The Lighthouse celebrates five years

The Lighthouse celebrates five yearsBy LAURA QUEZADA

News Review Staff Writer

Friday and Saturday nights, July 8 and 9 starting at 7pm there will be great celebrations filled with love and prayer as The Lighthouse celebrates its fifth anniversary. There will be give-aways and desserts. The featured guest speaker, Michael Dalton will come from the Palm Springs area and many of the guest pastors from over the past five years will be in attendance. Tara Packer, Founder and President, tells us, “The people who come here from out of town know that there is something special about this place and the region. They feel like our city is going to be a blueprint of what can happen when everyone loves one another with the love of God.”

Unity is one of the central themes of the Lighthouse’s ministry. Packer says, “We truly know that there is One God, One Body. They will know we are Christians by our Love - that is our mantra. There is unity in the diversity of denominations. But in heaven there is no denomination. So it is good that we learn to play well with others while we are here on earth, because we are going to get to do that in heaven.” That diversity is evident in their Thursday services, “God put on my heart to invite every pastor or priest that is from a different denomination to speak. We are blessed to have all of the denominations come together as one.”

From the beginning The Lighthouse had City Prayer at 12noon on Wednesdays, worship on Thursday nights at 7pm, and Watchmen. “Watchmen are a man or a woman that loves to pray, intercede, and is willing to pray with others when they walk in the door. The heart of the prayer house was twenty-four hours of prayer and intercession, Monday – Saturday. We are not open Sunday because we want people to go to their place of fellowship that they already go to.”

Over the years their services have expanded to include Friday worship every other week, women’s retreats, aid to the homeless, marriage and premarital counseling, spiritual guidance, weddings, and funerals. All of these are offered for free, Packer explains, “We don’t charge for anything. I can’t see Jesus charging for healing.” She adds, “We are here to try to see what the needs of the city are, but our main emphasis is prayer.”

Also, along the way, Packer became ordained. She wasn’t looking for that, but her sister asked her to perform her wedding ceremony. She thought maybe she would go online and get a certificate, but she was told, “No, you have been shepherding your city for a long time, we are going to ordain you.” Four pastors from four different cities came to The Lighthouse to participate in her ordination.

The founding and growth of The Lighthouse is the result of years of prayer and Packer listening and following direction from God. Inspiration came from the worship music of Jake Hamilton and the 2015 move, “War Room,” which is available on Amazon. She tells us, “That movie launched The Lighthouse. The movie was about prayer and intercession. They were struggling and the woman prayed for her marriage and it saved her marriage.

After that movie I took my daughter’s room and made it into my War Room. I had two bulletin boards: one for prayers and one for answers.” Packer prayed in the room, walked the city praying, invited others to her walks, and then, “I was walking down Downs in front of Pearson Park around April or May of 2016. I hear the Lord say, ‘I want you to open a prayer house for my people.’ I was by myself and I laughed and said, ‘How does that look?

I have no money, I have no building and I live check to check.’ He said, ‘If you trust me and you are obedient I will bring everyone and everything you need. It will come from the highways and the by-ways. Ridgecrest will be a city of refuge, restoration, and healing.’”

With the strength of her convictions and faith she set out to open a house of prayer. The first was in a little house on the property of the Calvary Assembly of God Church. Joining her were Amy Fuller, Susan Goetz and Dakota Andekin who God called to Ridgecrest to help addicts and for prayer. Packer says, “Within a week someone came and gave us $6,000 and told us to find a building.” Another person sent $1,000. With this money they opened at 250 No. Balsam. Nine months later the opportunity was presented to move to their current location, 111 Balsam Street.

When the move to their new building was underway in June 2017, Packer was offered free housing by a woman who saw her working full time at the hospital and at the prayer house. It wasn’t an easy decision to give up her independence, but in prayer God told her to give everything away and go all in.

A month later she was guided to quit her hospital job and go all in on faith. Then in November she was asked to be the Spiritual Counselor for Hospice. “I was blessed to go into people’s homes and I got paid to pray.” She adds, “It has been amazing adventure.”

This January more space became available with three offices upstairs. When she was looking at the space, “I walked down the stairs and I heard the Lord say, ‘If you build it they will come.’

The week after we secured it I got a phone call from a woman, ‘My husband was just doing work at your building. We haven’t had a church to tithe to in a long time, he wants us to start tithing there.’ They tithe $725 every month and the new space cost $775 per month.”

No doubt there will be more exciting developments. Starting July 1 the entire building was theirs to rent. Last week a young man walked into The Lighthouse and gave them $3500 in cash “to do with as you wish.” This paid for the first month’s rent, plus utilities.

Although Packer is perceived as the heart and soul of The Lighthouse, she shares credit for its success and growth, “There is no way we can do what we do without His guidance and God has truly brought us the best of the best: Watchmen and counsel and people to do life with along the way. We love and like each other, but it takes all of us. We can’t just do it by ourselves.”

Laura Austin photo: Lighthouse founder Tera Packer

Story First Published: 2021-07-02