My name is Robert Bell and I am 40 years old. I became a heavy drinker at a very young age. This led to violent behavior, prison and rejection from family and friends.
When I was 14, I committed a strong arm robbery and was sent to juvenile prison. When I got out of Ethan Allen school, I got involved with a division of the Gangster Disciples called the Lynch Mob.
First I ran with gang members and then I became one, which resulted in my whole family getting involved. I lost a brother and a little cousin to murder in all of this. I was in prison when I lost my little brother – I was getting out two weeks later.
By the time I was 19 years old, I had been convicted of three felonies in Milwaukee County and was sent to prison. I ended up being locked up for about 7-10 years total. It seemed as though every time I got out I was quickly revoked.
Alone one morning in my bedroom, I lifted my hands to God and asked him to help me. I heard about Teen Challenge through Christian friends. I was serious about change and ten days later I was a student in the Teen Challenge program.
During this time, God spoke to me that He had been my Father the whole time, because I had never met my biological father. That’s when I experienced the power of the Holy Spirit. I could not stop crying, but I wasn’t hurt at all. I am now a child of God and the violent attitude has turned to kindness. His love has filled my soul.
Last month, I received credentials as a licensed minister in the Assemblies of God. I plan to spend the rest of my life helping people and being faithful to the Lord’s call on my life.
A scripture that brings me strength is I Corinthians 15:58… “Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.”
I was tired of getting high. I wanted to stop but didn’t know how. I decided to go to the Mental Health Complex because I knew it was a safe place where I could get help. There, a priest told me that Jesus was the only one that could help me. He told me about Teen Challenge.
During this last year the Lord has helped me immensely. I am rebuilding my life in Christ. I graduated last month and will be entering Brooklyn Teen Challenge School of Ministry in October. Thank you for supporting Teen Challenge Wisconsin! Your support helps those struggling with addiction find freedom.