View our March Newsletter
“The planet’s pathway to peace;Christ Jesus”
Hello, my name is David Erps and I am from southern West Virginia, Princ-eton to be more specific. I am twenty five years old and a graduate of Greater Piedmont Teen Challenge. I come from what I would consider the poster family, my mother is a kindergarten teacher, and my father owns a construction company. I played all the sports offered in my area as well as lessons in tennis and golf. I was blessed with natural talent and a positive disposition. I was so well acclimated to functioning in the façade that I portrayed; no one saw the reality of my internal struggles. I was the most popular guy in school but all alone in the crowd.
One year, our family took a trip to Snow Shoe, one of the top ten ski resorts on the east coast, and while snowboarding I fell and ruptured my spleen. After two weeks in the hospital, five pints of blood, an exposure to Demerol, I was back home nursing my wounds in a drug induced haze. My existence was now replete with what is necessary for the epitome of an addict; my quixotic mind, my lonely soul, my visceral connection to a drug induced euphoria had set me up. The effect of loneliness and sin coupled to time leads me to the next part of my testimony.
I was in eleventh grade, in trouble with the law, addicted to the needle, and in desperate need of help. My probation officer suggested Teen Challenge in Fruitport, Michigan. At the age of seventeen I dropped out of eleventh grade, went to Michigan, and enrolled in Teen Challenge. After five months in the program I left due to some personality conflicts with other students. When I returned home I did not practice any of the things I had learned and so in a short while was back in trouble with the law. I was again placed on probation and again violated, which landed me on a year of home confinement (also known as house arrest).
Over the next couple of years I attended several twenty-eight day programs and was still broken in my addiction, toiling in despair. Throughout all of this I was involved in a serious relationship. We got married the day after my twenty second birthday and had a child named Olivia. She was the pride, the joy, the fulfillment of my life and yet I was still unable to be the man I now so deeply desired to be. I was struggling, working to support a family and a habit, and so practically all of my waking hours were spent working. Between my addiction and work I had not given any time or myself to my new bride. After a short while my wife left me, and now I was to carry the full brunt of responsibility.
I found a new job, a better place to live, and was on my way to becoming the man I needed to be, the father my child deserved. Though I had marked improvements in many areas, I still had not completely rid myself of a chemical dependency. I was taking a prescribed opiate blocker, Naltrexone, which was just a band-aid to my gaping wound of addiction, though it did allow me to function. With my new found band-aid, new job, and fierce dedication to my child I was functioning as never before. I had all the loose ends tied up, money in the bank, and reaching an acceptable place in society as far as worldly standards are concerned. With all of this apparent success I was still trapped on the spurious path of self destruction. With my new found success, and money, I was still broken. I needed God in my life if I was to ever find peace.
One day in June, shortly after the passing of my grandmother, on my way to work I was pulled over twice in the span of about an hour. After the second cop left I broke down on the side of the road and cried. I knew if something did not change in my heart I would forever be doomed to a life of misery. My father and mother had asked me to seek help for my depression and knew that if I did not deal with my impasse of addiction, instead of the band-aid blocker, I was soon to self destruct. Because of some relatives who had graduated from Teen Challenge, and the time I spent in Michigan Teen Challenge, I knew that is where I would find my answers to the questions of peace.
On June 24, 2009 I came to Greater Piedmont Teen Challenge, surrendered my life to God, and started my transformation. The saying goes “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.” But I was so empty on the inside that once I let my guard down and opened up to the moving of the Holy Spirit; I experienced a peaceful calm like I had never known. All the searching, all my efforts, all those days and nights spent in misery, the answer was right in front of me. I gave my life but not just my life; my heart, my mind, my talents, my fears, my personal rights, my family, my divorce, my failures, my everything to God. God, through his son Jesus Christ, freely gave me what I had spent all my efforts in life trying to find.
Teen Challenge allowed me to slow down enough so that I could see what had been right in front of me the whole time, Christ’s love for me. Because of Teen Challenge and the protective environment they create I was able to draw closer to God unabated. I was able to experience forgiveness and healing. My heart, my mind, my soul, has all been transformed. What no program, no person, no doctor could do for me; was done through Teen Challenge’s emphasis on Christ’s love for me. Am I now perfect, no, but I now have the strength, the love, the hope, and the peace to be the man God wants me to be, and the dad my daughter deserves. Jesus Christ has pulled me out of the torrent of depression and now waters my soul with peace and joy. Teen Challenge cast the light of the cross on my salvation, thank you! If you struggle with the questions and problems of life like I did, you too can find the answers you’re looking for in Christ. I found victory by surrendering myself totally to Him. He will do the same for you as He did for me. God bless you!
From the Director…Rev. Dennis Kyseth
We are going through some very exciting times here at Teen Challenge. I am most excited about the launching of our new website. We have wanted to do this for several years, and now it is a reality. We believe it will expose us to those who are in need of our program as well as to those who wish to support us.
