Thursday, October 30, 2014

Called to serve kids

Alumna now leads the Lighthouse Kids Minsitry in Lynchburg

As she was growing up, Sarah Singer found it hard to believe that God’s love was unconditional, because she was raised in a rough home. Now, she is the director of the Lighthouse Kids Ministry and uses her past to develop a connection and love for the people of downtown Lynchburg.

Singer grew up in Cumberland County, New Jersey, and followed God’s call to attend Liberty University in the fall of 2010. The following year, she volunteered to help with the children’s ministry at Lighthouse, a community center located in downtown Lynchburg.

“The first week (that I volunteered), Holly (Leidstrand) and my friend Jess and a few of us went and picked up, like, 10 kids max,” Singer said. “We fed them dinner and then someone played a horribly boring hymn … and then we played a game and then straight up just shared the gospel.”

The Lighthouse Kids Ministry is composed of three groups. The Lighthouse Precious Jewels, a group of 5th through 10th grade girls, meet every Saturday night. The 1st through 4th grade boys and girls, known as the Lighthouse Littles, meet at a different location every Sunday. The Lighthouse boys meet every Sunday as well, but at a location that has a gym with enough space for the boys to be active.

Singer said that the children’s ministry grew about a month after she began volunteering. Currently, approximately 160 children attend each week and about 47 to 50 adults volunteer between the three programs.

“We always are looking for volunteers who are willing to serve to the point where it hurts a little bit — (those) who are willing to say, ‘I’m going to get my hands dirty in this (and) invest in these lives even when it kind of cuts into my time that I have for other things,’” Singer said.

Laura Mayo, a Lighthouse volunteer since October of 2013, heard about the ministry after leading some of the children through Scaremare. Since then, she has felt that this ministry was where she needed to serve.

“My favorite part of the ministry is, week after week, the beautiful glimmers of hope I get to see in these little lives,” Mayo said. “I love that not only am I being able to make an immediate impact, but I’m getting to show these kids how to redefine normal. That’s what it’s all about for me.”

Devon Osei, the site coordinator for the older boys, was told about the ministry through his friend, who knew of his interest in youth ministry.

“I just want the guys I help with to know there’s a God that loves them more than their deepest desires for things of this world,” Osei said.

In the summer of 2012, Singer became the director of the kids ministry after Leidstrand went to Nepal.

“Sarah is really a neat mix,” Perry said. “She’s got … vision, but she also is organized enough to put the details into something to make it happen. … I’m thankful for her abilities to, you know, sit down and try to organize a plan of how are we gonna get from A to Z.”

Singer has set up some goals for the ministry for the next year. This year, they are working toward starting another Lighthouse center in a different location that will be closer to the kids’ homes.

“I want to teach these kids and their families how to be disciples that make disciples,” Singer said. “That’s what I want to see and I think that’s what God’s
desire is.”

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