Dear Tim,

Teen Challenge Uruguay began when Pastors Edison and Nair Edison led Sergio, a young Uruguayan addicted to crack cocaine, to the Lord. He had nowhere to live, and so Pastor Edison let him stay in a small room at the church. Sergio soon led five of his friends to the Lord, and Pastor Edison took them in off the street. Today we have 22 young men at our center and farm, and two young ladies at "Hogar Esperanza" our brand new girls' home.  Below are two short testimonies to give you an idea of the beautiful life-transformation that is happening.  These women and men who have been rescued from a life of bondage and addiction.  They need to be taught job skills so they will not return to their former life.

I am Estefani. I began using drugs when I was 12 years old. When I was 15, I gave my life to Satan. My mother prayed for me, but my hatred grew until I began to hit her. I wanted to kill her. I left home. Many nights I would sleep in the cemetery. My life was getting worseand worse, but I couldn’t change. The drugs and the spirits were a part of me.My life had no reason, and many times I tried to kill myself, but I couldn’t do it. I was very bad, but God saved me. After six years of prayer by my mother and many others, I decided to get help. Only God could have done this with my life. Today I realize the value of life, and that I AM NO ACCIDENT! Now I know a God of marvelous love and mercy who has freed me from death and hell, and who is waiting for me with open arms. Thank you for your prayers. The Lord is healing my life at Hogar Esperanza “the hospital for the soul”. God loves you!

My name is Mario. I started doing drugs when I was 15. I started with cigarettes, alcohol, and marijuana. When I was 18 years old I started to consume crack. That is when my life was totally taken over by drugs. I started to ruin my life physically and I also ruined my family. It got to the point where they did not even want to see me because I started to steal things from them. I betrayed my friends and neighbors, and people started to leave me to the side. I was physically ruined and very skinny. I constantly spit out blood because of the crack. One day I was with a friend talking and I started to cry because I really wanted to change. I had tried on my own part, I spoke with people, but I couldn’t stop taking drugs. Then a friend took me to meet her mom who told me that Jesus could help me, and that He could change my life. I accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior. On Sundays, the lady would come pick me up and take me to church. Those days I did not do drugs, but I would continueto do drugs for the rest of the week. One day the pastor of that church took me to Vida Abundante Home (our Teen Challenge Center). I arrived there with my life destroyed. I had no option other than to seek GodI had previously not been able to keep myself from doing drugs for more than one, orat most two days, yet I did not suffer any type of withdrawal. Today it has been 15 months since I have done drugs of any kind and my family relationship is restored.

Our greatest challenge today is to empower Teen Challenge Uruguay to become self-supporting. The center is running a shoe-string. Just last month we were able to turn the center's phone on after having to shut it down due lack of funds. God is faithful, and we see the possibility of making jewelry and textile products as an answer to our prayers to provide a stable source of financing to help other Marios and Estefanis in Uruguay.


Isaac Smythia
Teen Challenge Uruguay