CNJ staff photo: Andy DeLisle Donna Gomez is the finance director for the Beacon of Light mission. Disciples call her Momma Donna
By Tonya Fennell: CNJ staff writer
Randy and Donna Gomez have left the Lighthouse Mission after 19 years to start their own drug and rehabilitation program.
Randy Gomez said the couple left over a difference in opinion regarding the direction of a rehab program called the Lighthouse Discipleship he started in December 2005.
The purpose of the 12-month program is to assist former substance abusers in building the necessary skills to begin a new life, according to Randy Gomez, who served as co-director of the Lighthouse Mission with his brother, Richard Gomez.
“We started with a handful of men,” Randy Gomez said, “but now we have 35 men in the program.”
Randy Gomez said a newly formed Lighthouse Mission Board of Directors wanted to restructure the program, restricting enrollees from leaving the premises or seeing family members.
“We had a difference in philosophy about the program,” Randy Gomez said. “They (board of directors) wanted to make the program more restrictive, almost like an extension of the jail.”
Donna Gomez said those restrictions weren’t realistic. “So many of these men have family members attending church with them,” she said, “and it is awesome to see them there.”
Donna Gomez said the couple’s goal is to treat the men with respect. “We treat them like God would treat us,” she said, “with respect and forgiveness.”
The new program, called The Beacon of Light Discipleship Program, is funded by Beacon of Light church members, a lawn service and a thrift store, according Randy Gomez, who serves as director.
Donna Gomez said the move has been bittersweet because she and her husband began the mission when their 19-year-old son was only a newborn.
“It’s hard to say good bye,” Donna Gomez said, “but it is getting easier every day.”
“It was just time to branch out,” Randy Gomez said.
Richard Gomez could not be reached for comment.
What: Beacon of Light Discipleship Program
Where: 101 Connelly Dr.