The Lighthouse Ranch
At first glance, the Lighthouse Ranch may look like many other places in Venezuela, 12 acres of rocky, uneven terrain, scattered with trees and a handful of buildings, on the outskirts of Caracas. In reality the Ranch is as unique as the boys who call it home. It is both a haven for the hurting and a beacon of light in the neighborhood that surrounds it.
Boys from the streets, from abusive or neglectful situations, or transitional facilities arrive at The Lighthouse Ranch to live in, not a cold institutional environment, but in a real home with loving parents. From the beginning, it has been the desire of Niños de la Luz to provide a genuine, caring, family setting for the children that God entrusts to us.
In order to maintain this close knit family environment no more than eight to ten boys live in each of the three homes on the Ranch. This allows the house “mother” and “father” to spend individual time with each boy, allowing Christian values and life lessons not only to be taught, but also “caught” as they live life together. The boys learn what unconditional love looks like, how to resolve conflict in a Godly way, how to learn responsibility, and how to enjoy life with people who are committed to God and to one another.
The house parents of Niños de la Luz view their commitment to the boys as more than a job; it is their calling from God. They love the boys as their own, and it is out of this love that they can provide what the boys need and deserve. They are assisted by “Aunts” and “Uncles”, other Niños de la Luz staff, and caring Christians from local churches.
Every day brings new challenges as the boys deal with the pain of their past. Most of the boys have been living in extremely dysfunctional or unhealthy situations even before they ended up on the streets. Many of them had parents who were drug addicts, alcoholics, prostitutes, or who lived on the streets themselves. Some had suffered physical abuse from the very people who should have protected them. These negative and destructive behaviors would most likely repeat themselves for generations, but when a boy arrives at the Ranch these patterns are interrupted and can be changed.
The contrast between a boy’s former life and his new life on the Ranch can be extreme, but most adjust rather quickly and come to see their “brothers” and “parents” as the family that they never had. They learn family values through the loving guidance of their parents and the support and encouragement of their older brothers, aunts, and uncles. With so much support, the boys begin to grow and change very quickly. It is a joy to watch their progress.
Our most fervent desire is that each one comes to know Jesus Christ personally as his savior and friend, that they would know without a doubt that they are created in the image of God and are valuable to Him.
We pray that the boys would truly be transformed into Niños de la Luz, or Children of the Light. We consider it a privilege to be a part of their lives and to witness them growing into fine young men with Godly character who want to make a difference in the world.
In Their Own Words
Niños de la Luz is a family for me. Even though they are not my real parents they care for me, love me and correct me. I know it is not by chance that I am here but that it was God’s purpose for me to come here. I am very thankful for all the help I have received here. Niños de a Luz is a home that helps kids and youth like me to strive forward in life so that in the future we will give thanks to God and the people who helped us. This isn’t a rehab center but a family.
I thank God that He has taught me to forgive. I sometimes think back to the scene in which my mother hit and mistreated me or when my step dad would hit my mom. My siblings and I would hide under the bed. Today I am thankful for the help I have received here. And although I don’t have family I know that Niños de la Luz is my family. I know that God has a purpose in my life because he says ‘Although your Father and Mother abandon you, the Lord will take care of you.’ I know that I will be a great person in the future and fulfill my dream of becoming a Chef.
Niños de la Luz is a home that works with kids from the street or who have problems with drugs or kids whose family have abandoned them. I used to live in La Guaira with my grandmother since my mother left me with her. I grew up on the streets and I behaved very badly. At that time I supposedly was a part of a church which brought me one day to The Light House Ranch.
When I entered the gates of the ranch I saw a stream of light and a reflection of paradise and I knew I wanted to stay there. I spoke with the coordinator and he told me I could stay. I knew it was no random chance that I visited and was accepted at the ranch. I have gone through a process here, I have improved my behavior and character day by day and God has done a transformation in my life.
Casa de Paso
In 2008 Niños de la Luz acquired a three story building in downtown Caracas through a generous grant. It was quite rundown and in dire need of renovation. Work on this property was begun in 2009, beginning with a complete overhaul of the building’s electrical and plumbing systems by visiting work teams, and making enough improvements so that the building could begin to be used.
Currently Casa de Paso contains offices for Niños de la Luz staff and offers a place where staff and social workers and psychologists meet with the boys and their families, but our vision for Casa de Paso is so much greater.
We dream of creating a space for boys right off the streets to live and adjust to their new way of life. We would like to include an area where older boys who have graduated from the Ranch can learn to live on their own as adults. We would also like to provide an apartment for staff from both Casa de Paso and the Lighthouse Ranch to relax away from the boys on their free time.
This building has enormous potential for ministry and we continue to implement plans to make Casa de Paso a light in downtown Caracas.