LIHGTHOUSE inc. z
Heaventrain Christmas z
A PUBLICATION OF LIGHTHOUSE INC.
All the hard work of our Lighthouse board, staff, and volunteers
paid off in an exciting few days. In total we fed over 5000 people a
home cooked dinner. Gave away 1400 coats, 2000 gifts, and
CHRISTMAS IS A BIT BRIGHTER IN CENTRAL
Christmas is a special time of our very best Christmas ever.
the year, but often times the kids The faces of the children told
in our community get what is the story, the quality of our
left over. A little giving
boy told me showed them
Special Thanks “Santa does not that they are
To all the partners who made
come to the so important
Christmas 2008 the best ever.
projects.” His to us and to
CCS, Bed Naz, Christ the
King, PAC, CMHA, Burton statement is a so many
Bell Carr, Councilwoman
observation that others.
Cleveland, Lonnie Burton
even with all the Thank you,
Rec., Coats for Kids, Payless,
Burger King, NCO SAMS, programs out everyone
Crestline Naz, Cleveland City
there, the poor are often left to who helped us give our very
Stars, Victory Naz, Bethany
take leftovers. This year we best. The faces in the pictures
Baptist, Christian Assembly,
were blessed to be able to share tell the story, Merry Christmas.
Sandy and family & our team.
Crocodinho Over the past year we have been
blessed to partner with the
Is a big hit as the Cleveland City Cleveland City Stars on more than
Stars mascot spent the day on one occasion. This day Mark
Heaventrain. The kids loved Geissbauer, the teams GM and
him, once they were sure that he Crocodinho the teams mascot
would not eat them. came with t-shirts and hugs.
What this all means, by Mike Crews
Last saturday, we had our last Heaven Train of the year.
With cold, still ﬁngers, i helped pass out toys, bags, candy, you name it. I could really feel the love, u
know? i always wanted to just belong to something; i wanted to have something to show for for when i
passed on. I used to want to be a legend. But i've decided that ima live my life now and see what
happens. This life isn't guaranteed to us; and its never easy when we loose somebody. So i did what i do
best: help my fellow man. I live in the middle of this poverty thing and its real. I mean, some of the kids
that showed up to heaven train didn't even have any coats on; when i saw this, i quickly took off mine
and gave it to them. All of the staff on the Heaven Train is good to me; they make me feel welcome they
don't discriminate against me because of my heritage or my skin color. God bless the child that got his
own.... that what it says in the book. But our economy is so screwed up now, its extremely hard just live in
this world livin in a world wit no money and no supplies?
hope things get better soon. love all.
HOLIDAY NOV 20 DEC 14 DEC 20 DEC 22
Holiday Lighthouse Heaventrain Coats, Hats,
Dinner staff dinner Christmas gloves, shoes.
The totals number on With everything
kids on Saturday was that has happened
over 1200. Temps were to end the year we
in the twenties. Our have been blessed, Heaventrain is on break
ﬁrst trip to Glenville but there is a deep till April. As
and 137 came on the sadness as winter sets in. relationships take hold, it
bus. is a painful for our
Children and for our
We partnered with
Heaventrain team. Pray
Lonnie Burton Rec.,
for us as we seek ways to
Coats for Kids and
stay connected during to
Cleveland to distribute
34 locations for Holiday dinners in 08.
For a quarter century a Holiday tradition has been taking place in CMHA community rooms for
Thanksgiving and Christmas. The Home Cookin’ for the Holidays program was a great success this
year thanks to the network of resident volunteers that ran the 34 site dinners. These dedicated
community servants bring the community together around a special home cooked feast. Dinners are
open to all residents and are home made, so everyone can get a home cooked dinner for the holidays. In
total we served nearly 5000 people a tangible demonstration of Holiday cheer.
A very special Thank you!
For the ﬁrst time ever, a local community
prepared a special Thank You dinner for our
Lighthouse team. Our staff, volunteers and board
were treated to a Home Cookin, thank you dinner.
The residents at Addison Square senior high rise
and the PAC team lead by Mrs. Mary Braxton,
put on a
feast ﬁt for
a king. It
was a great time for everyone involved. Our community
has been working hard for decades to serve their
neighbors. We are proud that they see us as part of the
neighborhood. God’s Kingdom is alive in Cleveland
where he has removed walls of division and established a
diverse group that is more of a family.
Poverty,God’s Kingdom and the Suburban Intern...
It has been quite some time it seems since last I wrote you. During this period of time much has
happened in my life though I'm not completely sure what you all may be aware of. I ﬁnished up my time
working with Lighthouse, Inc. for the summer and had to leave with sadness. To be honest I don't think I
have even had the chance witness such a great movement by God, and I only regret that I cannot be a part
of it while I'm off at school working ..ing my ﬁrst degree. Those couple months were really educational for
me, far more so than my 2 1/2 years of expensive college education have been. My position was a hard to
explain, but basically I got to work with youth groups who would come in to the Central Community and
experience what its like to live there while serving some of God's dearest children. I had the chance to see
a little bit of everything that the suburban church can offer. In no particular order, so as to protect those
involved, I saw youth groups who felt they were entitled, those who felt they were unworthy to be given
such an honor, and those who simply were not sure why they had come at all. In all cases I believe the
groups left changed for the better to at least some degree, but it was the ﬁrst one I listed that really
A youth group who was under the leadership of someone who had obviously never quite learned
humility came and joined in our efforts. No doubt this group was very productive in the work they were
given, but the heart seemed to be lacking at times. It was as though this was just something to do to give a
shot of self-righteousness to their systems, but of course this is an unfair generalization. To say that
everyone involved acted this way would be completely wrong of me. Some things that stood out to me
during this trip however:
1.) Its good enough for you, but not for ME!!
