(i) Thank you for everything the Timothy Group has taught me, and how well it has prepared me for my future! All the programs that I participated in, offered by the Timothy Group, have taught me so much about taking initiative in a military environment. To this day, there is nothing that has been more life changing than my first Challenge Basic. I remember the first day like it was yesterday. While running across a field with fireworks ringing and squad officers screaming at me, I was terrified, but fully aware at the same time that I was being changed and pushed to my limits; and I loved it. Thank you so much for the standards that are held of the recruits at Challenge. Those standards have carried into so many areas of life, especially ROTC. I have just received a full ride Army ROTC scholarship to UAB. In addition, I am spending the majority of this summer in Russia, on the Army's bill. I also have a good shot at airborne and air assault school this summer, depending on what is given to me. None of this would have been reachable if I did not somehow stand out from other cadets. I came into the ROTC with a sounder mindset than most, a decent pt score, good grades, and general military knowledge and skills - all of which were built upon what was taught to me by the Timothy Group. On many occasions officers and cadets have asked me where I learned certain skills, and time after time, I tell them about the Timothy Group. Thank you for Challenge Basic, Challenge Extreme, CST, The opportunity to staff Basic, and last but definitely not least SWET/WSET. All those days and nights spent running o-courses without food and sleep really paid off. The training and preparation that you offer is priceless. Thank you!! God has truly used you in a great way!! I will find a way or make one, E. D. Jan 2014
(ii) A Big thanks to you and Mr. Stansbury for a great two days of rappelling. It was encouraging to see how much confidence the guys built in that time. A.F. Oct 2013
(iii) The CHALLENGE program is an awesome experience! I hardly know where to start. I guess I could say it was the most miserable and yet the greatest week of my life. Essentially, we were conditioned to do difficult tasks with minimum strength, wholly relying on the Lord and our buddies for the power to take the next step. During the week, we learned rappelling, hand to hand combat, land navigation, and basic first aid. The staff was absolutely awesome! Officer Stansbury, the program director, is one of the Godliest men I have ever had the honor to meet. He is a military special operator, and, as one of the other recruits said, “He eats nails for breakfast every morning…without milk!”. The other staff were phenomenal. We really drew together as a unit under their training. S.B.
(iv) I thoroughly enjoyed the water confidence course. It was a very positive challenge in which I grew and learned a lot. - C. P. Aug 2013
(v) As an instructor for the SCUBA course, I was very encouraged by the students and their performance. I very much enjoyed the maturity of the young men as well as how fast they caught on and their ability to push through challenges. I am very encouraged by their progress in the diving. I am very interested in The Timothy Group and the vision. - B. S. July 2013
(vi) My son completed AFROTC Field Training this summer. His Flight won Top Flight. He was chosen to carry the US Flag at the closing ceremony. He has done well in color-guard and drill in general - another tip-of-the-hat to Challenge. Your ministry is special to us. En Agape' J. A. Indiana Jun 2013
(vii) A New Creation: It feels so long ago when I was waking up each morning, well past noon, to the overbearing sun glaring down intrusively upon my groggy face. It feels so long ago when I was drinking due to habit, smoking due to addiction, and experimenting with drugs because I had nothing better to do. It feels so long ago when I was finding solace in worldly vices, and fulfillment by gratifying my fleshly desires. It feels so long ago when I lived in darkness, and when despair was my only companion; but in reality, it was only four short years ago when this season of life began. When I became a teenager, life radically changed for a number of reasons. First, biologically speaking, I began the transformation to manhood, which meant my body was overrun by devious little chemicals—also known as hormones. My emotions changed more often than a girl changes clothes, so the odds were stacked against me from the beginning, and that's not even mentioning the other factors that I had to face. The night before I started high-school – which is a major transition in and of itself – I was told that my dad was leaving my mom. To this day, I don't know how much my parents' separation affected me. The radical shift in my family might have affected me enormously or hardly at all—I don't think I'll ever know. However, the particular combination of circumstances beyond my control contributed to me feeling broken and alone, and at that point I looked