Letter to the Editor: Why is Lighthouse Trails Doing Shepherd’s Garden?

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Yesterday, after we announced Lighthouse Trails’ new division, The Shepherd’s Garden, we received an email from a Lighthouse Trails reader asking why we were “getting into the tea business.” The reader said he was very concerned that we were going to become too commercialized  and thought perhaps we had sold so many books that we had more or less struck it rich and that we saw the tea business as a lucrative business venture.  He said that perhaps we have become too “popular and famous.” We thought there may be other LT readers who share his concerns. Thus, we would like to clarify our reasons for incorporating this new idea.

At Lighthouse Trails, we have paid a high price for continuing on in this ministry. Part of that difficulty has been financial challenges.  We have given away countless books in a missionary/evangelism sense to skeptics and critics, which erodes profits; in addition, publishing in general is expensive. We began the publishing company knowing absolutely nothing about publishing, but we met Ray Yungen, who had been carrying around an unpublished manuscript for two years (A Time of Departing). After we read it, God removed a veil from our eyes, and we knew that book had to be published. We came to learn that most Christian publishers would not publish material exposing the dangers of contemplative spirituality, thus we began Lighthouse Trails. Soon after, we came under a very intense attack from the enemy. It seemed that as soon as we started Lighthouse Trails, life changed for us dramatically. I remember thinking early on, if this is what life is going to be like from now on because of LT, I don’t want to do this. But my husband, Dave, and Ray Yungen, in their leadership and guidance, assured me that this is what we were supposed to be doing. In time, we came to understand that what we were suffering was minor compared to what martyrs in the past have suffered, and we, like all Christian believers, should count it a privilege to serve Him.

We want to assure Lighthouse Trails readers that we are not becoming commercialized, in the negative sense of the word. The idea of the tea came to us several months ago, and after much thought and prayer, we felt that perhaps God had given us this idea as a way to sustain ourselves and also help sustain Lighthouse Trails. We do not depend on the income from Lighthouse Trails for our personal lives. We have never wanted to be dependent on it so that we would never be tempted to compromise just to make a living. But that means we have had to work in other capacities.  And this means very long hours, definitely no vacations, etc. etc. But we have believed so much that we are supposed to be doing this ministry that we have gone to any lengths we can to keep it going.  In the past, we made enough from book sales to put money back into the company so we could do new books and DVDs, which we felt were urgently needed. Now with the economy in its present crisis, Lighthouse Trails is not holding its own, and we must have other ways to help support it.  The tea is a pragmatic idea and also points people to the Word of God in a small way. It will also be a blessing and encouragement to those who enjoy it. We believe it does fit in with the Lighthouse Trails mission.  The typical thing for ministries to do when in financial stress is to send out pleas for donations. But because we are not a non-profit ministry, we generally do not seek out donations, and thereby see the necessity for being “tent makers.” We believe this little tea company, while blessing others, will also help assure that Lighthouse Trails can remain active for years to come.

Deborah Dombrowski
Editor at Lighthouse Trails Publishing

You might also want to read our statement on “Why Lighthouse Trails is not a non-profit ministry.”

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