Participants: Cheri Peters (Host), Megan Baez, Mylynda Ortiz
Series Code: CLR
Program Code: CLR00096B
00:15 Welcome back! We are talking to a group from
00:18 Teen Challenge, Teen Challenge is a ministry that works
00:22 with, and it sounds like were working with only teens.
00:25 Not true, they work with people from every age,
00:28 I think it started out with just teens and we will find
00:30 out a little bit about that later.
00:33 We will talk to Apryl one of the directors.
00:35 But now, they work with all ages and I went a few months
00:40 ago and talked with Teen Challenge group out of
00:43 Massachusetts, and I never say that right.
00:45 I don't know how to say that, but you know it is that
00:48 part of the country, but I talked with this group and
00:51 met these girls and invited them on the program.
00:53 I am glad they came, I love them.
00:55 When I met them I feel like I am talking to myself.
00:58 I am looking at their struggles and looking at the fact
01:03 that they may be have to feel and deal with the hurts
01:07 in their lives for the first time ever. They are
01:09 going to deal with whether they were abandoned by a Father
01:12 or they were loved, or their home was functional or
01:15 dysfunctional, what their anger issues are.
01:18 The fact that they acted out in certain ways.
01:20 The drugs they took, the relationships they got into
01:23 far too early and they are looking at all of that.
01:26 I'm looking at them thinking you know what?
01:28 I'm so glad you landed in a place that is going to help
01:32 you to do that safely.
01:34 That was just cool to me and I want to introduce you to
01:37 Megan, and Megan thank you for coming on and thank you
01:41 for sharing with us your stuff.
01:42 You are living at Teen Challenge now? - yes.
01:46 Did you go because you thought I'd like to go to
01:50 Teen Challenge? I was actually told that I have to go.
01:53 Whether or not I wanted to go or not, I had to go.
01:56 Really, they just said like you are going? - yes.
01:58 So tell me where you came from and then we will get to
02:02 that point where somebody said this is where you are going.
02:05 So what was your home like... Life like!
02:10 I first living with my mom until the age of
02:15 six in New York.
02:17 She was a drug addict. - your mom was? - my mom was a drug
02:20 Did you know that at six? - I didn't know until I grew up.
02:24 I didn't know what was going on and I wasn't aware what she
02:27 was doing or anything she was doing until I had grown up
02:31 and they had told me what really had happened.
02:33 So early on, even though you were living with her did it
02:38 seemed normal or was your normal just kind of crazy?
02:42 To me it seemed normal because I was younger I didn't
02:46 know what, like what she was doing.
02:48 I just knew that she never really paid much attention
02:51 to me. - okay. - every time I would see people around
02:54 the house and I don't know who they were, or what they were
02:57 doing, but I would notice that my mom would not even look
03:00 at me. - okay, so that you knew.
03:03 To me I just want to as a little girl, I just want to say
03:07 I'm sorry, it's almost like you, do you ever get the sense
03:10 that you just want to hold that little girl?
03:12 And say I am sorry, so your mom would have people in and
03:16 out and you had no idea who they were so you just kind of
03:19 stayed out of the way? - yes. - okay, you learned
03:22 that pretty young? - yes.
03:24 What happened at six? Did you get taken from the house?
03:28 Well at six my mom started going out of control with
03:32 drugs, and she eventually lost her apartment.
03:34 Most importantly lost her children which was me and my
03:38 older sister and older brother and she had gave full
03:43 custody of us to my aunt, because she didn't want us
03:46 to go to a complete stranger so she decided to send
03:49 me to my aunt. - okay, at least that part was good, aye?
03:53 Yeah so we were actually lucky to be with family instead of
03:58 someone who was a stranger and didn't even know who
04:00 they are. - a lot of people go to foster homes and
04:02 they don't know who they are and I hear that over and
04:05 over, I went to a foster home and didn't fit in and
04:08 they didn't know me and I didn't know them.
04:10 So I am glad that you got to go with your auntie.
04:14 So what happened with them? What was it like to all of
04:17 a sudden to have a new home and maybe people that actually
04:20 paid attention to you?
04:22 Well I started to feel that there was nobody in my life.
04:25 Like I felt unwanted, because I never had my father by my
04:29 side, I never actually knew my father until I was 12.
04:34 And she was like you're father just called me up on the
04:37 phone and wants to speak to you, and I'm like who is this?
04:40 I don't know, you sound like a complete stranger to me.
