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Waving friendly greetings are Jackson Masago and students at the Lighthouse Touch of Love School in Kenya. / Tara Packer Photo

Lighthouse Ridgecrest team reflects on African journey

By LAURA QUEZADA  News Review Staff Writer  

Tara Packer, Founder of the Lighthouse Ridgecrest, traveled to Kenya on her fourth trip to Africa in November for five weeks.  Joining her on the journey for two weeks were two members of the Lighthouse Tribal Council on their second trip:  Jeanne Young and Todd Owens. Part one of their journey can be read online at December 16, 2022, Members of the Lighthouse visit their Kenyan family. Part two is on December 23, 2022, at Lighthouse Touch of Love School.

Everywhere the team went they were noticed as they were the only white people in the region at the time. They were lovingly accepted. “They are a very welcoming, courteous, kind country,” says Packer. “Super friendly. I’ve always said that we could learn from them and they can learn from us. It’s really cross-pollination.” The locals not only greeted them lovingly, but they also sent love and greetings to their families back home and gave Owens a gift to take home to his wife. 

“I think it’s incredible,” says Owens. “The sowing that we give to those people and we get back from them. We get back more than we give I’m sure. Just investing in the future of so many kids. It’s just mind-boggling.  I was overwhelmed many times just because it didn’t seem like a whole lot to us but to them it was huge. Really, and I can’t wait to see how that works out in the future because basically, it’s kind of like old Johnny Appleseed. You know, he was sowing all these seeds and then 50 years later, there are apples everywhere. That’s probably a pretty clear example of what’s happening there. The things we take for granted like water, electricity, and transportation and the money to go out to just dinner anytime we want. I tell people if you have four people to go out to dinner it’s not any big deal to blow 120 bucks. But that’s  two days of food for 270 children.” Packer adds, “Or one salary for a teacher.”

   “I am so grateful to those donated to our trip,” says Young. “That changed so many lives in so many circumstances; but, even more, was how many people were praying for us and fasted for us. If it wasn’t for them, covering us in prayer, these life-changing trips for us and for them would not be possible.  I would say that the friendships that we made, the connections that we made, being able to bless those teachers with those teaching materials, supplies for the school and just others looking in on what was happening. You can tell they were moved by it. That’s our purpose. There are many places to do missions, even in our own town, but the privilege of going to where they have nothing and being able to be a part of God’s work there was my highlight.”

“God continues to open doors for us when he sees that we’re ready,” says Packer. “He brought us here to this building (The Lighthouse Ridgecrest). We didn’t look for it. He opened the door. Then He gave us the whole upper room. He’s given us little bits at a time and now we’re in Kenya. And so for me, as long as we continue to stay faithful and not deny His name and be obedient, He will continue to open the doors for us to walk through. And the fact that He trusts us to do what He’s called us to do is mind-blowing.  It just blows my mind that He trusts us and really, we’re just regular people that love God and love people and believe in the power of prayer. We really are stronger and better together. No matter what nation we’re in. My prayer is that some of our Kenya family will get to come here, just like we’ve gotten to go there because it’s very hard for them to get a visa to come here. We have what they need and they have what we need. It’s cross-pollination. We’re better together. We’re stronger together. And we need each other. God didn’t make us go through life alone.”

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