ELP Participant Highlight – January

Name: Glenn Abernethy

Age: 52

Hometown: Sacramento, CA

Teen Challenge Center: Pensacola Teen Challenge

Testimony: I started abusing alcohol and drugs in 1978 and didn’t stop until 1991, when God rescued me and gave me a new start. It’s been an amazing journey. He has blessed me so much, and I’m living a life I never thought possible. I am honored to be a part of what God is doing through Teen Challenge.

Vision/Calling: “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge” (Hosea 4:6) I have a heart to teach and share God’s Word. It is so necessary for the men and women we minister to to have a solid foundation and a vital relationship with His Word and the Holy Spirit. To help develop spiritual warriors who will take the fight to the enemy and restore what has been lost.

How has the ELP Program impacted you? The ELP program has stretched me and challenged me to be not just a better leader but a better follower. Learning to work together with so many diverse people yet all working toward the same goals, serving together for His Kingdom.

Training Facilitator Highlight – January

Name: Joshua Horne

Age: 39

Hometown: Fairhope, Alabama

Teen Challenge Center: Pensacola Men’s Center, 2013

Brief Testimony: I came into Pensacola Teen Challenge on August 20, 2012 with
intent to manipulate the judicial system. Shortly after arriving to the program,
God started to break my heart. After 20 years of drugs, alcohol and living a
completely self-centered lifestyle, the God of the universe called my name and I
heard Him. God has shown Himself through circumstance and has faithfully grown
me through trials, therefore equipping me to make disciples.

What do you enjoy most about your role? – I very much enjoy helping men grow
through trials.

Why do you feel that leadership and training are valuable? Identifying and equipping leaders ensures the future moving of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. 

Main Article – January

A Time For Everything

By: Bryan Sampson

One of my favorite things to do while traveling overseas is observe people and cultures. I like to take on the role of an ethnographer as I observe and record just about everything that catches my attention. I am just fascinated with the differences in our cultures. One of the greatest differences between our North American culture and that of Central America is the way we see time. Here in the United States we are monochronic. We see our time linearly in chronological order. We focus on one thing at a time; things should begin and end on time and we don’t like people to be late or for things to run over the time we allot. While in Nicaragua they are polychronic, meaning they do many things at once. Their concept of time is free-flowing, and changes depending on each situation. Distractions and interruptions are a natural part of life, and have to be taken in stride. The polychronic culture shows greater commitment to people and relationships over just a job.

Looking at these two very different views of time I begin to ask myself; which does God prefer? I would have to say both. God is a God of order, the God of cosmos, not chaos so we know he can prefer the monochronic view, but I also know that God wants our availability and for us to be more relational. As one saying goes “God is not looking for ability but availability” Our monochronic view of time can leave us with too much structure and not enough room for spontaneity allowing deep meaningful relationships to build. What are we to do?

What I propose that we do this new year is create an awareness of how we see our time. Imagine if we could begin to analyze each situation and adopt the proper view of time to bring about the greatest glory for God. If we are in work mode a monochronic view may be best, but when you leave the office maybe it is time to change your view. Imagine what your life would look like if you could embrace each moment, each conversation, each dinner without the concern of the next event. I think we would be surprised at how much enjoyment we would get out of the simple things in life when we slow down and embrace what God is doing around us. I believe that by becoming more polychronic we will build real relationships that can lead to the salvation of souls while also experiencing the awe and wonder of His glory. It is when we begin to see our time as God’s and not our own that we may choose to spend it differently. Solomon says it best “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven” (Ecl. 3:1). So how will you spend your time this year?

Training Facilitator Highlight – December 2017

Name: Kevin Campos

Age: 24

Hometown: Satellite Beach, FL

Teen Challenge Center: Tallahassee Men’s Center; Graduated of Orlando Men’s Center, 2015.

Testimony: My name is Kevin Campos, I am 24 years old and I poured all my time and energy into becoming the best football player I could be during high school. When I found out there was no chance for a football scholarship I turned to unhealthy relationships, stealing, getting high and drinking for my acceptance. After a few years of moving city to city and building a rap sheet, I could not take the endless cycle of purposelessness anymore. I cried out to God where He gave me no other option than to enter into Teen Challenge. This is where I learned how to have a genuine relationship with my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Now I drive my own vehicle with a valid license, I go to school maintaining great grades, and I am a teacher for Tallahassee Teen Challenge. Glory to God!
What do you enjoy the most about your role? –  What I enjoy most about my role in Teen Challenge is teaching and being a part of these men’s discipleship process, watching their lives transformed by the power Jesus Christ alone.
Why do you feel that leadership and training are valuable? – Leadership and training is valuable to me because I want to follow Jesus and He commissions us, as His children, to make disciples and to help each other become more obedient. This is only possible by receiving correction and correcting others by the power of God’s Holy Spirit.

