Full Circle Redemption
in the Light
This is Sandra's Story
As a young girl, Sandra watched her family disintegrate, ripped apart by her father’s alcoholism. Completely consumed by addiction by the time she was 22 years old, her own life seemed destined for destruction as well. Teen Challenge provided the help she needed to build a brighter future, but surprisingly, it was her father’s salvation that ultimately led to her own recovery.
Born in southern Brazil, Sandra remembers her early childhood as secure and content. “My father worked very hard to provide for us,” she said, smiling as she remembered. Earning a modest living, he dutifully supported their happy family of five until alcoholism struck.
“My parents’ relationship became troubled, full of insults and hostility,” she recalled sadly. Before long, her father’s drinking controlled his life, eroding his relationship with his wife and children and tearing apart the family. Her parents’ marriage — once seemingly unbreakable — crumbled under the strain.
“From the moment they separated, I felt like the ground was falling out from under me. I was alone and empty inside.” Sandra spent the next few years attempting to fill the void left by her broken family. During her teen years, Sandra attended an evangelical church. “God was good to me, but my desperation and sorrow led me away from the Lord’s path,” she explained. She began to spend time on the streets and turned to alcohol and marijuana in an attempt to dull her deep emotional pain, and before long she was using drugs and alcohol regularly.
“As time passed, I convinced myself everything was under control, but it wasn’t. I was failing at everything I tried as I slipped further and further into addiction. By the time I reached 20, I had completely lost control of my life.”
Sandra thought she had reached rock bottom, but then discovered crack cocaine. “I was already living away from home, isolated. My studies, my work, and eventually even the trust of my family, all surrendered to the addiction.” For the next two years she lived in deplorable conditions and suffered from severe depression, hopelessly addicted to drugs with no hope for her life.
Meanwhile, Sandra’s father had entered Teen Challenge Três Coroas, where the devoted staff supported him through recovery. As he was coming out of rehabilitation, he learned of Sandra’s struggles and invited her to meet him at the Teen Challenge Coffee House. After seeing the change in her father, he was able to convince her to enroll in the Teen Challenge program for women.
From that moment, everything started to change for Sandra. “At Teen Challenge, I was treated with great love, care, and compassion. I knew a life-changing process had just begun.” Just imagine... the same man whose addiction once shattered Sandra’s world led her on a path to hope!
Sandra joined a residential recovery program, which typically takes students 12 to 24 months to complete. “With God’s grace, I finished the program and accepted the opportunity to remain as a volunteer,” she said. “Just as I had been welcomed in, I began to welcome women who were living the same drama I was once trapped in.”
Working at the residential center for women for the next nine years, she helped others get through the same challenges and issues and led them toward starting a new life built on faith and hope. She even met her husband through Teen Challenge. “I had so many wonderful experiences and lessons that I’ll carry for the rest of my life,” she explained.
It’s been almost four years since Sandra left Teen Challenge to reintegrate into her community. “I have a blessed home,” she reported happily. “God gave me the chance to become a wife, a mother, and a benchmark of transformation for many who go through recovery.”
Sandra says that her victory story is owed to Teen Challenge Três Coroas for “helping me to truly know Jesus and learn how to serve Him with all of my heart.”
Meet José & Nelly Martinez
Our New Global Teen Challenge Caribbean & Mexico Regional Directors
As the Latin America & the Caribbean region continues to experience increased drug and alcohol abuse, we recognize the need to expand our leadership to support the Teen Challenge programs in these 28 countries. So it is our honor to introduce José and Nelly Martinez as our new Caribbean & Mexico Regional Directors.
José is the President / CEO of Teen Challenge Puerto Rico where his wife Nelly serves as the director of the women’s programs. “Right now we are renovating a newly acquired facility to open a center for women with children in Puerto Rico,” said Nelly.
It is José’s heart to help others find the same freedom he found through Teen Challenge as a student and transform the lives of all who come through their doors.
He also plans to continue to develop new leaders in their part of the world. Latin America remains under the leadership of Regional Director Norbert Schenhals and his
wife Patricia. “We have been blessed to assist Norbert and Patricia and have watched their passion in overseeing the growth and expansion of Teen Challenge programs in these nations,” said José.
A property has been purchased in Berdichev to start a new center for women with children. The home is on 6.5 acres and will accommodate a playground for the children and provide a safe and comfortable space for all as they begin their new lives.
New Women's Center
In Alaska, the alcohol-related death rate among women is three times the national average. Recognizing that most women will not seek long-term recovery if it means separation from their children, a new “women with children” center is set to open this summer.
The Teen Challenge men’s center micro-business is ready to harvest their cabbage crop. This cabbage weighs in at 3kg, or 6.6 pounds!
Expansion During COVID
In spite of the pandemic, the men’s center in Laos was able to purchase 200 egg laying hens to help support and sustain the operations of the center.
