Steven graduated today and when asked how he found out about Teen
Challenge, his answer was he heard about us on K-Love Radio. One of our
Public Service Announcements has made a life changing difference for Steven.
God has done a mighty work in Steven's life. Praise God for His faithfulness.
Below is a poem Steven wrote for his mother and read at his graduation.
A PRAYING MOTHER
A mother’s sleepless night, her clothes drenched from all her tears,
though her faith is strong in the Lord, she still worries, she still fears.
Sacrificing her sleep, to pray her son out of his mess,
God is listening to every word, seeing her faith at its best.
Pleading to God through prayer, “Lord please save his life,
don’t let the devil take my son from his family, from his wife.”
Her son, bound by chains, by a darkness deep within,
the devil controlling his life, through addiction, living in sin.
His mother grasping her faith, praying over and over again,
God says, “Mom, I’ve heard every prayer, now it’s time I step in.”
Then God pulled him from the pit, and out of the miry clay,
broke him free from all his chains, and said, “Follow me, for I am the way.”
Through his mess God made a message, took the old and gave new life,
restored the shattered, broken hearts of a family and a wife.
So now I’m saved by grace, no longer do I have to run,
and I thank God for a praying mother, who now has a praying son.
by Steven Cooper
Jesus told of the prodigal son. Prodigal: "Recklessly wasteful or a person who wastes his means." This has been the reoccurring theme of my life.
After being introduced to cocaine, it became a four year affair. The continued drug use had me at an all time low. I had no will or desire to live. There seemed to be no way out and no hope.
Two overdoses coupled with tremendous pain and financially bankrupt, I had finally had enough. I had nowhere to turn except to God. I turned my life over to Jesus Christ and immediately God began doing great works in my life.
I entered Greater Piedmont Teen Challenge and God met me at my hour of need. Finally, the many years of pain and distance I put between me and my family has been mended. For the first time ever I can tell my father I love him and not feel uncomfortable. With God's help, I can finally love myself.
I always believed in God. However, from an early age my life was defined by an endless cycle of domestic violence, alcohol and narcotics abuse which lead to a life of crime, loneliness and the brink of suicide. I was at the end of my rope. I came to Teen Challenge and found in Jesus Christ the only love that satisfied my soul. Fear, loneliness and drugs no longer rule my life. The love of Jesus set me free.
“As we prepare to celebrate my son’s 22nd birthday,I am reminded once again of how Greater Piedmont Teen Challenge has impacted his life, and in turn ours. As of February 2010, our son will have been clean for four years. Five years ago, we never could have dared hope we would be enjoying watching our son mature into a fine Christian man. When we sent him to you we were just hoping for a few months of rest – knowing where he was and that he was safe. We are so thankful God used all of you to lead our son out of a life of addiction into a life serving Him.”
- A proud mother
At Teen Challenge I learned there is no way to live life without Jesus Christ. The old Danny is dead, and all things are new. My chains of addiction, that so tightly entangled me, have been broken and I am now free from the bondage of drugs and Satan. Immediately after my decision to accept Jesus into my heart I began experiencing God’s love, mercy and miracles first hand. Relationships began to be reconciled. My Lord, Jesus has sanctified my heart and now my desire is to live a pure life, and be the best father I can be.
“Instead of waiting for the storms to pass, I’ve learned to dance in the rain.” I serve an almighty God, who allows me to praise Him through the storm. I am obligated to speak what God has done for me and can do for all who call on Him.
“When I was thirteen I tried marijuana for the first time. This was the start of twenty-five years of drug and alcohol addiction. In 1989 I checked into a twelve-step addiction treatment center where I stayed one year. That was the first of many treatment centers over the next ten years, or maybe more, I have lost count. I even went through Teen Challenge back in 1999. I was a changed person, but sadly I let my spiritual guard down and fell back into the old lifestyle and things became worse than they had ever been. In 2009 I re-entered Greater Piedmont Teen Challenge. This time things were different. My relationship with the Lord has been restored and I have a new understanding of His grace and mercy. I have learned that flirting and playing around with sin is a very dangerous game. I pray I never forget that. God is not done with me. He is continuing to mold me into a vessel He can use. I want to tell others about Jesus. He is the Way Maker!”
“After graduating High School I went to Appalachian State University. While there I began having severe pains in my hip and joint. I went to the doctor and he prescribed me pain medication and this was the beginning of the end for me. The meds not only took away the physical pain they soothed the emotional anguish I had deep inside of me. I began to rely on them for everything and became opiate dependent. This led to a lifestyle of crime to support my addiction, which landed me in jail for bank robbery. While in jail I went through severe detox. I lost my wife, my son, my home, my car and my freedom.
This was the lowest point in my life and when I thought I wanted to end it all, I cried out to Jesus. I asked Him to come into my life and help me. He did just that. He gave me a feeling of hope and enough strength to make it through that day. Jesus began to deliver me from the lies I had believed for so long. I would seek HIM and would find Him when I searched with my whole heart.
When going before the judge for sentencing, the judge allowed me to go to Greater Piedmont Teen Challenge even though my lawyer told me there was no way the judge would allow it. While at Teen Challenge my walk was strengthened beyond belief. I was in the word every day, being built up so I now have the tools to witness to the world of the goodness of God and what He can do for a broken spirit. God has done for me what man said was impossible, but most of all He has brought peace to my heart and purpose to my life. No matter how low you feel, or how far away you’ve gone, He can do the same for you. I am now serving my time for bank robbery, but the Lord is with me each day. He is still real in my life and is using me in prison.”
Update: Jason is now out of prison and serving God with great passion and fervor. His life was full of great sorrow followed by great victory. We are in continued contact with Jason and look forward to many great victories in his life. He and his wife are together raising their three children. To God be the Glory.
I started drinking alcohol at the age of thirteen. At one point I found myself homeless. I ended up in prison by the time I was twenty-one. While in prison, I began to read my Bible. When I got out of prison a friend told me about Teen Challenge. I came into the program and received hope. Now, I am alive in Christ. I now know who I am. I am a son of the most high God!
This e-mail came in recently from a former graduate: "This is John. It's been a long time since you helped me, five years ago. I want to tell you thanks. I am married and have three kids and we are all in church. You helped open my eyes to God. Since that day God has been there for me." -John