Lighthouse Mission marks 20th anniversary

CNJ staff photo: Liliana Castillo Pastor Skip Clark of the Body of Christ Community Church preaches to the Lighthouse Mission’s visitors before lunch is served.

By Liliana Castillo: CNJ staff writer

In 20 years, the Lighthouse Mission has transformed from a Bible study in a home living room to a multi-faceted service organization.

The Lighthouse Mission offers shelter for the homeless, two free meals a day, gives away clothes and housewares, and a discipleship program for men and women who struggle with alcohol and drug addictions.

Richard Gomez, the director of the mission, said that he wants visitors to feel the love of God.

“People that come here are already hurting,” he said. “We try to respect them enough to honor them and make them feel this is a place they can get help.”

Gomez said the mission grew out of the Bible verse Matthew 25:35. The verse says “For I was hungry, and you gave me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited me in.”

“We decided to move out of the house and do the actual work of that verse,” he said.

Gomez said his family and a small group moved from building to building in Clovis before purchasing the building they currently reside in on Las Casillas Boulevard.

Though 20 years have passed since the mission received its non-profit status in November of 1988, Gomez said they aren’t looking at the end of the road.

“After 20 years people kind of ask, ‘What’s next?’ I say another 20 years,” he said.

Gomez said he sees the mission’s success all around him.

“I see people we’ve helped years ago and now they’re doing well in life. I see that success and it gives me courage to go on more,” he said.

Gomez said he and his wife, Jeri, depend on volunteers to keep the mission running.

“Without them, we would be a Bible study in a house,” he said.

Marcos Urban has volunteered with the mission for five years. When he became disabled, Urban had to quit work. He said he stayed home for a few years, but got bored.

“I worked in a furniture store so I like to work with the public,” Urban said. “Everyone needs a helping hand every now and then.”

Urban also said that volunteering at the mission is good for him.

“Helping others makes you forget your aches and pains,” he said.

The Gomez family lives and works with those they help.

“We sure don’t fly in on a helicopter and bless the people,” he said.

By the numbers:

From January to August this year:

• 39,957 meals served

• 4,924 nights sheltered

• clothed 7,475 persons

Source: Lighthouse Mission newsletter

Fast Facts:

What: Lighthouse Mission 20th anniversary celebration

When: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Nov. 15.

Where: Lighthouse Mission