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Testimonies


Charles

Graduate

My name is Charles WallowingBull Jr. and I graduated from Teen Challenge of the Dakotas in November of 2011. Before Teen Challenge I was a wreck. I used drugs, alcohol, family members and others to get what I wanted. I had the mindset that I could do whatever I wanted and do whatever it took to get what I wanted. I was driven to reach worldly success through any means necessary. I was, however, completely blind to the fact that drug and alcohol use was dragging me down in a hurry. I was in and out of jail from 2007-2010. I had 3 DUI's and a number of drug and alcohol related convictions. I grew up in the church so I knew from a young age God was the answer to all my current problems with the law and myself. I always thought it depended on my efforts to "get right with Him." After many failed attempts to "get right with God" I finally hit rock bottom. I went on a weeklong drinking and drug use binge. When I began to sober up at the end of that week I learned I had committed more crimes against one of my good friends. I immediately turned myself in. As I sat in jail I began to wonder what was happening to me. The week long binge had taken a toll on me. My body was not only coming down and going through withdraws; it was also shutting down because I had only eaten maybe once in that entire week. I was released from jail and sent to the hospital where I finally began to wake up and realize that I needed a real heartfelt change. I honestly didn’t know what I needed to do to change. I was, however, willing to do whatever it would take.I heard about TC of the Dakotas through my step-mom and grandfather who happened to be on the board of directors. While I lay in the hospital bed I began praying to God. I prayed that He would help me out of this mess and change my life. I told God I would do anything needed to be a better person. At that moment God put Teen Challenge on my heart. So I called Brother Mike Gilmartin and asked him if they were accepting applicants and if I could fill out an application. While speaking with Bro. Mike he told me I was a loser and needed to make a commitment to myself and God. No one had ever said that to me and that was exactly what I needed to hear. I was always told I was a great person; I just had a little drinking problem. What really enabled me to make the commitment beside God was what Bro. Mike said next. He told me "You can become a real success through Christ and that is God's original plan for your life, and God never changed His mind about you." I knew right then I would go to Teen Challenge.I went to Teen Challenge of the Dakotas and fully surrendered my life to God. Since going through and graduating from Teen Challenge I have learned that the Love of God and Obedience to Him out of my Love for Him is the greatest blessing and purpose in my life. I have answered God’s call on my life and in doing so was able to have victory over drugs, alcohol and my selfish mindset. I am now doing whatever it will take to serve not only God but all the people He has placed in my life. God has taken me from being a drunken loser to a successful family and business man. I am now married to an amazing woman of God and we have been blessed with two precious boys and expecting a girl in June. I own a successful business, am a trustee at our Church and I am a member of various local organizations such as the Brookings Reconciliation Council and Brookings Regional Builders Association. I always knew the answer but never chose to live it out because I couldn’t. I had a serious SIN problem. God is the answer to any addiction whatever it may be. 2 Corinthians 5:15 says

“and He died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again.” All the glory goes to God for what he has done in my life because of the realization of that verse. Jesus died for me so that I might live to fulfill my ultimate purpose- which is to live my life serving God. Our God is a loving God who wants us to be a real success through His Son Jesus, a God who NEVER changes His mind about the great plan he has for us, no matter where we’re at in life. JESUS + NOTHING = SUCCESS!!!


Ian

Graduate & Staff Member

Jesus Christ cured my "incurable" mental illness and rebuilt the life I brought to ruin. Teen Challenge provided me with the structure, loving support, spiritual guidance and training necessary to renew my mind and infuse hope into my soul. For six long years, I fell victim to addiction, homelessness, and countless bouts with major depression and uncontrollable mania. I tried psychotherapy, myriads of psychiatric medications, periods of sobriety, and secular rehabilitation centers. I was committed to seven mental institutions over this period of time. None of it rescued me from the depair of knowing that I was relegated to a cyclical life of stabilize things, destroy it all, rebuild my life, destroy it all again, etc...

But I was presented with the opportunity of being discipled at Teen Challenge. I made a decision to go and invest myself to the utmost, and since have never looked back. I live now to please my Lord and Savior and I strive everyday to be more like Him. I have not taken medication in over a year and a half; and have had NO symtoms of manic-depression occur. I wake up everyday and thank my father God for Teen Challenge and the new life that He has blessed me with. I now work at TCD, giving freely as I have received to men who need a miraculous change in their life, just as I once did. Colossians 3:1-3 (NIV) "Since then you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God."


Lucas

Graduate & Staff Member

Hi. My name is Lucas. In order to fit in (or so I thought), as well as dealing with a turbulent home life, I started smoking weed. Eventually that wasn't enough to fill the void and I began experimenting with various drugs more and more. I flunked out of college because I could not balance being a full-time student and drug user. At this time I started drinking heaving and using IV drugs. I moved in with my dad who tried to introduce me to God. He came home to me barely being able to move after going on a week-long binge of meth and cough medicine. I checked into a 28-day ssecular rehab that started me on the 12-steps. Things went smoothly for 3 months. I found God, but had no guidanace to take me any further than that. I started hanging out with an old buddy and we started using meth again. My Dad noticed my rapid weight loss and caught on to what was going on and kicked me out. He knew that was the only way he could help me. I had nowhere to go and was temporarily staying with my grandmother. My mom found out about Teen Challenge from my high school wrestling coach, who came through the program. I wanted to do anything but come to TCD. God seemed to shut all the other plans I had down. He pretty much had to drag me to TCD kicking and screaming right through the doors. After being here for a couple of months, I let go of any plans I had to leave. Eventually, I started to see that the more I submitted and gave myself over to God, the more I started to overcome my problems until I gave myself over entirely. God began to put a call on my heart to work at TCD. This motivated me to grow physically, spiritually, and mentally. Through the Lord, I have been given peace of mind, self-control, and a good work ethic. I never used to have any of these things. I continue to grow daily as a staff member here at TCD. God's been teaching me lately about letting Him work through me and to wait on Him to make decisions. I am very eager to see what else the Lord has to show me! God bless you all.


