Each staff member has a story and path that led them to work at Lighthouse Mission. And from that, you’ll begin to learn why we’re passionate about what we do. Here are just a few of our stories:
When I volunteered at the cold weather shelter, I realized that I could make a greater impact on people’s lives. At that time I was feeling useless. When I was staying up all night making sure that the women felt safe and them telling me they felt safer with me there, I realized that was where God wanted me to be.
– John, Crisis Services Associate
What interested me most about working at the Lighthouse Mission was the opportunity to grow in my understanding of the homeless and to have working experience at both a non-profit and Christian organization. I don’t have a lot of personal experience with homeless people and although I’ve only been here two weeks, my preconceptions have already been challenged in healthy ways. To truly understand what it means to care for someone that not only doesn’t have a home but deals with numerous other challenges and poverties, we have to move closer to their problems and not be afraid to learn something. It’s a challenge that isn’t real comfortable, but I believe it’s the right thing to do and I have that opportunity here at the Mission.
– Jamie, Advancement Services Coordinator
What led me to this work? I prayed to God for a meaningful social work position after ending a career in Physical Therapy. A heart to serve others and point them to JESUS. Advocacy for people who have no voice. Giving people hope of God’s strength as I have dealt with three suicides of family members. God answered my prayer after tithing at CTK. The gardener led me to this position. Thanking and praising God ever since!
– Jan, Crisis Services Associate
God saved me through the Genesis Process at the Everett Gospel Mission and put me in touch with Lighthouse Mission Ministries, when my job at that time was closing. I was directed by God.
– Don, Recovery Services Case Manager
I used to serve the homeless off and on for years throughout Bellingham, but when I really started to gain a heart for homeless outreach was 8 years ago. It began with my journey longing for a deeper relationship with God. At the time, I had been serving in five or six different volunteer positions at the same time at my church but the more time I was spending doing ministry, the less I felt His nearness in my life. It was a confusing, perplexing time in my life that prompted me to ask God one night, “What am I missing in my walk with you?” Starting the next day, God answered my prayer as I began to see literally on every page and in nearly every paragraph a verse on the poor. No matter where I turned to in my Bible, I would find myself reading about the poor. I thought I was going crazy because for the first time in my life, I was realizing how often and frequent the Bible was talking about the poor. After an immense amount of research, I came to the conclusion that the subject of the poor is the most talked about subject in the Bible with over 3,000 verses referencing it, and no other subject even comes remotely close to it. I had realized that much of my Christian walk was unintentionally a self-absorbed one that had little to do with the “least of these.” When God kept reiterating the same messaging over and over again “the last will go first and the least will be the greatest” in every parable and every story, I was doing everything in my power to be the first and to be the greatest spiritually; for so long I had gotten this completely backwards in my Christian walk and it was no wonder God felt distant the more I thought I was doing for Him.
With this realization, I decided to turn my life around and rather than pursuing a life that was about making my own kingdom great, I was going to help build His kingdom instead; I decided to join Jesus in reaching the most hurting and broken people in my community. Eight years ago, I decided that I wasn’t going to wait until I was an “expert” in homeless outreach to do something about the people suffering around me, and so myself and a group of friends started going out into the streets of Bellingham handing out food, clothing, water, and other supplies to whomever we met, learning how to build relationships and overcome barriers with the homeless, and learning from our mistakes along the way. Our group kept getting bigger and bigger, so we appointed leaders, split up into teams, and formed a ministry called Rising Hope Street Ministry to manage the explosive growth of our small grass-roots movement of our homeless outreach. As the ministry evolved and shrank over the years into a more refined, purpose-driven ministry, we realized that the Lighthouse Mission was already grounded in our community and positioned to help the largest number of homeless people in our city. When Lighthouse Mission began to plan the creation of their Outreach department, I was reached out to by the executive director (Hans) to join the Lighthouse Mission team to spearhead the launch of Street Connect. I decided to leave my job in government at the time to take on the role of the Street Connect Coordinator and shortly after the Community Outreach Manager to help run and oversee the Community Outreach Services Department. Rising Hope Street Ministry meanwhile partnered with a church and in late 2018 launched a men’s transitional home called The Summit Discipleship Program where three students had successfully graduated from after its first year. I decided in March 2020 to leave Rising Hope in order to maintain my primary focus with Lighthouse Mission.
– Jon, Community Outreach Manager