HeavenTrain supports those in the Cleveland area by providing services, meals, counseling and mentoring for children, youth and their caregivers. As a single mom of five, we have been recipients of such gifts from other ministries like HeavenTrain. When we learned that they were in need of volunteers we jumped at the opportunity to pay it forward.
Every year HeavenTrain gives gifts to all the children/youth and their caregivers for Christmas. Last year was our first year volunteering, and I remember a family who happened to be passing by and asked us what was going on. We shared the story of the HeavenTrain ministry, and then they began to walk away because they were from out of town. I told them it didn’t matter and asked if they would like to step on the bus to learn more about our Lord and Savior. They accepted but had to wait for the next group. While waiting we stood with them and talked, while holding umbrellas over them as it rained. We learned that this family had just attended the funeral of their beloved brother who had been shot and killed. They were hurting and we listened as they spoke. Before they could finish it was time to board the HeavenTrain bus. After they were done they thanked us and stated that was what they needed.
God promises to always be there when needed, and He uses ministries like HeavenTrain to meet those needs. The world is hurting and seeking answers, and I am very thankful to be apart of a ministry that is going out to be used for by the Lord for the Lord.
We have had a wonderful experience volunteering with Heaventrain. Last year we took part in their Christmas event and it was wonderful to celebrate the season with the children and their parents in the communities Lighthouse serves. We sang carols and handed out gifts, and shared the story of Jesus's birth. The Heaventrain staff and volunteers deeply care about the children they serve - they desire to see them thrive and grow to become leaders in their communities. What a wonderful ministry!
It was great to watch the Grade 6 and Grade 8 basketball teams play in the 5 AAU league tournaments they entered. Each new game showed their improvement as a team and demonstrated how team play out-shines trying to win on just individual effort. High five to the coaches! It was also very rewarding to be able to simply share time helping to get the boys to and from the events and listen to them as they interacted with each other.
I learned about Lighthouse and HeavenTrain through a friend and helped out in a planning session earlier in the year. I was impressed with the results, their insights and compassion for the community, especially for the kids.
It was great see HeavenTrain in action during a Saturday morning visit. The connection to the people in the community was tangible.
I have been blessed to participate in one of the Heaventrain ministries, Mentor young men at East Tech High School in Central Cleveland. This was my first year and I was so blessed how the Christ-centered men work to help these young men.
The COVID-19 pandemic certainly put a challenge in the program. It was a blessing that the young man I mentored worked hard remotely and rallied to be able to graduate in July when it looked doubtful in March!
The Mentors with the Christ-centered leadership of Executive Director, Harold Tyreman continued to meet via Zoom every two weeks through the summer and continue to meet now.
We have been blessed that the Principal of East Tech HS sees the value and has asked us to commence with the returning young men beginning next week via Zoom.
A Christ-centered and blessed Ministry!
Bryan R. Portz
This is a wonderful ministry to inner city families to share a message of true hope, true peace and true love. The colorful Heaventrain bus drives through the neighborhood using its unmistakable train whistle horn to draw the children in for a Bible lesson, while volunteers help with games, bubbles, scripture memory verses and sack lunches. In these unsettling days of racial tensions it is such a blessing to see we can come together in fellowship to serve each other and glorify the Lord.
Although 2020 has been a poor year for ministries that build relationships through personal contact, the HeavenTrain Mentoring ministry has been able to sustain contact with both students and school administration to help bridge the COVID-19 gap. Students in isolation appreciate contact with friendly mentor.
One Saturday this past summer I was passing out lunch bags to a typically long line of boys and girls at the HeavenTrain food truck. A boy, about seven or eight years old, received his lunch and looked at me, as if we were the only two people there, and said, "I love Heaven Train!"
I don't know what inspired his sincere comment. It may have been a hungry tummy, or a word that touched his heart from the lesson on the bus, or just a fun encounter with a helper, but I felt that he was speaking for many in the line that day.
I love the children at HeavenTrain.
I have been a volunteer for about 3 years. I enjoy seeing how happy the children are to be going on the bus to hear about God.
I love working with HeavenTrain. The people we work with are amazing. It is a joy to see how volunteers care for children. The biggest joy is watching the children grow in knowing they are loved and have a purpose for their life.
I have been a volunteer for 3 years and even though working behind the scenes this year I have certainly missed seeing the children. I miss working with them to learn their bible verses and seeing how pleased they are when succeeding. I pray next year we can return to the Heaventrain bus and visit our kids.
