A phrase that has been streaming through my mind lately is “return on investment.” While it may not seem like we are seeing much of a return right now in our bank accounts, in the economy of God’s Kingdom, the returns have been richly abundant lately. One example is a young man named David. In 2013, he was a 9-year-old who joined our Bright Lights Kids (BLK) program as a third grader. He was matched with a mentor named Mike for nearly his entire time in the program. David has grown up in BLK and also became involved in the youth group with our partner, Lower Lights Community Church. When David aged out of Day Camp, he served as a volunteer Junior Camp Counselor. As soon as he turned 16, we hired him as a Day Camp counselor. It was a joy watching him lead groups and mentor kids during Day Camp this past summer. He even lived on site with the 3 Mount Vernon Nazarene University ministry intern guys we hosted for the summer. This gave him an opportunity to test drive a mini “college experience”.
David will be entering his senior year of high school this Fall, and has his sights on college. David said the best part of being a camp counselor was that he could "build relationships with the neighborhood kids and be someone they can trust even after Day Camp is over." When we think of the term “return on investment,” there are costs associated with David’s journey. Bright Lights Kids staff and volunteers have spent hundreds of hours of time with David over the past 9 years helping him towards reaching his potential. But the return has been priceless. And his story still continues! The truth is that in God’s economy, a return on investment is always about people. Investing takes time (faithfulness) and there is a cost (obedience) with measures of risk (free will), but when Jesus is involved, the return is exponential. We may not always get to see the returns in the timeframe we want, but when we do, it is a beautiful gift of grace.
Where are we with the Child Enrichment Center?
As David’s story is a 9 year investment, we are beginning a new chapter in the history of Lower Lights Ministries. The Lower Lights Child Enrichment Center is our biggest expansion and investment, not only in terms of size, but also into a new neighborhood. We are excited about expanding our services and reach into the Hilltop neighborhood of Columbus.
We have begun forming new partnerships and meeting our new neighbors. Our building at 2323 Sullivant Avenue is in the heart of the Hilltop. Demolition is over halfway through and then, depending on funding we hope to advance to the next phase of construction. Construction in the midst of an economic downturn can be daunting, yet we remain confident that God is leading us in this direction and so we are trusting God to provide. We know that the investment is not in brick and mortar, but in strengthening families and helping children towards reaching their potential, just like David. Take a few minutes and check out our webpage to learn more about our new expansion. There are not many things that can be guaranteed in life, but there is always a return when it comes to investing in God’s Kingdom. Blessings, Emmalyn