For Lighthouse Trails, 2016 was a year that will never be forgotten. On October 16, our beloved author, co-laborer, and dear friend, Ray Yungen, passed away unexpectedly having succumbed to an infection he received while in the hospital for a recently diagnosed leukemia treatment. A few weeks later, author and co-laborer Caryl Matrisciana passed away after a hard long battle with cancer. Words cannot express how losing these two wonderful courageous unique people has been a painful and difficult thing for not just the editors at Lighthouse Trails but for our other authors, other like-minded ministries, and countless readers who have come to love and appreciate Ray and Caryl. We are greatly comforted in knowing they are both with the Lord, but we will miss them greatly in so many ways.
A few months prior to losing Ray and Caryl, our author and co-laborer Warren B. Smith was displaced from his home in central California due to a serious house fire caused by an electrical malfunction. Since the fire, Warren and his wife Joy have been living in various locations while waiting for insurance contractors to renovate the house to livable conditions. Needless to say, it has been a very turbulent year for the Smiths. Warren has spent the last two decades writing prolifically, warning about the deception that has entered the church and has spoken in numerous conferences and churches. He has taken on issues that Christian leaders have refused to address such as Rick Warren’s Purpose Driven Life, Eugene Peterson’s The Message, Sarah Young’s Jesus Calling, Leonard Sweet and the emerging church, and the coming “false christ” who will deceive the world. Ironically, Warren wrote several booklets this year for his Through It All series as a means of encouraging believers in the faith. These particular booklets are filled mostly with Scriptures. He told us he has turned to the booklet titled Trusting God Through it All many times throughout this past year. We are praying that 2017 will be a blessed year for this brother who has so sacrificially served the church for so long.
As many of you know, Lighthouse Trails relocated from Silverton, Oregon to Eureka, Montana in 2010. In 2015, the publishing facilities were moved onto a parcel of land where a 2800 sf office/shop was built. While Lighthouse Trails authors, editors, and web-assistants are located in various places throughout North America (and one author in the UK), a small office and shipping staff was trained in Montana. April of 2016 marked the end of our first year on the land, and through many challenges and new situations, God blessed the operations of Lighthouse Trails in 2016 and allowed us to publish 27 new booklets by various LT authors, to begin producing our lecture DVDs in house for the first time (saving us inventory costs and allowing us to increase the number of DVD titles we offer), and to release three books: the updated expanded edition of The Evolution Conspiracy by Roger Oakland and Caryl Matrisciana, the expanded second edition of Maria Kneas’ Strength for Tough Times, and most recently, Roger Oakland’s The Good Shepherd Calls: An Urgent Message to the Last-Days Church. We also helped with the expanded 2nd edition of Warren Smith’s “Another Jesus” Calling.
Another significant thing happened to Lighthouse Trails in 2016 when in early spring we learned that the online shopping cart company Lighthouse Trails had used for over twelve years was going to become unavailable to us within weeks because of an enormous, out-of-our-range fee hike that would take place with only about a month’s notice. It was shocking news to us because we felt there was no way we could train for and migrate to a different system in that short a time; and without our shopping cart (i.e., the online store), Lighthouse Trails would suffer financially, which would put our daily operations at risk. But, almost miraculously, we found a new system to migrate to, received the technical help we needed to make the migration, learned how to use the new system, and a day before we were to lose the old system, we were up and running on the new one. While there were several glitches at first, the store soon began running smoothly again, and we see now that this is a much better system. Plus, because it is open-sourced, we no longer pay a monthly fee to any company for our shopping cart. So in the end, what started out as a potential disaster created a more financially sound and efficiently run Lighthouse Trails. The Lord is so faithful!
In 2016, we began a new project in which every few months, we are sending short letters and selected booklets to over 100 of the most influential evangelical leaders. Thus far, we have done three mailings and plan to continue this in 2017. Our leaders list is currently at 130. We also did one similar mailing to over 200 presidents and deans of Christian colleges and seminaries in 2016. While we have received very little response (mostly a few form letters) from the leaders, we hope and pray that somewhere along the line, some of them will begin to read the booklets and see the importance of what they are saying. We also believe it is right to challenge the leaders and hold them accountable for the things they are doing that hurt the body of Christ. Obviously, because we name names, we are not too well liked by many of these ministries, but we came to terms with that reality many years ago.
If there is one word we can think of that would capsulate what took place in the church in 2016, it is ecumenism (or unity). Christian leaders have decided that unity is more important than practically anything else. Unity with the Catholic Church in particular. But while it is dismaying to see this taking place, we are also encouraged because we are witnessing a growing number of Christian believers who understand what is going on from a biblical perspective and are showing discernment and courage. These are believers who talk to and warn their friends, family members, pastors, and church members even though they are often rejected and in many cases have no church to attend. But they have remained steadfast in their commitment to God’s Word and the Gospel message of Jesus Christ. While we know because of what Scripture says that the apostasy which is overtaking the evangelical and Protestant church is not going to stop, we also know that God is faithful, and He will give to those who love the truth spiritual sight. We have a God whom we can trust, and He has always preserved a remnant of believers who continue in His Word.
