Thursday, April 17, 2008
In 1958, the Rev. David Wilkerson of New York established a ministry aimed at helping young men with alcohol and drug addictions. The results have been remarkable, the program, Teen Challenge International, now has more than 170 centers across the country.
Recently, Teen Challenge International of Mid-America, based at a rural complex north of Cape Girardeau, held a celebratory banquet at the Show Me Center in recognition of the half-century mark for the organization.
Many area residents are familiar with Teen Challenge men who range across all ages. They make up crews that do yard work. In the spring, they pick strawberries and blueberries that are prized by loyal customers. These activities help fund Teen Challenge's programs.
Also celebrated was the completion of a successful capital campaign. When the center's executive director, the Rev. Jack Smart, mentioned that the center needed several thousand dollars to pay its bills, donations quickly came in.
That's an indication of the high regard in which Teen Challenge is held. But the proof is in the results. There is nothing so moving as listening to the testimony of men who have beat their addictions thanks to Teen Challenge.