A Divine Mission
Saving One Child at a Time
Over 30 million children have lost their childhood through sexual exploitation in the past 3 decades. Many are sold into slavery by their own relatives, who are desperate for money just to feed themselves. While sex trafficking in Southern Asia continues to be overwhelming, the efforts to combat the crime remain woefully inadequate.
As the ministry of addiction recovery continues to shine a light of hope into the darkest places of human disparity, we find that those struggling with addiction are often a result of other life-controlling circumstances.
This is Meera's Story
My younger sister and I spent most of our childhood in a small village in India, living with our aunt. I was happy there and had accepted that my mom lived in the city because she had to work to provide for us. My aunt also worked very hard in the fields to keep food on the table, as well as caring for my sister and me. While growing up, we saw our mother only a couple times a year, until one day she returned to our village to bring us home to live with her. I was so happy to finally be with her. She worked as a housekeeper and nanny in the city and many days I would help her after school.
As we spent more and more time together, I realized she wasn’t well even though she kept working. I could see her getting sicker and it was hard for me to watch her struggling, but I knew she was determined to provide for us. One day she became so sick she was rushed to the hospital and my aunt took my sister and me to the center where she worked as a volunteer. They said we could stay there while my aunt cared for my mom and it was there that I first heard the message of Jesus and His love for me. I began praying for my mother to get better.
I didn’t understand why my aunt had been keeping us away, but soon learned that my mother had AIDS and tuberculosis. My heart was broken because even at my young age, I knew AIDS was a terminal disease. Two months later she died alone in the hospital. We had so little time together and I couldn’t understand why she died the way she did.
As a teenager, I had heard about the red-light district and the women and children who were forced to work there. It made me question where my mother worked and why she had to leave me and my sister with my aunt when we were so young. I wanted to know why she had died of AIDS. I turned to my aunt for answers and what she told me was devastating.
She explained that her father, my grandfather, had sold my mother to work in the red-light district. I thought about how often she had helped my grandfather and how she took care of him. How could he sell his own daughter for the price of a goat? As Meera contemplated her mom’s suffering, she knew that rescuing others like her would be her life’s calling.
“Now when I go to the red-light district, I have documentation allowing me to bring the children back with me so they can have hope for a beautiful life like I now have.”
Despite Meera’s loss and hardships, she managed to complete high school and went on to earn a Master’s degree in counseling. Knowing that the Lord had given her a mission, she accepted a position at an addiction recovery center.
She started to visit the red-light district and discovered that her mother’s experience was far from unique. What she saw was hard to take in. People living in cages. The women there told her, “This is not what we want to do, but selling our bodies is our only chance to pay for our freedom.” Most of the women are illiterate, having spent all their school years in the sex trade. If they ever do get out, there are no jobs that pay enough to support themselves, so they end up trapped in a vicious cycle. Her heart broke again realizing that her mother had lived like these women.
Today Meera rescues women and children from the clutches of the inner city. “Now when I go into the red-light district,
I have documentation allowing me to bring the children back with me so they can have hope for a beautiful life like I now have.”
Through the faithful partnership of individuals like you who support the vision of addiction recovery, Meera is able to save countless children who are trapped with no hope – and share with them the Christmas story – about how God sent His son Jesus to save the world.
*SENSITIVE REGION: The stories in this issue are true testimonies, however, due to the sensitivity of Christian persecution in Southern Asia, identities have been changed and locations undisclosed for the protection of the individuals.
270 Million People Struggle with a Life-Controlling Issue.
7 Die Every Minute
420 Die Every Hour
10,080 Die Every Day
More than 3.5 Million Die Every Year
CONSUMED BY CHAOS
A Story of Saving Grace
For years, Armaan and his sisters never knew a moment of peace in their home. They loved their mother, but her addiction had grown so severe they became concerned she would soon die.
One day after their mother had gone missing, they found she had fallen off the roof of their home. From that point on she began hearing voices at night. Her dreams turned into nightmares and she was convinced that people were after her.
“We lived in chaos,” Armaan says. “We prayed many times to the goddess Durga. We prayed for her dreams to stop. We prayed for her health.” Being raised influenced by superstition, the children even tied a taweez (a locket or amulet) of ancient prayers around their mother to ward off evil spirits they believed had possessed her.
The family was exhausted and frustrated as nothing worked. That’s when the stress started affecting the children’s health too. “I was frequently sick with fevers, viruses and coughs,” Armaan says. “My mother felt she had failed as a mother, and now her children were cursed as well.” A friend in the village
had been visiting a class run by the center, and reached out to invite their mother to a meeting.
“That night was the first time she ever heard the name Jesus. The stories of His healing power intrigued my mother, and she thought maybe, just maybe, this was the answer. As she attended the Bible study for the next several weeks, she heard about the gospel and accepted Jesus Christ as her personal Savior. Slowly, she began to get well and my entire family found Christ.”
Christian persecution is rampant in India, and the family was ridiculed and disowned by the community for their faith.
“That night was the first time my mother ever heard the name of Jesus.”
Armaan said, “nothing anyone did could change our minds about who God was. We knew His healing power and His saving grace. My family experienced transformation, the healing of our bodies, and the peace of mind that surpassed anyone’s understanding. Not long after, we were all baptized. Looking back, chaos left our house when we decided to trust God for everything. Now, Christ reigns in our home and the only voices that are heard are prayers of praise being lifted to God.”
Today the whole family serves God and their community through Teen Challenge, reaching those lost in addiction and false faiths.
