Hello. My name is Andrew Scott Blankenship. I am 32 years old and was raised in the Amelia/ Eastgate area of Clermont County. It took 16 months since I first entered Teen Challenge to obtain my Gradation certificate. Which, to me, is a testimony of perseverance in the journey of God breaking a young man of everything that he once was: from alcohol to heroin, from the crack pipe to the syringe and from petty theft to aggravated robbery. I was focused solely on myself and what I wanted. That was a battle fought with many failures but with the Lord’s ever present touch these failures have been transformed into mighty victories that have led me to becoming the man of submission and compassion that I am today.
I arrived at the Ranch right out of jail on January 22, 2007. The Lord delivered me out of a 10 year prison sentence which was the result of being convicted of 9 felonies. Not a small deliverance!!
I was here on a Monday and that Wednesday we went to church. I was broke, busted, and disgusted of who I was and what I had become. That place of brokenness is where the Lord needed me to be and I invited Christ into my life and afterwards I began to be molded into the man God wanted me to be. However, not fully submitting and being afraid of complete surrender, I allowed seeds of rebellion to re-enter my life … just like tares being sown in with the wheat.
After 7 months of being here, I decided to go to the bar and drink. God loved me so much that He allowed this act to be brought to the attention of the staff. I was released from the program and went back to jail for 30 days. Realizing I was back in the same place I had always been (jail), I cried out to God and once again He delivered me and gave me another (or 1000th) opportunity and I was allowed to come back to the Ranch, broken and knowing 100% surrender and commitment to Christ was and is the only way to make a change and become the new man that God wants me to be. I simply let go and looked to God.
Unfortunately, about a year after graduation, I turned my back on God and what I had learned. I was just like the man in the mirror mentioned in the book of James. Being around “lifers” in prison gave me the perspective I needed. It was like God hit me on the side of my head with an anvil. I was determined to turn my life around. I was watching the Kavanaugh hearings and saw sin and deception in a different light. The seeds of my education at the Ranch were now in good ground and finding root.
My house (spiritually and literally) is now in order. Practicing or tolerating sin is no longer part of my life. I have a wonderful lovely wife who I am faithful and dedicated to. We are participating in the American dream and better yet, living the relational lifestyle. I give back to the Ranch on Saturdays picking up food donations.
Relationship does follow repentance (think the story of the Prodigal Son). No longer looking over my shoulder, I am now truly enjoying life.