Area business leaders were invited to the Teen Challenge of the Four States’ seventh annual Business Persons Breakfast on Thursday at the center east of Neosho.

Area business leaders were invited to the Teen Challenge of the Four States’ seventh annual Business Persons Breakfast on Thursday at the center east of Neosho.
Along with the breakfast, the Teen Challenge choir sang a couple of songs, the Rev. Jim Lowans gave an update on the center, local business owner Tim Mitchell was the guest speaker, and an award was presented T.J. Lake of Twin Oaks Custom Cabinets as a local business that has supported the center.
Attendees also heard from a recent graduate of the program.
“The reason why we do this (breakfast) is for (couple of) things,” Lowans said, “to truly thank the community for your support of Teen Challenge and for the fact that you even embrace an organization such as Teen Challenge into your community.”
Lowans gave an update about the center.
“This past year we completed refurbishing of our dining room,” he said. “Out back, we just poured a concrete pad to put in an emergency generator, something that we needed to have for this area. That will be going in probably within about another week. Our donors helped to purchase that. I think that cost us about $12,000.
“Then our next project that we are hoping to begin within the next five months is a complete remodel and refurbishing of our kitchen area. Our kitchen really needs to be totally remolded and refurbished. They serve upwards of 100 meals every day, 365 days a year.
“We also want to build another staff housing here. We have one that we built several years ago that many of you helped with. Our plans are also to build a bigger addition to this (multipurpose room where the breakfast was held) for events like this, but also for activities for the students.”
The business leaders heard from Steve, a graduate of the program. He spent four months at Teen Challenge of the Four States, then went on to Cape Girardeau for the second phase and completed the program that lasts between 12 and 14 months.
“It was four years ago this month – March 26 – I remember the day very clearly,” he said in his opening remarks. “It was a little bit traumatic for me, but I got into the program. Within a week, I started to feel different and better because it has been so many years that I was down and out. It was hard to know how to feel without alcohol after I had done it so long, but this program really changed my life.”
Steve remarked that, after graduating from the program, he is involved with his church, enjoys music and works with handicapped people.
“I find it very satisfying. It doesn’t pay very much, I will tell you that for sure,” he said. “To let them get out in the community, which is sometimes a challenge, I think that it is very important that people see them in a good light, and I want people to see me in a good light.
“I had hidden for so long. I had gotten to a point before I got into this program. I had joked with friends and people that I worked with that I was a functioning alcoholic. I don’t think that is funny anymore because, at some point, you can’t function anymore, and I got to that point.”
Steve said there were several things he almost ran away from when he got into the program.
“One of the things was the 14-month program. They said, ‘14 months,’ and I said, ‘I can’t do that for so many reasons, for this reason and that reason. It is just too long to be away from my family,’” he said. “The other thing was that I couldn’t smoke. It was an adjustment for me. God makes a way. God took away that urge to smoke and the urge to drink.
“That was a process, and that is what this program is, and I know for a fact that is why this program works. I went through four 30-day programs. The day that I got out of 30-day programs, I always drank.”
Steve remarked that he heard something during the program that stuck with him.
“I heard it described in Cape Girardeau as I was broken. I was. I was completely broken. That is the only reason why I decided to come here. It was this or live under a bridge or commit suicide. Those were my choices in my life,” he said. “I was broken, and this program is like a cast. You need to be held still to heal, and that is what this does. It is better than any 30 days, 60 days or anything like that because you need to be held still, you need to be immersed in God’s word to get the foundation inside you to be strong, to have something to replace what it is that I was trying to fill in my life.”
Steve credited the program and the community.
“This program saved my life. I am so grateful. I am so grateful for all of you who make this kind of thing possible,” he said. “It is the most meaningful thing and stands with me today. I am not a perfect person. … This is going to give you a foundation.”