Download our HFNY Resource Card as a way to engage homeless and hungry neighbors.
Read Tim Keller's outline of "Wholistic Ministry" and the Biblical call of the church to minister in both word and deeds of mercy and justice.
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Ministries of Mercy: The Call of the Jericho Road
Dr. Tim Keller
|Generous Justice: How God's Grace Makes Us Just
Dr. Tim Keller
|When Helping Hurts: Alleviating Poverty without Hurting the Poor... and Yourself
To Live in Peace: Biblical Faith and the Changing Inner City
Mark R. Gornik
Amanda Wood is a student in the School of Ministry at Brooklyn Teen Challenge—a Hope for New York affiliate and residential faith-based recovery program for men and women with life-controlling issues.
Below, Amanda shares her story of how God worked through Teen Challenge to show her the love of Christ and give her hope at a time when she has lost who she truly was.
I’m originally from West Virginia, and I’m an only child and was raised mostly by my mother. When I was nine, my parents got divorced, which began a long road of me being angry and bitter and holding onto a lot of things I didn’t realize I would hold on to for almost 20 years.
Somewhere around the age of 15, I smoked weed for the first time. But it didn’t stop there. I graduated to pain pills when I was 20. And what started out recreational turned into an addiction.
That continued until I was 23. That’s when my dad passed away and I inherited $40,000. Within a year, I also got $30,000 from a car accident and another $8,000 after leaving my job at Walmart. With all that money, my drug use got a lot worse.
Still, I had always thought I would be able to fix myself if I wanted to. I didn’t realize how broken I was or that I couldn’t fix it myself. So, I continued to work everyday to get high everyday. It was a horrible life. To make matters worse, my mom was in addiction with me, and I lived with her until I moved to New York in 2015.
At the time, I was in a long distance relationship with a guy from Long Island. He didn’t know it, but I was doing drugs the entire year and a half I was with him. I would stop whenever I saw him, but he could still hear a change in my voice. And one time he visited me he found out what I’d been doing. So he gave me an ultimatum—either I could get help or he was done with me.
At that point, I loved him more than I loved myself. I had lost who I was. So, two months later, I went into rehab. But being there, I knew I was still the same person—I just didn’t do drugs anymore. My boyfriend knew that, too. So when he told me I needed something more, I said okay. In August of 2015, he picked me up from rehab and brought me to Brooklyn Teen Challenge, a faith-based residential recovery program.
Going there was hard. I was scared they were going to shove a Bible down my throat. I didn’t know Jesus then. And I wasn’t there for myself—I was there for my boyfriend. But shortly after I got there, things started to change.
For the first time in my life, people were pouring into me. They showed me love when I didn’t know how to receive love. They helped me recognize the emotional abuse I’d suffered and the anger and bitterness that I carried toward my mom for leaving my dad. I didn’t know that until I got there. I didn’t know Jesus until then, either.
My whole life, I had never seen the love of Christ in somebody. I had never experienced peace. I saw those things in the people at Teen Challenge. So one day, I sat down with the women’s home supervisor and told her, “I don’t know what you have, but whatever it is, I want it.” And she said, “Well, I have Jesus.” I knew at that moment I wanted Jesus. Three weeks into the program, I gave my life to the Lord and He has been changing me ever since.
In a split second, the Lord showed me what I’d been searching for my whole life: the love that He showed in giving up Himself for me and the hope that I now have in Him. As He’s revealed Himself to me, I’ve been able to see how Jesus satisfies every longing that I’d ever had.
Before Jesus, I was hopeless. Today, I am confident in who I am in Christ—His beloved daughter—and who He calls me to be. Now I’m in Teen Challenge’s School of Ministry, and I plan to be a missionary. I just want to share with others how good my God is. Because if he can change my life, he can change anybody’s.Related Affiliates: Brooklyn Teen Challenge