for comfort in all the wrong places. Instead of looking towards God for relief, I looked inward and focused on what I could do for myself. For two years, until my fifteenth birthday, I lived a life of sin and debauchery. I valued instant gratification over long-term investment, and I counted myself more valuable than others. My actions resulted in hurt relationships and missed opportunities. As the song, All I have is Christ, says, “The sin that promised joy and life had led me to the grave.” My sin, metaphorically, led me to my own grave. Luckily, however, by the grace of God, I attended three events put on by TeenPact Leadership School, which is an organization that teaches high-school students government, leadership, and Christianity. These three events were: TeenPact Congress, TeenPact Challenge Basic, and TeenPact Challenge Extreme. Challenge Basic, another TeenPact event, was a five day boot camp for teen guys. The staff made sure the students only received roughly five or six hours of sleep each night, but more important than that, their main job was to guarantee that each student experienced a living hell the other 18 or 19 hours left in the day. The purpose of the week was to break down each student and instill one concept: apart from Christ we are weak, apart from Christ we are nothing. By the end of the week, I realized how much I needed the strength of Jesus in my life, and luckily, the last night there was an altar-call for anyone who wanted to begin a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Many of the recruits did so, me included. I remember the joy and freedom of that moment, and the pressure of life being lifted from my shoulders. From that moment, my life would never again be the same. If Congress gave me the desire for Christ, and Basic provided the opportunity to accept Christ, then Challenge Extreme, another TeenPact week directly after Basic, equipped me with the tools necessary to pursue Christ. Challenge Extreme was a difficult week, but the purpose was not to break the recruits down; instead, the event worked to rebuild each individual stronger than before. We learned leadership. We learned strategy. We learned teamwork. Most of all, we learned that everything is possible through Christ. After my two weeks in Georgia my physical appearance was different: I was rugged, dirty, and weighed ten pounds less. More than a physical change, however, I underwent a spiritual transformation. In fact, I was a completely new person. According to 2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!”
(viii) When I stepped out of the car onto the dry Georgia field I expected two weeks of summer camp: marshmallows, campfires, and stories. Instead, I underwent the most difficult two weeks of my life, yet the most rewarding. It has been two and a half years since my three week long TeenPact stretch, and I have had ups and downs, mountain highs and valley lows, but I can say that our Lord is faithful, consistent, and loving. I can attest to His grace being larger than my sin; I can testify that His perfection is greater than my failure. As 2 Crinthians 12:9 says, “'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.'”
(x) I had an assignment for my college freshmen composition class. The assignment was to write a narrative that depicted an event that impacted my life. I choose my experience at The Timothy Group. I pray you will be encouraged to continue to pursue excellence in Challenge, and that you are reminded that God is using the event to change lives, whether or not you see the results first hand. To this day, I remember the example that you set, and the way that you illustrated what a godly man looks like. I thank you for opening yourself up to allow God to work through you. T. N. Georgia
(xi) I have loved everything about Challenge Basic. Every activity is perfect, and the goal of culturing a strong faith inside men is definitely working. It is always interesting to see actual skills and certain habits that recruits go back home with. I love the program you have built and thank God every day for directing me to such a great and unique group influential men. E.D. Georgia
(xii) I know this is very late in saying this, but I want thank you for letting me staff at this year's Basic. Each man that goes through Challenge always has incredible stories and experiences from Basic and Extreme. But I don't hear enough about staffing; maybe that is intentional. I personally felt that emotionally and mentally, staffing pushed me more than Basic. I also really appreciated the quick feedback from recruits. Staffing gave me a chance to lead men and quickly see my own mistakes and immediately work on fixing those. It also allowed me to see how recruits look up to their squad officer, and revealed how influential both quality and poor leadership can be. And last but not least, I thought the rest of the staff was great. The FO and XO were outstanding in their work, and really showed leadership to the rest of the staff. Thank you. –Edward D.
