REVEREND DAVID OWUSU BOATENG

When I was just 13 years old I was living in a compound house in Ghana and there was a young man also living there who was dealing drugs. Everyone in the compound sleeps in the same room together, and before we slept each night he told me: “If you don’t smoke with me—you don’t sleep.”

That’s how my addiction started. I began smoking pot every night and I was soon hooked on weed. But sadly, it didn’t stop there and I quickly went from weed to heavier and more dangerous drugs.

But despite my drug use, I knew I wanted to better my life. At one point, I stowed away on a ship to Europe—I wanted to continue my education there. However, I needed the means to continue my studies there, so I got mixed up with Surinam boys to make money. I went along with their lifestyle of stealing from others and smoking pot.

While in Europe, I was jailed 22 times. But it was during my last incarceration that my life changed.

I was in jail in 1987 and looking for some escape, so I went to a Christian fellowship. I picked a book from a shelf called The Cross and the Switchblade. I saw a boy holding a knife on the cover and thought it was a novel. I thought I was reading to learn more about how to specialize in crime and violence. I didn’t know that book would introduce me to Jesus Christ for the first time in my life. I gave my life to Him, and I knew when I was reading that the Lord wanted me to open a Teen Challenge in Ghana.

When I got out, I got clean and I went to Bible school. I wanted to work with drug addicts who were just like I had been. Today I am a Reverend and am the National Director of Teen Challenge Ghana.

Without The Cross and the Switchblade, I don’t know what would’ve happened to me. God has done great things.”