The Journey Begins for the Light House: Demo Day # 1 and #2

The Light House is starting to look a little different these days. Volunteers from all over the community have come out to help with our “Demo Days.” The picture above shows our first “Demo Day,” which was a huge success! Volunteers from Harbor Community Church, City Hope, Spring Hill College, and University of Mobile, helped to tear out the carpet, kitchen islands, cabinets, and sinks.

In addition, some friendly faces from the LOV community came out to help scrub the walls and tape up outlets in preparation to prime and paint. Overall, “Demo Day 1” was a huge success!

Demo Day #2:

We were blown away with how much was accomplished on our by volunteers from Church of the Highlands, Luke 4:18 Fellowship, First Baptist Fairhope, University of Mobile, and volunteers who have helped previously at LOV! With all of their help, the Light House was able to have its vinyl fence pressure washed to look brand new, the water damage to be repaired, the damaged floors to be leveled, the back deck to be demolished, and the walls to have a a fresh coat of primer to seal stains and smells from the previous years of nicotine use. Even with cold weather and rainfall, these amazing people continued to work because they, too, see how the Lord is using this house to allow for greater spiritual growth in the community.

As you can see in these photos, the Lord’s light is shining on the Light House! If you or anyone you know would like to aid in the progress of the Light House, please feel free to contact Morgan at 334.406.0221 or

If you are interested in sponsoring a specific renovation project to help fund the cost of the renovations, we would love for you to “Adopt a Project! We are projecting that we should be able to move mentees into the house by summer. Your partnership in this endeavor would be greatly appreciated! You can review the list of items which are in need of funding and learn how to contribute here.

We thank the Lord, you, and all of our amazing partners for the opportunity to serve our community in new and necessary ways! We appreciate your prayers as we embark on this new journey!

The mission continues…

Introducing the Light House: A Home for Spiritual Growth & Guidance!

We are pleased to announce that the Lord has given us the opportunity to purchase the home across the street from the ministry! When renovations are completed, it will serve as a home for residential mentoring and a cozy spot for Bible studies and counseling sessions. Da’Cino Dees who has been with us for many years and participated in LOV’s programs as a child will serve as the primary resident and mentor to younger, male residents. We are excited to see how the Lord will use this space in the years to come!

We have already begun work on the house to transform it into a bright, welcoming space for residents and neighbors alike. On MLK Day, a group from Spring Hill College came to move everything out and give us a clean slate from which to start.
We are working with a contractor and volunteer designer to ensure renovations are done with excellence and will serve our participants well. Yet we are operating with cost in mind and attempting to be as frugal as possible. We are also enlisting the help of volunteers to handle a variety of tasks. A few prospective residents even came out this weekend to help us prepare the walls for painting!

If your church, civic group, or organization would like to volunteer to transform the Light House, please contact Morgan at 334.406.0221 or

If you are interested in sponsoring a specific renovation project to help fund the cost of the renovations, we would love for you to “Adopt a Project! We are projecting that we should be able to move mentees into the house by summer. Your partnership in this endeavor would be greatly appreciated! You can review the list of items which are in need of funding and learn how to contribute here.

We thank the Lord, you, and all of our amazing partners for the opportunity to serve our community in new and necessary ways! We appreciate your prayers as we embark on this new journey!

The mission continues…

My Why [Alumni Edition]: Wesley

Over the last few days, I’ve been trying to find the best way to summarize my time at the Light of the Village. I wanted to give anyone who reads this the Cliff’s notes version of my six-year experience and hopefully inspire them to get involved. Just know this: God does not call the prepared, He prepares those He calls.

I moved to Mobile to join my sister Katie at the University of Mobile in 2010. I had played college basketball previously and wanted to continue my athletic career, but sometimes things work out a bit differently than we plan. Katie’s roommate, Morgan Carnley, asked me if I would be interested in volunteering with the after-school program at LOV, and honestly I was hesitant to go. I wondered what difference I — a guy from a small Alabama town — could really make. Against my own hesitations, I agreed to help out.

From the moment I arrived on campus, all of that fear disappeared. As soon as you leave your vehicle at any program at LOV, you are approached by at least 10 to 15 kids just waiting for your arrival. They are all shouting “Pick me up! Push me on the swing! Play catch with me! Let’s play basketball/football/hide and seek/tag!” You really do not know how much something as simple as playing catch means to these kids. The fear I had previously felt was replaced with hope, joy, and love. I knew this was where I was meant to be — God prepares the called.