I’ve been a volunteer with Heaven Train for 2 years. The excitement and joy the children exhibit when coming to Heaven Train for a Bible lesson just warms my heart. We plant seeds in these kiddos about the love of Jesus and God’s goodness and we see fruit through stories they share and their responses to the lessons.Some adults bring their children because it meant so much to them coming as a child to Heaven Train and they want their children to have the same good teaching.
I currently serve as the Volunteer Coordinator staff member for HeavenTrain. It's such a blessing to work with our volunteers as we engage with the children and caregivers we meet when we travel within Cleveland's Central neighborhoods to bring the Gospel of Jesus that offers hope and healing. Our volunteers are essential to our ministry and it's seeing their passion and enthusiasm to minister to the children as they ask them for prayer requests, play with them through games and activities, and help them to understand and memorize Bible verses and what they learn through the Bible lesson. We witness first-hand why God has blessed this nearly 40-year old ministry because we hear children joyfully say "We LOVE HeavenTrain" and when asked why they love HeavenTrain, their response is "Because we learn about God!" This is the Lord's mission carried out through faithful volunteers to our children and caregivers. All glory to our great God.
Heaven Train/ Urban Lighthouse is an amazing nonprofit that I have the pleasure of volunteering for.
They do a lot of preparation beforehand to ensure that they are organized when they go out in the community to serve.
The organization shows God's love towards the volunteers and community.
They have a diverse group of volunteers that are dedicated to God's calling.
They know the people in the community and the community knows them and trusts them.
The world us a better place because of the intentional good work of Heaven Train/Urban Lighthouse.
Serving for this organization helps me to remember that God wants out spreading his love and the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Heaventrain is an organization that really cares. They are run very efficiently and frugally so that a high percentage of donations can go directly to the families it serves.
Volunteering with Heaven-train has been a remarkable experience! This organization seeks to revitalize the central district through teaching the gospel, sharing the love of Christ to children and Caregivers in that area and providing meals. I have personally been honored with the opportunity to connect with families to be a part of their transformational experience. To see the kids light up with joy, and the enthusiasm they have when we are ministering in the neighborhood is such a blessing. We have prayed with families, witnessed many children and caregivers come to Christ all while fellowshipping in the community and providing meals, possibly the only one many will receive. Most in the neighborhood have never been inside of a church and because of the Heaven Train mobile bus ministry, many will come
To know Christ! It’s such a blessing to be a blessing and working with Heaven Train has been a life altering experience for not only those being ministered to but the ministry team!
I learned about Heaventrain in the Spring of 2019 through a service day at a local church. After meeting the director of Heaventrain and shadowing him, I decided to get onboard and join the Heaventrain's Young Men (i.e., 9th thru 12th grade students) Mentoring Program at Cleveland's East Technical High School for the 2019-2020 school year. It is an honor and pleasure to be part of a very dynamic and dedicated mentor team. I enjoy working with these grateful mentees who are looking for a brighter and productive future.
I recently started in the Mentoring program for Heaven Train. The training and materials are top notch. The direction with the Executive Director, Volunteer Coordinator and the leader of the Mentoring day to day work are exceptional.
The reaching out and mentoring an individual in a classroom within the Cleveland Central East Tech HS is beneficial.
We are beginning the 11th year and I am excited to be given this opportunity with such a strong established and caring program.
As a volunteer for Heaventrain, I am filled with joy as I help those in need and know that my work is improving so many lives, both spiritually (through Gospel) and physically (by offering food). Heaventrain had touched so many lives (both volunteers' and clients served), and I am honored and very grateful to be a part of it.
I have been volunteering at heaven train for many years now & am thankful for the privilege. The heaven train staff have become like family & care about what goes on in you're life. We pray for one another & share in the blessings of spending time with the folks heaven train visits. We've seen lives changed & new hope in the eyes of those who come hear the good news of the gospel. Heaven Train over the years has become a beacon of light to the communities in the Cleveland project's.
I have been a part of this ministry since 2011. It continues to be a great opportunity to support the Central Neighborhood community in Cleveland, OH with our bus ministry, our AAU basketball program and mentoring at East Technical High School. I look forward to many more years of serving with this non-profit.
Keep things simple. Build relationships with kids that encourage and support them. Keep doing it for 38 years and you will have an impact. Focused on simple tangible ways to connect with and serve young people in one community. Keep it up.
35 years of investing in the lives of young people has left an impact. The organization invests in relationships that connect people across economic, racial, geographic and denomination barriers. The proof is in the lIves changed both your people and volunteers.
