By grace you have been saved through faith.
And this is not your own doing: it is a gift of God.
My name is Jackson Ketner and I live in Buffalo, Wyoming. I struggled with alcohol for 18 years of my life. I was in and out of secular treatment facilities, jails and institutions throughout many of these years. I had allowed alcohol to consume my life. I gave away my family and material possessions that I held close to me, including my freedom. I was raised in a Christian home and knew about Jesus, but never gave Him a chance; I was going to do it my way. But I soon found myself in my mother’s garden on my knees praying and asking God to either take my life or to show me a way out of the hopelessness I felt. I heard about this place called Teen Challenge from a youth pastor at our local church two weeks prior to getting into trouble. My wife had given me a pamphlet with a men’s choir on the front cover. It said that it was 21-months long and in Manchester New Hampshire, 2300 miles away. There was no way was going to go that far away for that long and I wanted no part of a men’s choir. What I didn't realize was that God had other plans.
The next thing I knew I was on a plane headed to New Hampshire. I told myself I would do anything asked of me, but I knew I could get out of that men’s choir. Going from a rural town in Wyoming to the middle of a city on the east coast was a challenging adjustment. I felt scared and lost. I fought for the first four months with the only prayer I could mutter, "I trust you God.” Then one morning I woke up thinking that regardless if my marriage was going to be restored and if I had to go to prison, it didn’t matter, I had to give my life to Jesus. Two months into the program, I saw God start to heal my marriage. I even started to like the men’s choir! I truly believe God has a great sense of humor and when we have plans of our own, He sits back and smiles. For the last three months of my stay in Manchester I was the choir director! He used the men’s choir to transform not only my life and my relationship with Christ, but also to allow me to watch others be transformed as well.
Today I live with my beautiful wife, Justine, and our five daughters in Buffalo, Wyoming overlooking the Big Horn Mountains. I recently took a trip back to Manchester to see the men that God used to change my life. As I enjoyed the annual banquet, I saw 30 men singing in the choir and heard their testimonies and I felt the presence of Jesus in that room transforming lives though Teen Challenge. It has been four years since I started this amazing journey with Christ. The Gospel of John tells me that I am free. "Jesus answered them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave. The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever. So if the son sets you free, you will be free indeed." John: 8:34-36 Today I am free from addiction. The things I thought were so important; money, material things, and the things of this world, do not seem so important today. God has given me a new pair of glasses. The relationships with my wife, my children, my parents and siblings, my church family, and most importantly with Jesus Christ are the things that I cherish. This is the gift and the grace that I have been given and I am truly grateful for the opportunity to start each day knowing I am one of God's children and am so very grateful He led me to