Sharing brotherly love

If you have been following the adventures of our Teen Challenge Chorus here, and here, and here, you know we have been busy bringing  worship and song to friends all over the Island!  This summer, we will be doing even more trips from coast to coast, helping our young men continue their psychosocial  recovery as they bring joy to churches.

So that’s why it is always good to slow down, take a breather, and relax in fellowship and good company.  In these snapshots, Teen Challenge Chorus leader Alberto Rodríguez (far right) shares a clean joke with the chorus team members.  They were sitting down to share food and fellowship with the members of a church they visited on June 14th.

It may seem a small thing, but it’s not.  These young men are learning how to have healthy, normal relationships and good, honest fun.  Remember that many of these young men came from broken homes in extreme poverty, and the only love and affection they ever knew came from their fellow gang members.  So helping them transition out of that into a healthy, responsible citizen is critical to their recovery.  The churches they visit know this, and they’re extra sweet.  Thanks so much to this church for hosting us!

These trips cost a lot of gasoline.  Would you consider helping us with a $50 0ne-time gift to celebrate our 50th anniversary?

Story submitted by Alberto Rodríguez

 

Big updates to the student center

A ministry team in Oregon raised $6500 of their own money to give our students a better place to hang out and find some recreation!  Not only that, but next month in July, they’ll be putting their hard work where their money is.  They will be coming down to tackle the needs of our student common room at our Bayamón 1 Campus.  In the video, you can see its current condition.  Like the rest of our facilities, it has suffered years of deferred maintenance after budget cuts and other financial struggles.  But that is ending!

The student rec room is an important part of our rehabilitation process.  Here, our students eat their daily meals.  They have Bible studies and group therapy sessions.  They can kick back and relax during their free time with television and a pool table.  So obviously, this room needs to be pleasant, clean, and updated!

If you’ve been seeing the stories about our Buena Vista campus and all the amazing work there, now we’re moving on to other centers like this one in Bayamón.  God is doing great things, and the volunteers’ hard work is paying off!  Our Greater Works Vision for the missionaries is to remodel all of our campuses Islandwide.  This will be the first of many projects on our central location campus.

These teams our directed by our Global Missions Coordinator, Karla Poirier.  Pray for her as she juggles the needs and opportunities of large visiting teams every month!  If you’re interested in bringing your missions team, contact her here.

Story submitted by Brian Poirier

This video is a message to the team that will be coming to fix the student recreation room.  Take a peek inside!

https://youtu.be/fjYkoZZ8uU4

Prevention Team in Old San Juan

The cruise port in Old San Juan is one of the busiest in the Caribbean, welcoming tens of thousands of visitors a month.  This traffic has resumed, and so have our visits to the port with our Prevention Team!

The Prevention Team is another social outreach that helps our students who are nearing graduation.  It allows them to experience the power of “giving back,” as they share the wonders that God is doing in their lives and represent Teen Challenge Puerto Rico to the community.  They talk with visitors, welcome them to our beautiful Island, and pray for many.  You would think that being on vacation in a tropical island, the troubles of home would seem far away for these tourists.  But many eagerly ask for prayer for themselves, loved ones, business situations, job problems, health issues, and the list goes on.  The team also offers little trinkets with our logo on them, such as bracelets and cookies.  Every penny goes straight into the needs of Teen Challenge.  They do not receive any monetary benefit.  This ministry is supervised by Brian Poirier and led directly by Luis and David, both graduates of the program.

We’re grateful to the administration of Mayor Carmen Yulín and the Municipio de San Juan for making it possible for us to continue with this important ministry.  Obviously we have a First Amendment right to do street ministry on public property, but in any case we receive nothing but cheerful cooperation from the authorities, and we are grateful.

So the next time you drop into Old San Juan for business or pleasure, look around for the Prevention Team from Teen Challenge of Puerto Rico.  And if you’re not able to pick up a bracelet, would you consider a special $50 gift to help us celebrate 50 years of ministry in Puerto Rico?

Story submitted by Brian Poirier

More help from Convoy of Hope

https://youtu.be/fjYkoZZ8uU4

Convoy of Hope has been sending us teams of eager volunteers to help with whatever need we have.  Lately, they have been participating in community outreach, hurricane relief (which is still happening), maintenance of our facilities, Gospel preaching on the street, and much more.  We are so grateful for their help.

We always take the time to share in fellowship and get to know each one personally.  In this chapel time, Dr Rodney shared his testimony with Convoy team from Chicago. This is our third team that has come from Chicago. This particular team led by Pastor Darren spent two days on our Campus painting the outside of our property.

Thanks to our partners at Convoy of Hope and all who come to make a difference in Puerto Rico.  Your efforts are really paying off.  Things are improving rapidly at our centers and the students are commenting on the pleasant facilities!

