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Lamplighter School for the Creative Arts, Business Strategies & Entrepreneurial Leadership, and Biblical Theology

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Dear friends, it happened all so suddenly! There’s no explanation other than a miracle! What a journey! What a dramatic ending! What a story! What a God!

It all started in early October. It was time to take a step in faith. Everything started to come together rather quickly. First, I approached the owner of a local elementary school (K-8) that had been converted into a business for adult rehabilitation to see if Lamplighter could purchase the 18,000 square foot facility. With classrooms, theatre, gymnasium, and plenty of room for the expansion of our bindery, shipping, and
offices, this would be a key step toward the start of our Academy of Creative Arts, Biblical Theology, and Entrepreneurial Leadership. The owner and I came to an agreement for the purchase price and now I had to raise the funds.

Next, John Fornof graciously came to our assistance and took my place as director of operations for one month. This allowed me to embark upon a 5,000 mile trek to visit our supporters and share the plans for expansion. The goal would be to purchase the school facility allowing for expansion and giving us a two to three year window before we needed to expand again to accommodate more students. Phase two would then start with the construction of an addition to our headquarters that would allow for more students and classes in the Creative Arts, Biblical Theology, and Entrepreneurial Leadership.

The word went out about the school and by the end of December there was a dramatic finish to our year with nearly $100,000 given toward the school! We now had nearly half of the funds needed to purchase the building. In January a down payment was made along with our purchase offer. The offer was accepted and, though there was a slight contingency, we were celebrating! We prayed, we praised, we dreamed, we planned. This was a pivotal moment in our history.

The existing tenant, a state adult rehab organization, had twenty days to exercise their first right of refusal of the building. It was fairly certain that they were not going to exercise this right so we continued to make plans for the move. With the first half of the Guild being held at our headquarters in June, this building would play a critical role in our ability to grow and offer classes. Without the school… well, things would have been quite difficult to say the least. We would have needed a financial miracle and then begun a
construction program for a new 20,000 square foot facility that had to be built in less than five months!

Fifteen days after our offer we received an unexpected phone call. It was the owner telling me that the
existing tenant had exercised their right to buy the building. But how could this be possible? We had been told that the possibility of that occurring was zero. This couldn’t be happening. I then requested a meeting with the director of the organization who was purchasing the building to see if there was any possible way that Lamplighter could still own it and they could remain in half of the building as our tenant. The answer was no. They were purchasing the building and they had the approval and the finances to do so.

That was an unexpected disappointment. One day after this setback and coming back to our senses that God was in complete control, I contacted an architect to start the plans for the construction of the new building. Then we immediately began the construction of our much-needed bathrooms (the church that now functions as our Creative Arts Center and bindery has not had plumbing since 1853!). Excitement was building again but the enormous task and cost before us was helping me to face the reality that a new facility would take at least one to two years to be fully realized. That was OK; God was in control and we were going to stay faithful in the little things. So we scheduled the production of our next two dramas to be held at the Lamplighter headquarters. Though we wouldn’t be able to start the construction of our larger recording studio due to the loss of the school, we could still use our small recording studio that we built within our massive organ!

Allen Hurley, our recording engineer, flew to our headquarters to see if our studio would work for such a high level recording. With a few modifications he gave us the green light! Next, we needed to nail down the scripts and within a week The Giant Killer and Escape from the Eagle’s Nest were moving forward. Once again, excitement was in the air. Bathrooms were being built and the remodeling of one of our facilities had begun, giving us additional bedrooms and a fellowship hall. These are exciting times indeed; I wish you could be here to experience the wonder of it all and the incredible unity and love of our staff. Please pray for us as we are all quite over our heads with everything!

Then suddenly… I love the “suddenly”s of the Bible. In 2 Chron. 29:36 we read, “And Hezekiah rejoiced, and all the people, that God had made provisions for the people: for the thing was done suddenly.” From my perspective, God loves drama, especially dramatic endings! And this leads me to the ending of my story, or perhaps it is really just the beginning. At 6:30 pm last night, I was standing at the terminal of the Rochester airport and I received a phone call. It was from the owner of the school. These were the words that I heard: “Mark, are you praying?” I responded, “We have been praying for a miracle every day!” The owner then said, “Well your prayers have been answered, the school is yours! The other buyer couldn’t come up with the funding.”  Now you have to picture this. I am standing inside a busy airport and I literally shouted, “It’s a miracle!!!” And it was.

Interestingly, the day before one of our staff had shared 2 Chron. 29:36 with us all. Then yesterday
morning, I don’t know why but we prayed that if the LORD would be so gracious as to give us the school, we would turn it into an opportunity to boast in Him far and wide. And that, my friend, is what we are doing and will continue to do! What an amazing God; what a story; what a dramatic ending, and the start of a new chapter in Lamplighter’s history.

There is much to do now. We have to raise the remainder of the funding for the school and we will also need about $15,000 to restore the theatre and a small 75-seat auditorium for a classroom. If we can raise the funds “suddenly” we will be able to move our offices along with the bindery and shipping department to the school, thus giving us the space we need for additional bedrooms for students and actors when they come for recordings. There is so much to share. I would also encourage you to pray about attending our May 22-27 recording of The Giant Killer and Escape from the Eagle’s Nest or perhaps attending the Guild. What God is doing here at Lamplighter must be experienced to know the reality of God’s unleashed power and blessing. We would love to see you. For more information, please call us at 1-888-246-7735 or send an email to mail@lamplighter.net. 

Lastly, please prayerfully consider if the LORD would have you come alongside us and propel this work forward as we together make ready a people prepared for the LORD.

“And these things happened suddenly…”

Mark Hamby 

President (Zechariah 4:7)

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