Archive for the Alumni Category

Nick

Nick

Nick, Student
I started partying at a young age, and was lost in a world of alcoholism and addiction by my early 20’s. I straightened up for a bit, met a girl, and started a family. But after a couple of years she realized she could not fix me, and left with our daughter. That’s when my life became hell on earth. My family wanted nothing to do with me and I was homeless. A friend’s father let me stay with him for a few days. Rummaging through couch cushions in his house, I hit my knees and asked God “Why? I don’t want to live like this anymore.” That’s when I found a number my mom had stuck in my pocket when she packed by bags…the number for a man who could help me. This messenger from God drove 45 minutes to pray with me. A week later I walked through the doors of Teen Challenge of Texas. Since giving my life to Him, He has restored relationships – aside from Him, my mom is my best friend. Praise be to God!

Chad Wilterding

Chad Wilterding

Chad Wilterding, TCOT Magnolia Men’s Campus, Student

I remember reporting to my parole officer last year.  She was very hard and calloused, and treated me like the ex-convict that I am.  This morning she came to visit me at Teen Challenge of Texas.  From the time our visit started she was all smiles and repeatedly told me how good I looked, not just on the outside but from the inside.  She went on and on about the visible transformation she was seeing that has taken place in less than two weeks.  As our meeting ended she teared up and gave me a huge hug.   I have witnessed the true workings of God!  Thank you Teen Challenge for my new life and walk with Christ.

Jason Betts

Jason Betts

Jason Betts, TCOT San Antonio Men’s Campus Graduate

My testimony starts in the DFW area.  I graduated from Aledo High School in 2001.  My childhood was filled with sports, almost every sport that was offered.  As a young boy I attended church regularly.  But by the time I was 10, I only went to church on holidays and special occasions.  Church became more of a chore or punishment than anything else.  My parents were great at showing me the difference between right and wrong; they just were not avid church goers.  I was a popular athletic kid who was unsure if God was real or just another Easter Bunny.

I took my first drink when I was 15.  By the time I was 17, I was an atheist.  Alcohol had created a lot of problems in my family tree.  But it quickly became second to marijuana.  Since I was under 21, drugs were easier to get than alcohol.  I remember trying cocaine when I was 17.  Methamphetamines were also a part of my appetite.  All of my fun became congruent with my drug habits.  Then my drug habit began to drown my happiness.  Before I knew it I was incomplete spiritually, mentally, and even physically.  I had somehow skipped becoming a man.  Drugs and alcohol were responsible for four or five “charged but not convicted” DWI’s, two drug convictions, three totaled vehicles, family deterioration, and a mangled soul.  It was time to change.

My Aunt and Uncle knew that I wanted help.  They referred me to Teen Challenge in November of 2009, but I couldn’t rap my mind around staying a full year.  I made another commitment to God but only stayed sober for  two months. I had developed a bad pattern of lying to God.  He would get me out of the hole that I dug and then I would dig new one.  I made one really big mistake, then I made another and another, and it kept getting easier to do the wrong thing.  I felt like the Holy Spirit was leaving my body.  Evil spirits took hold of me and then it seemed like I was capable of doing the unimaginable.  It was a very scary scenario.

I finally came to Teen Challenge of Texas – San Antonio Men’s Campus in August 2010 and graduated in September 2011.  It feels like I was never sick.  God restored me so completely that I feel better than ever.  I have several job opportunities waiting for me.  Some are out of state.  This is because I have a friend in Jesus.  He is now my companion.  I consult with Him about every problem I have.  He is my hero.  He has taken my mess and turned it into a “message.”  (I can’t take credit for that, it came from Cowboy’s linebacker Brady James.)  But it’s true.  I will be able to reach many people that are “unreachable.”  Like Paul writes to Timothy, “Do not neglect the spiritual gift that is given to you.”  This means to use your testimony.  I plan to use mine to send warnings to other lost souls, so they can experience His grace as well.

Suzanne Neel

Suzanne Neel

My name is  Suzanne Neel, I’m 29 and from Crockett, TX.  I’m a PK (preacher’s kid).  I became bored in church, and felt I had to make everybody think I was perfect when I was really miserable on the inside.  I started running away, looking for excitement.  I fell in love with alcohol and drugs and started getting in trouble with the police.  Sometimes my parents wouldn’t hear from me for days, weeks, or even months.

I got into witchcraft and thought it was awesome.  I played on Ouija boards and had séances.  I wanted to be a witch.  I decided to have a child and sacrifice it to the devil.  I got pregnant with my first child, Zachary.  The only place I could go to get away from the torture and torment of the demons was my parents’ house.  I knew I had gone too far.

