That’s the number of days we have left here at West Florida Teen Challenge. I don’t want you to think we’re ‘counting down the days’ or anything, but really we’re just trying to get ourselves organized for our departure. While we’re definitely ready to hit the road and see some new territory (which won’t actually happen until July!), we also are sad to be saying goodbye to the dear friends we have made here over the winter. And to say goodbye to “our boys” – now that is something I’m not looking forward to.
We came here with a job to do. As an official “Sower On Assignment”, Gary’s task was to head up the installation of the heating and air conditioning systems on their new 30,000 sq. Family Life Worship Center. Here it is –
Blue Building
Unfortunately, this is as far as Gary was able to get –
bldg equipment
building stuff

But even though our “official” task wasn’t accomplished just the way WE thought it would be, we still feel that this is where we were supposed to be this past winter. Gary was able to work extensively with the building engineers to reduce the amount of A/C needed, and thus significantly reduce the total cost of the job. He was able to get all but two of the units and most of the duct board at cost – a huge savings for Teen Challenge. He was also the “go-to” guy for the many volunteers that came and went over the course of the winter (not to mention the major parts runner!) And we were both able step in and fill an unexpected, but very real need in the kitchen! We were blessed by working not only with an incredible staff, but with a steady stream of SOWER volunteers – 24 couples in all along with more than a dozen other volunteer couples. And then there are the boys. We will take these young men with us in our hearts and prayers. Some of them absolutely drove us crazy with their teenage-ness :-), but to see firsthand what the Lord is doing in their lives has touched us beyond measure. Whether they are new in the Lord or growing strong spiritually and getting ready to graduate (or are still in orientation like the 8 that arrived last week), they all need our prayers. They will not soon be forgotten.

Last week all the staff and volunteers gathered in that new building and spent time praying over the various areas and writing scripture on the walls. Gary got there early and wrote on the beam over that pile of A/C equipment –

The LORD said to him:
“I have heard the prayer and plea you have made before me; I have consecrated this temple, which you have built, by putting my Name there forever. My eyes and my heart will always be there.
1 Kings 9:3


A very good winter indeed.

5 thoughts on “Five”

  1. I can’t imagine what it must be like to get your home ready for travel after being in one place for so long. I know you have been such a blessing to everyone there, staff and students alike, with your faithful and selfless service to our great God.

  2. Oh my, we’ve really gotten spread out here! Gary is busy collecting all of his tools, and I THINK I’ve gotten all of my knives and stuff out of the kitchen! We’ll get it done, but it’ll be a busy week!
    Thanks for your kind words! And I hope we get to see you in the next couple of weeks!

  3. I think it’s very sad that you felt the need to post this here. Stephanie has spent countless hours of time giving us a glimpse of how our Awesome God is working in her and Gary’s life though the work that they do as Sowers. You had no right to post this “trash” here.

    Steph, KEEP UP THE GREAT WORK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. I’m stunned by this post from “A friend of yours”. Thank you, Michelle, for speaking up – and pointing out that my comments are just that – comments and reflections on our time here at this ministry. West Florida Teen Challenge is not a perfect place or a perfect program, but they are very up front with their basic premise (Christ is the only answer), their educational standards (which are set very high here), and their goal of releasing these young men from their addictions. Parents are encouraged to visit the facility before they bring their sons here and no one should be surprised at the heavy emphasis on the Christain tenets which form the basis of this program, and indeed the cure. But I don’t think my defending my experience is going to make any difference to this “friend”. Sad indeed.

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