Dean’s Story

My story with Teen Challenge SA began back in August 2013, when I went on a road trip to Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide with my wife and two daughters. Little did I know that this was the beginning of a God journey that would take my family, who had only ever known the Gold Coast as their home, on a holiday to America and then all the way to South Australia.

When I first visited Adelaide, a mate of mine told me that God had a much bigger plan for me than I could ever imagine. He challenged me and my wife to enter into the unknown vastness of Gods plan.

Was I scared? Yes! Was it a stretch to move my family and whole life to an unfamiliar place, with people I had never met, into work that I had no background in while leaving part of my family behind on the Gold Coast? Yes!

So with a whisper in my heart I set off with my family, with only a verbal agreement of two days work. In a chance meeting my friend had with Graham Ross, I was told Teen Challenge was prepared to give me 3 days work even though I didn’t know anything about this ministry.

I then began working with young men caught in the world of addiction, totally lost to the purpose and plan of the Father.

Adventure is the life stream of the Spirit of God, and He gives us the choice to enter in or not. This requires letting go and trusting that our Heavenly Father has our best interests in mind. Ultimately He knows our hearts better than we do.

The stretch comes as we hit our human limits, and if we refuse to stretch we wont grow as we should. I never wanted to be that person who sits on their death bed asking themselves why they didn’t do what God was calling them to try.

The last 18 months for me have been a stretch in many ways – physically, mentally and spiritually. I had to give my weaknesses to God and allow His mighty grace to fill in my areas of vulnerability. I think God is very gracious and He gives us many opportunities to step out in the different seasons of our lives. Some seasons, however, we are just meant to sit and Selah.

Part of my role in Teen Challenge is coordinating the intake process for the Men’s Living Free program. After an enquiry comes in, I go through an interview and assessment phase before a student comes into the program.

One of the many benefits of working with Teen Challenge for me has been getting to spend one-on-one time with the guys, and hanging with them in the recreation areas at Norton Summit. You get to know about the good and bad of their lives. You get the privilege of playing a small part in their journey of restoration and healing. It has been such a delight to see incoming students discover their identity in Christ and begin their journey into Gods best for their lives and families. This has been a real source of inspiration for me.

The other real gem for me has been forming personal relationships with the staff at Teen Challenge SA. I have found genuine character that is precious and I believe the friendships will last a lifetime.

Over my time with TC I have been to many events, heard some great preaching, seen so many lives changed and even went on a crazy TC road trip to Alice Springs, and quite frankly I’ve had the time of my life.

One great statement I heard many years ago that I have always held close to my heart, is if you want to live all that God has for you, love God and love people and you can never go wrong.

Thank you Teen Challenge SA for helping me to discover that this truth lives on in the hearts and souls of the staff of this great organisation, and it has truly changed my life forever.