Lighthouse to build a prayer house in Africa

Lighthouse to build a prayer house in AfricaBy LAURA QUEZADA

News Review Staff Writer

When four members of The Lighthouse in Ridgecrest journeyed to Africa, they spent one week in the heat of equatorial Africa before going to the Land of Milk and Honey. As with so much that happens at The Lighthouse, President and Founder, Tara Packer followed the directions given to her by God. It was time to accept the invitation to go to Kenya.

Three years ago, October 24, 2018, Pastor Andrew Nguri was introduced to The Lighthouse by Pastor Allen Birdwell from the Apostolic Faith United Pentecostal Church in Ridgecrest. “Nguri was overwhelmed by the presence of God,” says Packer. “He said, ‘You must come to Kenya and open a Lighthouse.’ Andrew has been calling me and messaging me for three years asking me to come to Kenya.” In the ensuing years Packer prayed, continually asking if it was time to go.

During this time Amy Fuller, Secretary of the Board of Directors of Lighthouse Ministries, Jay and Jeanne Young, who are on the Council of The Lighthouse, were studying with Wagner University. “Part of their two year bachelor program is to go on a mission trip.” When Mark and Ann Tubbs of Transformation of the Nations “mentioned that they were going to Kenya I began to pray. ‘Lord, is this when I am supposed to go to Kenya?’” says Packer. Driving alone in her car, “I said, ‘Lord, is this the time that I’m supposed to go to Kenya now to explore what your vision may be for Kenya?’ And there was a song that came on that said, ‘Now is the time.’” She had her answer and her assignment. Fuller and the Youngs would join.

When Packer has an assignment from God, things fall into place. When she and her traveling companions arrived in Kenya, they were on the equator. It was hot, it was dusty and quite primitive. No electricity, no running water, no flush toilets. But they were welcomed surrounded by the love of people who love God. In these harsh conditions they fell in love with Kenya and her people.

During their first Sunday service Pastor Nguri announced that they were giving one acre of land to Lighthouse Ridgecrest so that they could open a Lighthouse in Kenya. Each of his available family members stood before the congregation and affirmed that they were gifting the land. Packer says, “It was very honoring; it was nothing like I’ve ever experienced before, never seen. So that was on Sunday morning at church.” In Kenya church lasts all day long.

They spent a week at that location, then they traveled 10 hours to the home of Pastor Nguri and were surprised at how comfortable it was. It had all of the comforts of home. And to their surprise, the one acre was the Land of Milk and Honey. “Trees, avocado trees, bushes, flowers for miles. We were situated in that one acre of beauty. Each step that we took in Kenya, we did fall more and more in love with the whole region, but mostly the people. They danced and opened the heavens. It was such an honor,” Jeanne Young tells us.

Jeanne Young adds, “There had been many tribal conflicts in this area, certain groups were attacking other groups, stealing their animals and doing these things. And so they felt that having this prayer house centrally located in this area was going to allow unity between these tribes. And it’s so perfectly located, you’re right in the middle of these different groups that are having conflict, and we’re right in the middle of that and we have the ability to bring some kind of peace. To bring a prayer house where people come together; because that’s the great thing about The Lighthouse. It’s not a church; every denomination is welcome here.”

Packer adds, “It’s right off the tarmac, which means the highway, so it’s really an open heaven where people drive by all the time; whereas in other villages, you’re going on bumpy roads and so forth, but it’s a paved road.”

The travelers each had a profound experience. Jay Young shares, “Kenya was life changing for me, because, as a believer in Christ we believe in miracles and we want to see God’s Kingdom move forward. In the United States, we feel like there’s always a timetable,” he glances at his wrist, “‘This needs to happen now.’ Or we set aside this time for that.” He remembers being late to services and feeling rushed, “And yet they were dancing and they could care less. Their time was with God. It wasn’t about me. It wasn’t about some pastor coming in and giving them a message. They enjoyed all that. But honestly, there was God. They want to spend time with their God. That just flipped a switch in me that I hopefully never turn off … To have that experience, that emotional tie with a whole other people, your brothers and sisters. Every little thing that we think in America is holding us back. The Unity over there, it was so deep. It was so incredible.”

His wife, Jeanne adds, “How honoring it was to be there; we ministered there. We sang and danced there, and how much we poured into them, I received twice as much. It is so hard to explain what happened there, and how God just showed up in abundance for every step of the way that we went. We felt so honored and the miracles that we really got to witness God do through us was unbelievable and yet so believable. It was beautiful. When we reflect upon the trip, obviously, each of us had a call to go there.”

Fuller got her first passport and her first trip out of the country was to Kenya. During the trip she encountered personal spiritual warfare. She is not one who usually feels rejection but one day the spirit of rejection overcame her. “The spiritual warfare, the voice I’ve never experienced. The rest of the trip I was fine. But, boy, that one afternoon, was very hard emotionally.” She heard a voice tell her to go back home, not to the hotel, but to the United States. “It was completely not me, not the way I normally am.” Her three traveling companions spent the afternoon praying with her and the spirit of rejection was gone.

Fuller wasn’t prepared for the heat and expresses admiration for the people of Kenya, “They’re used to it. I mean, they wear long sleeves. It’s bizarre. And seeing how simply they live, but yet, full of the Spirit. They came as we’re getting out of the van and they’re approaching us in song and dance, and which is typical African style.” At the property they were also greeted by government officials and a Bishop, “The Bishop talked about the spiritual warfare that was going on around the property.” Fuller realized, “It’s a strategic location. It was way more than what we anticipated. And God solidified something that we went not really knowing.”

Packer says, “I will probably go back December, January. And we will meet with other key pastors and leaders and begin to see what it will take to put a well on the land and how that will look. I mean, just like this prayer house, it was specific tasks. God released the blueprints for The Lighthouse Ridgecrest. Perhaps He will release release the blueprints for Kenya however that looks. We will wait upon Him.”

The Lighthouse is located at 111 Balsam, Ridgecrest. It is open for prayer and worship Monday-Saturday with a midweek service on Thursdays at 7pm and City Prayer on Wednesday at noon. Their goal is bringing unity to “the body of Christ and sharing God’s love with everyone.”

Laura Austin Photo: Jay and Jeanie Young with Tara Packer point to Kenya, Africa where the Lighthouse was given land to build a house of prayer.

Story First Published: 2021-11-12