At the heart of this org is a simple and compelling desire to find tangible ways to care for Children. Their stories are compelling as they have served continuously for almost 40 years. They have impacted generations with simple acts of kindness and the transformational power of the Gospel. Love changes the world, and many thousands of kids have felt loved in the actions of the volunteers and staff of this organization.
My name is Bryan and I have been serving with Heaventrain 8 years now. I've been doing the bubbles with the kids, including a bubble machine and group bubble bucket. We have a blast together!!! Love the kids, and I'm loved by them and love when they tell me so!!! Their smiling faces light up the Projects of Cleveland, and they are God's blessing to me!!!
Heaventrain is an efficient and cost effective tool to reach kids. Funds are stewarded wisely to make a lasting kingdom difference and reach the Central community.
I'll never forget the day the Heaventrain pulled up and children were lining up outside eagerly awaiting their turn on the bus. I looked along the fence and saw a shirt, jeans, and shoes barely visible laying on the concrete. I thought that this was someone's clothes that were discarded. I looked a little closer and saw the most angelic face of a little boy sleeping on the concrete. My heart broke as he lay there suddenly the cold concrete pillow did not seem appropriate for this little boy. He wanted to come to Heaventrain but he was so tired that he couldn't stay awake long enough to make it on the bus.
A wonderful experience working with people who are caring, giving of themselves. I cannot be here each month, but when I do I feel spiritually moved with what happens during this time with the children. I cannot thank them enough for what they do.
We visit 5 different community locations and get to bring a church on wheels to children and their caregivers who may not attend a local church. Children love HeavenTrain because the "learn about God" as one 10-year old boy excitedly told me why he loves HeavenTrain. Volunteers help children memorize Scripture verses and they may receive a prize from the treasure box. Some children default to thinking they cannot memorize but with encouragement, they are successful. Children board the HeavenTrain bus to hear a Bible lesson. Afterwards, everyone receives a lunch before heading home. Volunteers also have opportunities to pray with caregivers and the children who experience very difficult living conditions. I am humbled by the experiences I have had at HeavenTrain and we pray for more volunteers and financial support to continue the Lord's work in the Central neighborhood of Cleveland.
In a world like today, its great to know that good people like heaventrain still exhist! Recently, an apartment complex where i used to live caught fire at the Garden Valley apartments, and heaventrain helped rally food, clothing and other donations to help the already poor, struggling people that were displaced because of the fire. Heaventrain meets the needs of the community both spiritually AND physically through the many programs and after school activities for the children as well. I am blessed to be a part of this awesome organization; even if im more behind the scenes nowadays. Jesus once said, when you have done for the LEAST of us, you have done unto me!
For over 37 years, this organization has been quietly serving the central community of cleveland ohio, offering mentoring opportunities, tutoring, basketball, and connections to some colleges. One thing that always sticks out about Heaventrain is the way they walk WITH the people; by listening to the community they are able to assess what is needed and are able to work towards getting that goal accomplished. A non-profit that has stuck with the community for so long has become like family, and this is why I nominate Heaventrain for the great non profits!
I find haven't trained to be the most effective true love evangelism When the Children can be drawn in by the colors and just that call from God to get on board and when they walk inside of the heaven train bus their eyes are opening their understanding this enlightened and the love of God is poured into his word and he's going around in neighborhoods seek and save that which is lost and the Bible says we're not to suffer the children to come unto Jesus for it is like in the kingdom of God the Next Generation needs God so if you would be so kind and support the work of Heaven train they're looking for volunteers those that will give to this great work and those that would be willing to take a little time out for the children they need you continue to pray one of the most effective support that any Ministry can receive I know firsthand what having train does in the communities where no one else will travel so get on board cuz the train is coming
I served on Heaventrain a couple of years ago before moving out of Cleveland and it is such an awesome experience. Many children's lives are changed because they get to hear the good news about Christ and get a lunch after. Children and even adults get to hear about the life of Christ and about his transforming power.
I have the opportunity to drive the Heaven Train bus and blow the train whistle. It is exciting watching all the kids running to the meeting place to get on the bus.
I ware my engineer overalls and hat and as the kids get on the bus I get a high-five from them.
The lives of so many have been changed through the efforts of this ministry. Not only are their physical bodies filled but most importantly their spiritual bodies are filled. What a great asset to the communities impacted by them!
