Jail to Challenge House—let me write it differently: I picked up an inmate—I know he’s a skilled carpenter—I took him to the construction site of Challenge House #4, over by Pennyrile Apartments public housing. It was early—probably 6:30 AM—Before he exited the car to begin work, he suggested, “Let’s pray”—we did, and then he handed me a $10 bill. He wanted it to go to Challenge House. I deposited it to our non-profit account! Good start to the day! He had lived in a Challenge House neighborhood and knows how we try to help kids and adults. He’s excited about #4, as am I!

I see a man at the PowWow—big smile—he lives next door to a Challenge House; he comes toward me, “Guess what? I am going to the Bus Stop and off drugs”! He wanted me to know and I was so glad to hear.

I see a teen boy. I first knew him at Challenge House #2; his family then moved to the neighborhood of Challenge House #1, and most recently to the neighborhood of Challenge House #3, but I saw him right across the street from Challenge House #4. I asked him for a basketball schedule so I can go watch him. He smiles! Yes, there is a reason for multiple Challenge Houses. My heart’s desire is to see Challenge Houses in all of our older at-risk neighborhoods — for each neighborhood to have the Challenge House Advantage—for the people all to know that “just around the corner” is a House where you can grow your faith, where education help is just a knock away, and where a mindset of “work-over-welfare” can be developed.

I was at Millbrooke School—3 little kids run to me—all smiling. They have moved to the area of the Health Department (someday that area will be Challenge House 7). I knew them at Challenge House #2. They miss it. They remember the love of so many~

The AT&T program reached close to 45 teens this summer; 38 earned money from making it through Boot Camp about work, and job shadowing. So many business and professional people provided work-shadow sites! And so many men and women spoke to these teens and/or provided lunches for them. Awesome! Something special about this summer’s teen outreach!

Berea College recently held a “College Night” at Challenge House #3. Afterward one young man said to me, “That was amazing”! Students, along with some parents, learned about college “up close and personal”, in the living room of Challenge House #3. Thanks to Wynn Radford for his key role. “A letter in the mailbox”—Invitations were sent to the AT&T teens!

“All day every day” it’s about children. We always try to remember them. I am reminded of a verse: 1st Thess. 2:7 “But we proved to be gentle among you, as a nursing mother tenderly cares for her own children”. I suppose the word “care” is key to reaching kids. Recently I saw the movie, Unconditional; go see it! It’s about the kind of work we do. You are “we”!

Our YMCA’s offering, Jobs for Life, is currently being taught at Challenge House #1. We hope to soon teach GED classes at Coffee CONNECTION, downtown where the Challenge House office is located.

Challenge House #1—Nate and Ellen Ragsdale and children will soon move here to become Neighborhood Ambassadors. They and we are excited!

Challenge House #2—Leigh Ann Simpson and son continue as Neighborhood Ambassadors. What commitment! Tough street~

Challenge House #3—Brad and Lori Kirkman continue as Neighborhood Ambassadors. “Radical” living! —with strong backing from Second Baptist.

Challenge House #4—located off North Elm close to Pennyrile Apartments near Glass Avenue—we are seeking singles or a small family to become Neighborhood Ambassadors here. Should be ready by late fall!

Challenge House #5—located on Crockett Street behind Flynn’s, Lone Star Pawn Shop, and Farm Bureau—should be ready by early winter. We are so excited about the partnership between First Christian Church and Challenge House. We will be seeking singles or a small family to become Neighborhood Ambassadors here.

Challenge House #6—we are believing for this House to be established somewhere on the East Side of Hopkinsville.

Challenge House #7—we are believing for this House to be established somewhere in the Canton Street neighborhood.

Most likely this will complete the chain! “7”. Steve Shields: “A chain is only as strong as its weakest link; a City is only as strong as its weakest neighborhood”. Lord, may our links be strong!

We are neighborhood based. We seek first to build relationships with our neighbors, and then to offer programs from Challenge Houses that will boost both children and adults. Come help us! Wally Bryan 270-889-3395

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