A ministry update for partners who contend with Adult & Teen Challenge MidSouth on behalf of people struggling in addiction
Great News for Discouraging Days
Mental health specialists are reporting a general malaise in people across the country caused by uncertainty about what the future may bring. They point to covid and the many upticks that strike fear in some and dread in most. In the midst of these virus upticks are supply chain issues, rising prices, falling portfolio values and housing shortages. Is there any good news we can cling to?
At ATCM, we have good news upon good news! God is still working mightily in the lives of men and women who pursue a relationship with Him!
• In 2021, we announced thirty men and women received Christ as their personal Savior. This represented one in four of the individuals entrusted to us. In the first five months of this year, we’ve already baptized twenty-six!! God is honoring the diligent study of His Word!
• We had a fair amount of concern when we ended our 4-month program experiment in May that our applications and student population would decrease. After returning to our standard 12-month format, in the first week of June we saw the largest student population on our campus that we have experienced in at least the last four years! Broken spirits can still respond when freedom is the goal!
• We’ve long seen the power God’s Word in the lives of these men and women but only recently began to do the research to understand how impactful a relationship with Jesus Christ is in recovery. This year, we contacted as many graduates as possible from 2018 through 2021 and asked four questions:
o Are you still in recovery – substance and alcohol free?
o Are you employed?
o Are you connected to a group for support?
o Are you attending church?
We learned that 14% of our graduates have relapsed and we’re working to bring them back. But this 14% is compared with a national relapse rate of up to 80% on traditional treatment programs. That means ATCM graduates are 4.3 times more likely to be successful in their recovery and the difference is a relationship with Jesus Christ!
How are our graduates doing on the other three measures? Over 91% are employed, 80% are connected for support and accountability, but only 55% are attending church. We see an opportunity to disciple these men and women about serving in their local church.
We realize you don’t need additional reasons to support ATCM. Many of you have faithfully prayed for and given to this ministry for years. But we hope that if you’re not seeing good news in your day-to-day, you’ll have confidence that God is still on His throne and drawing men and women to Himself through the diligent study of His Word.
To Him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever
“And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying, “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!” And the four living creatures said, “Amen!” and the elders fell down and worshiped.” Revelation 5:13-14
Growing up was tragic for Daemon. Rather than being nurtured, he was molested and introduced to drugs, all of which created cravings. “I was drawn deeper and deeper,” Daemon says, explaining that his cravings led to more and more crime. “Because I wanted to stay high all day, every day, I nearly lost my life several times. As I tried to get well, I ended right back where I started – until my last near-death situation.”
Throughout his life of crime and drugs, Daemon was drawn from time-to-time to attend his parent’s church. On one occasion, while waiting for the service to start, he realized his life was out of control and thought of Teen Challenge. With his dad not well, Daemon didn’t pursue the idea. But after being pistol whipped badly and losing his apartment, his mother reintroduced the idea of Teen challenge along with a selection of available apartments. “I chose The Challenge because God had answered my prayer by presenting that sign,” says Daemon.
Daemon says the most impactful part of the program is both the group and personal studies for new Christians our students do each morning.
He knows he’s at ATCM for a purpose. “It’s becoming clearer and clearer
every day,” he says, adding, “Thank God for second, third and fourth chances. Thank you for saving me!” Daemon adds his verse – 2 Corinthians 5:17, “This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” (NLT)
Today, Daemon works for CARTA and is studying for his CDL license as
he completes the re-entry phase of our program. Look for his graduation
announcement within the next few week!
How Does Your Garden Grow?
It was just a year ago that we prayed for help so the Women in our program could garden. God blessed us with both the funds and Karen Creel, a Certified Garden Planner and Master Gardner. Today, Karen comes monthly to work with the women, teaching them what to grow and how to tend the gardens. As a result, we’ve had gorgeous lettuces for our salad bar and are harvesting squashes, tomatoes, peppers and cucumber for our meals.
But Karen isn’t finished yet! After hearing we were blessed with additional funds to allow our Men to garden, she’s already begun plans for more gardens and more training.
We’re excited to see (and taste) the rewards for all their hard work!
Thank you to this team from the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (TDMHSAS) for Faith-based, Trauma Informed training for ministry and community leaders across this region in June. This training helps those working with the general public know how to identify and talk with people suffering in addiction, and their resources.
- We are grateful for our Board members as they prayerfully lead this ministry.
- We are grateful for the men and women who hear God’s message of mercy and accept His invitation to become sons and daughters of a living Savior.
- We are grateful for volunteers who serve so faithfully, like Marty and Jeff, who keep our front office (and us) in fine working order.
- Will you pray for men and women whom God is calling to serve on staff.
- Will you join us in praying about our location – is God calling us to move or continue growing where we are?
- Will you join us in praying about program expansions that would help men and women as they enter the program and as they re-enter the workforce. We are looking for His timing and resources on these important
- Please join us in praying for our staff, that they will receive His encouragement.
- Please pray that God will give our students faith and perseverance as they study His Word
Adult & Teen Challenge MidSouth is a faith-based, residential recovery program for men and women 18-50 struggling in addiction. Our 2022 research shows ATCM graduates are SIX TIMES more likely to live in recovery than traditional treatment programs. For more information, visit tcmidsouth.org.