Transforming lives through offering food, shelter, hope and support to the most vulnerable in our community

Queens Award

Joanne's Story

I am attending a Teen Challenge programme for people who have had life controlling problems, situated in Gorslas, South Wales. My plans afterwards are then to go to the Teen Challenge School of ministry where I can ease back into society and learn how to give back to the community and help people with similar problems.

I come from a background of abuse, alcohol and drug addiction, which took me to some terribly dark places I never wanted to go to and very nearly took my life. Eventually this brought me to Bristol in 2005 where I began my recovery. I was in the grips of heroin addiction for 12 years, this totally destroyed my life and my family.

I met with the Lord in 2006 after a lifetime of searching in all the wrong places. However, it wasn’t all plain sailing from there, I had a lot of things I needed to break free from, but the journey had begun. In 2007 I left supported community living to start my own home and looked at going back to work. I got accepted on a full time college course to my surprise in access to social work. But the pressure was too much and I still has a lot of issues I hadn’t faced up to and the timing was wrong. It was at this time that I came across The Wild Goose Café as I was looking for a work placement alongside the college course.

I was offered a voluntary position working in the café, I loved it there so much. The people were so lovely and I experienced an atmosphere of love and acceptance I had never experienced before. Sadly the desire for the things of the world still had a hold on me and I was still struggling with problems from my past. With the added pressure of a new home and full time college course it took me back into addiction.

Throughout this time the Goose continued to support, love, accept and help. This blew me away. The unconditional love of God in action. God was working through open hands and his love would not let me go. Eventually I was led to come to Teen Challenge which was such a hard decision to make but the Lord was faithful and led my every decision, and steps.

Whilst at Teen Challenge it's been tough a lot of the time but so rewarding. It's been a place and time set apart to have time with the Lord and receive counsel, healing direction and discipleship. I gave up everything the world had to offer to the Lord and my freedom. The Lord has totally honoured this and continues to meet with me in amazing ways every day. He has ministered, loved and forgiven me. He has restored broken places, stolen dreams and is restoring my family and ultimately He is making me new. He is faithful and I have finally found what I was searching for all these years in all the wrong places. I have found my father and creator and am developing a personal living relationship with him. I have discovered I have a destiny and a purpose and Teen Challenge are helping to establish that. I am now so excited to complete my time here and serve the Lord, however He sees fit.

He has given back so much and I feel alive, joyful and have peace. I had forgotten what it was like to experience these things and I look forward to living life in abundance, something I never dreamed was possible, but with God all things possible. Thank you to every person who has played a part in giving me my life back, I’m forever grateful.