Wes and Bubbles

The first kid I ever met was Jarret, a.k.a. “Drinkin’ Bubbles”

After my first year of volunteering, Morgan and Dolores (a.k.a. DLo, as the kids know her) asked me if I would be interested in coaching a basketball team since I was no longer playing on a college team. After putting on a few summer basketball camps, I felt we could definitely start something special for these kids. I still doubted if I could really make a difference, but God prepares those He calls.

In 2011, we started the 16-19 year old LOV Lions team. The following year we changed the age group to 12-15. The Lions were incredibly talented each year I coached, and we ended in 2016 — my final season — 8-0.

God always has a greater plan than you can ever imagine, and He always remains many steps ahead. I am just an average guy from a small town who God used for the Light of the Village. I loved every minute of coaching the kids and wish only the best for each of them. I still miss the van rides, hearing the kids freestyle, the crazy dance parties that had the van shaking, the first few practices where I got to meet the new kids, and seeing the alumni (kids who have been through our program and have become successful). I still miss it all.

I could never thank Mr. John and Mrs. Dolores enough for the opportunity to serve as the basketball coach for the Light of the Village Lions. For everything you do at LOV, and being a living example of Christ every single day, I am so grateful. Many people are not up for the challenge, but John and Dolores are. They have setbacks, like everyone else, but that never stops them from moving forward. Even outside of basketball they have been family, and have been with me through both good and bad times.

If you’re reading this and are interested in volunteering, all you have to do is show up. God will take care of the rest. To quote Mr. John, “God doesn’t need my ability, he needs my availability. God may call us to some strange places, and when he does, don’t ignore it. Explore it.”


Malerie: Blessings

Ever had a time when you really just did not comprehend God’s timing? ME TOOOOO!!! For me, it was being called into children’s ministry. I had no idea where I was going or what doors would be opened, all I knew was I wanted to be involved in Light of the Village. From day one of volunteering at LOV, I knew this was home. Little did I know, ten months later I would be packing my bags and moving to Mobile to be an intern and serve Christ.


From the second God started leading me through the application process, it was nothing but bump after bump in the road. I persevered because I knew that LOV is where the Lord was calling me. I always referred to Proverbs 22:9 to keep me going and keep the focus of leading kids to Christ. In the middle of March, a curve ball was thrown for my family. My mom was diagnosed with cancer. At the time, I withdrew my application. God quickly made me realize by many, many scriptures (Hebrews 10:35-36) that if I endured in His work, He was going to take care of things at home when I left. So with trust and faith in him, I put my application back in. Needless to say, I am interning!!!

Blessings? How is that a blessing? Well… God works in mysterious ways. It just so happens I am at Camp Faith. The name of the camp is a constant reminder for me to not lose my faith in Him and fight this spiritual, emotional, and physical battle. I also have 39 wonderful little blessings enrolled in my group. I am the leader of the Littles group. my kids are 6-7 years old. Each child can for sure put a smile on my face and no doubt remind me why I serve in the ministry. Through letting the Lord speak through me, one child has come to know Christ so far. It is such a joy to be able to work with a wonderful group of kids and staff, and I never could have imagined this experience any better.

-Malerie Guess


Courtney: Humbling Journey

We are coming into our fifth week of summer camp and man oh man has it been a unique journey so far. Children are getting used to each other, and we are making personal relationships with everyone. Christ is most definitely at work in every single camp. This journey has been so incredibly humbling and life­-changing all at the same time. Every week we learn more and more new things about the children and ourselves. God has been on the move in my girls’ group especially now since we are becoming more familiar and comfortable with each other.


Going into camp the very first week, I was completely and utterly terrified to the core. I wanted to go home the first week and call it quits, but the Lord had other plans. I had never met most of the interns in my life; I knew only my friend and her brother. Now, I have made so many lifelong friends that it’s unbelievable, and I believe that God placed these people in my life for a specific reason.

The Lord placed me at Camp Hope, and I couldn’t be happier. Do we have our crazy and chaotic days? Oh, for sure. But do we dwell on it? No, we move on and ask for the Lord’s guidance. There has also been a lot of crime in the area recently. Where there’s crime, there are people who need to hear the Gospel of Christ. Not only do these people need to hear about Christ, but their children need to hear about Him as well. Our main goal is to reach as many kids for the Kingdom of God as possible.

