Southwest Florida Women’s Rehab Center Campus
Will and Mary Kitchen
Students Share their Stories of Changed Lives through Southwest Florida Women’s Campus
Teen Challenge has taught me to not just read God’s Word but be a doer of His Word. When I started writing God’s Word on my heart and applying it to my daily walk with Jesus, the radical transformation began to take place inside of me. I traded in my addiction for self-control and freedom, my anxiety for His peace, my anger and resentment for life-changing forgiveness, my sadness for overflowing joy, and my utter brokenness for His complete and total healing. I am overjoyed to tell you that I have not been on a single psychiatric medication since I arrived here at TC. I am now more emotionally stable than I ever have been. I have a new identity in Christ today! I have great hope for my future today and can’t wait to see what this next season of my life will look like. God has restored my family to me, and the blessings are abundant in my life. I am eternally grateful for Teen Challenge.
In August 2018, I graduated Teen Challenge and found myself in a relapse a month later. I started shooting up heroin and meth and lived in abandoned houses. Within a year, I was placed in 3 detoxes. Once, I woke up to being on a ventilator for 8 days. I had died. What scared me the most was knowing that I was not right with God and I had no emergency contact for my family. I was a “Jane Doe”. Coming back to Teen Challenge is what I wanted so badly, and I tried for a whole year to get back, but pride and fear entangled me. I’m not at my full potential but I’m growing. Because of the obedience, integrity, and endurance, I have learned, I was blessed with a job and my very first apartment. All glory goes to God! I have to say I am a much happier person, having gone through what I did. I now have a different set of priorities. You never know who or what you are until you have really been tested.
At age 25, I met a man who was everything I had ever dreamed of. As time went on, he abused me mentally and physically and isolated me. I lost my identity and self-worth. To make things worse, I had a prescription pain pill addiction to deal with the abuse. On March 23, 2019, God sent his soldiers in after me. I wasn’t arrested that day, Death was arrested. The Lord brought me into Teen Challenge, a safe place to heal and flourish. I was beaten, broken, lost, homeless, addicted, fearful, alone, selfish, tormented, exhausted, and hopeless. I felt afraid to live, but even more afraid to die. Today, I am clothed in strength and dignity, fearfully and wonderfully made, chosen, anointed, forgiven, redeemed, found, safe, never alone, and radically transformed. The Lord got my babies out of foster care and put them with guardian angels/family. He didn’t just restore the relationship with my daughter, he gave us a brand new one. The Lord exalted me above my foes, He set me free from my enemies, and He rescued me from a violent man. I am two years free from domestic violence. After 16 years of addiction, I’m almost 16 months sober. Whom the Son sets free is free indeed!
I had a family and a great job, but I struggled with the stress and pressure of juggling family and a career. So I began to withdraw from the people that were closest to me, as well as from my faith in God. I began to drink heavily, became severely depressed. Over the course of two months, I lost my job, went through a marital separation, and got a D.U.I. I became heavily dependent on medication and alcohol for about 4 years. I was very broken inside and hopeless, and my mother and brother suggested that I enter a program. My brother had graduated from Teen Challenge 20 years ago, so I knew the program worked. I decided to come to Teen Challenge, and it is one of the best decisions that I have ever made. Since coming to Teen Challenge, I have re-dedicated my life to Christ. I am learning how to lean on God for strength and to cope with the stresses that come in life by applying the biblical principles that they teach here. God has completely lifted the anxiety and depression from me. I have been given a second chance at life. God is restoring me, and I am now becoming the person that He created me to be.
What’s Been Happening at Southwest Florida Women’s Ministry?
Let us introduce to you the new Executive Directors of Teen Challenge Fort Myers, Pastor Will and Mary Kitchen!
Will and Mary Kitchen joined us with their three boys, Liam, Judson, and Micah, to steward the ministry in Fort Myers. We couldn’t be more excited to add this family to our excellent team of leaders in the Southeast Region. Will and Mary have served Teen Challenge since 2006, first in intern positions at Long Island Teen Challenge, and then as program directors at Teen Challenge in Brooklyn. Will is a graduate of Central Bible College and holds two master’s degrees from Regent University in Practical Theology and Clinical Mental Health Counseling. He is also a licensed minister and has a heart for worship and leading others in worship. Each of these skills will be a tremendous asset to the work that Will and Mary do in Fort Myers.