"I'm glad I went through what I did..."
My name is Jordan Burgess. I am twenty one years old, from Cookeville, Tennessee. I have two brothers and one sister. We were raised in a good environment. It was a Godly household. I always went to church and was taught the right things to do, but just didn't care. I guess I thought it was cool to be the bad guy or outlaw.
I started smoking cigarettes when I was about twelve. Then I was introduced to smoking marijuana and drinking beer. I fooled around with them every chance I got, most of the time with the older boys up the road. I thought it was cool to get to hangout, so I just did it. This got me into some trouble at school. I was caught drinking on school property in the eighth grade. I didn't get into much trouble or have any serious consequences, so it didn't affect me much. Therefore, in the ninth grade I did the very same thing, but ended up getting kicked out of school for it. It also landed me on probation. This came with a lot more consequences so I stayed straight for a while, but the desires were still there.
As I got older I spent a lot of my time on and off probation. It was all for drinking and drugging. I always did the same stuff but figured it would turn out different the next time. I went to plenty of different outpatient programs, but they did not really tell me about God, just that I needed to somehow stop. I finally graduated from high school, though nothing really changed, except I was off probation and I could still use whenever I wanted too.
I got a job with some fellows who did the same thing I was doing. We would drink and do some pills at work. This was not the first time I ever did them, but it was the first time they were around this much. I acquired the feel for them, but then lost my job. I picked up another job doing construction type work making fairly descent money. This made me happy, but along with more money came more drugs. And with more drugs came more troubles with the law. It was a never ending cycle for me.
To keep up with my love for money, pills, and habits I chose to start selling marajuana. It seemed like everything was going good. This introduced me back into the pain pills. I could trade and still come out making money. That worked until I began using oxycotin. From that point on my life was doomed. I sold them for a while and was good at it. I would hurt if I did not have any and it hurt if I did. I could not wake up without this drug or I would get violently sick. This drove me to loosing lots of weight and staying away from my family. I really distanced myself and did not even realize it.
I got down and out about myself and the path I was leading. I was looking for a way out, but did not know how or where to look. Then one night God put it on my aunt's heart to talk with me. She told me there was hope for me and even a place where I could go get my life back together. I had heard about Teen Challenge before and knew some people who had gone through Teen Challenge and they were doing well. So I told her I was ready to go as soon as possible. Just a few days later I arrived. Since arriving here God has saved me. He has been changed me from the inside out helping me work out some issues I had and how to handle the ones yet to come. It was a long ride, but I finally got what I was looking for the whole time, Jesus. I am glad I went through what I did because it has made me the person I am today. It makes me really appreciate Jesus dying on the cross for me. I now have true peace and joy on the inside and hope for a prosperous future. I never imagined something like this could ever happen to me.
Happy Birthday Mel Reich...
About twenty-five years ago Mel Reich retired from Lorillard and joined our Board of Directors. He said he had researched the Bible and never found the word "retire", so he decided to refire. One time during a board meeting, he was asked when he did plan to retire. He said never, we would have to bury him. Mel was 90 on September 5th. At his birthday party he was telling everyone "I'll see you at my hundredth".
Mel has two families, one in the United States and one in France. His U.S. family celebrated his birthday here at Teen Challenge a week or so before he left for France. All of the students and Board members were there. His daughter, Lisa, is married to a Frenchman. As I am writing this letter, he is in France celebrating his birthday with his French family.
Mel is a remarkable man of God. Even before I came here twenty years ago, he would come in and work four or five hours a day, and longer if necessary. He has continued to do that since I arrived. One time I asked him why he put in so many hours here and he replied, I need Teen Challenge more than you needed me; Teen Challenge keeps me active and feeling young." It is not an overstatement to say that Greater Piedmont Teen Challenge would not be where it is today had he not come here.
Mel is more than a board member, he is my best friend. Whenever I need someone to share my problems with or get a wisdom check, Mel has always been there. He is not just ninety years old, he is also ninety years wise. On his birthday in 2005 our administration building was named in Mel's honor. The plaque affixed to the building is in honor of his hard work and dedication.
Happy Birthday Mel!
Mel with his great grandchildren!
From the Director...Rev. Dennis Kyseth
I want to take this opportunity to thank all of you who help support Teen Challenge. Our thrift store business is going great, thanks to a hard working team of dedicated individuals working there. Of course, we could always use more customers.
Over the last few months, I have received some sad news. Another program in the area working with drug addicts had to close its doors due to a lack of funds. A church that had been around for almost one hundred years recently closed.
These are hard financial times for everyone, especially non-profits. Greater Piedmont Teen Challenge is blessed to have a thirty five year record of community service and support. However, since 2008 when the stock market plunged, so did our donor support. Praise God, it was just at that time we received a large sum of money from the estate of a partner who had passed away.
Since 2008, each month our expenses have exceeded income. But you know, this ministry was started by faith and continues to live by faith. Therefore, I am not asking you for money. Our faith is in God; our problems are His problems.
We are working very hard to keep our ministry the best it can be. We are one of the top five Teen Challenge centers in the country. We are not backing down. You all know the scripture that says God provides for the birds and the animals? Well, you don't see a bird sitting on a log waiting for a worm to crawl by. This is our motto, we work like it all depends on us, but trust in God as if it all depends on Him.
We expect to be around until Christ returns. We do not charge the men who come here for the program. Those who need our program most are often the ones least able to afford it. It costs approximately $11,000 to put one man through this program. They don't pay that, with your help and God's blessings we raise it. Is it worth it? What price tag can you place on a life or a family that has been restored?
On Thursday, October 14, we will be conducting our Fall Walk-a-thon. Our Spring Walk-a-thon raised over $7,000 for the ministry. Our goal was $10,000.
This will be my final). Also, when I leave Teen Challenge to start the next stage of my life, I want to leave beardless. Even my wife wants it cut off. Please help! Quite honestly, I don't know what it would feel like not to have the beard. It keeps my face cool during the summer and warm during the winter.
I humbly ask for your support of me on this, my final walk-a-thon. Everything you send in goes to support the ministry. If you can help, please note on the bottom of your check "for the beardless one".
We would like to cordially invite you to our Friend and Fundraising banquet to be held at Occasions in Burlington on Monday evening, November 22nd. The doors will open at 6:30 p.m. with serving beginning at 7:00. Tickets are the same as last year, only $13.50 per person or $135.00 per table of ten.
The food will be served up buffet style - all you can eat. I'm certain there will be plenty of fried chicken, roast beef, mashed potatoes and gravy, salad, sides, coffee or tea, and desert for everyone.
After dinner, the men of Teen Challenge will be singing and sharing their testimonies with you. The food is always great, but the program is where we will be giving glory to God for His wonderful blessings in our lives. Help us kick off the holy-day season by joining us at the banquet. Tickets are now on sale. For further information you may call Lorna Williams at our office, 292-7795 ext 300.