Without the Teen Challenge program and Jesus Christ, I would more than likely be dead by now. I was confused at a very young age because my biological mother gave me up for adoption because heroin, cocaine and alcohol were more important to her than I was. I was tossed around from foster care homes to orphanages, finally finding love and a stable home environment with my Uncle and Aunt.
They raised me in the church and we rarely missed a Sunday or Wednesday service. I got a lot of head knowledge in those years but I never let the knowledge seep into my heart. I was going to church to make my parents happy, and my so called relationship with Jesus wasn't real. At age 18 I got kicked out of the house due to my drug use and constant manipulation.
I moved to Lake Tahoe and preceded to party, rebel, and try any drug that was offered to me. After injuring myself snowboarding, my dreams of becoming a professional snowboarder went down the drain. I started using heroin and that drug took over my life for 6 years. Because of my addiction, I lost everything material that I owned, got arrested multiple times, and was now homeless on the streets of Portland. I thought I was going to be a heroin addict for life and gave up on trying to change. God had a different plan though.
I was arrested by a police officer in Portland who told me about Jesus and that I needed to get help and that I couldn't do it alone. I detoxed in jail and finally called my parents who I hadn't talked with in months and I asked them for help. They told me about Teen Challenge and that it was a Christian program. I was a little hesitant to enter because it was a year long. Entering the program was the best choice that I had made in my life.
I graduated from Teen Challenge Oct 28, 2011 and gained a real relationship with Jesus Christ. God has delivered me from the strongholds that had controlled my life for 20 years. I have come a long way and am committed to sobriety and serving Jesus for the rest of my life. I am now a staff member at the Central Oregon Men's Campus. I met my wife at the bank doing deposits for Teen Challenge. We have a son and none of this would have been possible without me entering the doors of Teen Challenge. My goal is to follow God's plan for my life and go through the doors that He opens. I have so much to thank God for and am looking forward to serving Him forever.
Do not grow weary in doing good, for you will reap a harvest if you do not give up. — Galatians 6:9
My first experience with the ministry of Teen Challenge was as a student. Due to years of various addictions, my life had become completely unmanageable and I felt like there was no hope for my life. During my time as a student God revealed his love to me in a way that was unmistakable and completely changed the course of my entire life. As I learned about who the Lord is and how I could be used by him it became more and more clear to me that I was being called to minister to others that were struggling with the same issues that I was so familiar with. Upon my graduation of the Teen Challenge program in Western Michigan, I relocated to Bend, OR and began doing just that by enrolling as a Intern in the Teen Challenge Ministry Institute. Today I am the Community Outreach Coordinator for the Bend Campus and I've had the honor of serving the men here for 3 years. Through my journey the Lord has showed me that freedom is more than just finding sobriety. It is about finding your identity in Him. I'm truly grateful for the opportunity to serve in this ministry and see families restored and men's lives changed as they find that freedom also.
Galatians 2:20 - I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
Several years ago I retired as an associate pastor from New Hope Church in Bend, OR and after enjoying some time off I got a call from our executive director, Gary Bennett, to consider joining the staff at Adult & Teen Challenge. Feeling this was where the Lord wanted me to minister, I accepted the offer and joined in March of 2016. I am presently the Education Coordinator of our students at the center in Bend. In this capacity I am responsible for approving all the material taught to our students and oversee the many dedicated volunteers who help to teach our men. Our students are taught biblical principles to help them heal from their hurts, turn from their addictions, and learn to follow the life God has planned for them.
Although my past role as an associate pastor was rewarding, my work at Teen Challenge has become satisfying and fulfilling beyond my expectations. I am privileged to teach and counsel young men who are struggling to overcome their addictions and transform their lives with the help of Jesus Christ. These men demonstrate courage, self-determination, and persistence to seek a better way of life along side their Lord and Savior. For them their failures have become stepping stones to success!
All of this has changed me profoundly as well. I now see others the way Jesus does, not as broken or marginal, but the way God intended for their lives. And I've gained a deeper appreciation for what God has done in my life as well.
It is my privilege to work with these wonderful men, for God has instilled love and compassion in my heart for them. After over 20 years as a Sr. Pastor and Hospice Chaplain, I was blessed to begin as a volunteer teacher and have been given the privilege of being on staff as a counselor , the Education Coordinator and now the Counseling Coordinator. God has not given up on anyone here at Teen Challenge, least of all myself. He had a place for me and has a place for all who long to follow Him, I love Him, but life is worth while because He loves me. Many thanks to those who have recognized and acknowledged my call to these great men here. By God's grace I look forward to many years of service with Teen Challenge . John W. Long MDiv. CADC1
Community Outreach Coordinator
When I was about 17 I became fully addicted to opiates. I knew what I was doing was wrong but the hold the drugs had on my life were too strong for me to combat. It led me down a very dark road that included criminal activity, lots of jail time and near death experiences. I was hurting everyone I loved but I was so numb because of the drugs that I could not fix myself. It was not until I was homeless in Salt Lake City for a couple years that I started reaching an all-time low. I got arrested and sentenced to six months. My mother who never once gave up on me even after all the destruction and chaos I caused her was still in my corner fighting for me. She always showed me the love of Christ and never condemned me or gave up on me. One day when I called her from jail she told me about Adult & Teen Challenge, I was very hesitant but it was what she wanted and I also wanted to get help. I had never been to Oregon before and was scared, nervous, angry, sad, and it took everything I had to make it up here.
Coming to Adult & Teen Challenge was the best decision I have made in my life. I found God here and developed a real relationship with him. I studied the Word and learned about Him and he changed me from the inside out. I completed my studentship in December 18, 2015. After my studentship I did a year-long internship and completed that in December 2016. I was blessed with the opportunity to be offered a job for the ministry that I love and that saved my life. I gladly agreed to come on board as the Outreach Coordinator; I cannot wait to see what God has planned for the future of this ministry!