“I looked up and saw my father’s face as the EMTs put me in the ambulance. I never saw that face again.”
It wasn’t Alberto’s first overdose. The man who found him unconscious called 911, then scrolled through his phone, found a number for his dad, and called. That was nearly 15 years ago. Within hours of being released from the hospital, he was on his way to buy more drugs when he passed a church, stopped, and knelt on the church steps asking God for help.
The very next day Alberto entered Teen Challenge, where he graduated not just from the one-year recovery program but also, after another year, from the Teen Challenge Ministry Institute.
Today Alberto is an associate pastor at a prominent church in Bakersfield. God is using his story and background to establish a connection with a generation that needs to hear the Good News that God is still very much in the life-changing business. Not long ago he was approached by an older woman at an evening service.
“I’m so glad you’re here,” she said. “Because I have a grandson who has tattoos—he looks like you—and I was afraid that if he were to come to church he wouldn’t be accepted. You give me hope that he’d be welcome.”
There are men and women in Southern California who, like Alberto, need a safe place that will help them turn their life around. Because Teen Challenge of Southern California relies solely on support from caring donors to accomplish its mission, it’s because of people like you that we were there for Alberto when he needed help.
In Alberto’s words, “Teen Challenge was where I found hope, it’s where I found love, it’s where I was restored. It’s where I discovered that I had purpose.”
And that’s what it’s all about—life restoration through the power of God. Thank you for partnering with us to restore lives like Alberto’s. Your support is helping men and women start a new life free from devastating drug and alcohol addiction. One final thought: Alberto still sees the face of his father, but it’s not the concerned and pain-filled one that he saw for the last time years earlier. No, it’s the smiling face of a proud Dad experiencing the great joy of having his son back. The prodigal returned. God bless you for helping Teen Challenge make hundreds of similar stories each year.