ELP Participant Highlight – February

Name: Shannon McDonald

Age: 31

Hometown: Ft. Myers, FL

Teen Challenge Center: Jacksonville Teen Challenge

Brief Testimony: The Ministry of Teen Challenge has forever changed my life, before entering the program I had no clue about my Savior Jesus, never saw a bible or set foot in a church. I was bound in addiction for 21 years always looking for something that was missing, only I never knew what it was. Today I’ve found it, and I am delivered and passionate about giving to others what God has given me through this ministry. FREEDOM!

What is the vision and calling that God has given you?

To work in street ministry and evangelism with women in prostitution and addiction.

How has the ELP Program impacted you? 

God is intimately shaping my Christ-like attitude and character through all the studies I am doing. He is also breaking my fleshly ways off me that hinder me in my leadership and giving me the wisdom and grace to change. He is aligning my heart with his for His people so I am not selfish and can do His will for His people and not my own.

Training Facilitator Highlight – February

Name: Alyssa Coulthard

Age: 22

Hometown: Baltimore, MD

Teen Challenge Center: Jacksonville Teen Challenge Women’s Center. Graduated in 2016

Brief Testimony: Just under three years ago, I walked into the doors of Teen Challenge – I was broken, humiliated, hungry for freedom, and so desperate for hope. A 6-year drug addiction led me into a life of homelessness, jails, prison, and despair. By the mercy of my Heavenly Father, I was able to serve my supposed prison sentence in TeenChallenge instead, where I was introduced to the person of Jesus Christ – He liberated me and broke off chains of bondage and addiction. I now live to spread the same hope and salvation that has been given to me, developing and raising up the next generation of disciples and disciplers. “It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.” Galatians 2:20

What do you enjoy most about your role?

I enjoy the privilege of being able to identify, develop, and equip leaders who will take part in advancing the Kingdom of God – I love to see disciples making disciples!

Why do you feel that leadership and training are valuable?  

I feel that leadership and training are valuable because we must teach, train, and equip those who are wanting to mature and grow in their walk with Christ in order for them to in-turn pour into the lives of others, raising them up as disciple-makers as well.

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.

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.

ELP Participant Highlight – September 2017

Name: Thomas Burton

Age: 40

Hometown: Lincolnton, Georgia

Teen Challenge Center: Graduate of Dublin Men’s Center, April 2017

Brief Testimony: 18 years of drug abuse & pornography.  As a result, my marriage was destroyed.  God has now restored my marriage and my life.

What is the vision and calling that God has given you? God has given me a vision and calling for evangelism and executive leadership in Teen Challenge.

How has the ELP Program impacted you? – ELP has provided instructions and study material to help me to learn about God’s calling on my life.

______________________________________________________________________

Name: Erin Burton

Age: 38

Hometown: Charleston, South Carolina

Teen Challenge Center: Graduate of Columbus Women’s Center, March 2017. Now serving at Dublin Men’s Center

Brief Testimony: I fell in love with Jesus at 8 years old, but was instantly consumed by death gripping fear due to hurt, abandonment, and loss. This lead to my first drug overdose at 15 years old. I was consumed by greed, control and lust. I walked out of God’s will and adventured right into the hands of the enemy…only to find Jesus Christ right in the middle of my despair and destruction. He faithfully pulled me out of a deep, extremely dark pit of depression, and placed me at Teen Challenge in Columbus, GA., While at Teen Challenge I received the true revelation of salvation. God’s grace changed everything. My body was healed, my heart was not afraid to love or be loved, my mind was completely renewed, damaged relationships were restored and I was made Kingdom bound. I’m now serving, wholeheartedly, with my husband as an Emerging Leader at Dublin Men’s Center in Dublin, Georgia.

What is the vision and calling that God has given you? – My husband and I answered God’s call while we were both in the program at Teen Challenge. After being made whole in Christ, the vision of leading multitudes to Christ is now being breathed into existence.

How has the ELP Program impacted you? – The Emerging Leaders Program continuously improves and enhances my intimate relationship with the Lord. Through the Lord’s strength, He is molding, forming, and shaping me. The Lord is helping me to be a walking, breathing display of Christ.

Thomas and his wife Erin, now serve together as Emerging Leaders at the Dublin Men’s Center. They have also been reunited with their beautiful 3 year old daughter, Carly.

COMMITMENT

Recently, I was at a middle school seminar, where a motivational speaker was challenging students to become engaged in a small group initiative. He gave an illustration of a married couple who were relaxing poolside. It was a hot day and they were needing some relief from the sun. Naturally, they both decided to go for a swim. The husband, stood up and without hesitation cannon-balled right into the deep end. The wife, on the other hand, walked over to the shallow end of the pool, used the handrail and slowly walked her way into the pool using each step. After several minutes of contemplating and with about half of her body emerged in water, she turned around walked out of the pool and told her husband the water was too cold. This story seems like an average event, but it was used to show the dynamics of commitment. The husband’s reaction was one of being enthusiastically all in. The wife was hesitant and wanted to tip-toe into the situation, while over analyzing every step.

This scenario can be so common in our own lives. We see an opportunity or a challenge in front of us and we can make the choice. We can either dive into the deep end without doubt, insecurities and fear, or we can tip-toe our way around opportunity. One requires faith and the other relies on self.

In this context, we could highlight two kinds of commitment – personal commitment and commitment as a leader. Personally, this begins with your relationship to the Lord and the confidence of knowing what He has called you to. When these two things are solidified in your life, you are able to draw strength, especially when stepping into the unknown. This strength then has the ability to overflow and influence those you are leading. Leaders who make a choice to dive into their relationship with the Lord are able to lead others out of a strong sense of commitment. We live in a world where so many people make decisions based on their own interests. In doing so, we fail to realize the greater impact that our own “yes”, may have on others, not to mention the eternal impact! Your commitment hinges on souls.

In closing, let me leave you with this quote, “In order to ‘hold fast’ to something, one must allow oneself to be held to something. That commitment may be one of the hardest things to practice in a world of so much choice.” Today we have a choice. Will you choose to cannonball or tip-toe?
Article written by: Holly Williams

Source: You Win in the Locker Room First, by Jon Gordon and Mike Smith

Training Facilitator Highlight – August 2017

Name: Rachel Massieu

Age: 21

Hometown: Dothan, AL

Teen Challenge Center: Fort Myers Women’s Center; Graduate of Columbus Girls Home, 2012

Brief Testimony: When I first came to Teen Challenge I was bound to my eating disorder and insecurities. During my time in Teen Challenge I radically fell in love with Jesus, who picked me up from the muck and mire and gave me the beautiful life that I live today.

What do you enjoy most about your role? I love being able to see men and women come to the knowledge of their gifts, callings and passions through ELP and learn how to apply them to their lives.

Why do you feel that leadership and training are valuable? The leadership training that Teen Challenge men and women receive in ELP, empowers them to walk in their gifts. They are then able to be the vessels that God has ordained them to be.