Several years later I received 5 years felony probation.  I left the state and got into even more trouble.  When I went home to turn myself in, my attorney had me sent to a secular treatment center for 18 months.  Soon after my release I began to drink and use drugs again.  I kept hearing God telling me to change before it was too late.  Finally I listened, and my family brought me to Teen Challenge of Texas – San Antonio Women’s campus.

Here God has totally changed my life!  I have learned how to have a relationship with Him, not just know of Him.  God makes me a lot happier than any drug ever could.  He has restored my relationship with my family and both of my children.  He has even restored my brain cells!  Before coming here I couldn’t remember anything.  God laid it on my heart to memorize the entire book of James, and with His help I did it!  My aunt has given me a scholarship to an online Bible college.  God is leading me to open a re-entry  center for women who graduate from Teen Challenge.  I’m really excited to do things the right way and to be the Christian woman God intended for me to be!

Shree Dupree

Shree Dupree

Shree Dupree, Graduated September 6th 2011 SA Women’s Program

I was born with a generational curse.  My dad was a full-blown alcoholic.  He didn’t make it out of his addiction: he died when I was nine years old.  Everyone told me I looked just like my dad and was going to be just like him!  I did grow up in church thanks to my maternal grandmother; but when she died, my mom stopped taking me. I do believe that, because my grandmother was such a Christian woman, God’s promises to her rescued me out of my addiction.

My mom raised me and my sisters with no direction or foundation in life.  I looked for love in men; after constantly being hurt by everyone I loved, I found that I could escape the pain through drugs and alcohol.  I became so addicted that I could not even function.  Every time a problem arose in my life I turned to drugs.  They had a stronghold on me for seven years.  Everyone told me to just quit, but I couldn’t.  I was in true bondage; every demon in hell was on me.  I tried going to church but as soon as I left I would go back in sin.  My mom told me to go to rehab but I knew 30 days wasn’t enough.  I remember telling her, “I need to go to church 24/7!”

Wow!  That’s when a friend told my sister about Teen Challenge.  I was desperate for help; death was knocking at my door.  Since I’ve been at Teen Challenge of Texas – San Antonio Women’s Campus my chains are gone.  I have a foundation and direction.  I will never have to turn to a man, drugs, or alcohol when I’m faced with a challenge.  I now have all the fruits of the Spirit, I have learned to pray with power, I have learned about spiritual warfare, and I have learned to stand!

“Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial because when He has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him.”  James 1:12

Natalie Lajas

Natalie Lajas

Hi, my name is Natalie Lajas, I’m 20 years old and from Cleveland TN.  I’ve been in Teen Challenge 10 1/2 months, and God has completely transformed me.  I’m not the same young lady who walked through the doors of this program.

I was adopted literally and figuratively.  First at the age of 3, into a family that I felt never really accepted or approved of me.  I felt different, unwanted, unloved, and unimportant.  I thought of myself as a mistake and never good enough.  My mother was never really happy with who I was.  Everything she tried to force me to be or do, I did totally the opposite.  My road trip to hell started when she spoke curses over my life.  I started making bad decisions, and fell into a life of partying and drugs.  I let in hatred, anger, pain, and despair.  I allowed my emotions to control the choices that I made, feeling sorry for myself.  That led to self-injury, which is a form of addiction along with the abuse of drugs.

All I really wanted was the approval of others, someone to love me.  I found that to be another addiction, because I was looking for it in all the wrong places and from all the wrong people.  I felt so alone in the world.  Then one night as I was crying in my bed feeling sorry for myself I heard the Lord speak to my heart telling me that I am more than this.  An overwhelming presence of peace took over as I submitted all that was left of me to HIM.

Since then, I have welcomed the Lord into my heart to take total control of me.  He is the lover of my soul.   I’m not who I once was.  I have a relationship with HIM who lets me know how loved I am, how important I am, how wanted I am.  And nothing compares to the knowledge of being a new creation, not a mistake; a child of the most high God, found and forgiven by HIS amazing grace; a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people set apart for God that I might declare HIS praise of HIM who called me out of darkness and into HIS wonderful light.

I live and breathe for God.  I have a reason to get up in the mornings.  Now I am a young lady with a purpose, and that purpose is to live for HIM.  His approval is all I need because on Christ the solid rock I stand.

Derick Smith

Derick Smith

My name is Derick Smith. Before I came to Teen Challenge of Texas – Magnolia Men’s Campus, my life was one big perpetual lie. I wasn’t living for the Lord and there was no truth in me. In 2005 I had back surgery, and got addicted to pain pills. My life very quickly got out of control and became a constant search for the numbing effects of the pills. In my selfish despair, I didn’t care who I hurt or used as long as I got what I wanted. Since I came to Teen Challenge and cried out to Jesus, I’ve learned how to rely on God for my needs to be met and how to look to Him for answers. I’ve learned a great deal from the group studies we do here at Teen Challenge. The Gospel and contract studies have been the pivot point of transforming my mind and life in Christ. Since I’ve been here, my family relationships have been restored and I must pass all that glory to my God. I plan to serve God with my life now by answering the call of youth minister. Praise God!

