January 2012 Newsletter
Let me introduce you to Jarrod Cooper. Jarrod's testimony was featured in the Teen Challenge USA newsletter in November. It was a special Thanksgiving letter. Dr. Jack Smart, Teen Challenge USA President, visited with us at Greater Piedmont Teen Challenge last fall and interviewed Jarrod. I want to share the National Office's letter with you; however, I want to give special emphasis on thankfulness for what God has done in so many lives throughout 2011. We look forward to many more victories in 2012. Let's join together and watch what the Lord will do.
Here are Dr. Smart's words: "Let's express our gratitude to God for all He is and remember all the good things He has done for us. We should all think of the many good things we have received from the Lord.
Jarrod is one such thankful person. He appeared to be younger than his 36 years of age. He was polite, bright, and very respectful. As he shared his story with me, it was clear that though he knew God was working in his life, it was also painful for him to share the mistakes he had made and the consequences that came as a result. Here is his testimony." "I am from Morristown, Tennessee. I came from a peaceful, Christian home; my mother and father are still married today. We had everything we needed and most of what we wanted.
I spent most of my adolescent years involved in sports of all types. I went to a Christian school and was taught the Bible and about Jesus, but I never understood the personal relationship factor. I rebelled from the entire thing.
I initially began to get involved with alcohol. Then I began to hang out with the crowd that was involved in that lifestyle.
I got saved when I was 18 years old, a senior in high school. I had actually experienced salvation, but I never gave control of my life to Christ. I continued to be self-centered and self-seeking.
After high school I went to further my education in college. I continued to be involved with alcohol and marijuana, what you would consider gateway drugs. But up until this point I had never experienced any negative consequences from that lifestyle.
I continued to pursue athletics in college and went on to get my degree, get married and start a family. Life seemed great. I had everything I had ever dreamed of having. I had accomplished everything I wanted to achieve; I was on my way to living the life I had always envisioned.
I went on to secure a good job in the professional market all the while crediting myself for all these accomplishments rather than crediting the grace and favor of God in my life. I was an insurance agent and I was involved in several professional sales jobs. However, I continued to dabble in the gateway drugs on a weekend basis.
Then my son was born. He was my pride and joy. I loved being a father and having a son.
A couple of years later I was introduced to prescription medication which I used recreationally.
I remember absolutely loving the way it made me feel. I could continue to function, but it just numbed every emotion I had, including guilt from other sinful activities I was involved in. I felt I had found the solution to everything.
Then came my first attempt at getting sober. We were pregnant with our second child, our daughter, and I was attempting to get sober to save my family. When she was born, my attempt at sobriety became short-lived.
Over the next several years I had several encounters with law enforcement by continuously bouncing checks. Financially, I was completely going bankrupt. I bounced around from job to job, but I couldn't stay clean, so I couldn't keep a job. I went into several different programs, primarily 28 day programs and a couple of six week programs, which were focused on the 12 steps.
I had a strong desire to stay clean; I loved my family and I wanted to be there as a father and as a provider for them, but my addiction consumed me until I did not have the capability to do it on my own.
At one point, my addiction had progressed from prescription medication to harder drugs and harder methods of using the drugs (mainlining).
I overdosed and had to be resuscitated, spending a week in the hospital, almost near death.
Even that didn't wake me up. I slowly began to lose my close friends and family. It was such a dark, lonely place in life.
About two years ago, I was all alone and broken. I actually entered a program where I rekindled a relationship with Jesus Christ. I came to the realization, that for me, a 12 step program or anything I could manufacture, was not going to be enough to maintain sobriety. I had a short period of clean time in which I had regained much of the material things I had lost. But, I was living in a shallow relationship with the Lord. I did the things I needed to do to get to that point, but I had abandoned it. Fortunately, I had praying, loving parents and a family who cared a great deal for me. They were strong when I couldn't be.
They had heard of and recommended Teen Challenge. As reluctant as I was to go through another program, my options were very limited. I still had a desire to be a good father for my children. God's hand was on my life even when I didn't recognize His provision.
I made the call to Greater Piedmont Teen Challenge. I told the staff of the brokenness and the dark place I was and how I needed something. Immediately, after arriving on campus, I felt a love and warm welcoming feeling I had not experienced in a long time.
A week after my arrival I fell on my face and cried out to God. I finally realized He was the only way and I just could not do life without HIM; and He met me there. He met me at my desperate, broken place.
Today, I can smile and laugh. I have a joy which is not produced or manufactured by anything within me, nor is it chemically produced. I came to realize my problem wasn't necessarily a disease, but my problem was a sin and a self-centered problem, which only a personal relationship with Jesus Christ can heal.
I feel like enough time in my life has been wasted. I have given my future to God and I look forward to everything He has for me, like it says in Jeremiah 29:11: "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." I am grateful for the Teen Challenge ministry and everyone who is involved. I truly believe God opened the door for me to be here at this time in my life."
Jarrod's testimony is one example of lives changed through the ministry of Teen Challenge. Jarrod was blessed to be able to come to us for help, but we are blessed to be able to be part of making this ministry possible.
The National Office and Greater Piedmont Teen Challenge would like to encourage you to thank God for all He has done in your life, but also thank Him for the miraculous work He is doing in the lives of our students who are in Teen Challenge.
Thankful for Changed lives,
Dr. Jack Smart,
Teen Challenge USA;
Dr. Bob Harman,
Greater Piedmont Teen Challenge
Ways you can help Greater Piedmont Teen Challenge.........
Refer someone you know needs our help.
Pray for this ministry
Become a regular monthly donor
Bring your gently used merchandise and donate it to our Thrift Store.
Have a vehicle that is in running condition and has an up to date inspection? We would love to have it donated to Teen Challenge.
Include us in your trust, will or endowment.
Have a business? Call and see if there is some way you can donate your time or business professional services.
Invite Teen Challenge to come to your church or civic group to make a presentation.
“Happy New Year!” Seems like such a cliché. We say it often out of habit. For so many the New Year brings little hope or joy. We want to change that for as many young men as possible. We are here to offer hope, healing, and restoration through the saving power of Jesus Christ.
There is no other power on earth that can do what the power of God can do. Without the power of God we are just another program, but since we have His life changing power to share with the men, all things are possible.
I hope you enjoyed reading Jarrod’s testimony. He has been a blessing during his time at Greater Piedmont Teen Challenge. We have space for 30 men who will all have similar testimonies. I look forward to their change during the 2012 year. We will see many miracles.
Your monetary gifts are making it possible for us to send men like Jarrod back to their children. There are children all over the country who have their Daddy back because you decided to give to this ministry.
It is a new year, a new day and a new time. Let’s continue to do the work of the Lord and offer this HOPE, HEALING and RESTORATION to the men who come to us for help. From my heart, I thank you.
Our Thrift Store is doing fantastic! They have broken two sales records. One for the best sales in one week and the other for the best sales in one month.
Congratulations to our thrift store staff. They are a great team!