In my youth, I was a very hurt, depressed, and had an empty soul. My father left home when I was six years old. My mother had many abusive relationships. I had no fatherly guidance in my life, and I always took second place to my mother’s relationships.
Degrading conflict, screaming, and dangerous car chases were a common occurrence. Eventually, I changed from a normal inquisitive, loving, caring son to a closed person in order to be safe and shut out the pain. I would just retreat to my room to drown out the sounds of screams and fighting.
I turned to drugs as the answer to my inner pain. I had no income and yet I needed drugs, which took money. I would do anything to keep myself supplied and high. I became a drug pusher to sustain my habit. I belonged to the drug world.
Then the day came, that I was arrested. I was charged with nine drug counts, eight felonies and one misdemeanor. I knew I had to seek help. While in a detoxification center, I learned of a former heroin addict that graduated from Teen Challenge. I decided to give it a try. At first it was very difficult, I was torn between two worlds. My reality had been cocaine and staying high. Now I had to involve myself fully – mentally, physically, and spiritually.
It was about one month into the program that I began to wake up to the gravity of my situation. I was facing a prison sentence of 78 years if I was waived to adult court. I was only 17 ½ years old!
I still felt the pain of my home situation and at Teen Challenge I was learning why I felt empty. My heart was aching for something, and that something was God.
I prayed, “Lord, I want you to wash my slate clean, and keep me from prison because I want to be able to join the Air Force. I want you to take me away from my home. Also, I want my own family one day, a loving home, a faithful and loving wife, and children. If you do this for me, it will help me to serve you for the rest of my life.”
God knows the heart better than anyone. I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior, and He has answered every part of my prayer. He influenced the decisions of the court to allow me to continue in the program. God also gave me a sympathetic and compassionate Judge who took an interest in me.
I went to Cape Girardeau, Missouri to graduate the second phase of the program. During my stay, my court case was miraculously dismissed! I never had to return to my dysfunctional home. The Lord was blessing me through new friends in the church and a new wholesome life. ‘So if the Son sets you free you are free indeed.’ John 8:36
I was in Tucson, Arizona, when I applied to join the Air Force. I enrolled in college to meet the entrance requirements, with the help of my Arizona Teen Challenge mentor. God had not forgotten. I was accepted and have been serving my country now for 17 years. During that time, I was introduced to my beautiful wife Giana, in 2003, who is also in the Air Force. We have been blessed with three wonderful children, two boys and one girl.
My life has been made anew since 1995. Today, I am a Space Systems Operator for the United States Air Force, stationed in Washington, D.C. My responsibilities range from detecting sea-launched ballistic missiles and tracking satellites to assisting in rocket launches and space flight operations. However, through it all, the Lord does not let me forget the life that he brought me out of. ‘Therefore, if anyone is in Christ he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!’ 2 Corinthians 5:17. Thank you for supporting Teen Challenge Wisconsin. This is the place where my journey in Christ began!