Lighthouse Inc. has touched thousands of lives over the years. The thing that I appreciate about this organization the most is the way they love and respect each and every person who comes within their reach. Thousands of young lives have been changed because of the sacrificial giving of themselves of the people involved. I have had the opportunity to hear first-hand how lives have been changed due to Lighthouse Inc. Young lives that were hopeless became of importance in their own eyes and in the eyes of everyone around them. I truly believe Lighthouse Inc. has saved many lives of the young people in the Cleveland area.
Heaventrain perseveres where most would not dare to try. For 37 years they have been loving Children and embodying the love of Christ. That work had broken down walls and impacted many lives.
The perseverance and dedication HeavenTrain has for serving Cleveland is astounding! As a volunteer, I love to be a part of an organization that cares so deeply for children and families in low-income neighborhoods.
HeavenTrain is dedicated to the city of Cleveland, more specifically the neighborhood of Central. God's spirit and calling on this ministry is evident every time we go out and serve. Blessed to be a part of it!
Heaventrain is a great non-profit bringing the hope of the Gospel to inner-city Cleveland for over 25 years. In addition to a bus ministry to the neighborhoods the organization does Mentoring, runs a food program and has a basketball program. The staff and volunteers are fanstatic.
I am one of the drivers for the Heaven Train bus. As I drive through the neighborhoods I blow a real train whistle and the kids come running.
The kids just love the Bible stories and the teachings.
I have had many of the mothers tell how they came on the Heaven Train bus when they were little.
On a normal Saturday we get 600 to 650 kids through the bus and in December, around Christmas time, when we hand out Christmas stockings we get more than 800 kids. Their Christmas stockings are full with coloring books, crayons, toys, puzzles, hats, scarves, gloves and candy.
Something that has always impressed me is the volunteers. We have volunteers that drive an hour to get to the bus and we have volunteers that have been doing this for more than 10 years. We have volunteers that pick up food and spend all day Friday making 800 sandwiches.
It is a real blessing to be part of this team.
Thank You and God Bless
I've been volunteering with Heventrain probably for the last ten years, I have always enjoyed helping with Heventrain the kids always enjoy hearing the bus horn as it circles the block, I just wish I would have more time to volunteer. Heventrain is a awesome nonprofit organization all the people are kind and hard workers. Rob Stinson
HeavenTrain has been a GREAT ORGANIZATION to be a Volunteer of being a part of Bridging the gap for UNITY THROUGH THE TEACHINGS AND KNOWLEDGE OF JESUS CHRIST!
GETTING INVOLVED THROUGH DONATIONS AND VOLUNTEERING IS HIGHLY ENCOURAGED WITH THIS ORGANIZATION THAT HAS BEEN MAKING POSITIVE STRIDES AND GAINS FOR 35 YEARS AND COUNTING.
I am a youth pastor in Mount Vernon, OH. We love the HeavenTrain ministry and serving with them was the highlight of my teen's experience this summer in Cleveland!
I've had the pleasure of working with Heaventrain in the past and it is a truly unique organization worth seeing firsthand.
When I think of the Lord's Prayer where it says "your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven" I think of Heaventrain. It doesn't wait for people to come to it, it goes to the people. And it is the use of volunteer organizations that makes me think of an eclectic kingdom made up of people from all walks of life.
The leaders are in touch with the needs of the community and stewards of the resources entrusted to them to meet those needs and partner with other area organizations.
If you want to experience what the Church is meant to be, go spend a Saturday with Heaventrain.
As a current youth pastor in the suburban west Cleveland, OH area I recently took part in a mission trip that combined my group of teenagers with a group from a church in Kentucky. During the week we helped work on two homes that Lighthouse, Inc. has restored on Cleveland's west side. One of these homes is occupied by the organization's executive director who has intentionally planted himself and his wife in the community in order to both understand the needs of his neighbors and build relationships. On one of the days we helped move in a young couple who is also intentionally going to live in the community in order to serve others. This new development in Lighthouse, Inc.'s efforts in Cleveland is particularly exciting and seems to be paying instant dividends as through working at the home for the new couple we were able to meet the neighbors who even helped out. We then had the pleasure of taking part in a community block party at the home to introduce the couple to their neighbors. This was well attended and is only the first of many things this couple will be doing to get to know those they are called to serve the needs of. We also had the chance to participate in Heaventrain, the longest standing ministry that Lighthouse, Inc. does. During the day we were able to interact with close to 750 children despite the rainy conditions. In seeing the efforts they are making and being heartbroken for the community, we decided to pass on one of the end of the night fun activities we had planned in order to free up more money to invest in to our work projects rather than go to a Cleveland Indians game. Lighthouse not only does a good job of stretching the resources they are given, they do a great job committing to getting to know those they serve so that they can identify what needs are most pressing and how to best address them. I would highly encourage calling to check out Heaventrain firsthand and I look forward to working with them more in the future.