Thank goodness, springtime is just around the corner. I was raised in Iowa and Colorado. Sometimes I have felt like I was back there. At any rate, this is the time of year when you might be getting ready to do some spring cleaning. We are closing out our winter clothing in our thrift store, Blessingdale’s, and are now in need of some gently used summer clothing items. Of course we can always use furniture and other household items as well. Our thrift store may be a little off the beaten path, three blocks behind Krispy Kreme on High Point Road, but well worth your time to come and shop.
Our fiscal year will be ending on April 30. That means we are now entering into the process of sharpening our pencils, scratching our heads, crunching numbers, and earnestly seeking the Lord’s direction as we enter into preparing our faith budget for the coming fiscal year.
On the income side, we are going to need a lot of grace and help. We put a lot of effort into conducting two golf tournaments, two banquets, and two walk-a-thons each year. However, the biggest portion of our income comes from you our partners, churches, and civic organizations.
We call our budget a “faith budget” which means we depend on God to provide for us. God tells us in His Word that He provides for all of our needs according to His riches in glory. But He also says that if we don’t work we don’t eat. As we work and do our part, we know He will bless us.
You are doing a great job during these economically tough times. I just want to let you know how much I appreciate your partnership with us and pray we can count on your continued support. Placing us in your budget will help us meet our budget. God bless you.
The White Lie Cake
Have you ever told a white lie?
Alice Grayson was to bake a cake for the Church Ladies’ Group in Tuscaloosa, but forgot to do it until the last minute. She remembered it the morning of the bake sale and after rummaging through cabinets, found an angel food cake mix & quickly made it while drying her hair, dressing, and helping her son pack up for Scout camp.
When she took the cake from the oven, the center had dropped flat and the cake was horribly disfigured and she exclaimed, “Oh dear, there is not time to bake another cake!” This cake was important to Alice because she did so want to fit in at her new church, and in her new community of friends. So, being inventive, she looked around the house for something to build up the center of the cake. She found it in the bathroom a roll of toilet paper. She plunked it in and then covered it with icing.
Not only did the finished product look beautiful, it looked perfect. And, before she left the house to drop the cake by the church and head for work, Alice woke her daughter and gave her some money and specific instructions to be at the bake sale the moment it opened at 9:30 and to buy the cake and bring it home.
When the daughter arrived at the sale, she found the attractive, perfect cake had already been sold. Amanda grabbed her cell phone & called her mom.
Alice was horrified-she was beside herself! Everyone would know! What would they think? She would be ostracized, talked about, ridiculed! All night, Alice lay awake in bed thinking about people pointing fingers at her and talking about her behind her back.
The next day, Alice promised herself she would try not to think about the cake and would attend the fancy luncheon/bridal shower at the home of a fellow church member and try to have a good time. She did not really want to attend because the hostess was a snob who more than once had looked down her nose at the fact that Alice was a single parent and not from the founding families of Tuscaloosa. But, having already RSVP’d , she couldn’t think of a believable excuse to stay home. The meal was elegant, the company was definitely upper crust old south and to Alice’s horror, the cake in question was presented for dessert! Alice felt the blood drain from her body when she saw the cake!
She started out of her chair to tell the hostess all about it, but before she could get to her feet, the Mayor’s wife said, “what a beautiful cake!”
Alice, still stunned, sat back in her chair when she heard the hostess (who was a prominent church member) say, “Thank you, I baked it myself.”
Alice smiled and thought to herself, “God is good .”
Greensboro’s Best Kept Secret…
I use to get that comment all the time. Oftentimes people who finally stumbled on to us would ask “Where have you been, we’ve been looking for a program like this for years?”
Well, no more! Greater Piedmont Teen Challenge now has this new web-site. This is huge for us, and an answer to prayer. I hope you will take the time to check out each section of the website.
Some features you might find interesting are information about our program (click on portions that are in bold and view pictures of this area), how to apply for entrance, photos of our thrift store, testimonies, our fiftieth anniversary video, and one of the features you might appreciate is that you can now make your contributions online.
I believe you will find our web-site very informative and inspirational.
I would especially like to thank First Presbyterian Church Prison Ministry, and the Roy Carroll Family Foundation for their financial contributions to help fund this project.
I don’t know about you, but I’m ready for some springtime! I enjoy walking, especially when it helps bring some financial support to Teen Challenge.
On March 25, we will be conducting our annual spring walk-a-thon at Country Park in Greensboro. If you would like to come and walk with us please call me at 292-7795 ext. 301, and I will be happy to send you a sign up sheet. For those who are unable to come, I will walk for you. Please send in a donation in support of me and mark it “walk-a-thon”or you can donate on-line. Just indicate in the designated area that it is for the walk-a-thon. Thanks to God’s amazing grace; after three back surgeries, prostate cancer surgery, kidney cancer surgery, thirty-eight radiation treat-, and diabetes, I’m still able to walk.
We have begun making preparations for our annual Spring Banquet. Please mark the date of April 23, on your calendar. Our banquet will be held again this year at First Baptist Church in downtown Greensboro. The cost of tickets are $14.00 each or $112.00 per table. We hope you will make plans to be there and bring a friend or two, or purchase an entire table! I know it will be a great time of feasting and fellowship. See you there!
Celebrating Thirty-four Years of Changed Lives
Greater Piedmont Teen Challenge
PO Box 77914
Greensboro, NC 27417