|David Wilkerson gives a bible to former gangster, Nivky Cruz,|
Fifty years ago a young preacher by the name of David Wilkerson read an article in a lifetimes magazine about seven boys who were involved in a murder trial. Upon looking at this article he saw the pain in the eyes of one of the boys and began to weep. As he wept the Holy Spirit spoke to him and said Go to New York City and help those boys.
David Wilkerson obeyed the voice of the Lord and went to the ghettos of New York City.
On the first day two youths try to mug him, then all of and sudden they stop and say to him, “Hey man you are that mad preacher from the Michael farmer trial.” David Wilkerson replied “yes that’s right.” Then the youths who tried to mug him said well at least we have something in common “The cops don’t like us and they don’t like you.”
David Wilkerson found gangs that were vicious in fighting, would take drugs and alcohol to feel happy, they made the gang their family for sense of belonging. David Wilkerson was now going into the strongholds of Satan with the one weapon that could cripple all that these gang stood for - The Gospel of Jesus Christ.
As David Wilkerson preached the gospel and told the gangs that Jesus loved them - they began to listen to him and when David Wilkerson held a crusade at St. Nicolas Arena one of the most notorious gang members from the Mau Maus got saved. His name was Nicky Cruz.
It was after this event that Teen Challenge got its name, and David Wilkerson had volunteers work with him on the streets of Brooklyn reaching gangs, drug addicts and alcoholics with the life-changing Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Praise God it never stopped there in Brooklyn. For as the success in Brooklyn began, so God began to raise Teen Challenge ministries across America, Canada, Europe then over in to Asia.
Today, Teen Challenge is a non-profit, interdenominational, faith-based program operating in 82 countries, with over 510 autonomous locations internationally, and continues to grow at a dramatic pace worldwide.