James

Graduate & Staff Member

My name is James and I am 27. I grew up here in Brookings, SD. I was raised to basically worship money and worldly things; and I pretty much got what I wanted. It all came to and end in 2009, when I got arrested for writting about $25,000.00 in bad checks. I spent 13 months in jail in 4 different counties and two states. I was getting slaps on the wrist up until the last jail i was in. My probation officer said maybe I should try getting into Teen Challenage so I talked to brother Mike over the phone and he gave me an induction date. I thought it would be easy and I thought I could just go through the motions, but boy was I wrong. It took me two months before I started to let go of my pride and start seeking God. I now have been out of Teen Challenge for almost a year. The best part is that I have a relationship with God and I have a realionship with my two boys. I know how to be a father now because I follow what God says and I know there is more to life than living for myself. Since being out of Teen Challenage I got married and now we have 5 kids between the two of us; and come July, we will have 6. Needless to say we stay busy! This summer I will be starting Liberty University and I've been doing Global University course also, so i can sow God's word and dedicate the rest of my life serving Him and helping change people's lives like my life was changed. There is no other cure for selfishness, pride and a heart of stone than the love of God and the love that the TCD staff show. I'm thankful every day that I went through Teen Challenge and that they didn't give up on a sinner like me.

God bless,

James


Ryan

Graduate

Before coming to Teen Challenge of the Dakotas, I hated living. Every morning was a new lesson in the futility of this thing called life. The bondages that I clung to kept me going; and my idols were numerous during this time in my life – anesthetics for the soul as it were – alcohol, drugs, sex, etc. I clung to these pleasures completely recognizing that they too were meaningless and hated it – myself, others, the activities, everything. I had gone to school and had dreams at one time, had cohabited, and thought I was in love, with a single mother and her child. During the process of that relationship's end, I had lost the last straw of hope for anything being worthwhile in this world. Okay, so I get my degree and get a job – so what? Just to get put in another hamster wheel of a relationship just to wait for the axle to break on that one as well? Life lost all purpose and so I sold myself to the pleasures of the moment and degenerated quite rapidly – turning to quick money by selling marijuana and selling my soul to the world for a momentary respite from the hatred and pain within. But something changed, God opened my eyes to the evils of the world by first exposing the evil within me; and I recognized that I was quite rapidly degenerating to something that was wicked to the core. After a very real awakening to the realities of Good and evil, God and Satan, I cried out to Jesus Christ to save me – to change me from being the monster that I was; and to come into the lives of those that I have corrupted and to make something worthwhile out of me, to impart that which I have lacked for my whole life. To have purpose, truth, hope, love, and in one word, a REAL relationship with Jesus Christ, in spirit and in truth. Two weeks later, He (God) led me to Teen Challenge of the Dakotas and having been through what the program has to offer – I have grown, I have life, I can ove, I have Christ living in me... a Living Hope walking with me and guiding me. Where I once considered waking up to being a failure (that I hadn't died during my slumber), I now look forward to God's lesson for me today. Not every day is 'peachy', but EVERY day IS blessed – by the One who made all there is, by God Himself. Praise God for the venue of Teen Challenge where I could be worked on and molded – pruned and tended – cleansed and discipled.


Joshua

Graduate

Hello. In the last 15 months, I have learned so much. Growing up isn't an easy thing to do. Facing problems and dealing with them like a man has been quite the challenge. Understanding the truth of the gospel has set me free from my past. God's love has exposed the darkness I once felt could never be undone. The hopelessness I once felt has been replaced by a peace that can only come from knowing the creator. My name is Joshua, and God used Teen Challenge of the Dakotas to transform my life!


Kameron

Graduate

My name is Kameron Brooks, and I am a graduate of Teen Challenge of the Dakotas. Graduating wasn’t the easiest thing, but it was the best decision. Teen Challenge was the beginning of something new and better and the ending of death, jail, and depression. I wasn’t always on the right track even while being a student of TCD, but so many counselors who are led by God kept me on the right track.

An important thing I realized is that Teen Challenge has counselors to help correct us and keep us on the right track, but everything changes when we go all in. Teen Challenge became a stepping stone to what God wanted to do in my life, because I became committed to serving Him and honoring the leaders that are above me.

Since graduating from Teen Challenge, God has called me into youth ministry in Sisseton, SD. I now serve as a Youth Pastor with my wife (Stephanie) and our daughter, Charlotte, in a community that is in great need of the Good News. Teen Challenge not only invested into my life, but also the lives of others that I now come in contact with. I can’t thank the staff and donors for not only investing in my life but the lives of many that I get to share Jesus Christ with!


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