Muslim meets Christ, gets to work at Teen Challenge!

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William Cruz is one of those stories that makes you feel good all over.  Raised in a devout Muslim family, he unfortunately left the moral teachings of his faith, fell into bad ways, and wound up with a drug addiction.  Soon things were out of control and he needed help.  Then just over a year ago, he came to Teen Challenge of Puerto Rico.

Right away, William was a special student.  His attitude was cheerful and he embraced life as a student with open arms.  When Hurricane María hit Puerto Rico, he joined our Hurricane Relief Team immediately.  He has been part of our effort to bring emergency supplies to people all over Puerto Rico.  (In fact, we’ve given over 3 million pounds of relief away in 40% of the Island’s municipalities.)  He also participated in our chapel services and Bible studies, learning about our faith and asking lots of questions.

Along the way, Jesus Christ met William Cruz in a powerful way.  William accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as his personal Savior, and now wants to go into full-time Christian ministry.  What an amazing testimony of Jesus’ love and work in the life of a man who seeks Him!

For his special, cheerful attitude, his can-do work ethic, and his desire to give back, William Cruz was our Student of the Month for April 2018.  Pray for him as he continues learning more about his new faith.  And pray God’s special anointing over his future plans.

At Teen Challenge of Puerto Rico, we welcome students of all faiths and no faith at all.  We never seek to impose our Christian faith on anyone.  At the same time, we openly share our Christian faith with those who come on board as a student, and participating in our services and rituals is a part of their healing process.  Whether a student comes in as an atheist or a Muslim or anything else, we are confident that the love of Jesus Christ they experience at Teen Challenge of Puerto Rico will have an impact for a lifetime.  And we celebrate every time one of them makes that all-important decision for Christ.

We’re celebrating 50 years of ministry in Puerto Rico.  Would you consider making a special $50 gift now to help us continue making more success stories like William Cruz’ happen?  Click here to make your special gift securely online.

Day of friendship and fellowship

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Not everything we do is hard work!  Our Teen Challenge Chorus – made up of young men who are students in our program – has been hard at work around the Island.  Visiting churches and sharing music and testimonies is a tough job, so sometimes they need space to relax!  Recently they did just that, with a brotherly day of sharing and friendship.  They visited the famous Taíno Face in Isabela, then chillaxed on the world-class Crash Boat Beach in Aguadilla.  Crash Boat is internationally famous for its perfect surf, amazing sunsets, and wonderful swimming.  The picnic area was in remarkably good shape, considering how hard Hurricane María hit just months ago.

Why are days like this important?  Well, many of the young men in our program come from difficult pasts and even gang life.  They need to learn how to have normal social interactions and healthy friendships.  Sometimes they need to learn how to have fun without depending on substances like drugs and alcohol to “lubricate” the day.  Visits to churches can be taxing, and these social days relax them.  They also serve to bind the young men together more closely as a team.  Team spirit helps young men pull together, so they can support each other in those long nights when thoughts of past habits and cravings can become problematic.  It all adds up to preparing them for a healthy life outside of Teen Challenge, in the community.

Thank you for supporting Teen Challenge of Puerto Rico.  Your financial donations help to make friendship days like this possible.  Would you consider helping us gas up the vans for the next outing?

We’re celebrating 50 years of ministry in Puerto Rico.  How about making a special $50 gift to celebrate with us?  Click here to make your gift securely online.

Teen Challenge Chorus sharing joy in churches

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Our Teen Challenge Chorus continues visiting various churches to share music and praise along with members of the congregation.  This chorus welcomes members from our student body who have musical talent and a desire to praise the Lord publicly.

On this occasion, Sunday, May 27th at 10 AM, Pastor Pedro González of the church Iglesia Cristiana Avivamiento in Camuy welcomed us into the service.  The young men sang good old hymns of the faith and modern worship songs.  They shared their testimonies of what God is doing in their lives.  Gabriel Rodríguez gave the reflection.  This church stepped up in a big way, supporting our work both spiritually and economically.

The Teen Challenge Chorus helps young men in their recovery from substance addiction.  It is an important psycho-social tool to help them in their development  First, as they join the chorus and stretch their musical muscles, they receive positive feedback and support.  For many of them, it’s the first time anyone ever patted them on the back for their musical ability!  Second,  as they visit churches and receive a warm welcome, they begin to have a new vision of themselves.  Experimenting a bit of freedom and community in a controlled setting helps them to visualize life after graduation.  They know what it is to congregate in a local church body, to have healthy friendships based on respect and shared experience, and to aspire for greatness with clean fun.

Pray for our young men.  And pray for our chorus leaders.  Musical tours take a lot of time, effort, prayer, and community bridge building to put together.  But it’s all worth it to see our young men “growing in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.” (2 Peter 3:18, NIV)

Our thanks and blessings to Pastor Pedro González and his flock at Iglesia Cristiana Avivamiento in Camuy.  You have made a bigger impact than you probably understand in the lives of our young men!

Will you help us gas up the vans for these road trips?  As we all know, gasoline isn’t cheap these days!  Click here to make your special gift of $50 for our 50-Year-Anniversary celebration!