Heaventrain in the Cleveland Central district is an incredible outreach that I've had the opportunity to serve. Building community and relationships is the heart of this ministry, which includes connecting with individuals of all ages. All who are involved, ranging from staff to kids, can learn and grow through the Heaventrain experience. It encourages healthy and loving relationships, and also provides an avenue for people of all backgrounds to connect. It is a great joy to be a part of this organization. I plan on serving in this outreach for quite a while. Heaventrain provides a great example of what true community building and outreach looks like in the heart of Cleveland Ohio!
I've seen real discipleship happen through Heaventrain. Praying for the longevity of this non profit. So much beautiful work to be done in Cleveland!
These guys are firmly committed to doing things the right way. I appreciate the unwavering focus on what is best for the kids of Central Cleveland. The voice of the community drives the strategy, and it is the most transparent, purposeful team I've ever worked with.
Lighthouse is doing the real work that most people just talk about.
It has been my great pleasure to be involved with this organization as a volunteer and a board member...I was compelled to continue to serve by the great need, the unique approach to meeting that need, and the incredible people that this organization brings together.
In a world full of requests for money, requests for time and carefully scripted marketing messages, Lighthouse is a refreshing change of pace: real folks that get their hands dirty doing the hard jobs.
Heaven Train Cleveland is celebrating it's 35th anniversary, which is amazing in itself, but what's more amazing are the lives that have been touched through this ministry. Though geared to the children of Central Cleveland, young and old find loving ,caring, compassionate volunteers willing to go the extra mile to bring love and hope , but most of all Jesus to 600 or 700 people on a Saturday. One has to experience the joy on faces to fully understand the impact this ministry is making on lives. I have been involved with this organization for 16 years and have witnessed the love of Jesus poured out on all, with changed lives, and hope resulting. Relationships matter to all involved because they mattered to our Lord and they should matter to us all; Heaven Train is making this happen
I have been volunteering with heaventrain for nine years, and it is a wonderful ministry because it not only brings church to the people of the inner projects, but we also have worked on ways to get the children fed through different partners. I think my most memorable moment was when a kid walked up to pastor Phil and asked, will there be projects in heaven? Pastor Phil turned and said, no, but there will be people from the projects in heaven!
I can remember a time on heaventrain when a little boy had come to heaventrain and we were doing the summer feeding program; the kids 18 and under got a chance to eat a delicious hot meal with cold milk and carrots. While we were packing up to leave, we were giving away extras to the kids who wanted them (because we had a set amount and we had to pay for that amount any way) when this boy's mom walks up to all of our staff with tears in her eyes, hugging us and saying that they didnt have any food and didnt know what to tell the children. She said that heaventrain blessed their family with the sandwhiches and milk, which would feed her 4 children. Since this was our last stop of the day, we gave them our last box of sandwhiches and milks. For over 32 years, heaventrain has been quietly serving and blessing the community; and is able to build lasting relationships through holiday food drives, giving out coats for kids, and the numerous tutoring programs and extracricular activities students can be involved in after school. In the words of another heaventrain parent, heaventrain is a blessing and dont ever stop serving. Non-profits like this nowadays are rare and so thats why i nominate heaventrain for this grant.
I have volunteered with Heaventrain train for many years! As a schoolteacher, it was mainly during the summer months, but now since I recently retired I have been able to be more consistent. The children who come are so precious and this year, we started asking kids and parents if there was something special they wanted us to pray over. The relationships made touch my heart and the love Heaventrain staff and volunteers provide to the community is priceless. The vision of Heaventrain 35 years ago continues to bring light into the Central Neighborhood. May God continue to bless this ministry.
Heaventrain helped me realize there are kids out here in cleveland going hungry every day, and by just donating a little of my time I can do so much to help change that.
Our church has supported this ministry for many years...probably over 20, maybe 30. We love hearing the stories of God's protection, His provision, and His saving grace for the children and young adults of Cleveland! Our children, from the time they could toddle around, have bundled up and picked greens to send to Cleveland, so Heaventrain could distribute them. We love the Battens and believe they are called of God to this ministry. They have surrounded themselves with mission minded individuals that provide a check and balance system as they move the organization forward in continuing the services they are known for while branching out to reach the communities in additional ways.
