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2002 Conversations


Ron McManus: Leadership center launched (December 30, 2001)

Norman Arnesen: History's supreme event (December 23, 2001)

Dr. Everett Bartholf: Help for the holidays (December 16, 2001)

"Auntie" Anne Beiler: God has a plan (December 9, 2001)

Mary Inman: Raising seven sons for Christ (November 25, 2001)

Tony Hall: Feeding the hungry, one person at a time (Novemer 18, 2001)

John Maracle: A growing Native American Fellowship (November 11, 2001)

Al Peterson: Praying for national leaders (October 28, 2001)

Beverly LaHaye: The family is God's gift (October 21, 2001)

Terry Meeuwsen: Putting family first (October 14, 2001)

Dennis Gaylor: Changing the world, one student at a time (September 30, 2001)

Nate Cole: You are not alone (September 16, 2001)

George Cope: Training pastors, missionaries and evangelists (September 9, 2001)

Thomas E. Trask: Breaking down the barriers (August 26, 2001)

John Kilpatrick: The blessings and challenges of revival (August 19, 2001)

Marie Colwill: A passion for evangelism (August 12, 2001)

Lottie Riekehof: The Joy of Signing (July 22, 2001)

John Castellani: Teen Challenge: The Jesus factor (July 15, 2001)

Mike and John Tompkins: Publishing newspapers and proclaiming the Good News (July 8, 2001)

Chuck Girard: Music, marriage and ministry (June 24, 2001)

Stanley Burgess: The value of a godly father (June 17, 2001)

Dennis Franck: Single Adult Ministries Agency (June 10, 2001)

Thomas E. Trask: The work of the Holy Spirit (May 27, 2001)

Stephen Tourville: The changing church in America (May 20, 2001)

Margaret Columbia: Raising 17 children for Christ (May 13, 2001)

Donna Fahrenkopf: Wanted: a life change (April 29, 2001)

Sean Smith: Spiritual attacks on young people (April 22, 2001)

Josh McDowell: Is the Bible true? (April 15, 2001)

Joyce Meyer: Being a practical Christain (April 8, 2001)

Paul Drost: Multiplication (March 18, 2001)

Bill Bright: Fasting for 40 days (March 11, 2001)

Beth Grant: Women in ministry (February 25, 2001)

Alicia Chole: His people and His presence (February 18, 2001)

Cris Carter: Playing on God's team (January 28, 2001)

Randall K. O'Bannon: The value of life (January 21, 2001)

Dennis Gaylor: Secular colleges: a vital mission field (January 14, 2001)

Wanted: a life change

(April 29, 2001)

Donna Fahrenkopf, 30, is in Teen Challenge* in Fort Worth, Texas. After graduation in June, she will return to the state of Nevada to face charges that could result in up to 15 years in prison. She has spent time in foster homes, state homes and in many county jails in Texas. She recently spoke with Ann Floyd, an associate editor of the Pentecostal Evangel, about her desire for a life change.

Evangel: What were some of the contributing factors to your rebelliousness?

Fahrenkopf: I was sexually abused when I was little. When I was adopted at age 9, I finally had parents who cared, but I didn’t care.

When I was 22, my brother, who was also adopted, shot himself. I started doing drugs real heavy. When I threatened to kill my husband’s ex-wife, I was sent to jail for harassment. Prior to that I had been in jail— maybe a dozen times.

When I was 9, I got saved. But then I got an attitude: "I can go to church and have things my way also." The more you have things your way, eventually you just do everything your way.

Evangel: Recall some of your feelings when you were jailed.

Fahrenkopf: Coming from a childhood when I didn’t have anybody — it took me back to that. I was totally alone. When you walk in, you’re scared, but you can’t show that. You might be there for something as minor as a ticket you didn’t pay, and the girl next to you could have killed someone. So you think, Maybe I need to lie about why I’m here, so you don’t mess with me. You learn more protection mechanisms.

And because you have a lot of free time, you have a lot of time to think. You start wondering if this is what you want your life to be.

Evangel: You were facing charges. How did you get released to Teen Challenge?

Fahrenkopf: When I got in trouble this time, I had done my drugs, been to a treatment center, got divorced and met the man I’ve been married to now for four years.

In California I was doing so much cocaine and speed that I wasn’t sleeping, so I started refilling a pain medication prescription. I got busted. I ended up with 58 counts against me.

When I went to court, I was facing 24 years. I went to a public defender and said, "This is what I want to do. I want to go to a treatment center. I want to get my life back in order, but I want to go to Texas to do it."

The judge mandated me to a treatment center for 120 days and a 5-year felony probation.

My mom had sent me literature on Teen Challenge. I had to choose whether I wanted to breeze my way through a treatment center or really change my life. I read some of the testimonies from Teen Challenge and I thought, You know, I really want a life change. Even though I was mandated 120 days [in a treatment center], I chose Teen Challenge for one year.

Since I’ve been here, I found I am being charged with nine other counts. So I’m facing 15 years.

I came here June 6, 2000. For several months, I let the Lord touch things I wanted to give Him. I made some choices which could have cost me my marriage. God kept convicting me, "You need to tell your husband, if you really want a clean start."

At Christmas, my husband flew here. We talked about the plans we want for our marriage — how the Lord’s going to have to be part. It was awesome. I thought, I can trust You, Lord. I’m going to give You everything.

Since I’ve been here, the Lord has healed many, many deep wounds from the abuse, my brother’s suicide and my own destructiveness. When I graduate on June 22, Larry Adley, Teen Challenge director, is going to renew our vows. When I walk out of here — whether it’s to prison or not — I’m starting clean.

Evangel: What would you say to those who are headed down the path you’ve been on these years?

Fahrenkopf: Everything you do affects everyone around you, and it has a consequence in the end. There may not be a lot of people around you, but the Lord’s always there. You may make mistakes and choices that aren’t pleasing to Him, but He has unconditional love.

*Teen Challenge is an Assemblies of God ministry to those with life-controlling addictions.

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