Driven to Drugs. Arrested by God.
Alister’s childhood took many twists and turns — but the fact that all curves converged to lead him on a straight path to addiction should come as no surprise to anyone. He was simply given no other options.
Alister was born in Grenada to teenage parents who didn’t stay together. After the couple split, Alister’s mother, just 15, couldn’t handle the pressure of single motherhood, so she gave Alister to his grandparents to raise. When his grandmother died, he was sent back to his mother, but she realized she still couldn’t handle the responsibilities and gave him to her sister to raise.
TURNING TO CRIME.
During the many transitions of his young life, Alister changed primary schools 13 times. Imagine being moved around so much as a child and never laying roots, making friends, or feeling loved. It’s no wonder that by the time he was a teenager, Alister was angry and rebellious. Feeling like an outcast more than ever, he dropped out of school.
Alister’s mother soon learned he had become a wayward child, and she came back into his life once again. She believed a change of scenery might cure Alister’s rebellious tendencies, so she took him back and moved from Grenada to Trinidad.
But it wasn’t another change of scenery that Alister needed — it was stability and real love. God’s love. Alister’s life continued to drift toward crime. He began stealing money and jewelry — even cars — to support his growing drug abuse. Eventually he became homeless and started dealing drugs to survive on the streets.
A RETURN HOME.
A SWEET REDEMPTION.
Alister returned to Grenada where he was born, in an attempt to get a fresh start. His father had passed away from alcoholism in his absence. “My life continued to spiral downward,” he said. “I was arrested again for possession of firearms and drugs and served 8 years in prison for the multiple bank robberies that I had committed.”
When finally released, Alister found himself starting over but was at a spiritual dead-end. Then a miracle happened — while praying he encountered the Holy Spirit. For the first time he realized that God had another plan for his life. That 45-minute encounter with God gave Alister the hope that his dreams of having a family could actually happen for him. Now released as a new man, Alister reunited with Lexann, a woman from his past whom he loved — and they were both baptized soon after. Today they are happily married and have a son.
Since coming to know Christ, Alister has been passionate about sharing the transformation God made in his life and volunteers much of his time working beside Global Teen Challenge in the prison and on the streets to share the ministry that saved him – because of the support of people like you, he brings hope to many others.
Thanks to you, Alister’s story has the sweetest ending. After many years of feeling abandoned, unloved, and trapped by addiction, today Alister and Lexann serve the Lord and run their own confectionery business with a growing base of local and international customers.
from Dr. Nance
As we enter into summer and experience this season of change with longer, hotter days, I realize that every season is an opportunity to turn up the heat of hope and make a change in someone’s life. We are grateful and blessed to have faithful partners who walk alongside and support our mission of putting hope within reach of the boys, girls, men, and women around the world who struggle with life-controlling addictions.
You can see the impact your prayers and financial gifts have made in each of the stories found in this summer issue of Unleash the HOPE.
Read about the full circle redemption Sandra experienced in Brazil to the life-changing miracle God brought into Alister’s life in Grenada. Lives like these are transformed from hopeless to hopeful because of your support. Thank you.
But as this season transitions, your continued partnership will be needed in the months and years ahead as Global Teen Challenge focuses on building new centers, training new leaders, and developing more sustainable programs around the world — from Africa to the sensitive nations of Asia.
Thank you for joining us on this mission to reach every person in every nation with a message of hope. We couldn’t do this life-changing work without you.
“He who gathers crops in summer is a prudent son, but he who sleeps during harvest is a disgraceful son.”
Grenada Micro-Enterprises: From Land to Sea!
It all started with the vision of Jude Hector, Executive Director of Adult Teen Challenge (ATC) Grenada, to help those coming out of prison have a pathway of starting their lives over.
In 2019, Adult Teen Challenge Grenada began teaching inmates the “Living Free” curriculum at Her Majesty’s Prison on the island of Grenada. “I caught the vision early on,” said ATC Grenada Board of Directors President, Joan Purcell. “I went through the training myself, which was a great experience in itself, and it birthed our vision to take the program island-wide this year.”
The structure of the ATC residential program includes providing support through micro-enterprises that are relevant to each culture. These sustainability businesses provide operational funding and vocational training for the residential students. In Grenada, this translates into growing vegetables, sea moss farming, beekeeping, and raising rabbits to name a few.
But it doesn’t end there. “In addition to the Living Free prison program, our commitment, by the grace of God, is to plant Teen Challenge residential centers throughout Grenada, Carriacou, and Petite Martinique,” said Jude.
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.
Putting HOPE Within Reach of Every Person Struggling with Addiction.
GLOBAL TEEN CHALLENGE | P.O. BOX 511 | COLUMBUS, GEORGIA 31902 | PHONE (+1) 706.576.6555 | INFO@GLOBALTC.ORG