04:43 So I actually spoke to him at the age of 12.
04:47 What was he like? - he was like nothing I really
04:51 expected him to be.
04:53 Like you would want to say I love you but it was hard for
04:55 me to say I love you back because I was saying it to
04:57 a complete stranger and I don't know who you are and
05:00 I can't hug you and kiss you like a real father.
05:02 Because I don't, where were you?
05:06 Did you ask him that? Where were you all this time?
05:10 I still don't know some things that I want to know.
05:13 But he told me he went to Florida to take care of his
05:16 mom and stuff like that. - okay, one of these days
05:20 you are going to ask him those things you want to know?
05:22 Yeah. - where is mom at?
05:24 My mom now, she has recovered and she is not doing drugs
05:28 anymore and she has an apartment and now she is in
05:31 my life and I see her like anytime I want to.
05:34 Wow, so let's go back to when you were with your aunt.
05:40 Your dad comes in like age 12, when did you start having
05:45 your own problems outside of what was going on with them?
05:49 Because you know as a kid we think we are never going
05:53 to be that, I'm never going to do drugs.
05:55 I'm not going to be like my parents.
05:57 Did you ever say that? Because I said that as a kid.
06:00 I'm never going to do that.
06:02 Yeah I actually thought I would never do anything,
06:04 I thought it would ruin my life.
06:06 But I started to feel angry that I didn't have my mother
06:10 or my father by my side and I felt lost and unwanted.
06:14 So I soon started hurting myself and cutting myself.
06:18 It continued until I was 15. - what did cutting do?
06:22 It, to me, really stressed an anger.
06:26 Like if you got to angry I could cut on myself, at least
06:30 seeing the blood or feeling that pain that it just gave me
06:34 a release, a sense of being present.
06:38 Because some people think, I know a lot of people think
06:42 that is like a suicide attempt, but it is not a suicide
06:46 attempt, it's just I want attention.
06:49 It's not that I don't want to feel so stressed, I don't want
06:54 to be in this much pain.
06:55 Did you feel that? It's kind of a solution to that?
07:00 Yeah I did, I felt like there was nothing I could do
07:05 to make my life better.
07:07 So I didn't want to take it out on my aunt, I wasn't
07:11 the type of person to disrespect her.
07:13 Like I would listen to her, but I felt like there was
07:16 nothing I could do and I would take anything possible
07:18 that was near me to hurt myself or cut myself.
07:21 Did you sometimes cut yourself even while somebody was in
07:25 the room? Were they didn't even know? - no!
07:27 Some people do that even, it's like nobody knows
07:31 I'm cutting myself right now, you know?
07:33 So you didn't want to take it out on her, so you took it
07:38 out on yourself. - yes. - did it work?
07:43 I thought it would but it didn't help at all.
07:46 It just seemed to make things worse.
07:48 Because I always say that because I know in my own life
07:51 that it didn't work. Just continues to get worse.
07:54 So as it got worse what does that look like in your life?
07:57 It just made like, it just made things worse in my
08:02 family, like they didn't know at the beginning I was
08:07 doing it and so one time I was in my room and I was angry.
08:10 Most of the time they would leave me alone in my room and
08:14 say she's angry and not even go into the room.
08:16 They stepped into my room where I was actually cutting
08:20 myself and they stepped in and took my arm and started
08:24 putting pressure on it. - right.
08:25 Then they knew everything because I can see you have scars
08:29 on your arms. - yes, they are just scars, never went away.
08:33 So is that why they brought you to Teen Challenge?
08:38 Well that is part of the reason why they sent me here.
08:44 But, - even thinking about that time causes you to feel
08:49 sad, doesn't it? - yeah.
08:51 What's the sadness? Where does that come from?
08:53 My family. - that it is just hard, it really is hard.
09:01 Yeah. - do you want to have a prayer before we go on?
09:10 Sure. - okay, dear Father in Jesus name, there is so
09:16 much sadness, so many broken homes, but right now I am
09:22 praying for Megan and I am just asking You for the places
09:27 that she is so hurt, she was so lost, the times she felt
09:31 so abandon, I just pray Father that Your heart opens up
09:35 to her and she feels it.
09:37 I pray for healing of her heart, I pray God tell her how much
09:41 You love her and how much You adore her and how much
09:44 You have never stopped thinking about her.
09:47 You are sad about what she has gone through and let her
09:50 get a sense of where You were that whole time.