(xiii) I know how much the benefits of this program have helped me. I strongly urge you to give what you can; you are investing in the next leaders of this country. – Isaac H
(xiv) I figured I would share quickly about how God used this great program to put me right where He wants me. I got accepted to West Point about a year ago and I started my journey toward graduation (and commissioning as a 2LT) this summer at Cadet Basic Training. It was a piece of cake. Challenge Basic was even harder then what the Academy could throw at me. I would say the hardest thing during that experience was learning to shine God's light in a hostile environment. In fact, because of the Honor Code, most think they live a moral life. But there is definitely an absence of God from most Cadet's lives. It was a little hard at first ... I just keep in mind the same theme verse I had as when I was on staff at Challenge 2010. "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding, Acknowledge him in all your ways, and he will make your path straight." Proverbs 3:5-6. Some of my classmates have noticed, and hopefully as time goes on they will continue to be attracted to the light. Thank you again for investing in me, and allowing me to have an impact on others. Praise the Lord! —Gavin C., West Point Cadet, Challenge Staff Member, Challenge Student
(xv) Mr. Stansbury, I thank you for the great lessons from Challenge. Especially the humility and patients! A few months ago I was experienced a disappointment in my career. I recalled and acted on the advice you taught us all those years ago. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for everything you taught me. The lord and I are doing pretty good. The Challenge experience was amazing! Those were lessons well learned that honestly changed my life! God bless! K H (IRAQ-Deployed)
(xvi) Officer Stansbury, this is a letter I sent to my dad who is in Kenya on a mission’s trip and I would like to share it with you as encouragement and just to show just how much you impacted my life spiritually.
(xvii) Hey Dad I hope everything is going well in Kenya, I am praying for you. Since my Challenge experiences are vast and completely amazing I will not try to cover them all in this email since I have a lot of school to do and am getting up early. Instead I will split it up over a few emails and save some things for when you get back. To start out, this completely changed my life and I would do it over again in a heartbeat. I was challenged physical, emotionally, relationally, mentally, and spiritually, God really did a work in my in all of these areas. With the spiritual aspect I was completely convicted and challenged, all my sins were laid out before my God and we both looked at them and I knew something had to change and I immediately started working on changing it. There were two main times during the trip when God was so real to me that I could not hold back the tears, He was there right beside me and to this exact moment that I am writing this letter it brings tears to my eyes with how good He is and how powerful He is when I am weak and cannot continue. The first experience with this was during the praise and worship time one evening. It started out that He convicted me to change my life and I resolved to do so but the powerful part didn't come until all 42 boys 12 dads, and 11 officers were singing "Here I am to Worship". I was completely broken over my sins and I could feel His arms around my shoulders and looking in my eyes comforting me. He was really there with me and I could not hold back the tears and could barely keep singing. It was the most powerful experience I have ever had in my life all around me I could feel God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit moving singing along with us. I was not the only one that felt this. At the end of it Officer Stansbury was in awe as well by God's presence and told us that we had just come before God and worshiped Him. If nothing else good had happened in the entire week that would have been enough to keep me going and keep me praising my Father. Words cannot describe the magnitude of his work in my heart of the feeling of his presence there with me. I will now move on to the next encounter with God that I had (other than the less overwhelming ones). It was during a massive smoke session (a smoke session is when the officers are punishing us for leaving trash and gear on the ground and us earning the stuff back, I will go into more details on that latter). I was praying most of the session and asking for strength because I knew I couldn't make it alone. He came to me and ministered to me and took almost all of the pain away. I could not hold back the tears of conviction and awe of how loving and wonderful He is. A little bit latter two of the guys almost passed out and they had to end the session and let the rest of us stand at attention and pray for