For Teona, childhood was a place of darkness. Gangs and drugs ran rampant in her neighborhood. Her mom was not able to take care of her and she was abused. Then, she became pregnant. “My guardian never let me see my family, and I was living in a terrible place that was bad for me,” she recalls. “I thought God must be evil and mean.”
With no one available to show her love, it was impossible for Teona to understand the power of a loving God. “I had my baby all alone, and they said she would be put up for adoption, and I said ‘no,’ there has to be someplace I can go, and I begged my social worker to help me find a place.”
Fortunately, her social worker found Bethel Bible Village.
Finding Hope and a Home
Thanks to Bethel’s program for teen moms in crisis, Teona moved from a drug-infested and violent neighborhood to a family-style home on our Hixson campus. She was able to live in a safe place, where caring house parents and social workers modeled the love of Jesus in the way they cared for her.
Teona graduated with a high school diploma from our campus school, Bethel Christian Academy, then earned a CNA certificate. During her time at Bethel, she learned to:
- Create and live on a budget
- Get a Job
- Save money
- Cook healthy meals
- Master parenting skills
- Prepare for independent living as a thriving single mom
“My Heart Has Changed.”
“I am so glad God led us to Bethel,” Teona says. “While I was at Bethel I grew closer to God and my heart changed. I’ve realized God does love me and there are people in the world who love me. Especially Ms. Pat (Pat Ball, Bethel’s Director of Residential programs), was always there for me.”
“When I needed help, Ms. Pat was there. She talked to me, read the Bible to me, prayed with me and just loved me,” Teona says with a bright smile. “I have never been blessed like this.”
Now a working mom who has moved on from Bethel Bible Village, she has one piece of advice for pregnant teens or teen moms who need help:
“Come to Bethel. To me the definition of love, is Bethel,” she says.
You Can Help Us Change More Lives
Teona’s childhood story is more common than we like to think, but most do not end this way. There are several ways you can make a difference.
• Make a donation online, or by texting any amount to (423) 454-4810.
Together, we can change lives for teens in crisis and their children, and create a stronger next generation for our community.
Read more Bethel Success Stories