At first glance, the Lighthouse Ranch may look like many other places in Venezuela, with 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, 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.
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 committed to God and 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 they can provide what the boys need and deserve out of this love. They are assisted by Tio's and Tia's (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 lived 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 lived on the streets themselves. Some had suffered physical abuse from the very people who should have protected them. These harmful 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 witness them growing into fine young men with Godly character who want to make a difference in the world.
"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 misbehaved. I supposedly was a part of a church that 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 rundown and in dire need of renovation. Work on this property was begun in 2009, starting with a complete overhaul of the building's electrical and plumbing systems by visiting work teams and making enough improvements to 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 independently 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 in 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.