Working to support this important ministry is important to our family. For years our local church has picked 'greens' that have went to Heaventrain for them to distribute. This is a multi-generational day that my children have participated in since they could walk. Our teens enjoyed volunteering on a Sat. route this spring. We also enjoy picking out school supplies, sidewalk chalk, etc. for them to use. We trust the Battens and believe that what they say, they do. Their integrity is unquestionable. Their vision has not changed over 3o years, it just continues to expand to meet the physical, mental, and spiritual needs of the children in Cleveland! Their outreach ministries into schools, neighborhoods with sports, etc. are changing lives not just a moment, but for a lifetime. Lighthouse Inc. deserves our support- small or large. They make every penny and donation count!
Looking for an opportunity to volunteer with an organization that is making a difference in Cleveland in the lives of youth? This the place for you to make a lasting impact. I've been a volunteer for 10+ years. I participated in food distribution and mentoring at East Tech. I also volunteer on Heaventrain. With a 35 year history in the community, Heaven train works with the community and it's residents- values established relationships, develops strategies to accomplish community transformation and teaches neighborhood leadership.
Every once in a while you come across an organization that inspires you to dream big. Heaventrain is one of those organizations. They faithfully leverage resources for a transformational movement that benefits Cleveland children and youth, primarily in the Central neighborhood.
I have been involved with Heaventrain directly/indirectly and over the past 15 years and it has inspired me to find my own expression of community engagement that makes a difference in the lives of Cleveland children and youth.
Get to know Heaventrain and spend some time with them. I guarantee you will walk away inspired anew when you see their work first-hand and experience the relationships that have been forged - the desired fruit of their labor.
I have had the joy of watching Lighthouse make a significant and lasting impact in Cleveland’s Central neighborhood over the last 6 years. In this time, I have had the opportunity to witness their ability to transform individual lives (both young and old), families, and their community in effective and sustained ways. I have personally experienced the effectiveness of this ministry in several ways.
First, I have been involved with Lighthouse’s Heaventrain on several different occasions. On Heaventrain I have seen hope extended to those that have seemingly lost all hope. Food extended to those that are hungry, and toys given to those who would receive little else. Additionally, Heaventrain has provided opportunities of engagement for those who are unfamiliar with the urban dynamic. In this way people’s eyes have been opened, giving them a passion and drive to see lives and neighborhoods transformed.
Second, I have experienced Lighthouse’s food distribution on several occasions as well. On a regular basis they have been able to leverage thousands of pounds of food and deliver it to those in need. Supplying the Central Neighborhood Projects, Lighthouse has been able to get food to thousands of people.
Third, I have experienced Lighthouse as it has sought to transforms neighborhoods by securing and renovating property, helping people move into neighborhoods by providing affordable or free housing. In this way more and more people are able to give their lives to citywide transformation. This endeavor also contains the seeds of Lighthouse’s dream of becoming a self-sustaining ministry.
In the time that I have known Lighthouse I have come to see that this ministry has big vision. Not only do they have big vision, but they have the drive and passion to see that it is fulfilled. I can think of no better organization for any individual to give of their time and resources.
I had the privilege of working with the HeavenTrain team on their new website: http://urbanlighthouse.org
Through the entire process, they were a joy to work with and allowed me to see their heart to care for the communities they serve. Their lead on the project, Bonnie Moorman, was especially helpful and truly embodies the spirit of service and professionalism that has made HeavenTrain so effective.
Lighthouse is making a difference in the city of Cleveland. They are impacting lives by not only meeting felt needs, but by ultimately meeting the greatest need of all, the need for Jesus! May God richly bless this organization.
I used to be an elementary teacher and I was looking for an opportunity to minister to children again. I was a tutor at Carl & Lewis Stokes Elementary Academy one day a week in 2012. Each week we worked usually on sight words, reading skills and helping to build self esteem in the children. It was a joy to see a smile on the students' face when they knew they learned new words& understood the lesson. It was also good to see them work with other students playing a game and being a "team" or helper. Both Light House Inc. and the staff at the school were very welcoming, helpful and grateful for the work we accomplished with the students.
