Senior Elissa Tetrault has a heart for missions and serving others. As a freshman, she became involved in Lamplight Ministry, a ministry in which Harding students visit and build relationships with children who live in mobile homes behind College Church of Christ. This organization has become a large part of her time at Harding.
As a Lamplight volunteer, she and others help with homework, play games and exhibit the love of Christ to children. She said being involved with Lamplight during her time at Harding inspired her to begin a pizza ministry with her home congregation in Massachusetts.
“When I went home, [I saw] there [were] lower-income housing units by my church,” Elissa said. “I thought it would be a perfect opportunity for ministry since we already have connections in that area.”
The Massachusetts ministry is simply known as Pizza Ministry, which was Lamplight’s original name. The dream Tetrault had of planting a ministry became a reality a year and a half ago with help from family, friends, and others from her small home congregation of 100 people. On Sunday afternoons, volunteers distribute pizzas to families living in low-income housing and play with their children. Tetrault said members of her home church invest in personal relationships with the children; her family takes three children to church with them every week.
Elissa’s sister, freshman Erin Tetrault, is involved in Lamplight Ministry here in Searcy as well as the ministry back home in Massachusetts. Growing up, Erin said she always felt a need to go out and serve others through mission work. After becoming involved with the pizza ministry started by Elissa in Massachusetts and Lamplight Ministry on campus, she said she realized there are needs for love and ministry right here in the United States.
“It’s kind of put things into perspective for me,” Erin said. “I’ve always been big on wanting to do mission work when I’m older, and I wanted to go to Africa, and I’ve been to Honduras [on mission trips]. It’s opened my eyes to how much need is in the United States.”
Senior Tatum Watson is co-director with Elissa at Lamplight Ministry. They are responsible for organizing activities, dealing with the business administration side of the ministry, and getting people connected to what is going on within Lamplight. They met during their freshman year while volunteering at Lamplight together.
“Working with Elissa has been an absolute honor,” Watson said. “I have loved getting to work with her and learn from her and serve alongside her. She’s an incredible human being who is going to keep doing amazing things for this world that we live in.”
Elissa has enjoyed her time with Lamplight, and she said she prays for God to move in this ministry.
“My prayer for Lamplight is for it to be a mission-oriented ministry, and not [a] humanitarian [organization],” Elissa said. “It’s about looking at souls and looking at the eternal consequences rather than the temporary physical ones … it’s about being more intentional with how we serve others.”