Summer 2021 Newsletter
What’s your name and where are you from?
My name is Kyle Thompson. My mom raised four boys on her own in Spokane. That was difficult for her, but she loved Jesus and was a great reflection of Jesus to us.
How did you learn about Adult & Teen Challenge?
My older brother went into Teen Challenge in 2003 and he was really lost. After watching the transition in his life, I thought, okay, well, if God can reach him, then maybe God can reach me, so I entered into the Spokane program.
What does it mean to Put Hope Within Reach?
Putting Hope Within Reach is being able to see beyond the addict, see them where they’re at, bring them to Jesus, and let them know there is hope beyond the tragedies that they’re facing. Who wouldn’t want that hope when they taste and see that the Lord is good? Who would not want more Jesus?
It’s never anyone’s dream to be an addict or to be lost. That’s never anyone’s dream. That was never my dream. But I’m so thankful that there was an opportunity to take a year in God’s emergency room, with a master physician that never fails.
A physician who’s working on you and taking layers of junk off you and freeing you. I was in such a dark place that I didn’t even know how to accept God’s love. I had to learn how to trust God and let my walls down because I was so guarded. That whole year was probably the most difficult year I ever had, but also the most freeing year ever. There’s no quick fix as addicts. We want a quick fix — an easy button that can just turn us around — but that’s not reality. It takes time. I had my bags packed a few times, but one year later I was a totally different person. I was saved my third day in Adult and Teen Challenge in the chapel. God met me. He changed me and I’ve never been the same. All I wanted from God that day was a release from the bondage that I was in.
God has been so good to me. He has blessed me so abundantly, beyond my wildest dreams. I have a beautiful family — a wife and a son. I never thought I’d ever be married. Never thought I’d have a child, go to Bible School, enter a Master’s Program, do missions work overseas… Teen Challenge was the first thing I ever actually completed. When we really surrender and say, “God, I’m giving you my life,” He can handle it better than you can. So here’s the thing; Jesus is the only hope that we have. And for a lot of people, Teen Challenge is the only doorway to a real authentic relationship with Jesus.
How did you come to work for Adult & Teen Challenge?
At the end of 2005, I was completing my program in Spokane, and some of the staff recognized that there was a call on my life. I knew I was called into ministry. I completed Teen Challenge Ministry Institute in Lebanon in 2007, returned to Spokane as the staff Education Coordinator, and then moved to Oregon to start Bible college. While at Northwest University, I worked for the Albany Thrift Store, then came on at Shedd Campus, then served at Portland Campus as Program Coordinator. I returned to Northwest University as Admissions & Marketing Counselor where I started my Masters in Ministry Leadership.
Where are you serving these days?
Six months ago, I took a pastoral staff position at Abundant Life Center in Jefferson, Oregon.
Why does Adult & Teen Challenge “work”?
Adult & Teen Challenge works because it’s completely focused on Jesus. There’s time to work on relationships and relationships take time. One year is just the beginning of a new relationship with God and the Holy Spirit.
It works because it’s focused on discipleship, on the power of the Holy Spirit in peoples’ lives, and the outcome is a different life!
Willamette Valley & Eugene Campuses
Our Comprehensive Approach to Recovery includes Life Renewal (clinical counseling), TC Resale and Donation Thrift Stores (vocational/life skills training), and our Adult & Teen Challenge discipleship program which includes Outreach efforts in our community. These pieces create a “HUB”, which I often describe as different spokes in a wheel, and when they flow well together they keep the wheel turning, which keeps the ministry healthy and benefits the students in our program.
Overseeing both the Willamette Valley Campus (men) and the Eugene Campus (women with children) is an honor. This HUB includes four thrift stores: Lebanon, Albany, Salem and Eugene; two Life Renewal locations, two campuses, and outreach spreading from Salem all the way south to the border of California. We are blessed to have a solid team of faith-filled staff who are all passionate about the ministry and have the same student-first philosophy.
I believe whole-heartedly that the evidence-based approach to recovery through Life Renewal — paired with the discipleship and vocational training program — yields the best opportunity for success. When a student actively engages in the program for the full 12 to 15 month duration, that adds to that success rate. We believe that recovery is not simply getting clean in the program, but a long-term discipleship that uses Biblical principles to build a foundation on Christ, teaching students life-skills, and digging into the core of who they are and healing from past traumas that have kept them stuck. The longevity provides enough time to break free from strongholds. This is why Adult & Teen Challenge puts hope within reach of all those who are lost.
