Lighthouse Christian Camp is expanding its "Sing for Joy" Widows Home ministry.
Groundbreaking was held Wednesday for a second widows home. The first one was opened in 2006
Ben Chapman, President of Lighthouse Christian Camp, told WJLE Wednesday that he felt impressed to begin this ministry several years ago based upon the scriptural mandate of caring for widows. He said the goal and mission of "Sing for Joy" is to offer widows safe, independent retirement living with unlimited opportunities to serve in ministry. ‘God impressed on my heart some seven or eight years ago to do this under scriptural mandate to care for widows. The widows home here is called the Sing for Joy Widows Home. Its independent living for the widows that are in residence. It gives the widows the opportunity to continue to minister to others. Many widows today are so financially strapped, we wanted to relieve that financial burden and give them the opportunity to live in a place where they can be here full time. The children who come to camp here, they are all needy kids and the children are ministered to by these widows in our after school clubs, weekend retreats, and summer camps. The widows serve in many capacities. When we're serving meals in the dining hall, they're working there. They work in the office. They contribute in so many ways, giving them the opportunity to continue to feel fulfilled in their lives by ministering to others. God revealed to me that there's no greater compatibility than between an elderly lady and these children that are very needy. The widows can receive the blessing of children as well as the children receiving the blessing of these ladies that are there. We built the first widows home in 2006. The home has been full for over a year now. We have four apartments, a common area in the home, and the widows are independent in their own living. They take care of themselves. I've been asked often about when we would build a second widows home and my reply has been, when we have a waiting list. So we now have that waiting list. We started construction Monday and had a groundbreaking on Wednesday to build another similar home, almost identical to the one we have now, to house poor widows," said Chapman
Widows may continue to reside in the home as long as they can care for themselves, according to Chapman " They can be here until such time that they would not be able to care for themselves. We're not licensed like the Webb House to where we can provide any kind of physical care or medical care. So as long as they can care for themselves and can administer their own medications the widows home is available to them. We will provide transportation as needed. But all of our widows in the widows home now are able to drive and they take care of themselves. If they come to the place where they would not be able to do that (care for themselves) then we would assist them in finding other accommodations," said Chapman.
The widows in residence pay rent, but Chapman said the cost is kept to a minimum. "The rent is very minimal, about $100 per month is the rent. That's for most of the widows who are here now. Each apartment is metered and they pay for their own power bill, which is very inexpensive, usually no more than fifty to seventy five dollars per month. The widows have their own kitchen. They're able to take their meals in our dining hall when we're having camp or weekend retreats, they can eat with all the children. So their meals are furnished. But during the off season, during weekends, etc, they have their own kitchen. They're totally self contained to where they can prepare their own meals. The widows home also has a common area where the widows can come out of their apartments into a common area. There's a kitchen there. They can receive visitors and guests. The whole vision is that they can come out and take meals together if they so desire in the common area," said Chapman.
Each apartment is spacious, according to Chapman, with storage space underneath"The building itself is 80 feet x 40 feet deep and each apartment is very spacious. Some independent living areas that we have been in are not as spacious as ours are. Our apartments have a living area and kitchen combination, a private bathroom, and a private bedroom. It's a good size. Underneath the home, if they have other items that they wouldn't be able to get in their apartment, we have storage underneath the homes. So each of the homes has a full basement underneath with compartments for storage underneath," said Chapman.
If you would like to make a donation to help support this ministry, Chapman said it would be welcomed. "As always, we've had some donations that have just recently been made and that's the way things are always done here at camp. We always believe God and when He says it's time to move, we trust that the Lord will provide the funding necessary. So we're believing in God and as the funding comes, we'll be able to complete this home, hopefully by next March. We're hoping to get it under roof before Christmas and then through the winter we would finish it up inside and have it open by March 1. We already have a waiting list. We have a couple of widows who are already waiting to come. But we have two apartments right now that we don't have commitments on so if someone is interested we'd be glad to hear from you. Call here to get more information or if you would like to mail a check to support the ministry, our address is 205 Serenity Place, Smithville. We do have a matching gift offer available right now. Anybody who makes a gift to the Sing for Joy Widows Home, it will be doubled. If they give $100, $500, or $1,000, it'll mean double that amount coming to us because we have a matching gift. If you know of a widow in need, who is scripturally qualified, we'd be glad to talk to that person. You can call here, our number is 615-597-1264 if you need more information about possibly being a resident," said Chapman.
Pictured above left to right: Carol Ann O’clare, JoAnn Manning,Troy Kocher , Ermeda Chapman, Bro. Ben Chapman, Jerry Brown, Becky Buckley, Flora Currie and Chamber Director Suzanne Williams