Mahlon serves as the Program Coordinator, which primarily takes the shape of a campus pastor role, for a Men’s Adult & Teen Challenge center in the MatSu Valley. Adult & Teen Challenge (find more info at the end of this feature) exists to “put hope within reach of every addict.” It is a Christian Discipleship program for individuals with life-controlling issues, such as drug use, pornography, alcoholism, and any addiction, which Mahlon describes as “an adultery pattern that has spun itself out of control. Anything that you put above the Lord.” At Adult & Teen Challenge, students go through a 1 year program focused on engagement with the scriptures and overcoming addiction through the resurrection power of Jesus. “The goal is to reach the people we serve, people just out of jail, off the streets, who have lost all hope, whose family and friends have given up on, to pursue them, encourage them, to have a lifelong relationship with them and point them to the same hope we found.”

Mahlon is a graduate of the program himself, which he says is common among many of the staff. “We know where they’ve been and can show them the transformation that Jesus brings. For me, to know what my past was, being an addict, stuck in destructive patterns, but then seeing how God has redeemed me from where I was to where I am, a complete new creation, now I get to be on the other side of things, the other side of the jail and courtroom, speaking on others’ behalf, getting them into the program and helping them see the life and transformation that can happen through Christ—it’s so amazing to me because I look at myself and say, man look at where I was just a few years ago! But that just shows the power that is in Jesus.”

God is definitely at work through Adult & Teen Challenge, which is certainly a ministry close to the heart of Jesus, the friend of sinners and tax collectors. Just in the last month, they were able to open a new facility for women, a need they’d been seeking to address for some time. Through multiple grants, donations, and fundraisers, the new building and property is already near completely paid for, and is already being used to serve new female students!

I asked Mahlon what led him to enroll at Alaska Bible College when he had already received discipleship and was active in ministry. He had been wanting to pursue higher education, but “didn’t want to just go to some random college, I wanted to go where I felt a passion and felt at home. And being able to come here and learn and explore the Bible and gain a deeper understanding, it’s not like other school burdens, it’s been a deepening of my ministry, developing my foundation, learning about good relationship and good community with the body of Christ and then being able to walk that out and share it in what I do at the men’s center.”
At ABC, this is exactly the type of thing our heart burns for: equipping students who are actively engaged in expanding the kingdom of Jesus and equipping others. We are blessed to have two other staff members of Adult & Teen Challenge a part of our family. Ryan Mendiola serves as Education Coordinator, heavily involved in the discipleship courses the students go through, and Aaron Shaw as Workforce Coordinator, which oversees finding work for students that will both help them pay for the program and enables them to gain job skills with which they can begin building a more stable life after completing the program. We could not be more excited or honored to be involved in the training of all three of these dear brothers! To all three of you, your ABC family sends prayers for so many blessings in your lives and service.
We believe in the work this ministry is doing, and so we extend the invitation toYOU to get involved! You can join Mahlon, Aaron, and Ryan in the work of providing pathways to redemption for disadvantaged individuals by prayer, sponsoring a student, financial, food, or personal items donations, or volunteering in number of ways. To learn more about Adult & Teen Challenge, go to their website or call (907) 202–8850.

Specific Adult & Teen Challenge prayer items:
– Students in their struggle with identity, leaving their old life behind
– Staff keeping their leadership in line with God’s heart and will
– Development of future campus in Kenai