I would be remiss if I did not brag on my team a little bit. At the Willamette Valley Campus, all of our staff are graduates of Adult & Teen Challenge. At the Eugene Campus, most are graduates and one was a long-time volunteer in the ministry. What this means for the students is that those who are discipling them have walked the walk and can share their personal transformation through Christ. I am proud of all of them and glad to have them on the team.
We are charged with Keeping the Faith in 2021, and I believe that the Lord is honoring our efforts in outreach to spread awareness about the ministry. As we Keep the Faith, God has been faithful to increase the number of souls entrusted into our care. And we keep the lost in prayer that the Lord will bring them to us so we can Put Hope Within Reach.
– Troy Cunningham | Executive Director, WVMC
Staff Highlight: Troy and Krista Cunningham
I came to Adult & Teen Challenge in 2011 a broken man who had lost everything, including my family. Coming to this ministry was the best thing I ever did. Teen Challenge was my sanctuary to check out from the craziness of this world and not have all the pressures and responsibilities, but just have one thing in mind: establishing a relationship with the Lord and surrendering my life to Him. I was able to personally do just that, and in God’s time, He honored the desires of my heart and restored my relationship with my wife and my daughter.
Since coming to Adult & Teen Challenge, the Lord blessed me by allowing me to serve the ministry in every position — to learn hands-on. Four years ago, I was asked to become the Center Director of the Willamette Valley Campus. During the last decade, my wife, Krista, has faithfully served as a volunteer beside me. She wanted to give back to this ministry that saved my life, our marriage, and ultimately our family. In March, God blessed me with my heart’s desire. I was promoted to Executive Director, and honored to have my wife leave her 26-year career for a life-long calling to work beside me in ministry. Together, we oversee both the Willamette Valley and the Eugene Campuses. The Lord took our differences and strengths to compliment each other to use us as His vessel to bring more people to His Kingdom through Adult & Teen Challenge.
Coming Soon: Superthrift Lebanon
Final touches are being made on the new 13,000 square foot thrift store in Lebanon, Oregon. Our projected opening date will be in early August. It will debut our new Superthrift branding, and our customers will see huge improvements from our original thrift store that opened in 1987.
Customers can expect to see a large, open sales floor. This allows opportunity for more items to be on the sales floor for our customers to shop. Along with this new location comes a larger warehouse that allows us to accept and process more donations for restocking our store. We are excited to have you come visit and hope you enjoy it as much as we do!
As for our other TC Resale and Donation stores, you can expect over time that each one will be updated to our new Superthrift brand!
A Message From Our CEO
Praise God for Kyle’s testimony! I am grateful for the reminder that “it’s never anyone’s dream to be an addict or to be lost.” Once we surrender to God’s dream and His will for our lives, the process of releasing changes our wants and desires from self-serving to God-serving! Kyle is amongst the many who have entered this program and surrendered their heart, dreams, and desires to God. He is one of the many who stand firm on God’s healing and transforming power. I hope that you are as encouraged as I am to continue the work of Putting Hope Within Reach, looking beyond “the addict,” and calling them forth to be who God declared them to be.
In Jeremiah 17:7-8 (NKJV) it says “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, and whose hope is the Lord. For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, which spreads out its roots by the river, and will not fear when heat comes; but its leaf will be green, and will not be anxious in the year of drought, nor will cease from yielding fruit.”
Entering the second half of 2021, we thank you! God has greatly blessed us through your faithful partnership as we continue to Keep the Faith. With your help, we have been able to cultivate a Christ-centered program through our Comprehensive Approach. We have added a new residential program for women with children opening this August in Alaska, purchased new property for our Twin Falls Women in Idaho, and received funding for many other projects across our region that improve the quality of care for our men, women, and adolescents. We could not do that without your support.
I pray that you are encouraged by the testimonies, growing reach, and community impact in our newsletter. Because of you, we are able to continue Putting Hope Within Reach. As we deepen our roots, we ask that you consider making your best gift now. Your giving is the reason we are able to focus on the lives in our programs.
Thank you for your partnership!
Chris Hodges | CEO/President, Adult & Teen Challenge Pacific Northwest