Addict to World-Changer, Tom Tiemens

In 1968 Teen Challenge of Southern California was in its 5th year. Tom was in his 22nd. He was 6’1” tall but weighed just 135 pounds. Drugs were killing him. When he got arrested again his probation officer offered two choices: prison or Teen Challenge.

“I didn’t want to go to prison and they said if I stayed in Teen Challenge a minimum of four months the charges would be dismissed,” Tom recalled. “I looked like walking death but I couldn’t stop using. Maybe I had six months to live, so I went to Teen Challenge thinking I’d stay four months.” He had no idea that God had other plans.

The first week Tom was at Teen Challenge (then in Cucamonga) he accepted Jesus as his savior. The next week he had an encounter with the Holy Spirit. “I knew what the truth was. I knew when the four months were up that I wasn’t ready to go back to the streets.” Tom didn’t leave Teen Challenge for eleven years. After graduating he joined the staff and eventually became Director of Teen Challenge in Kern County…the first Southern California graduate to be appointed a Center Director.

“God absolutely set me free; Teen Challenge is where my life in Jesus began.” And that life has seen Tom travel to more than 60 countries to share his story. He’s planted churches and established mission projects in foreign countries. He currently serves as the Lead Pastor of a multi-campus church in the Central Valley, has written several books and was involved in radio ministry for 25 years.

Now over 70, Tom has no plans for retirement. “I’ve lived a rich life, and it all started at Teen Challenge. Little did I know that God would allow me to do what I’ve seen and done.”