I’m blessed beyond measure to be able to get to call God my Daddy. He has been working on me a lot this summer. Getting to work with the older girls this summer is such an awesome experience. I can talk to them about stuff that’s going on in their lives, and I can take what they’ve told me and turn it into a Gospel presentation. Investing in these girls’ lives and going home and praying for these girls every day makes me ecstatic! The Holy Spirit has definitely been challenging me this summer through my girls and revealing my true self. I’m a daughter of the One True King! I’m definitely going to be applying next summer, because I’ve never been this happy about the love my Savior has for me. God has so many plans for my life, and I can’t wait to see what He has in store for my future.

– Courtney Wiley


Roller Coaster

Week one is officially over and in the books. As I am preparing my lessons for the week two, I also find myself preparing my heart for these kids. On our first Thursday staff meeting, Mr. John asked us to describe the week in one to two words. At the time, I chose roller coaster. It was a really good week, but it was also stressful and tiring. The first week was definitely one of trial and error. By the end of the day Friday, however, none of those things mattered. I was filled with an overwhelming peace, shalom in a sense. See, there is a sense of peace that covers you when you are exactly where God wants you to be. It is that peace that satisfies you to the point that no matter what bad thing happens or doesn’t go to plan, you don’t care. It is still a good day. You know that you have received that peace when you are so exhausted from the trials that this week has given you, but you know that you could not be happier than you are at this moment. This is the exact feeling that I have each and every day. If Mr. John were to ask me right now to describe the first week in one to two words, I would say absolute contentment.

I have been volunteering at Light of the Village for almost two years for the afterschool program. Summer camp is a totally different ballgame, and I love it so much more because I get to spend so much more time with the kids. Most people commend me for my service at the ministry. What they don’t know is that I could not do this if it weren’t for God first and the kids second. Those kids are what drives me to get out of bed in the morning, no matter how tired I am, and still show up with a smiling face. I get to the campus, and I am filled with joy. When I tell people about what I do at Light of the Village, they commend me and tell me how much I am changing these children’s lives. But it is in fact the kids who are changing mine. – Hilary Schultz

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Amelia: Learning and Growing

First of all, how blessed am I to get the opportunity to serve Christ again this summer with my Light of the Village family? It is an amazing feeling to be back with theses beautiful people who led me to my passion for Christ and bringing God’s Word to the kids. Last year I was a brand new intern, fresh out of high school. I didn’t know how to put a Bible study together or pray out loud. Now I have found myself called once again to be a humble servant of the Lord and spread His Word to all who will listen. Not only have I grown tremendously in my relationship with Christ and in my skill as an intern, I get the privilege of watching a huge group of new interns grow in the same way I did last year. I have worked and learned alongside them for the past two weeks and oh how my heart soars to see them flourish under God’s guidance. We have laughed, cried, sweated, bled, and laughed again. We have a bond that I have only ever experienced with Light of the Village people. We run as a well-oiled machine from LOV to Hope to Faith and back again. I can’t wait to see what the next seven weeks hold. I know it will be a summer I will never forget. – Amelia Guarino

I Want More

This summer I encountered an individual who was inquisitive about how I got involved at LOV. My response was quite simple. I came one day, and I kept showing back up. I simply wanted more…more of the kids, more of God moving, more of His love being poured out, more fellowship with believers who are all-in, more of the feeling of the Holy Spirit moving and working, more truth and love in word and deed, more of the Light of Christ in a dark community, I just wanted more of God. I feel the strongest connection with God on the mission fields abroad and in my moments at LOV. He is in their faces. He is with them in their struggles. He is with them in their successes. He is with them in their losses and their victories. He is with us always. I am like a sponge seeking to soak up the essence of my Savior…and I find Him there.
As I reflect back over the summer and our mission trip to Juarez, Mexico, I am left in awe of the way in which God is capable to love and comfort me in such a perfectly personal way while doing the same for everyone else. He knows each of our kids and adults at LOV and where they are not only in this life but also in their relationship with Him.
Summer camp is a beautiful orchestra of laughter, smiles, tears, rain, storms, sunshine, grace, redemption, song, dance, praise, and prayers. The campus is so alive and buzzing with not only the familiar sounds of cowbells, van horns, LOV classics, but most importantly the Gospel of Christ. I am so blessed to be a witness to the Glory of God on display in the Alabama Village. Love has an address. I have seen lives change and horizons expand at this special place.
Our team for Juarez was divinely woven together to create a tapestry of love to be shared with the people of Mexico. I have seen God’s love in action through the service of our Teenleaders to a people group which does not share our language of English, but clearly shares the language of Christ. I have been so proud to see them blossom into disciples and missionaries abroad. They each used their God given talents to share the love of Christ with the people of Juarez and El Paso.
I did not know what God had in store for me five years ago when I started volunteering at LOV…but I do know this: I want more.
– Kristen
*Sidenote: We need to take a moment and brag on Kristen. She’s our resident photographer. The vast majority of the photos you’ve seen online are her handiwork. God’s given her a beautiful gift, and we are so thankful she shares it with us!