09:52 I just ask You Father that as she stands up in recovery
09:56 that she will never feel alone again.
09:58 She will never feel abandoned again and that anger she can
10:01 give freely to You and she doesn't have to hurt herself
10:04 and just can freely grab hold of the life that You are
10:08 going to offer her.
10:09 I pray for the Holy Spirit to fill her up.
10:11 I pray for healing in every part of her mind and heart
10:15 and her body and I just ask You Father in Jesus name
10:18 that as she stands up and helps the people around her
10:22 that she will heal more, and more, and more.
10:24 I pray for anybody watching and just ask You that as
10:27 people are watching the program it is hard to look at her
10:30 sadness, but we can get on the other side of it and that
10:33 is the most incredible thing about Your love for us and
10:38 I pray for You to let Your love for us, let us feel it to
10:42 the point that we don't even have to stand in the places
10:45 of abandonment and the places of hopelessness.
10:48 In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit
10:50 I just ask all of that. In Jesus name Amen!
10:59 You know I can tell just by talking to you that your pain
11:05 was very deep. - yeah. - and at that point in your
11:09 life and you are dealing with those deep hurts is that
11:13 did you finally just start to go and act out?
11:18 Did you jump into the drugs yourself?
11:21 Well, I started hanging out with people who I thought was
11:25 my real friends, but they introduced me to things, into
11:31 marijuana and I thought, they told me you will feel fine
11:36 with just doing this.
11:38 I decided okay let me just try it, it is not a big deal.
11:40 So I tried it and I felt good, I felt great.
11:46 It's nothing that I normally felt.
11:48 So I started to do that, even though I knew I was not
11:53 addicted to it and could live without it, I just did it
11:58 whenever I was angry. Thank you.
12:01 What is really interesting is that is where a lot of
12:03 people don't realize is that you have all this hurt,
12:07 all this pain and all this anger and somebody gives you
12:11 some weed to smoke and I am laughing and connecting with
12:14 people and it doesn't seem that intense and it works.
12:18 Initially it works, after a while it becomes a problem.
12:21 But at first it works.
12:25 You started to connect with friends. - yes, and they
12:32 at the age of 14 I started to go to parties and drinking alcohol.
12:36 I just wanted to have fun, and I thought that was the fun
12:40 that everybody has so why couldn't I have that fun?
12:44 That felt a lot better than cutting on yourself.
12:48 And I don't want to sound like I am saying that was
12:52 a great choice, but I'm saying the choices you had was
12:57 that I am alone and cutting on myself or I'm angry or I'm
13:01 out having a great time with my friends and just
13:03 drinking and forgetting everything.
13:05 And so for you it sounds like I found something that
13:10 works. - yeah, so the reason why I started to leave
13:15 the house when I wanted and started going to parties and
13:18 stuff like that because my aunt never really thought
13:22 I was old enough to be with friends and go out to places
13:26 that I wanted to, she kept me from all that.
13:29 So I decided to just leave, I start running away and
13:33 it made things worse.
13:35 Because you were running away and staying at different
13:38 friends house, staying wherever?
13:39 Whenever I ran away I would mostly run away to be with
13:43 a boyfriend. - okay. - but I would actually stay
13:47 with the boyfriend the whole day but then go to my moms and
13:50 stay with my mom. I always wanted to live with my mom.
13:54 I use that as an excuse for my running away but that
13:59 wasn't the main excuse why I ran away.
14:01 It was mainly to be with friends? - your boyfriend?
14:04 Was her mom still using then? - no! - okay so
14:07 at that point she had stopped? - yeah I was 14-15.
14:12 Okay, so who said enough? I mean who said enough?
14:16 We have got to get you some help? - my aunt.
14:20 Okay. - she at the time she knew I was in a bad
14:24 relationship with my last boyfriend before I came here.
14:28 Because he was 18, so she thought no this can't be.
14:32 This was illegal, anything I was with, the stuff that
14:35 was illegal she was not for at all, of course.
14:38 So she said I can't see you destroy your life and go
14:42 even further in destroying your life so she decided,
14:45 Megan I'm going to send you to a boarding school.
14:48 So I am thinking it's just a boarding school where we
14:52 could talk on phones, go on the Internet. - surprise.
14:57 Yeah, but the day I woke up and I was in my mom's house
15:02 because before I came here in September she let me stay
15:08 with my mom to see if I would do better with her.