I am a retired public school librarian and I did not think that I would do volunteer work in schools. I am glad that a friend at church encouraged me. When I walked into Stokes Elementary in Cleveland, I felt right at home and I almost said out loud: "Wow, this is what I used to do every day and I loved it." I worked with first graders on readiness and early reading skills. I saw the same students each week and I got to know the sort of things that would motivate them: their favorite book, a puzzle game, etc. Working on beginning consonant sounds was challenging. We tried different strategies throughout the year and it was rewarding for all of us when we saw progress. Kevin L. Schaner
I tutor at East Tech High School. The relationships formed through Lighthouse bring the Kingdom of God into the school in powerful ways. The words hope, potential, and future are being instilled in these young minds. I'm grateful for the opportunity, and I'm excited to see what God is doing.
It is a honor and a privilage to volunteer with Heaventrain. To watch Pastor Phil serve the childeren of Central Cleveland is amazing. He gives so much to the childeren who have so little. How rewarding it is to hear the childeren say Thank you and to receive a hug. When I volunteer with Heaventrain I always learn more about the love of our heavenly Father from Pastor Phil and the team.
Lighthouse INC is a wonderful team of people who have put their best feet forward in serving the children in Cleveland. I have recently begun part-time work with Lighthouse, and I have volunteered a few times on Heaventrain to help catch a glimpse of Lighthouse's larger goal. The lighthouse/heaventrain team is committed to what matters more than numbers of persons fed or snazzy programs to boast of. The bottom line is loving kids who need someone to believe that they can do it! Through tutoring, investing in good quality meals, and spending time cheering on these kids, Lighthouse folks are getting it done. They know the kids well thanks to years and years of faithful ministry through Heaventrain. More importantly, this group of people knows the significant value of each individual child. We have seen and heard of some miraculous things from some of the leaders, and I believe that is evidence of a team with the right vision!
So many times over the last several years I have heard from kids on Heaventrain how much they look forward to Heaventrain each week. Their moms have told me how the kids hear that train whistle and hurriedly grab their shoes and race out the door to meet Heaventrain. So what's all the hype about? Come spend one day among these children and you will never be the same. In their eyes, I see hope and resiliency no matter how difficult their lives have been. They are so worth the commitment of the volunteers to come each week and show them God's love in tangible ways through listening and caring, playing games, and feeding them. Then there's the deep yet simple Gospel message shared on Heaventrain that is so relevant to where they are. I love being part of Lighthouse and reaching out to these kids! They have helped heal my heart without ever knowing it.
4 years ago, I heard about Lighthouse through my son and volunteered to help set up the office. Then I spent a day delivering food through the Storehouse program. At each site several resident volunteers would help unload the food and then set up mini pantries. It was fun to work together. Next, I traveled with Heaventrain on a Saturday in December. It was very cold, but the volunteers stayed all day, interacting with kids as they waited to board the bus or when they came off. I was amazed at the hope in these children's eyes when it was obvious that their community and living conditions were less than ideal. They were resilient in the face of difficulties. I could see why they responded to the teachings; they needed real answers. I have helped in other ways, too, and have found the community widely recognizes Lighthouse and speaks very positively of it.
But Jesus called the children to him and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.
Luke 18:15-17 Heaventrain is an awesome and amazing ministry that brings children to Jesus ! It brings hugs and laughter, music and a message, and brings the love of Jesus into the Central Cleveland neighborhoods. I have stood and watched as the bus circles the streets and children come running from all directions. They return week after week. There are grandparents and parents that continue to come with their testimonies that they were Heaventrain kids ! Pastor Phil Batten, the Heaventrain Staff and all of the volunteers make a huge impact on these kids. For over 30 years Lighthouse, Inc. has been instrumental in planting the seed of faith. The longevity of the ministry has proven its success. It is the most rewarding ministry I have been a part of. I know our Heavenly Father is looking down and smiling every time he hears that music playing and sees that big blue bus filled with HIS children !
This is the third year that my family and I have volunteered on Heaventrain. There are so many positive aspects of this ministry. One of the first things I recognize is the fact that Pastor Phil and his staff have gone out with volunteers for 30 years to bring this "traveling church" to kids in the Central neighborhood ! That is certainly longevity and proves that Heaventrain is successful. I have met many adults who comment that "they were Heaventrain children and now they are bringing their kids as well". What a testimony !
This organization runs very smoothly. The staff knows exactly what to do and the volunteers are trained to step right in and interact with the kids. Some people do not know what Heaventrain is. The big blue bus drives around playing music and blowing the whistle. Kids come from everywhere !!! The children are kept busy with chalk, balls, jump ropes, etc. while they wait to get on the bus. When they are on the bus they are given a short sermon. (close to 85 kids at once). When that is finished they get off the bus and are served a meal. The whole process works very smoothly.