them. God only knows how many push-ups and other various forms of torture that we went through in those minutes that seemed like eternity, until my eyes were opened to the reality that Jesus was there holding me up. I was disappointed when it was over. As with the last experience this can't be described with words and I can't understand it in my own mind. I just can’t get over that fact that I was in my Savior's presence doing push-ups for Him and Him alone. Continuing with the mood of this email I will move on to the last main spiritual event that was God moving within me. This experience is much different from the previous two but still powerful, at the end of the week I told the other six guys in my squad that we should go over in our minds the week and find an experience where God sustained us when we could not continue and we felt His presence the most and some things we needed to work on as a team and some things we did well. During this time God really gave me a love for those around me and my squad that even though some of them had been slightly hard to get along with, God had placed me there for a reason with those guys and that we had made it through the week and had done very well. He sprang up a love within me for people around me and a desire to teach and lead others to become more godly and team players. To sum this email up, this was a wonderful spiritual experience that changed and will continue to impact my life forever. He also confirmed in my heart without a doubt that the military was the place He had for me and put to rest many of my fears about being able to spiritually handle it. Even though He gave me a peace about joining the military, He also gave me the intense desire to prepare myself spiritually for what was to come where He wanted me to be. Praise be to God forever and ever, C Wilson
(xviii) Officer Stewart, Yes, I'm fairly rested up and I'm most definitely enjoying Mom's good cooking. While at Challenge, I found that a lot of food items I had come to take for granted were not deemed to be "adequate feeding." Lesson #1: Be thankful for all I have [to eat]. !) It's hard to say where I was most challenged: the physical, the spiritual, or even the mental. As far as the physical is concerned, I'm in no way shape or form an incredibly fit person. As a result, I found my body giving out many times during PE (mainly when doing push-ups). So physically I was quite challenged. The good thing is that preparing for Challenge, and the experience of not being strong enough when I got there, kind of got me more into exercising. If I come again next year, I will be ready. As far as the mental goes, there were two main areas in which I was tested: The acceptance of failure and 2) the acceptance of "unfair" "punishment.” As I mentioned, I frequently was not able to complete the PE. I do not like failure. I do not like NOT being able to do what is expected of me. So, I found myself very disappointed with myself a lot. However, God helped me realize that there will be times in my life in which my strength will not be able to complete a task. There will be times in which I may "fail" even with my faith in Christ. Failure is not a bad thing--if everything is given in the hope of achieving success. It's what you do when you fail that is important. You should get up, dust the dirt off, and continue on: always putting your faith in God and trusting that, no matter what, He will work all things to your good. It was a good lesson to learn, and I thank you and the staff for forcing me into a situation in which I would have to learn it. It was a valuable litmus test as to how I handle pressure. Then there's the spiritual--the most important area of all. I think the most spiritually profound impact the week had on me was seeing different men stand up and talk about the problems they were/are facing and the different experiences they've had throughout their lives. It was comforting to know that these men had faced many of the same problems I'm facing myself, and conquered all through Christ, and I was challenged to follow in their footsteps by doing likewise. It was great seeing other Christian guys like me, and knowing that I was not alone. I think that just about wraps it up. I want to finish by again thanking you and all the staff for the Challenge program. Even though I didn't like it while experiencing it, I know that it was very good for me. It was kind of comparable to one of those virtual army training simulations. It provided a small battleground which brought me into contact with many of the trying things I will be facing later it. It taught me how I now handle those things, and how I need to handle them in the future. It taught me a lot about myself. Thank you all. May God bless you, D Hopkins
(xix) I'd also like to thank you again for everything you did for me and the rest of the recruits that week I know I especially Learned a lot.