Mourning the loss of Brian Cancel Marrero

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Today, we said good-bye for now to our courageous fellow-laborer, Brian Cancel Marrero.  He was a valiant companion and beloved co-laborer in the ministry.  A graduate of our program, Brian worked as a member of the staff in our Arecibo campus.  We express our deepest sympathies to his parents, daughters, extended family, and friends in general.

There are no exact words to describe the enormous pain and loss of his leaving us for Heaven.  Nevertheless, knowing his faith and his fervent Christian convictions, we know that he went to rest in the Lord.

Your Teen Challenge of Puerto Rico family shares once more your powerful testimony, so that you will continue serving as an example of overcoming to all who fight day by day to reach recuperation from drug addictions.  You succeeded and continued giving by grace what by grace you had received.

We will always remember your friendly smile, your gentle voice, and your never-ending commitment to service that you modeled during your life.  Rest in peace, beloved brother and friend.  We pray that God Almighty would console and bring peace to your family members, friends, and all who had the privilege of knowing you!

MASSIVE outpouring of help from NewLife Church in New Jersey

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NewLife Church in Millville, New Jersey just gave us $20,000 to help us continue expanding the work of Teen Challenge of Puerto Rico.  But then, this church is no stranger to abundant generosity.  For example, they stood behind us during the hurricane season in 2017, donating 3 whole containers of emergency supplies for us to distribute to hurricane victims across out Island (that’s 120,000 pounds of love).

Today, NewLife Church threw open their doors and welcomed us in to take over the service.  Pastor Rodney Hart, Teen Challenge of Puerto Rico President, gave a powerful Gospel message.  Then Brian Poirier, Promotions Director of Teen Challenge of Puerto Rico, told the story of how God worked during the recent hurricanes (see the videos embedded below).  He shared how long days and nights of grueling work – and a few miracles! – kept Teen Challenge of Puerto Rico not only operating and growing.

As we’ve been showing on this site, God allowed us not only to continue our core function of drug rehabilitation for young men after the hurricane; we actually have been doing more than ever before.  From storm relief to community clean-up days, from homeless ministry to church outreach (and of course lots of roof repairs), we’ve been stretching and reaching out as never before.  And while volunteers bring lots of help and support their stay, it takes real money to do all this!  So donations big and small are so critical to moving forward.

Thanks so much to Pastor Richard F. Myers and wife Helen, along with the entire staff and congregation at NewLife Church.  “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!” (Psalm 133:1, KJV)

Would you consider coming on board as a monthly partner?  Your donation big or small will help write new stories of freedom from drug addiction and community outreach in the name of Jesus Christ.  Click here to make a donation.

Dr. Rodney Hart preaches the Gospel at NewLife Church in Millville, New Jersey

Brian Poirier shares hurricane testimony at NewLife Church in Millville, New Jersey

“New Life” for our campus

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The teams just don’t stop!  We have teams arriving every month, and this one from New Life Church in Massachussetts came to continue the important work of maintenance at our campus in Bayamón 1.

We started 2018 strong with missionary teams coming to Serve to Teen Challenge of Puerto Rico.  This is an important boost to the work because after all the stress and expense of last year’s hurricane season, the helping hands are assisting us to make our campuses shipshape.  Think the work is over?  Not by a long shot!

Teen Challenge of Puerto Rico is grateful to all the servants who come.  Everyone has a gift to share!

Exterior Paint – serving the kingdom
*Hours of painting
*Men praying for each other
*Men encouraging one other and loving as God has called us to….
*Dr. Rodney president of TC PR spread God’s word at a local church and the Team from New Life Christian Church
*Time of devotion
* Pastor Wayne Zanchi a teen challenge graduate from TC Brocton Massachusetts came and shared his wisdom to our students….
* Rick Amendola the lead Pastor of New Life Christian Center, MA…

Great memories, warm hugs, so much accomplished for the Kingdom!  Thank you to all who came!

What a good view!

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In Spanish, “buena vista” literally means “good view” or “beautiful view,” and that is certainly becoming the case at our Buena Vista campus in Bayamón!  Our ministry makeover continues as another mission team from Massachusetts, under the leadership of Pastor Wayne Tzanck, took time out of their busy spring to come and help us!  Pastor Tzanck is a Teen Challenge of New England graduate.

The team hit the ground running, going right to work on some of the ongoing updating and maintenance at the Buena Vista campus.  The buildings are spray painted in fresh new color.  Now the campus looks bigger and better than ever before.  Thank you to this team for flying all the way down to Puerto Rico to help us continue giving hope and address.

Volunteer teams like this one are critical to the ongoing work at Teen Challenge of Puerto Rico.  As a small nonprofit ministry, we depend on this kind of help  because we don’t have the funds to hire contractors for every single job.  So when you pick up a paint brush or help us clear brush, you save funds for the things that only the professionals can do – like the new roof we need in Arecibo.  (Pray for us as we’re still looking for a licensed contractor to do that work.  They’re in short supply after Hurricane María.)