Aaron Barber

Aaron Barber

Hello my name is Aaron Barber. I am 29 years old and from Dallas, TX. I come from a rough past including a lot of drug and alcohol abuse. I spent the last 15 years of my life in and out of jail and high and drunk on anything that I could get my hands on. In August of 2010 I was facing a 10 year sentence. But instead of going to the penitentiary I was sent to Teen Challenge of Texas – Azle Men’s Campus.

Here I have learned a lot. One of the best things about Teen Challenge for me has been the extensive class time I get from our education department. I have learned how to read the word and apply it to my life. The group studies that we do helped me to identify things in myself that I didn’t know were there. We had a class on managing money that has been a great help to improve the way I look at my finances. Now we’re involved in a study called the Ultimate Journey. This class helps me identify the lies that I believed about myself as a kid growing up and how to deal with them now in a more positive and Godly way. I have spent my whole life doing wrong for selfish reasons; now I am learning through a new kind of spiritual education to do things for others and for Gods kingdom.

Crystal Hart

Crystal Hart

Crystal Hart, Alumni

I’m Crystal Hart, I’m 25 years old. I was raised in Angleton, TX. In high school I gave in to the pressures of trying to be cool by joining the crowd passing pills in the halls and skipping school to get high. I quickly lost interest in sports, church, and real friends, and turned my back on my family. I was running the streets and stealing from stores. I had lost my focus on what mattered in life. I wanted to do right, but I couldn’t let go of my “fast” easy lifestyle. I prayed to God in desperation many nights. He heard my cry – He showed me mercy when I was in jail. Years of drugs and alcohol had taken a toll on my mind and body. I went through a stage of psychosis where my reality became terror. On the cold floor, alone and desperate in the dark, Jesus was there to help me through it. Soon after my release I went to Teen Challenge – San Antonio Women’s campus. Jesus met me there and showed me love through others in a way I had never experienced. I started to open up and be honest with myself and others; I learned to face my problems and not run from them. Slowly I regained my family’s trust. I no longer need medication; I am free from all the chains that once bound me. God’s way is a lot better than my way! I trust Him more every day. What peace I have knowing I am free and loved no matter what. I graduated in March 2011. Currently I am working 2 jobs and singing in my church choir. I will be returning to school next semester. I thank God for the ministry of Teen Challenge of Texas, I am forever grateful. To God be the glory!

Matt Henderson

Matt Henderson

Hi, my name is Matt Henderson, I’m 21 years old and I was born in Waco, Tx. I was raised in a Christian home all my life, my mom always took us, my sister and me to church on Sunday’s and Wednesdays. I was active in youth camps and helping in the community. My parents were divorced, but I still had a good relationship with my father and mother. All the years of my youth I still never knew what being a Christian was all about. I had accepted Jesus into my heart, but was young and didn’t know what it really meant. When I was 13 years old I woke up one morning and my mom had passed away from an aneurism. That was the day my world fell apart. My mom was my best friend, and now she was gone. That day I gave up on life and on myself. After my mom passed away I moved in with my dad, which meant I had to move to another town, Valley Mill, Tx. and change schools. By the time I was 15 I had made new friends and started doing drugs to fill the void, the hole in my heart. By the age of 16 I was a full blown alcoholic and addict and was in and out of jail. Doing everything I could to rum from God. I was hurting! I couldn’t understand why I had to loose my mom. When I was 20 years old I got into more trouble, and the D.A. and judge gave me the option to come to Teen Challenge. Since I’ve been in Teen Challenge, 10 months now, God has done amazing things in my life. He has completely restored the trust and love back in my family, and turned my world upside down. I actually like who I’m becoming now. I can talk to my family without hiding who I am and what I’m feeling. My grand-mother told me that through seeing me grow, she is becoming a stronger Christian. God has answered prayer and opened doors for a cousin to make her way to Teen Challenge as well. God has also put a desire in me to become a youth pastor and that is something I intend to pursue. God is and has done amazing in my life and I can’t wait to see what else He is going to do. Thanks be to God!

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About Us

Adult and Teen Challenge is the faith-based SOLUTION for the drug epidemic. The scope of Adult & Teen Challenge has grown over the years, and now serves adults as well as teenagers. There are over 200 Teen Challenge campuses in the United States, and over 1000 centers world wide in over 80 countries, which provide Christian recovery services to individuals of every age and social background. Typically, these services are long-term residential recovery centers which provide a life-encompassing environment through which the participant is able to change their lifestyle and develop a plan for a future free from addiction.