My name is Robert Bell and I am 40 years old. I became a heavy drinker at a very young age. This led to violent behavior, prison and rejection from family and friends.
When I was 14, I committed a strong arm robbery and was sent to juvenile prison. When I got out of Ethan Allen school, I got involved with a division of the Gangster Disciples called the Lynch Mob.
First I ran with gang members and then I became one, which resulted in my whole family getting involved. I lost a brother and a little cousin to murder in all of this. I was in prison when I lost my little brother – I was getting out two weeks later.
By the time I was 19 years old, I had been convicted of three felonies in Milwaukee County and was sent to prison. I ended up being locked up for about 7-10 years total. It seemed as though every time I got out I was quickly revoked.
Alone one morning in my bedroom, I lifted my hands to God and asked him to help me. I heard about Teen Challenge through Christian friends. I was serious about change and ten days later I was a student in the Teen Challenge program.
During this time, God spoke to me that He had been my Father the whole time, because I had never met my biological father. That’s when I experienced the power of the Holy Spirit. I could not stop crying, but I wasn’t hurt at all. I am now a child of God and the violent attitude has turned to kindness. His love has filled my soul.
Last month, I received credentials as a licensed minister in the Assemblies of God. I plan to spend the rest of my life helping people and being faithful to the Lord’s call on my life.
A scripture that brings me strength is I Corinthians 15:58… “Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.”
“Teen Challenge is the oldest one of the most effective ongoing programs of its kind in America. Not only does Teen Challenge help our young people deal with substance abuse, but it also gives our kids something to live for, a relationship with God, a healthy self-esteem – direction in their lives that finally leads somewhere.”
“If you’re thinking that it’s not worth it – yeah, it is – when you buy it from Teen Challenge! If you don’t want it, buy it, and bring it again next year. Listening to statistics about Teen Challenge graduates, you don’t find that after six months they are out there doing the same old thing again.”
“What a joy it was for me to be with you in Milwaukee. I appreciate all of your hard work. I want to tell you that I appreciate you being a man of God and a man of integrity. I work with many organizations all over the world (and many Teen Challenges), and it is refreshing to me to work with someone like you who has a heart for ministry and is a person who has learned to give to others.”
“I’ve believed in this ministry since it’s very beginning, and I continue to support it. I consider it a real privilege to endorse this work. Thank God for Teen Challenge!”
“When I founded Teen Challenge 40 years ago, I had no idea that God would multiply this movement around the world! From the beginning, my vision has been to introduce troubled young people to Jesus Christ, and then get them back on the streets witnessing for the Lord. Today, God is raising up a mighty army of Spirit-filled soul-winners and evangelists – out of former drug addicts and gang members! But we must have help to continue. The problems we see today are much worse than what I encountered in New York in 1958. I pray you will stand with us in prayer and support.”
“To change people who have addictions like this, you cannot just do it by walking them through a program. You ultimately have to change what is in their heart to change what other actions they do. This is a program that has shown great success.”
“When all is lost, there’s still one thing left, and that’s Teen Challenge…that’s why I’ve been committed to the program. I don’t think all hope is lost in life as long as people are willing to get together and do what it takes to do the right thing…”
“Thank you for ministering the gifts of mercy and servanthood at our service last Sunday. Teen Challenge is truly a Good Samaritan’ ministry and very close to my – and Parklawn Assembly of God’s – heart and vision.”
“With the deterioration of society, Teen Challenge has become one of the most important arms of the church to this generation.”