ELP Participant Highlight – December 2017

Name: Christopher Flannery    

Age: 22

Hometown: Dallas, GA

Teen Challenge Center: Tallahassee Men’s Center

Brief Testimony: From an early age of 15 I started using drugs. After a scare to my parents, I put it off until college when freedom was given to me. I went all in with the party scene until I got dismissed from college and began my adventure into a dark tunnel of drugs, women and masked failure. Then I was brought to the end of myself by my own destruction and at the end of the tunnel God’s light overcame me. I ended up going to Teen Challenge where God has moved in my life in significant ways. It has been a very beneficial roller coaster and I can’t wait for the next loop.

What is the vision and calling that God has given you? – The vision I have is to be an optimistic minister. I want to open a ministry for community and love for those needing God.

 How has the ELP Program impacted you? – ELP has brought me to terms with who I wanted to be and the challenges of being that person. I am now becoming who God wants me to be.

Main Article – December 2017

Merry Christmas!

By: Dustin Nance

It’s the season when we take time to reflect back and assess what we have accomplished throughout the year and laugh over memories created with friends and family. This year I have been reflecting on just how good God has been to me. It’s so refreshing for me to look back and see the hand of God over every situation in my life, especially in the midst of hardship.

While spending time looking back at my own life and looking forward to the new year, it’s hard not to notice the types of songs we sing around Christmas; “Joy to the World”, “Angels We Have Heard On High”, “Away in a Manger”, “Silent Night”, “Hark! the Herald Angels Sing”, I love this time of year! I may not be one to play Christmas music around the clock through the month of December, but I love that these songs point us to the real reason we celebrate this season. 

It’s important to take time and reflect on your year, learn from mistakes and plan for the next year. It’s important to create memories with family and love on each other through gifts and kind words. However, don’t miss the opportunity to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. Born to a virgin and lived a perfect life only to die as the one and only atoning sacrifice.

It is truly a season to celebrate what He has done for our eternity and reflect on His active hand in our lives. I challenge you to take a few minutes and re-read the lyrics to two of my favorite Christmas Carols. I hope and pray you have a truly Merry Christmas!

 Joy to the World  

Joy to the world

The Lord has come

Let earth receive her King

Let every heart prepare Him room

And heaven and nature sing

And heaven and nature sing

And heaven and heaven and nature sing

Joy to the world

The Lord has come

Let earth receive her King

Let every heart prepare him room

And heaven and nature sing

And heaven and nature sing

And heaven and heaven and nature sing

Joy to the earth

The Savior reigns

Let men their songs employ

While fields and floods

Rocks, hills, and plains

Repeat the sounding joy

Repeat the sounding joy

Repeat, repeat the sounding joy

Hark! the herald angels sing

Hark! the herald angels sing

Glory to the new-born King

Peace on earth and mercy mild

God and sinners reconciled

Joyful, all ye nations, rise

Join the triumph of the skies

With angelic host proclaim

Christ is born in Bethlehem

Hark! the herald angels sing

Glory to the new-born King

Christ, by highest heaven adored

Christ, the everlasting Lord

Late in time behold him come

Offspring of the Virgin's womb

Hail the Flesh, the God Head see

Hail the incarnate Deity

Pleased as man with man to dwell

Jesus, our Emmanuel!

Hark! the herald angels sing

Glory to the new-born King

 

Main Article – November 2017

Truly Thankful

By: Bryan Sampson

Last year, for the first time in my life, I got to spend my Thanksgiving holiday with my dad’s side of the family. It was a nice transition from the normal routine that I was in. I am always intrigued by the different ways that people celebrate holidays. The one aspect that I found most interesting was the prayer before the meal. Everyone (in this case 15 people) was asked to give thanks for something. As could be expected, the most common thing that was mentioned was being with family and in second place the food. It almost seemed like no one could think of anything original to thank God for. Though family and food are great things to have, ones which we should be very thankful for, I do believe that they are far from the most important things for which we should be thankful.

Paul writes in Ephesians “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places” (1:3 ESV). Through Christ we have received every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places. This sounds absolutely amazing, and something we should be extremely thankful for, yet if my family is any indicator of what most people will be praying for this Thanksgiving, then I fear that we may be missing what we should truly be thankful for. So what are these spiritual blessings you might ask? There are too many to number here, it will probably take all of eternity to discover every way God has blessed us, but here are a few to ponder and resonate on:

  1. We have been chosen before the foundation of the world to be Holy and without blame before Him in love (Eph 1:4). All because of His love he chose to give us a gift and make us something we could never become on our own. He chose to forgive us of our sins! By His grace we are saved. Even when we were dead in our sins, he made us alive together with Christ (Eph. 2:5). We are not just physically alive but spiritually alive because of His grace and mercy. There is no greater gift that He could give us. This is an immeasurable gift because Christ is immeasurable and until this becomes a reality in our lives, we can’t be truly thankful the way we should. Lets take a moment to ponder all that we have been forgiven for and our need for God’s grace and mercy and let this fill us with praise and thanksgiving.
  2. We have been adopted as children of God through Jesus Christ (Eph 1:5). With the most common prayer at my families’ Thanksgiving, giving thanks for family, it should be surprising that no one thanked God for bringing them into His family. How much more thankful should we be for our Heavenly Father? How much more thankful should we be that we were estranged and orphans but God chose to adopt us?  We are now heirs of the kingdom of heaven and when we realize just what family we have been adopted in, all because of His good pleasure, grace and love, then we can begin to be truly thankful to our Father.
  3. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace (Eph 1:7). Not only have we been forgiven for our sins, but God has given us freedom from that which has enslaved us. I pray we all are experiencing this type of freedom in our live’s today and are still aware of the slavery that God had freed us from. Just imagine the joy and thankfulness that filled the hearts of the African American community in the South when they received the news that Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation. Imagine how thankful they were that they were set FREE! We should be experiencing this same freedom, joy and thankfulness. It isn’t hard to reflect at what our lives could be without the freedom that we have in Christ. As Paul writes “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery” (Gal 5:1). So if the Son sets you free, you are free indeed (Jhn 8:36).