(xx) Challenge was an amazing experience I was constantly being pushed to excel and learn. There were many times when I was ready to quit and God gave me and my squad the strength to keep going, One part that really comes to mind is when me and my squad were on the 24 hour obstacle course, that was when all of us were really pushed and really came together as a team, I know that I was "challenged" then in the areas of servant leadership, strength, relying on God, and teamwork. It was a great experience, one that I hope I get to repeat next year. J Jones
(xxi) When I first arrived at TeenPact Challenge, I was pumped and ready. Or at least I thought I was. I only later found out what it really means to put personal comfort aside and get on with what needs to be done. For example, crawling through mud at the belly crawl portion of the i-course and putting aside the thought that the insides of your boots are going to be mud puddles themselves for the rest of the day as soon as you are out. I also learned that it won't kill me to get my hands dirty. Otherwise, I would have starved. Although some people don’t like the military way of yelling everything out, I loved the orderliness with which we did everything (with whole squads eating out of one bucket with their hands being the exception). One of the most important things I learned while at Challenge, however, was that teamwork never fails. My squad and I soon found out that doing things as individuals would never work out. In addition to not being able to complete our goals, this was reinforced by many PT exercises throughout the week whenever a sense of teamwork was absent. PT exercise actually provided me a sense of enjoyment during my week at Fort Benning, although I never let the officers know it, for fear that any weaker squad member might suffer for it my opinions. That is not to say that PT wasn’t challenging. It was. And it was painful, too. I can recall moaning throughout some very long PT sessions. Although it may have hurt at the moment, the finishing instant for PT when the word "recover" was heard always gave me a sense of accomplishment and a renewing of will that gave me strength and willingness, and almost wanting, for more. Lack of sleep during my stay at Fort Benning made my challenges harder and more difficult to overcome, but the way I looked at things, the greater the obstacle put before me, the greater the accomplishment. One thing I learned to do at Challenge which I still laugh about was to sleep while in the position of attention for long periods of time. I still don’t know if this was acceptable or not, but I was never reprimanded for it, and those small catnaps helped me get through the week.
(xxii) One of my favorite parts of TeenPact Challenge, though, was our worship time. Singing out loud and clear with a host of other Christians gave joy to my heart, and listening to our guest speakers during devotional time brought me closer to God. This, in addition to my having to rely on God to overcome physical and mental obstacles, helped bring me into a closer relationship with him. I genuinely am considering coming back to TeenPact Challenge again. by K Greene, from the state of Rhode Island
(xxiii) The main thing I took away from Challenge was the realization that I cannot always be self-reliant, and that being in a team means paying for another man's mistakes and seeing another man pay for yours. I realized more and more at Challenge that even though I may think I am doing something by my strength, it is always by God's strength, because He gives me every talent, muscle, and bit of brains that I have to begin with, and He is also the one who makes them stronger, and helps heal or shine through my weaknesses. I also gained some absolutely invaluable teamwork skills. I need to write them down somewhere.. Thank you for your help in making Challenge the experience that it was. -Recruit [Private? lol] Hastings-PS: I am getting a Camelbak for next year.
(xxiv) Challenge… A camp was never more aptly named. I first heard about TeenPact Challenge when I was about thirteen years old. Growing up as a military brat, I’ve been fascinated by anything military since I can remember. When I heard about Challenge I was very excited; I had never heard of anything like it. Now at thirteen I hadn’t attended my first leadership school yet, and looking back on those times now, I realize that I would never have been able to finish when I was thirteen. This year when I signed up for challenge, I expected some hardship, but I didn’t really know what to expect. By Tuesday night as we were involved in an all night game of capture the flag, I was wondering why I had decided to put myself through this. I mean I was still enjoying just being in the military environment, but it was harder than I was expecting it to be. My squad did so much extra PT on Tuesday that I physically got to the point where I could not push myself back up, even on my knees, my arms just gave out. This was the beginning of what was the biggest thing I took out of the week: I can’t do anything in my own strength, and I can rely on God even to do something as trivial as pushups. Without God’s strength in me, there is no way I could have pushed through the PT we had to do on Thursday night after the C-Course. I think coming to the point physically where I could not do any more really taught me to rely on God more than I ever had before. I plan on eventually going into the military, and this knowledge will be invaluable to me when I do. Another thing I learned was not to give up before I had tried just because my mind told me I couldn’t do something. I pushed myself hard, and learned that my limits were nowhere near where I thought they were. This is also something that I will always take with me, to just keep pushing; never give up, because you can do more than you think you can. I think challenge really prepared me for my future, teaching me hands-on things that I had been taught from an early age, but making them clearer because I was physically experiencing it. These things that I learn will be helpful to me in my future, not only for more Challenge camps, but also for my future job, be it military or otherwise. That being said I thoroughly look forward to participating in the Challenge program again, also to further equip me for my future. “I Will Either Find a Way or Make One.” B Hamilton