Story submitted by Brian Poirier

 

 

 

 

Planning for 50 year celebrations

We’ve been ministering on the Island of Puerto Rico for 50 years now.  Any anniversary that big deserves a celebration!  Here’s a photo of our President, Dr. Rodney Hart, meeting with our directors to plan a worthy celebration.  They discussed graduation, outreaches, banquets, and fundraising events.

50 years of ministry has not been easy.  And especially the last two years have been a bumpy road, between government cuts and the hurricanes.  But God is faithful and we keep moving forward.  Still, we’re facing fiscal uncertainty and could use your help.  Would you consider joining our “$50 for 50 Years” campaign?  Click here to make your donation.

Story submitted by Brian Poirier

Ministry makeover continues

More friends have been coming into town to help us update our ministry campus!  Years of hot tropical sun, winds, and deferred maintenance due to budget cuts – not to mention Hurricane María – left us with a lot of updating to do.  Andy and his team from Chicago came to help!  This was no “missionary vacation.”  They got right to work on our Buena Vista campus, painting and fixing.  This campus is almost done.  After finishing here, they will be moving on to our central offices at Bayamón 1!

Thanks so much to Andy and all the faithful volunteers.  Your help is critical to continuing the work we do here.  Labor in Puerto Rico is expensive, and finding people to do maintenance work is difficult these days since there is such a demand post-hurricane.  Your love and commitment to Teen Challenge of Puerto Rico will never be forgotten!

Of course, the labor may be given, but we still have to buy the paint, buckets, brushes, gas for the vans, etc.  We’re celebrating 50 years of ministry in Puerto Rico.  Would you give a special $50 gift to help us celebrate?

Story submitted by Brian Poirier

More hurricane relief in Humacao

Wait – STILL?  Yep, still without power nine months later.  This community in the municipality of Humacao is struggling to recover 9 months after Hurricane María.  Try to imagine living without electricity for three quarters of a year.  At this point, especially as most of the Island is seeing recovery, the frustration in the air in this little barrio is palpable.  People are wondering if it’ll ever come back.

Humacao is no far-off mountain town.  In fact, this eastern coastal town it is one of the major economic centers of the island.  From here, the ferries supply the islands of Culebra and Vieques, which are key drivers of our tourist economy.  There are several hotels and major golf resorts, and also lots of small local guesthouses, or paradores, where people stay to visit the world famous El Yunque Rainforest.  (Which is closed until further notice due to hurricane damage.)   Also, the Humacao airport is a major hub of transportation for Puerto Rico and adjoining islands, while the marina is filled with luxury yachts for the millionaires and billionaires who drop in year round.  So it is sobering to consider how severe the damage from María was, that even now, whole neighborhoods away from the glitz and glamor are going without power in this easily-accessible municipality.

We came to the neighborhood as we always do, finding local leaders who help us distribute the goods to those in genuine need.  Our own David Hernández led the effort to distribute solar lanterns, lots of flashlights, batteries, beans and rice, and Jesus Christ.  The electric power may still be out, but the light of the Gospel shone bright.

Please pray for this community.  Nine months without power is too long.  Pray that the Lord gets the lights on soon.

Story submitted by Brian Poirier

 

Sharing music and community

This summer, the Teen Challenge Chorus continues on our tour of local churches.  On Sunday, June the 10th, 2018, it filled us with great joy to have the opportunity to visit two churches on the same day!  Both of these churches are in the municipality of Bayamón.

In the morning at 11 AM, we dropped into the Iglesia de Dios Pentecostal M.I. on Santa Cruz Street in Bayamón.  Pastor Manuel Sánchez and his team greeted us with a warm hug and a fraternal welcome.  While our boys took care of the worship and song, our very own Pastor Samuel Vázquez opened the Word and preached.

Then after a break, it was on to another church!  That night at 7:30 PM, our team showed up at the Iglesia Valientes de Señor (Strong in the Lord) in the Comunidad Volcán en Bayamón.  The church “erupted” in love and welcome for our boys!  Pastor Norma Meléndez and her team opened the church for us in a very special way.  As always, her love and joy made us feel so welcome.   The boys of the Teen Challenge Chorus shared some rousing music and our own Brother David Haddock challenge the congregation with a message from the Word.

A huge thank you to the local churches that open their doors to us.  We love sharing and testifying to the great things that Almighty God is doing at Teen Challenge of Puerto Rico!  The Teen Challenge Chorus is made up of our students who show musical talent and a desire to praise the Lord in music ministry.  It is an important social outlet for them and contributes to their recovery.  By inviting them to your church, you are helping them to continue growing in their faith and to experience the joy of fellowship.  Not only can your own worship team take a break one service, but you’re making an eternal impact in the life of a young man!  If your church would like to host our Teen Challenge Chorus, please call  787-783-2219 or al 939-241-2101.

Story submitted by Alberto Rodríguez

 

 

Muslim meets Christ, gets to work at Teen Challenge!

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

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.