Why Are You Here?


Why are you here? This is a question that you hear almost every day at Light of the Village. Whether you are an intern or TeenLeader, a volunteer, or a kid that comes through our doors: Why are you here? The answer to this question is different for each person, but each is equally important. The truth is that God has called each person that sets foot on the campus of any of our camps there for a reason. We might not know it right away, but it will come to us when we least expect it.

When I started my second year at Camp Hope this summer, I thought I knew what my answer was. It was the answer I found last summer. I simply said to myself that I was at Light of the Village because God was calling me to spread the love of God to kids of this community. This answer was not wrong, but I found as the summer went on, there was much greater depth to be revealed.

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To put it simply, I was at Hope to not only love on children and be a vessel for God’s Word, but I was there to learn. To say that I went into camp distracted this summer is an understatement. I had so many things going on outside of camp that I struggled to stay focused, and it showed in my actions everyday. I was frustrated when Bible study didn’t go well, when I couldn’t get the Littles (6 & & year olds) to settle down in art, when any of my Older Girls gave me an attitude, and I couldn’t find the energy to push myself through these difficult times. It took me feeling completely drained to ask God what I was doing wrong, and He showed me by reminding me where I was and how I needed to stay focused. I was at Camp Hope in Prichard where children seek attention that they do not receive at home, children seek love that they are without, children release anger because they are hurting, and children act out because they have no structure. I was at Camp Hope again this summer to remind me that these children need love, attention, structure, and a person that truly cares for them in every second of the day.


After God redirected my focus, when I went to camp, I forgot about everything that was going on in my personal life, and I turned everything over to God. I asked Him on my drive to camp every day to keep me focused and to help me spread love and life to these children. From that moment on, I found so much joy at camp, and I felt my heart exploding with love for these children. My Bible studies went much better and my girls’ curiosity to learn more about God drove me. Art began to run more smoothly and the kids enjoyed every craft they made. And mostly, I built relationships with children that I love dearly and will miss now that camp has come to a close.

So why was I at Camp Hope? The answer isn’t as simple as me learning, but God called me back to camp this summer for me to learn how to fall in love with these children for who they were and who they have now grown to be in a very short seven weeks. I wouldn’t have made it through this summer if God had not shown this to me, but in the end, he didn’t reveal this to me for my sake, but for the sake of all of the kids at Camp Hope. What they need is far greater than what I need, and I can only continuously thank God for allowing me to give my love, teach His Word, and receive the most beautiful kind of love from His children this summer.


His Purpose for Me


It’s January of 2015. I have just started a journey that will change my life, but I am oblivious. I go in the main LOV building for the first time, and I feel a wave of energy hit me like I’ve never felt before. Kids are running, yelling, laughing, and playing, yet I can’t think of a time when I ever felt more comfortable and peaceful. It’s exhilarating. By the end of that day I knew I would be coming back again Thursday. And by the end of Thursday, I knew I would be there all semester. In that semester, I not only met some amazing kids and staff but, most importantly, I met God. He made His light visible to me at LOV, and I finally accepted Him into my heart.

Fast forward to April, and I am completely in love with LOV. I put in my application for a summer internship, again oblivious to the impact it would have. In fact, I wasn’t even sure I would be hired considering I had just come to know Christ myself. But the Lord works in mysterious ways. I was hired and I was trained. I was given a group and an amazing partner. I got my t-shirts, and I planned my games. And on June 9th camp started. Boy was I unprepared! Not that we didn’t get great training, but nothing could really prepare me for the numbers, energy, and ATTITUDES of the children. Working with a team of amazing, Christ-loving people made it easier, and the smiles and laughter of the kids made every struggle worth it.


About half way through camp I came to a very intense realization. I finally understood the feeling that I got every time I came to work. It was belonging. I belonged there. This was my purpose. Romans 8:28 says that “all things work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them.” That verse strikes home for me. Since I came to LOV my life has come together. I love God, and I now understand my purpose. There is nothing more I could possibly ask for. I can’t wait for this next year to see what it holds, and I can’t wait for next summer when, God willing, I will return home to LOV.

– Amelia