-This was perhaps the most sickening thing that I encountered while one group was working with
us. We serve the children of our tutoring program a free lunch that we are reimbursed by the government
for each day. It usually consists of a ham and cheese sandwich, maybe some applesauce, a carton of milk,
and a juice box, with a snack (chewy bar, cookie, etc.). When the youth groups would come to work with
us we would give them the same lunch because it made for an easy process of ordering from the company
that packages the food, because it was cost-efﬁcient since the lunches were reasonably priced, because it
was supporting a local business which meant local jobs, and simply because the food was being served to
the kids the groups were serving. I would have thought these meals to be more than sufﬁcient, certainly not
ritzy or anything, but more than good enough for me to have a full belly and smiling face...this did not turn
out to be the case for some people though. It was requested of me to stop ordering the lunches by one of
the youth leaders because it just was not good enough for them and they felt getting food on their own
would be better. I went along with their request seeing as it was our ﬁrst year running the program and we
knew no better in how to handle the situation, but I was left hearing, quot;Its good enough for your kids, but
just not for us. We paid a lot of money to come here so we should get something better, not something
others get for free.quot; It stunned me that there were people who could come to serve others and yet spit in
their face with a smile as they walked away from what those in the community would have been very happy
-Same deal here. We provided housing at a church in a really cool area close to our site called
Tremont, which is a pretty artsy district. It wasn't anything fancy, but it fell in line with all my youth group
experiences...actually it was better because when I did a mission trip to Mexico we slept on the ﬂoor and cock-
roaches visited us. This place in Tremont was actually a really amazing old church, but again entitlement was
an issue. We were told that a group felt that for the amount of money they were paying they should stay
somewhere nice. What this meant was that they wanted to stay in one of the nicest hotels in Cleveland. Keep
in mind that most of the people we serve in the Central community are staying in apartments that cost around
$100/month, but this hotel was $4500/week. You do the math, but that's almost 4 years of rent for a family
that this group spent so they could have a pool and hot tub, which I frequently heard teens fantasizing about
outloud while they were working on homes in the community.
Does it sicken you to hear this?
It sure had me feeling disgusted at ﬁrst, but it wasn't until later that I really wanted to lose my
lunch...when I realized it had been me growing up. Sure maybe I wasn't as extreme during my years in youth
group, but as I served those quot;less fortunatequot; than myself I always couldn't wait to have my days of fun that
always accompany these sort of trips. With our experience in Cleveland we sent the youth groups to Cedar
Point, Indians games, waterparks, etc. While I understand the value of these things as bonding moments
amongst teens, I also think that to be focused on these aspects is disturbing, and I myself am guilty of having
Refer to my last paragraph. You'll see that I mentioned those we serve as less fortunate, but I placed it in quotation
marks. The reason I did so was exactly was exactly what you might expect, but be in doubt of...I don't think the people in
the Central community are less fortunate than those who serve them such as myself or the teen groups. Why is that?
Sure the people in the community have struggles that the average suburbanite does not ever encounter such as wondering
where the next meal will come from if at all, where to go at night for safety, or if they'll ever get a job, get past an
addiction that isolates them from those they love, but numbs the pain for just a little while, but I can't say that they are
worse off in other respects. The people I serve have hearts of gold. There is a man named James. You cannot help but
love this man's heart. He comes to church as often as his body will allow him and he often struggles to walk without
being helped by others who have to hold him up, but he can light up your day. He has this gift to make others smile. Its a
gift I fear that I will spend the rest of my life trying to attain, but never aquire. If there were more guys like James in the
world we'd be ﬁne I'm convinced of it. The guy has very little, but he has Jesus ﬂowing through every vein in his body
and it shows, oh man does it show! My brother understands something that I don't know if I fully grasp even after a
summer getting to know him. I think that he knows that although he has little, he has much in his Savior and to he who
much is given, much is expected. James does not have a large amount of that which we sometimes value so highly, but he
has what we more than most people I've ever met of that which we so desperately are in need of. At the end of the day I
hold an almost envy-like admiration for James because if I can have my every need met with no real effort and still be
bitter about life at times what hope do I have of being at peace and feeling God's blessings with as little as he can?
I suppose that begins the part where I say that when you minister to others you often are ministered to just as much
or more. You will hear no argument from me in that regard. Certainly I felt like I was the one being ministered to most
of the summer and I was very humbled by it. I'm guilty of thinking I was going to join on with the Lighthouse team and
bring my passion and youthful ignorance to the table and storm hell with a water pistol, but that quickly got shot down. I
came to understand how ironic the inner-city could really be. I thought that a rich man would come in to a place like the
Central community and be given an instant ego boost because he had so much more, but that changed. The richest man
in the world could come in to Cleveland and spend his entire fortune and the problem would not be ﬁxed. Money alone
can never redeem the community. There must be more people with hearts of gold like James, Phil, Delta, Andy and
Kristen Batten, and Jacob Hawes who runs Cleveland Victory Church and when I mean run I mean sprint. As those
people and other like them multiply God will take care of the rest through His willing vessels. I ﬁnally understand why it
is that I have been given the opportunity to go out and bring youth groups in to spend a week learning to love. Its
because there's a war going on in Cleveland and we could use some more soldiers who are willing to get behind people
like James or Lashunda Lee.
This letter was taken from Matt’s Blog
2 0 0 8 C H R I S T M A S
4321 First Street
Anytown, State 54321