15:10 But instead of taking it as my last chance to turn my whole
15:14 life around and I continue to do whatever I wanted to do.
15:17 So she said Megan you are going to Teen Challenge and
15:21 I was shocked, and she actually told me that was going
15:25 to happen. - before you went? - that day she told me.
15:29 There's no Internet, no phones and you are not going
15:33 to be around friends for a while.
15:35 You can't even contact your family at first, because
15:38 they really don't want, they want you here's the program
15:41 and they really want you to do the program.
15:43 Well we were allowed to get letters from my mom and my
15:47 aunt, but I wasn't supposed to send letters out or like
15:51 on the phone or anything until my month was made.
15:54 So that time in Teen Challenge I felt like I didn't want
16:01 to listen to anything, I felt angry, I didn't want to.
16:07 - you're not telling me what to do.
16:09 I don't want to stay here. - but I just thought go along
16:13 with the rules and soon I just came out of control and
16:17 started to not even listen to what they did and stayed in
16:22 bed and eventually received my consequences which was a 30
16:26 day restriction which means I can't have any phone calls
16:30 or any mail from any of my family until 30 days are over.
16:33 You know your are going to laugh at this.
16:35 There is a program in Idaho and is called Project Patch.
16:39 And I love the program too, but they if you don't do the
16:43 program, they give you a tent and a can of beans or
16:45 something and a can opener and you can just stay out
16:48 on the property in a tent. - wow!
16:50 So they say if you can't follow the rules in the house
16:53 here you go, and the person is like you are not going to
16:55 make me stay in a tent? Oh yes! We are.
16:57 To me it is a brilliant because it is like, you know,
17:01 then they always come and say okay I will follow the rules
17:05 but it is like that sense of, I think in our own anger and
17:08 rebellion and all that kind of stuff, at least for me in
17:12 my life, is I didn't know how to deal with authority.
17:15 I didn't know how to let people be in those positions
17:19 over me because it would just make me mad.
17:21 It's like somebody has to teach us again how to allow
17:26 people to be an authority without getting mad.
17:29 That takes a while.
17:31 - yes. - so for you it took a while.
17:33 Yes it took a while, but I am only actually two months
17:40 in the program. - that's it? - that's it.
17:42 After that 30 day restriction I realized I'm not leaving
17:47 this is probably what God has called me to do.
17:50 You knew that in your heart? - in my heart.
17:53 - I'm so proud of you. - thank you.
17:58 Last month, February, I accepted God in the church which,
18:04 the church I love and feel comfortable in.
18:08 God I just am sorry for every- thing I've done, I don't want
18:12 to go back to anything I have done and just that my whole
18:16 life over, and just be with You and know that
18:19 You are there for me.
18:20 Did you sense His forgiveness? - yes. - yeah.
18:23 You know that is what I think is amazing to me.
18:26 God says I am so glad you are home.
18:28 It was hard watching you get hurt, and it was hard
18:31 watching you hurt yourself.
18:33 I'm proud of you, and I'm proud of God.
18:35 So you turned it over, and pretty quick, you turned it
18:39 over and you are going to stay and do the program and
18:43 you get your life back. - yeah.
18:46 When I was there and talked about does anybody want to do
18:50 ministry your hand went up. - yeah.
18:52 So your hand went up and you do want to do ministry.
18:54 What is it going to look like? Do you have any sense
18:57 of what you would like to do?
18:59 Well my brother had done something like that, but he had
19:03 went to Nicaragua where he helped people and build houses
19:07 and I was like he showed me pictures of stuff like that
19:11 and that sounds really cool and interesting so I wanted to
19:14 help people, not only just because I know how it is,
19:19 but to help people who are struggling in any way.
19:22 In anyway, because you know what is interesting is that
19:26 somebody will say that the things you did as far as your
19:29 acting out, as far as your anger and drugs or whatever,
19:33 that the core issue for you, because we are looking at
19:38 this whole season one core issues.
19:39 The core issue for you is you didn't feel loved or cared
19:43 for or wanted, and that is kind of a universal thing.
19:47 I mean that is every country you can find kids that
19:50 nobody is taking care of, so it sounds like your heart
19:53 is really for those kids. - yeah. - wow!
19:56 So as you stand up, as you do your recovery God can open
20:00 up the world for you as far as to help someone else.
20:04 Yes! - are you excited about that? - I am, I just
20:08 want any opportunity I get I want to do it right away.