Water Well Project
A new well provides clean water for the Teen Challenge center and surrounding community. Most streams are not safe to drink from as they are also used for bathing, laundry, and livestock watering holes.
Micro-Business Hit by Explosion
In the recent Beirut explosion, the Teen Challenge Travel & Tourism business had windows blown out and interior furnishings were damaged.
The men’s Teen Challenge in Grenada held its inaugural prison program meeting with more than 30 in attendance.
Dashed Dreams & Answered Prayers
While most Teen Challenge stories start with a life held hostage by addiction, this one is unique. Vivaan was held hostage, literally. Against all odds, he found his way to a profound and enduring freedom, thanks to the loving staff of the center.
Vivaan was born in India to a poor but proud household. His father, a Hindu priest, provided the best he could for the family, but it is difficult to prosper in a country where many priests live day-to-day with little to no income. In fact, more than half the population of India faces unimaginable poverty, surviving on less than $2.50 per day.
Despite a severe lack of material wealth, Vivaan thrived in a warm and loving home. He rarely complained, yet secretly longed for a better life for his parents and siblings.
As a teenager, he was determined to contribute to his family’s income and regularly searched for work. He took odd jobs here and there, doing whatever he could. Then one day his fortunes changed—he was offered steady work in Malaysia.
The entire community gathered to celebrate. Everyone found encouragement in knowing the son of a holy man had secured a path to financial security. Vivaan’s new job would help provide a better life for his whole family. His dreams were coming true. He excitedly prepared for the nearly 2,000-mile journey from India to Malaysia. Family and friends tearfully wished him well, brimming with joy for his bright future.
A bundle of nerves and bursting with pride, he left the only home he’d ever known. He’d never flown in a plane, let alone been out of the country and had never even seen the far side of his own city. Echoes of loving words from his dear father mingled with the promise of better days to come, helping him overcome his anxiousness.
Vivaan’s feet barely touched the ground at Kuala Lumpur International Airport, when his new employer asked for his passport. Not realizing what was happening, he happily complied. He would soon come to understand that his passport had been confiscated and his new job would come with no pay.
Like so many poor foreigners, lured by opportunities in Malaysia’s burgeoning construction, palm oil, and electronics industries, Vivaan had been trafficked. His dreams crashed down around him knowing he had no money and no passport. He was trapped.
Day after day he was forced to toil for his employer, given nothing more than meager meals and a roof over his head. Living conditions were far worse than at his home in India. Crowded with many strangers in a tiny house with no plumbing and no clean water to drink, the smell was unbearable. After a year, he began using heroin with the others to escape bitter reality. His only hope as he awoke each morning was that
one day his family would find him and take him home.
Back in India, his family was devastated. Frantic with worry, they prayed for a sign from their sweet Vivaan. For two years, day after day, week after week, month after month, hope was not to be found.
One day, his father was told of a distant relative who had been healed from an illness through the prayers of the caring staff at the center. He traveled to the center and shared the story of his son’s disappearance, and the staff began to pray for his safe return.
Vivaan’s father made a vow that day—if their God rescued his son, he would serve Him the rest of his life. Miraculously, within a week Vivaan returned home, stepping off the plane with his passport in hand.
His father held true to his promise, giving his heart and life to the God who rescued his son. Vivaan entered the program and soon accepted Jesus as his personal Savior.
Today the whole family serves their community at the center, reaching those lost in addiction.
from Dr. Nance
As we celebrate the birth of our Savior this Christmas season, I’m reminded of what a blessing it is that we have the freedom to do so. Throughout Southern Asia — the region spotlighted in this issue — you’ll see that Christian persecution still exists and governments continue to prohibit many faith-based organizations to operate. Can you imagine not being able to freely go to church or celebrate the joy of Christmas?
We see Christ’s love change the lives of people struggling with addiction every day in Teen Challenge centers throughout the world, many of our affiliates face the risk of violence or even death for sharing the hope found in Jesus and their Christian faith.
While most boys in Southern Asia are seen as an investment in the family dynasty, girls are often forced by the family into modern day slavery. Still, both girls and boys are trafficked for prostitution and slave labor. These horrific practices are just a reminder of why the love of Christ is needed more than ever in sensitive nations around the world. The combination of persecution, human trafficking, and extreme poverty are fueling a crisis of addiction, as more and more youth and adults turn to drugs and alcohol to cover their pain.
As you read the victory testimonies in this issue, know that it is your compassion and generosity that becomes the ray of hope for these victims of circumstance by sharing the love of Jesus where it is needed most.
We stand committed to taking the gospel into the sensitive nations of Southern Asia and around the world. Thanks to your support, we know that every life that is transformed helps create a brighter future for all.
Jerry Nance, PhD
May the God of hope fill you with all the joy and peace as you trust in Him.
Addiction does not discriminate. Over 270 million people struggle with a life-controlling issue. Boys, girls, men, and women around the globe are looking for hope.
We have immediate opportunities for Teen Challenge programs in 33 unreached nations, but need your support. The average cost to start a program is $50,000. Would you or your church prayerfully consider adopting one of these nations?
Every country has unique challenges. Your support will help secure property, start new programs, renovate, expand, develop leaders, or create a sustainable micro-enterprise.
The needs vary from region to region, but the cry for help remains the same in every nation. Thank you for helping put hope within reach around the world.
HELP US PUT HOPE WITHIN REACH OF EVERY ADDICT!
GLOBAL TEEN CHALLENGE | P.O. BOX 511 | COLUMBUS, GEORGIA 31902 | PHONE (+1) 706.576.6555 | INFO@GLOBALTC.ORG