While most teenagers are waiting to get their first car or playing for their high school sports teams, there were over 70,000 last year that were incarcerated in juvenile detention centers. A Child Trend study found that over 60% of teenagers in these detention centers will be incarcerated later in life as well. That same study discovered that a teen who is incarcerated is four times more likely to have mental health needs and/or suicidal tendencies.
Due to these overwhelming statistics, our Milestone Missions program started sending teams of people to serve in juvenile detention centers and prisons facilities. One of our volunteers heard of a 15 year old girl we’ll call “B” who was abused as a child and had been in and out of juvenile detention throughout her teenage years. Most recently, she’d landed in the detention center because she’d stolen some things she thought she needed to “look pretty.”
When Suzanne, one of our volunteer workers, first met B, she happened to be the only one attending Bible Study on that night. B revealed her disbelief in God, shared her story of childhood abuse and asked Suzanne how she knew that God was real and cared. That morning Suzanne had no idea what she was going to teach. She started looking through her pile of books and began to read a testimony of a woman who had been abused as a child and how she found peace in forgiveness. She shared that story with B. Suzanne didn’t know B coming into the night, but God did and put the perfect material in her hands.
At the end of the meeting, B was given a card she could write prayer requests on, and she wrote this on a card:
Four weeks after she met Suzanne that night, B gave her life to Christ and has been released to go home. B might have just been one of the tens of thousands of teens in detention centers, but her story reminds us that many of these teenagers are just waiting for someone to share with them that there is Hope to be believed in.
We love this story because it so magnifies the heart of Jesus. He sees each of us individually and is always looking for “the one.” From the beginning of time God’s been in the business of redemption and now that story continues in each of us partnering with Him to reach the lost.
If you are interested in learning more about our Missions outreach opportunities, click Milestone Missions to sign up for more information.