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    The Upper New York Conference of The United Methodist Church


    news article

    Teen Challenge workers showing a true heart of Jesus at Manlius UMC ramp project

    July 14, 2020 / By Shannon Hodson / .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

    Manlius UMC recently learned that their ramp was not up to code, and it had to be removed and replaced. The missions leader at Manlius UMC, Andrew Harding, contacted Mike Block, the Upper New York Conference Director of Missional Engagement about helping plan a ramp installation. Mike has directed several UMC teams on ramp installation sites with the help of Operation Northern Comfort, a local volunteer organization that helps those in need.

    Andrew has hired young adults from Adult & Teen Challenge (formerly known as Teen Challenge) to help with projects at Manlius UMC in the past. There are over 200 Adult & Teen Challenge USA residential programs throughout the United States. All offer a variety of services that provide help for people struggling with drugs, alcohol, and other life controlling issues. The curriculum and community of their addiction recovery centers on God’s Word—the Bible. Their practical Bible-based courses help the transition from alcoholism and substance abuse to a life of freedom in Christ. They offer those struggling with addiction a chance to start over, become a new person, live a godly life, and find freedom through a restored purpose and an eternal hope. This is done through classes, individual study, personal mentoring, work ethic training, and involvement in the Christian community.

    Within a few weeks, a plan was in place for an amazing partnership to install the ramp at Manlius UMC. Mike, Andrew, volunteers from Operation Northern Comfort, five young adults from Adult & Teen Challenge, and Marybeth Ingalls of the UNY Mission Central HUB helped install the ramp on July 6 in the sweltering 96-degree, humid weather. Marybeth was so impressed with the young men from Adult & Teen Challenge.

    Marybeth said, “I really enjoyed working with these young men. They had a true heart of Jesus to help people who are less fortunate. They have set their minds to this program and really want to make a better life for themselves and others. The two gentlemen (Justin and John) that I worked most closely with both want to pass their skills on to others with addictions and help them through. It seems like a great program that actually works by taking a few people in and working with them, rather than send them off after a short time of rehab with no sense of staying healthy. John loves plumbing the most. He had a fun attitude, but got right down to business, I called him Bruce; he reminded me of Bruce Springsteen with his infectious fun attitude. Justin was very gentle and soft spoken, a true gentleman. He knew his carpentry and worked well with everyone. I worked with him the first day. He is from Delaware and wants to move here to become a professional fisherman.”

    Marybeth explained that every day, these young men start their day with devotions and bible reading and at the end of each day they are asked to write about their experience of the day. It is so impressive what can be accomplished by partnering together and being the hands and feet of Jesus—in this case as in all cases, it wasn’t just about the ramp; it was about the relationships that were formed.

    Editor’s Note: Click here to learn more about Adult & Teen Challenge.


    With more than 144,000 members, the Upper New York Annual (Regional) Conference of The United Methodist Church comprises 865 local churches and 91 new faith communities in 12 districts, covering 48,000 square miles in 49 of the 62 counties in New York state. Our mission is to “live the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to be God’s love with our neighbors in all places."