20:11 You want to help God. - yes.
20:13 I want to talk with Apryl, because Apryl is your director
20:17 for the house that you are in.
20:18 So I want to just talk and say you know Apryl that she
20:23 just won my heart, she just won my heart and I think she
20:27 won the heart of people all over the world.
20:29 Just that sincerity of wanting to come back to God and to
20:33 do the right thing and stand up.
20:35 The understanding that she was so forgiven, but I know
20:39 that you are the director of the Teen Challenge she is in
20:43 so I want you to say a little bit about that facility and
20:46 about the girls that spoke today.
20:49 Well Cheri our program, we have programs all over the
20:52 United States, but our program which is located in
20:56 Fitchburg Massachusetts is a 15 month minimum residential
20:59 program. - minimum? - minimum, so for many it takes
21:03 more than the 15 months and over the long term that is
21:06 where you see the real change.
21:08 And it is unfortunate that it has to be so long but really
21:12 that is where we have seen the greatest changes in those
21:16 final months when they do begin to take that
21:19 responsibility and put it into action at home, on visits,
21:23 seeing their families, and as their old patterns are
21:26 falling away even in their old scenarios, even in their
21:29 own environments, when they are back in their own bedroom.
21:32 The fact that Megan is not going to go to her room and cut
21:36 anymore is going to be a place of sanctuary for her.
21:38 It is going to be a place where she can go get rest
21:41 instead of being a place of unrest and a place where
21:45 she took matters into her own hands, she will be able
21:48 to give thanks to the Lord there.
21:50 That is where we see so much of the change coming is at
21:55 the end of the program.
21:56 But just like here, you have Megan who is so new in our
22:00 program, God can get a hold of a heart just like that.
22:04 So it is such an amazing privilege to be able to work
22:08 with young ladies just like these girls that are here today.
22:11 Who are making the change, God is making the change in
22:16 them and so our program has school element enrollment,
22:19 you know they are in school with us while they are with
22:23 us, and they are also receiving counseling by a licensed
22:26 Christian counselor while they are with us at the program.
22:29 Then you have dedicated residential staff members who
22:32 are there to be able to meet the needs through out the shifts.
22:36 Whether they be in the evening, the daytime,
22:38 over the weekend, we have very dedicated staff
22:41 who are there as well.
22:43 And so it really is our program in a nutshell, and it
22:46 really is a privilege to be able to work with Young ladies
22:50 whose hearts are being changed and it is such a privilege.
22:54 What an incredible job, I think what a lot of
22:59 people don't get to see in their own job is that a life
23:03 change, where you know that this person is not only have
23:06 they changed, but they are going to make a difference in
23:09 the community they are in.
23:10 When they have their families, their families are not
23:13 going to have the same dys- function, or the same heartache,
23:15 or the same junk and I just love what you guys do.
23:20 I love what you guys do.
23:21 I am blessed by your journey so far and I know that,
23:27 how old are you now? - 15. - you're just 15
23:30 so you're still a baby, but you are still a baby
23:38 and I am so excited.
23:39 We are going to go ahead and take a break and come back
23:44 and I would like for you to come back and also for Mylynda
23:49 to come back and talk about a little bit about what you
23:53 want to do in ministry, but Megan I would also ask you
23:57 to when we come back I want you to say a few things to maybe
24:03 somebody that is listening that has that heartbreak and
24:06 they don't feel like anybody sees them or loves them or
24:09 that kind of thing.
24:10 What would you say to her and what do you know now that
24:14 you didn't know then that you could just encourage them
24:17 with? And Mylynda, I know you talked about your dad in
24:21 the different things that you have gone through and we
24:24 come back I would like to talk a little bit about how you
24:27 are dealing with the pain of his death and your recovery.
24:30 Because you are doing a lot of things all at one time.
24:33 I would like to find out that.
24:36 So we will be right back and as we take this break think
24:41 about in your own life, these girls are looking at some
24:45 painful issues and they are looking at them not because
24:49 it is fun, not because they don't have anything to do but
24:53 because if they don't get rid of these issues, if they
24:56 don't unload these core things they will be tripped up the
24:59 rest of their life and the next generation will have to
25:02 do the same battle.
25:04 Right now they are brave enough to do the battle not only
25:08 for them, but for generations to come.
25:10 I just think it's just too cool.
25:13 We will be right back, stay with us!