A Life Recovered
“Addiction Stole Eight Years of My Life”
Addiction took its toll on Georgiana. It destroyed her relationships. It stole eight years of her life.
It clouded her decisions. It made her want to end her life.
“I started stealing from my mother and father, leaving them with nothing,” Georgiana remembers. “Everyone began to reject me because they were afraid I would steal from them. It got to the point where I lost everything.”
It wasn’t long before Georgiana was sleeping on the streets, with little hope of a future.
“I know there is hope, because I found it!”
Georgiana’s addiction to heroine was so strong that it robbed her of all sense of right and wrong. Her cravings became so severe that she became a danger to those she loved. “I introduced my brother to heroin,” she sadly remembers. “I injected him for the first time.”
Looking back, she can’t believe her actions were her own. However, God works in unexpected ways and the brother she lured into addiction actually became her pathway out of bondage. As they both were spiraling out of control, her brother ended up at Teen Challenge Romania’s first men’s center. It was there that he found a way to free himself from addiction, which gave Georgiana the first glimpse of hope for herself.
In fact, one month after her brother entered the Teen Challenge program, Georgiana visited him at church and knew his recovery was real. “I saw the difference. It was freedom. It was something in his eyes,” she says. “So, I started to read the Bible and attended a Teen Challenge family night. Two years later, it happened. I was also set free of my addiction and God restored my life.”
Georgiana soon met the man she would marry. “God gave me a husband who’s a tremendous blessing to me. I went from being a drug addict who wanted to die, to becoming a new person.”
Today, Georgiana is proud to be serving as the director of the Teen Challenge Joy Women’s Center in Romania. “The best part is I now get to share hope with to women who are hopeless. I know that God has a plan for them.”
Thank you for making hope possible for others like Georgiana, all around the world.
A Minister. An Orphan. An Amazing Story of Hope.
From the sewers of Bucharest, Teen Challenge Romania was born.
A father who followed the call...
Raised in abject poverty in Romania, Catalin recalled, “The best treat my father could give us was one banana a year.” As an adult, Catalin escaped Romania to Germany, where he was offered the opportunity to start a prosperous business. “I thought I had hit the jackpot and was going to fulfill my dreams.”
But material wealth wasn’t what God had in store for Catalin. Before starting his career, he returned to Romania to marry his fiancé and get the visa he needed to start his German business. “I arrived in Bucharest and was surrounded by hundreds of street kids at the train station,” he said. “I remember thinking, ‘I could never live in this city.’”
After filing the paperwork and returning to the train station, he heard an inner voice asking him: “Would you quit all the opportunities I gave you and be a father for these children? ” Catalin couldn’t get the words out of his mind. He talked it over with his new wife, Oltita, and she agreed—following God’s call was the only option.
The newlyweds soon decided to remain in Bucharest, working with the City of Hope orphanage for street kids. During that time, they met a sickly boy named Ionut who was living in the sewers. “He called me Papa. Many of the children had hopes that their fathers would rescue them one day,” Catalin said. “We took him home and adopted him.”
Addiction was rampant in the city, and one day a missionary friend reached out to Catalin, asking for help to start a Teen Challenge program in the region. Catalin quickly agreed. “We went out to the streets, abandoned buildings, and into the sewers to build relationships with homeless drug addicts.”
Three years later, Romania’s first Teen Challenge residential center was launched, and today, Catalin is the director of three thriving Teen Challenge centers (with six more planned) while also being the pastor of a local church. And what happened to the orphan he saved from the sewers? Keep reading...
I want to live a life that honors God. It’s not about what I have to gain, but what He wants for my life.” - Catalin
A son who is called to save young lives...
“My mother was a prostitute, and gave birth to me when she was 15 years old,” Ionut says. “We lived in the sewers, and I still have memories of what it smelled like. It was horrible.”
At 2 years old, Ionut became very sick. One of his aunts had met Catalin while he was ministering in prison, and knew he and his wife were involved in ministry to orphans. She asked them to save her nephew. “Even though she was in a gang and a hardened person, my aunt felt merciful toward me, and took me to them,” Ionut said.
Catalin and his wife adopted Ionut, but the boy was so malnourished, he could barely eat. “My new parents started praying for me, and I got better day-by-day,” he said. “I’m healthy because of their prayers. I could see grace on my life, and God’s love working through their lives.”
As a teen, there was a point when Ionut rebelled and pushed away from his new life. “I know in that season I wasn’t alone. My parents continued to love and pray for me. Still, I ended up in the Teen Challenge program my father had started. It was there that I repented and started my own personal relationship with God. He brought me out of the sewers, close to death, and forever changed my life.”
Today, Ionut is the Director of a Teen Challenge program in Timișoara, Romania. “I’ve been blessed with a wonderful wife and daughter of my own and I will be faithful to my call all my life.”
“I know that God used Catalin to rescue me, so I want to give others hope.” - Ionut
Neighboring Country Helps with Moldova Teen Challenge Renovation
Teen Challenge centers support each other… across borders! A Teen Challenge center in Moldova was recently blessed when Teen Challenge Czech Republic students, and workers from two Czech Republic church congregations, met in Moldova and helped build a second floor addition, add a staircase, and replace the roof.
Teen Challenge Europe Celebrates 50th Anniversary
Teen Challenge Europe celebrated its 50th Anniversary at the annual conference in the Netherlands, April 2nd-5th. More than 450 leaders from 37 countries joined for the celebration.
Since 1969, Teen Challenge has spread throughout Europe and Asia with programs for men, women, adolescent boys and girls. During the meetings, former directors and workers were honored for building the program throughout Europe to what
it is today.
A Story of Redemption
“The one word I would use to describe Teen Challenge is ‘grace.’ Before entering the gates of Teen Challenge Romania and letting God change my life, I had endured sixteen years of drug addiction. No one, not even my own family, believed I could change. But God had plans for me. Today, I have a beautiful wife and a gorgeous little boy. I have a wonderful job that gives me so much satisfaction. If it were not for Teen Challenge, I would not be alive.”
“My name is Nicolae and my life was worth saving.”
THERE ARE MORE THAN 3.6 MILLION DRUG AND ALCOHOL RELATED DEATHS EVERY YEAR. 10,800 PEOPLE DIE EVERY DAY. 7 DIE EVERY MINUTE.
YOUR PRAYER AND SUPPORT WILL HELP US REACH MORE MEN, WOMEN, BOYS AND GIRLS AROUND THE WORLD.
As the stories in this fall newsletter show, we can bring light into the darkest depths — even the vast sewers of Bucharest that so many addicts once called home. We are honored to have you walking with us on this journey.
As this season brings changes, know that your gift is changing lives. And as we continue to restore lives in Romania, throughout Europe, and around the world, I want you to know that your support makes it possible.
Thank you for the hope you give.
Ways You Can Help Give Hope to the Nations
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