Posts in Teen Challenge

God Can Open Any Door

November 9, 2009

Today, part of the Teen Challenge/ Street Team went out on a door-to-door outreach in Alexandria, near the bonnie banks of Loch Lomond.

We were sent out two by two with the direction to knock on each door in six-floor walk up multi-family dwellings located within quarter square-mile grid.  We were told that in most of the area there was high unemployment, rampant drug and alcohol abuse, and depression.

After robust prayer, and in high spirits, we went out.

Most of the main doors to the high rises were open. So, we walked in, walked up and knocked. Some received us gladly, others not so much. We even had the opportunity to pray with a few.

Then, toward the end of our walk we came upon an apartment complex whose main door was locked and the only way in was to know the secret keypad code. Undaunted we prayed a very simple prayer, “Jesus, you can open any door. What’s a keypad lock to you?“

So, we rang a bell. Bell #1.

“Who is it?“ came the muffled voice from through the intercom.

We identified ourselves saying, “We came from New York to visit you.“  And then the door buzzed and we walked right through and into the door frame of apartment renter #1 whose name is James.

Who, though hesitant, let us pray for him. And then disclosed that his biggest problem was boredom.

We told him Jesus was the cure for boredom. That indeed He could take him from a listless place into a wonderful place of life and adventure.  And that the adventure opportunity would be happening at a church near him on Tuesday.

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What’s in a Name?

November 8, 2009
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About 30 team members from the Healing Rooms and Teen Challenge teams arrived at the Church of the Nazarene. The sparsely attended church congregation was doubled by our attendance. Four team members shared their testimonies, the choir led praise and worship a cappella style, and a team member from Teen Challenge gave a brief but powerful message from the Word of God.

The people felt God’s presence through the prayer and testimonies.  His powerful presence caused many of us to rise to our feet and lift up our hands in worship. Although most congregants remained seated, many sang with teary eyes, smiling with joy.

After the service, the teams greeted and chatted with the church members. One woman thanked a Teen Challenge team member.  She explained that she had been living in the United States for more than 19 years and had not returned due to difficult circumstances.  She had not been to a church since she came to Scotland. Her cousin had invited her to today’s service and mentioned about a group visiting from New York. She introduced herself as Fiona– which was also the name of one of our team members’ daughter. With the Lord, there are no accidents, only divine appointments.

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Going, Going, Gone…

November 6, 2009

GOING…
Great anticipation filled the air as the Teen Challenge Team joined a total of 96 members from various teams at Newark Airport today with hearts and eyes fixed on going to Scotland! Boarded and joyful, settling carry-ons in the overhead and meeting our seat mates whom God had clearly appointed–the excitement mounted. But after more than forty-five minutes passed they announced that the door sealing rubber that would assure take off was in need of replacement. Would our excitement be dimmed? Would an obstacle rob this joy? With the quiet assurance that our God had everything in control, we waited.

GOING…

Soon the word came that the problem undertaken to be fixed was unfixable and we would have to change planes. Moving en masse, we now arrived at a new gate that would lead us to our intended destination. While we waited, joyful expectation and sleepy smiles were passed around the waiting room along with shared granola bars, nuts and encouragement. Soon forty more minutes passed and we again boarded, emboldened and moving toward our goal. The plan of God and the people of Scotland awaited and He would not disappoint. Navigational equipment glitches resolved, we were informed by our captain that we were awaiting new charts for our journey and we would soon be up and away. All the while, we are being constantly reassured that our eyes are not to be on what we see in the circumstances we face, but the plan being unfolded. It is surely a bigger plan than we can imagine.

As we pushed away from the gate, the sound of silent relief was interrupted by the distinct cough from a team member struggling to breathe. She pressed the call light and requested oxygen. Again our departure was put on hold. We silently prayed. The oxygen tank was not functioning. An announcement was made for medical personnel on board to make themselves known, and more than two doctors and a nurse came to assist. It became apparent that medical aid must be brought on board. As our beloved team member was wisked off the aircraft with a wave and the assurance: “I will be back!” The voice of our captain again was heard as he declared: “Third time is the charm!”

GONE…
We persevere but not because the third time is the charm. We persevere because our hearts are joined in God’s plan for His love, care and assurance to be poured out upon Inverclyde.

They announce that our landing is imminent. We arrived at God’s planned destination. Our team stands on Scottish soil.

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Perpetual Praise and Continual Prayer

November 6, 2009

There‘s a song I like that has the lyrics, “Lift up your hands! Stand on your feet! Give God the Glory . . . Perpetual Praise . . . !”

The watchword for flight number #16 out of Newark heading to Glasgow was indeed about patience having its perfect work, placing our full confidence in Him, resulting in the joy of the Lord - who was our strength for sure!

We boarded on time and seemed to be taking off - on time - with our crew, whom we learned later - had already worked more than 12 hours. And a mixed crowd of travel weary Scotsmen - one of who had been trying to get back to Glasgow for 2 days. AND THEN -

DELAY!

First, it was a mechanical failure. Turns out one of the cap seals that connect to the fuselage near the landing shaft was broken. What was supposed to be a - ahem - 30 minute wait turned into more than an hour of sitting on the plane.

Then, one of team leaders got up to visit with everyone. And pretty soon - we were socializing on the plane. We talked. Walked. Visited. And even served each other - and the others on the plane - beverages. We were getting quite cozy getting to know one another. AND THEN -

We had to disembark from the plane, go to a new terminal and wait.

It was there that I met Bill from Aberdeen who said two amazing things.

First, he said, “I’ve been flying a long time, and this is the first flight I’ve been on where people are not GRUMBLING, MURMURRING and COMPLAINING or DEMANDING THEIR OWN WAY because of delays.” When he learned that this convivial motley crew was on a mission, he said, “Good. We need more evangelizing. It could do us all the more good.”

So we boarded the next flight began to head down the runway . . . AND THEN -

DELAY.

We had to stop for a medical emergency, and turn back toward the gate. One of our team leaders, and a speaker at the conference, was escorted to planeside ambulance to be examined. And she was eventually escorted off the plane (though, this blogger is fully confident she will her within the next two days -in Scotland).

But, as the song goes, we “chose to lift up our hands to praise Him.” Turns out that the medical emergency exposed the fact that the oxygen bottles on the flight were empty. Imagine, we could have flown across the Atlantic with no oxygen on board!

Well, all these things happened before we left Newark. I can’t wait to see what happens when we arrive.

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