Northwood has been partnered with MN Teen & Adult Challenge or over a decade, and the stories of redemption and healing shared this month by the passionate members of the choir were powerful reminders that the Holy Spirit is truly at work in His people. After the choir sang Amazing Grace, Caroline shared one such story of renewal in Christ.
“I’m a 29-year-old wretch saved by grace,” Caroline said by way of introducing herself. She told a story of a broken family; her father left her mother for her best friend’s mom. Her siblings blamed her for this because it was her friend. At age 13, she met a 25 year-old man that brought her to San Francisco. “Robbing, stealing, and credit card theft became a way of life to me. I grew up thinking that that’s just how people lived, that’s what you did. I was charged with my first felony at [the age of] 13.”
Having been to treatment two previous times before MN Teen & Adult Challenge, life finally caught up with Caroline. “[One day] I was sitting and I was reading the Bible and in Philippians it talks about Paul and he’s in prison in Rome … He didn’t know what was going to happen. He didn’t know if he was going to be killed. He didn’t know what was going on. And I’m sitting there for a firearms charge that I know I wasn’t guilty of.” She told herself, “I need to make the best this time.”
In her time served for that charge, a prostitution ring came into the jail. “17, 18, 19 year-old women who had never even heard about Jesus Christ or had heard that he loved them. They were never told that God loved them or who God was. No one had ever prayed with them. No one had ever told them that they didn’t have to sell their bodies. No one had ever told them that they were beautiful.” Caroline said that God “put me there to tell these women that they were beautiful and that Jesus Christ loved them.”
After 13 weeks in jail, Caroline’s charges were dismissed. “That was God. That’s God. That was the best 4 months of my life. I was able to minister to other women. I was able to get close to God and my earthly father. In that four months, my father came to visit me every single visiting. I was able to talk to him on the phone every night. He believed in me. And my heavenly father believes in me. Relationships were already being restored.” After being released, she voluntarily enrolled in MN Teen & Adult Challenge.
So far, in her time in the program, “[I’ve learned that] everyone’s not out to get you, it’s absolutely amazing … I know that prison ministry is in my future. And by the grace of God, I believe that I’ll get there.”
Our hearts and prayers continue to reside with MN Teen & Adult Challenge and its participants.
MN Teen & Adult Challenge is still looking for mentors for their program participants. If you’re interested, please visit <http://www.mntc.org/become-a-mentor>, or email email@example.com.