joseph, and Mary celebrated out of a sincere hope that this baby would eventually do great things because of who he was, “God with us.” I am convinced of this truth for the young people we are serving, that they will do great things if they first develop a deep and solid foundation of character rooted in a relationship with Jesus.
In the last few months I have had multiple young men come and confess to me an addiction to pornography. Having endured the same struggle during my teenage years, I understand their shame and the hold that this false intimacy can take on a young man. Through one of our staff members, I have also heard of a student with an alcohol problem looking for help, with no clear guidance available to him through his family or his school. I don’t fault the school staff for this, how can they add substance abuse help to their already over-burdened and under-funded system? I want the Lighthouse to be able provide a shame-free transparent gathering for teenagers who sincerely want to overcome addiction, regardless of what it is they are a slave to. I want to provide a place where they can find hope, where they spend some time with us weekly and as they leave they think to themselves, “I believe.” I know this hope, this peace, because I have personally been set free. The hope is in Jesus, Immanuel, “God with Us”, of whom the prophet Isaiah says, “He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners.”
The world is in upheaval right now. The reaction of so many is that hope for safety for the future can be found in laws and wars and leaders. It is disheartening to see folks demanding solutions to the present dangers reported in the news, while there is little public outrage for the battles being lost in the war for our children’s hearts. In Matthew 10:28, Jesus said this to his disciples as he was sending them out into the world, “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” Please consider joining our Lighthouse team in the fight by supporting us financially. We are on track to finish the year with approximately $40,000 in the bank. Once we reach $50,000 and get our building plans completed and approved, we should be able to begin construction on the shell of The Lighthouse Youth Outreach Center in Bunker Hill. With 50 teenagers here for our weekly gatherings and our monthly Red Circle leadership development group, we are at the maximum of what can be done in our home. We need a full-time Lighthouse facility so we can continue to grow and add more outreach like the addiction recovery mentioned above. For more information about our vision for this place and this outreach, you can read our past newsletters on our website at www.LHBH.org. You can also contact me directly at chris@LHBH.org and 765-271-6687. I would love to come share our story with you personally or any group you are involved in, including your churches. If you would like to send a gift, you can mail it to The Lighthouse, PO Box 336, Bunker Hill, IN 46914. All gifts are fully tax-deductible.
We sincerely thank those of you who are supporting us, whether it be with your time, your prayers or your finances. We simply could not do this mission without you. We are blessed with an incredible team of volunteers who help us weekly and partners like you. From our family to yours, we hope you have a peaceful and joyful Christmas season.
Chris Edgington, Director