By Madeline Gardner
On September 30, the Lighthouse Gospel Mission hosted its Annual Partners Banquet to mark 70 years of inspiring faith and strength in Tampa Bay. This vision was established on December 12, 1952 by Reverend J.A. Lennard to mitigate the power of temptation while supplying aid in an accommodating environment. The Lighthouse Gospel Mission has since developed four ministries working to empower such transformation.
“So many people come with nothing. We help them rebuild their lives and then transition them out, setting up accountability for them beyond that,” said Pastor Tony Samuels, Lighthouse Gospel Mission president.
The Faith Home Ministry serves as a rehabilitation residential program dedicated to intensive Bible study, instructing new members of this discipleship on how to build good practices and develop responsibility in life beyond the Lighthouse Gospel Mission. While this is an 18-month opportunity, the ministry will cover costs if those attending cannot afford to do so.
Accordingly, the Lighthouse Freedom Center was created based upon the discipleship founded by the Faith Home Ministry. This church ensures that these program graduates have access to a pastor and a community who understands their background and journey.
Operation Hope of America assists the organization in feeding the hungry in Tampa Bay. Partnerships with organizations such as Walmart and Mosaic have allowed the organization to make necessary purchases, like refrigerated trucks. Annually, this ministry now distributes roughly more than 2.4 million pounds of food.
The Lighthouse Remnant Thrift Store is open Monday to Saturday from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. with Wednesday hours from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Clothing and furniture donations are accepted here before being cleaned and affordably sold back to those in need. All proceeds are returned to the organization and ministries.
Further expanding, A Taste of Freedom Food Truck was recently established, with proceeds returning to the organization as well. Pastor Samuels stated that he hopes this sustainability encourages more people to join these ministries, even if they are hesitant to start.
“Just take it one day at a time. You’ll start seeing yourself beyond your current situation. Let God clean you up and get your vision back. He’ll give you that picture of your future,” said Pastor Samuels.
The Lighthouse Gospel Mission’s office hours are Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday from 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. and Wednesday and Friday from 8:30 a.m.-3 p.m. For more information, please visit www.lighthousegospelmission.org or call 813-677-5220.