Jesus + Nothing = Success
Dear Bro Mike & staff,
I'm about finished with my first semester at Biola University in California. Couldn’t have done it without the discipline and character God instilled through TCD, which is well needed back out in the world. Out in California there are a lot of crazy views, philosophies, and ideologies out there just like you said there would be haha. It really is a giant mixing pot of self-created religion. If I didn't have you and the staff to fall back on what I know you taught I would be done for, Hebrews 13:7 “Remember your leaders, who spoke The Word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith." So when I question or get confused I always think what would Bro Dustin, Bro Nate, etc. do...Doing this has been priceless in my walk. Anyways, I thought I'd let you know I have been standing firm by God's grace and have not fell into old sins bondage since entering TC. Temptation is still there, but God has brought me through almost 2 years of freedom now and I cannot look back now. I still struggle with pride, horrible thoughts now and then, and other character struggles. Though I have not stopped serving The Lord, and it is very encouraging to see God use me in people’s lives even if it is at a Christian university. I have been offered a couple leadership positions but turned them down for now as I am just focusing on classes. But, it is still an honor to see how people trust me now. You guys come to my mind often, and I am praying for ya’ll when I think of TC. For example, Saturday nights I think to myself “awh man there is a roar going up in the chapel throughout Heaven!” (I miss TC worship as you can see). I could go on forever but I know how busy you are so…hopefully some summer if it is alright with you I can head on over and visit if time/schedules permit. Please tell everyone I said Hi.
My name is Charles 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!!!
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!