During the quarantine months, Lighthouse acquired two new housing residents, Darrel and Thomas, both of which have grown tremendously in recent months. “I'm making sure, everything's reading to the proper temperature, [and] foods being handled the way it's supposed to,” Darrel said. As a homeless, ordained minister, Darrel found his way to our facility from a years-long incarceration. Since he arrived, he has blessed those around him with his work ethic and love of Christ. Interestingly, Darrel arrived with a back-of-the-house restaurant background, having worked at restaurants like Domino’s and Subway. Safe Serve certified, he has brought new expertise and structure into our kitchen and food areas. But, like all of our volunteers and clients, Darrel means considerably more to us than the skills he happens to fulfill for us. The Lord knew COVID-19 was coming, and the Lord gave us Darrel to manage our food service changes. “I've been with them since March. When I came in, luckily, I was able to [serve] in the kitchen with them and it's been a blessing ever since. I enjoy cooking and I love serving the community,” Darrel said. Thomas arrived in a similar way.

“I got out of prison and they accepted me into the program here, gave me a place to live.” Thomas said in an interview. “[They] taught me about volunteerism and giving back to the community.” Thomas describes that his counselor within the correctional facility gave him the application from Lighthouse but told him not to be optimistic due to space issues. “And about a week later, I got a second application, it said, for accepted residents.” “Since I've been here I've given my life to Christ,” Thomas said, “[and] I've got a good relationship with my son. I give all that to God and to the people that run this program.” Darrel and Thomas have built a strong relationship with each other and now serve as an integral duo to our daily operations. According to Martha Brown, Darrel helped Thomas sharpen his skills in managing food and communicating with guests, among other things. As of the end of May, Thomas also found a job and has begun working outside of the Lighthouse. With God’s guidance, we aim to facilitate many more stories like those of Darrel’s and Thomas’s. God has the ability, not only to shelter our community through times of hardship, but to radically change lives. “But you got to work at it, you can't just show up. You got to work at change,” Thomas said. We are thankful for all who have supported us thus far, and we are excited for the changes to come. Pema Chödrön said: “When we resist change, it’s called suffering. But when we can completely let go and not struggle against it, when we can embrace the groundlessness of our situation and relax into its dynamic quality, that’s called enlightenment.”