There is no experience that equals the feeling you get when you see these kids. They love to be hugged and they love the attention. They are all God's children and when we plant the seed of Jesus we just pray that their hearts will be touched. You have to experience Heaventrain only one time to be "hooked". We look forward to serving with the wonderful staff and seeing the faces of these beautiful children. It is a gift ! Hoping one day we will be on staff as well.
When I think of heaventrain I think of this simple scripture:
Matthew 25:40..."The King will reply, truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me".
I've been part of a team of over 20 volunteers from our church for 4 years now helping their Heaventrain ministry .I've been a suburban pastor in the Clevand area for almost 20years and a lay leader here since 1975 I feel this ministry is one of the most fruitful in the inner city that I am aware of.the leadership is dedicated to helping & serving the children and families in some of our most needy areas.Our church proudly supports this ministry. The ministry impact through basketball on young innercity men is commendable as is also their results though one on one tutoring in highschool.I could go on but will say only this in addition I pray others from all over greater Cleveland will check them out and help in some meaningful way.Our volunteers love the tool of outreach.Pastor Tom Slater--Visitation Pastor==Christ The King Church--North Olmsted.OH
I've known the Batten family for about 10 years now and can't say enough good about their hearts and how they serve the people of Cleveland. When I was a teenager I volunteered for Lighthouse and got to see first hand how much they give of their selves and truly love the people and want to make a difference. I'm proud to say that I'm a part of this family and have been able to witness the countless lives changed. I don't know of very many organizations who not only talk the talk but walk the walk.
I HAVE KNOWN ANDY AND KRISTEN FOR ABOUT 2 YEARS. I KNEW ABOUT THE HEAVEN TRAIN BEFORE THAT. THEY ARE TWO OF THE MOST SINCERE AND DEDICATED PEOPLE THAT I HAVE MET IN A LONG TIME. I WILL ASSIST THEM IN ANY WAY I CAN. OUR COMMUNITY IS ALL THE BETTER FOR THIER EFFORTS.
Heaventrain love's Children, more specifically Cleveland's vulnerable children. The team loves these kids and you can see and feel the impact of three decades of service. There is a special bond between our Heaventrain family and the children we serve. Words cannot express the honor it is to serve as part of this organization.
I am the founder and pastor of Heaventrain. It has been my highest privilege and honor to serve as part of an amazing group of people. The children of Heaventrain are the most precious treasures in God's Kingdom and represent the hope for Cleveland's future. The volunteers of this organization give years of their life as servants that have fallen in love with our children. There is love that is seldom felt that is a mutual gift between the children and volunteers, it is a special connection that you must experience to understand. I have seen first hand barriers of race, economics, culture, and geography disappear and know first hand what it is to love and be loved by a community. I have spent over 30 years as part of this organization and am proud to be associated with a ministry that has created a legacy that will continue for many years. We have been blessed by many people that live, love, and give of themselves. While we have enjoyed a rich and exciting past I know that our best days are ahead as a new generation of leaders and children continue to pursue the vision of Lighthouse Inc.
I have been involved with Heaventrain for over 3 years now and continue to be amazed at the dedication and love that is being shared. While this past year I have been unable to attend on a regular basis, we have continued to provide (make) over 800 sandwiches once a month ... even when I cannot be there to distribute them, I can still vision the children receiving them and their smiles. Rain, sun, snow...the Heaventrain team is there and should surely be commended.
I have been involved with Heaventrain for a little over two years now and during this time have really grown to appreciate the hard work and efforts of the entire staff and volunteers. While it is rewarding to see such a dedicated staff, the real joy is in seeing the eyes and smlies of the children. When I first attended Heaventrain, the children were receiving a simple meal or snack. We noticed that as the economy got worse, so did the available donations to hand out. As a result, on the Saturday my church volunteers attended each month we have begun providing 800-900 bologna and cheese sandwiches. Heaventrain volunteers as well as other groups in the chuch help out in the preparation, getting more involved that may not have the entire day available. The great part again is reaching out to more individuals to make them aware of Heaventrain. Being able to provide the sandwiches is rewarding...but again it's all in the eyes of the children. When you hand them their snack and to have one tell you "Thank you, I am so hungry"...that's what it's all about.
I can not say enough about the Heaventrain staff and volunteers. Week after week, always organized and ready to serve with a smile. It has been a blessing in my life and I hope to be able to serve for years to come.