PRESSING ON INTO 2017
It is obvious to us that our adversary, Satan, tried very hard to discourage and dismantle us in 2016. Many of our authors shared with us stories of immense struggle and challenge this past year – more than any other year in the history of Lighthouse Trails. Some of our critics may venture to say that it is actually God trying to halt our work. But we don’t believe that it is He who wants us to stop. Even if some of the trials and challenges are from His hand, we don’t believe He is ready for us to end the work at Lighthouse Trails. While the work we do is not popular among the general populace of church goers and church leaders, and certainly not “positive” and cheerful, we see the same thing happened to the Old Testament prophets and watchmen, to Jesus’ disciples, and even to Jesus Himself. Don’t get us wrong – we don’t equate ourselves with the prophets or disciples, but we do see a pattern in history that those who stand against the lies of the enemy and who hold fast to God’s Word are persecuted and do suffer extraordinary hardship. But we love the words of Paul when he said:
Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ. (Philippians 3:8)
With that said, here are some of the things we have planned for 2017:
- On January 2nd, 2017 we launched a new Lighthouse Trails Research Project website that is mobile friendly. We have not had the chance to update that site for a number of years, and because it was not mobile friendly, we were losing ratings on the Internet, and when ratings drop, fewer people can find our site. We are still working on the new site and will continue to improve it over the next few weeks. If you have any concerns about finding material, please don’t hesitate to let us know via e-mail or phone.
- On January 1st, 2017 Lighthouse Trails Publishing, LLC was changed to a corporation, Lighthouse Trails Publishing, Inc. We made this change as part of our efforts to assure Lighthouse Trails will continue on (should the Lord tarry) even if something happens to its founders David and Deborah Dombrowski. With the passing of Ray Yungen and Caryl Matrisciana in 2016, just a few weeks apart from each other, we were reminded that life is short, and only the Lord knows when each of us will depart this earth and go to be with Him.
- We have several new book projects in the making some of which are: Simple Answers to Understanding the Catholic Faith—An Evangelical Primer by Ray Yungen, Witness For This Generation by Roger Oakland, Father ten Boom, God’s Man by Corrie Ten Boom, Changed by Beholding by Harry Ironside, Moscow Express by Georgi Vins, and several others. We will announce release dates as they are available.
- Lighthouse Trails began publishing our topical booklets four years ago in January of 2013. Since then, we have released 107 booklets and have distributed over 150,000 of them. A growing number of them are going into prisons too. They are providing a valuable resource to the body of Christ, dealing with issues that, again, Christian leaders are not talking about. Upcoming booklets for 2017 include Freemasonry by Carl Teichrib, Reaching the Millennials by Roger Oakland, Taize Worship by Chris Lawson and several others. There are currently 35 authors writing booklets for Lighthouse Trails.
- We will continue with our Christian-leader mailings and hope to do another mailing in 2017 to the colleges and seminaries.
- In 2017, Lighthouse Trails will continue on with the Lighthouse Trails Research Journal, which is mailed out to subscribers six times a year. We will also continue on with our e-newsletter that is e-mailed out three times a month.
In the last few years, discernment ministries have suffered the loss of a number of excellent researchers and writers, either through death, illness, or resignation; sadly, several solid and trusted blog writers decided to close their blogs and end their research and writing for various reasons. It is our prayer that God will raise up new writers and researchers who understand the times in which we live, who are not afraid to speak the truth, in love and in strength. Lighthouse Trails will be keeping an eye out for such like-minded writers with the hope of coming alongside them to help get their warnings out.
In spite of these losses, there remains a strong dedicated team of authors who continue to produce outstanding works—the latest being Roger Oakland’s new book which is an exhortation for all Christians to respond to the call of the Good Shepherd and a new booklet by Cedric Fisher on the testing of our faith.
Clearly, we are living in tumultuous times, both in the church and in the world. While many Christians are hoping that the new presidential administration can help America and even the world, we know that ultimately the only thing that is going to help is when people genuinely surrender their lives to the one true God and Savior, Jesus Christ. It is for this very reason that Lighthouse Trails continues on year after year (by the grace of God).
We look forward to serving the Lord and the body of Christ in 2017. We are humbled that God can use us as publishers representing authors who are so dedicated to ministering to the church as well as reaching out to the lost with the salvation message of Jesus Christ.
Thank you for your prayers, support, encouragement, and exhortation from all of us at Lighthouse Trails. And may God bless your families and churches with His truth and wisdom throughout this new year.
The Editors at Lighthouse Trails