It is hard to be thankful for things that we aren’t experiencing isn’t it? Today let us take the time to meditate on these spiritual blessings and experience what God has done for us, so this Thanksgiving we will be able to celebrate it properly, being truly thankful for that which truly matters.

“Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!” – Psalm 95:2

 

Participant Highlight – November 2017

Name: Michelle Peltier

Age: 34

Hometown: Peoria, Arizona

Teen Challenge Center: Pensacola Women’s Home; Graduated Home of Hope in Arizona, 2013

 Testimony in Brief: I grew up with a Christian background, but never personally knew the Lord. When I reached my 20’s- I made bad decisions and fell into alcohol addiction. At 29 years old- I finally found myself at rock bottom where I desperately wanted to change my life. I cried out to the Lord and He helped me! I was told about Teen Challenge and knew that was God’s will for me. I entered the program with restored hope and a new relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ!

What is the vison and calling God has given you? – I am now the Admissions Coordinator for Pensacola Teen Challenge Women’s Center. God has given me his blessing to help others receive life transformation and freedom from addiction, just as I had, through Jesus Christ at Teen Challenge.

How has the ELP Program impacted you? – ELP Level I and II have impacted me tremendously and continue to keep me focused on my walk with the Lord. One book in particular, Ordering Your Private World, taught me proper time management skills and I learned how to prioritize my personal life, so that it reflected that peace and order within my ministry. ELP is a blessing in that not only do I continue to grow with the Lord, but I have the privilege of sharing it with others.

Training Facilitator Highlight – November 2017

Name: Lauren Schiller

Hometown: Palatka, FL

Teen Challenge Center: Pensacola Women’s Center; Graduate of Davie Women’s Home, 2014

Brief Testimony: Almost 5 years ago, I was a nobody going nowhere. I was suffering from a full-blown opiate addiction that was putting me in and out of jail, destroying all of my relationships, and quickly taking my will to live. As I went through the Teen Challenge program, I learned how to come before the Lord broken, empty, and ready to surrender…and to my surprise, that’s all He ever wanted from me. I completed the program in June of 2014 and graduated the following November. Soon after, I enrolled in Teen Challenge’s Emerging Leaders College where I learned how to work in full-time ministry and discovered a whole new depth of God. I now serve at Pensacola Women’s Center as the Program Assistant and ELP Training Facilitator. Had you asked me 5 years ago where I saw myself in the future, this would not have been an option. But God, in His perfect love, has opened my heart to the life He has intended for me to possess…And I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

What do you enjoy most about your role? – Daily having the opportunity to watch women who were once broken and hopeless develop a confidence in the gift of leadership God has placed within them. Being able to teach them, from personal experience, how to bring that gift into full fruition. The fulfillment they receive is always rewarding to witness.

Why do you feel that leadership and training are valuable? – We never “arrive” anywhere, so it is important to always remain intentional in challenging ourselves to grow. Working in the ministry of Teen Challenge, it is important to make sure we have that person in our lives who is continuously challenging us to reach our full potential in Christ. So in turn, we can lead by example for those who are coming up behind us to fulfill the position we currently hold.

Training Facilitator Highlight – October 2017

Name: Matthew “Bryan” Sampson

Age: 35

Hometown: Lexington, KY

Teen Challenge Center: Orlando Men’s Center & Training Coordinator SE Region; Graduated September, 2014
Brief Testimony: After 18 years of addiction I finally lost everything and had reached a point of desperation. Going to Teen Challenge I had little hope, but God…God used Teen Challenge to build me up into the man of God I was always meant to be. I now work as the Training Coordinator for the SE Region and am working towards my second Master’s degree in Mental Health. My desire is to raise up leaders within the region to be healing agents and leaders of Christ.
What do you enjoy most about your role? – The most enjoyable aspect of my job is to see people encounter the love of Christ. Once I begin to see this change I love engaging, encouraging, and helping them grow and develop into their new identity and watch Christ manifest in their lives.
Why do you feel that leadership and training are valuable?  – In order to make the greatest impact for the Kingdom of God, we must be investing in the next generation to lead people in the will of God. Leadership and training are essential in becoming more like Christ and walking out a life that glorifies Him.