This past Friday my husband and I had the amazing opportunity to have dinner at a Teen Challenge in our state. It is one of the most wonderful blessings to hear testimonies of how God has transformed the lives of men, women and teens who were previously in unspeakable bondage to drugs and other addictions.
Through the power of the Word of God, their minds are no longer conformed to the pattern of this world. They know the truth about who they are and who God is. They experience the true joy of knowing and following Jesus Christ. And they have been set free from addictions and lies that held them captive for years! (Applause, applause, applause)
How often do we read or hear on the news about how the drug epidemic is taking over and more lives are being lost. But there are many, many stories of victory and hope through Teen Challenge. There truly is no depth of addiction so far down that God cannot reach down and touch.
The place we visited has both a men’s ranch and a women’s house for adults and teens who struggle with addictions. I was able to get a few minutes with the director of the women’s home (aka the Pink House) to discuss what needs they had and to get a better idea of how I might be able to help.
The top of the list was PRAYER. I can do that. Then the list went onto finances, volunteers to lead bible study one night a week, drive the women to church on Sunday and donations. Donations ranged from dog food (because they have one at the house) to shampoo, toothbrushes and other personal toiletries to Welcome Baskets.
Because we live several hours away from the place we visited, I am unable to commit to any weekly volunteer opportunities. I so wanted to help with Bible studies or drive them to church, but it just isn’t doable right now.
But I can pray I also love the idea of creating Welcome Baskets for the women coming into the Teen Challenge program. The director suggested the following items:
1. Journal (preferably with Scripture)
2. Cute pen
3. Lip balm
5. Pretty body soap
When the girls/women arrive they need some encouragement. They are often limited in the items they can bring from home and the old way of living is going to drastically change. Welcome Baskets offer love, encouragement and a sense of belonging.
The first weeks the women live at Teen Challenge can be difficult as they are away from family for extended periods and as they adapt to a lifestyle far different from the one they most recently experienced.
I am so excited about preparing Welcome Baskets. With this list of ideas in hand, I will be scouring sales for these specific items. Hopefully I will be able to find a few more cute things that I can include.
Some other ideas for general donations* to the women’s house would be: hand lotions, note pads, water bottles, toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, handmade bracelets. While many of the girls/women arrive with their own personal toiletries, there are occasions when they are picked up straight from jail and have literally nothing to start with.
What an amazing way to share the love of Jesus with others.
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Romans 12:21 NIV
*Each program has different items that are acceptable to donate. If you are considering donating to a local Teen Challenge, please confirm what items they will accept.
**Pictures and quotes are from a recent Teen Challenge newsletter.