Blog/CYM Blog Ministering to Teens Overcoming Pornography by Amanda Montoya We all have moments in ministry when we have no idea what to do or how we will manage to get through the situation at hand. I have been in full-time parish ministry for four years and this year has been full of moments where I threw my hands in the air and felt like giving up. Praise God I have incredible friends in ministry to remind me that I don’t need to have all the answers because I trust in God, who has the perfect plan. Every year Lent approaches we develop our Life and Edge Nights around prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. Several years ago, I found a creative list of fasting ideas for Lent on LifeTeen.com, and I typically read this list to the teens. I always invite the teens to do something challenging, and this year God proved that one teen, in particular, wanted to accept that challenge. As I read the list, he raised his hand and asked: “last year, wasn’t there something about giving up porn, like some website to help with that?” Assuming this teen was just trying to be funny or get us off track, I dismissed his question with a simple “I’m sure we’ll get to that” type of response. Later that night he pulled me aside to talk. We sat down on a bench in the cafeteria, and he laid it all out for me. “I want to give up porn for Lent, and I want to download that website, but I don’t have the money to do it.” I was shocked this teenage boy would trust me so much, and as our discussion continued I found out how serious he was about quitting pornography. With zero hesitation, I pulled out my credit card to pay for his ConvenantEye.com account. I surprised him when I said, “the salvation of your soul is worth more to me than $10 a month. If you feel like this can help you give up porn, I’m all in!” So we signed him up and registered his phone. When it came to the point where he needed to add an accountability partner, he asked me if I would be his. I was surprised, but I agreed. Each day I received an email recounting the websites he visited and was able to talk with him about them. That night, however, when I came home from Life Night I had no idea what to do. I emailed two friends in ministry to tell them about the conversation, and they reassured me that all I could do was pray, support him, and offer him blogs or books to help him along the journey. In the last few months of ministry, it feels like there has been challenge after challenge for the teens I work with, but the one thing that has gotten us through all the struggles is that God is always there to provide. These moments will always happen, and perhaps you will feel like you have no idea what to do like I did. As a sister in Christ who has been there let me give you three pieces of advice. Visit the chapel and the sacraments OFTEN and give all of your insecurity and doubt to the Lord. Pray for the intercession of the Saints and Mary, and ask members of your community to pray as well (without giving specifics so you can make sure to keep the teen’s trust). Remember that God has called you to minister to His children and read Exodus 4:10-14. Even Moses thought he didn’t have what God needed, but God knew better and sent him anyhow. I found a lot of helpful resources on defeating pornography. The website I mentioned before, Covenant Eyes, is a powerful website for accountability and helps men and women overcome pornography addiction. You can even set up a family account at a reduced rate if you have multiple teens that would like to register. Bobby Angel has written a couple of great blogs that can be found at jackieandbobby.com and there are some great books to refer teens to who are struggling with pornography: Freedom: Battle Strategies for Fighting Temptation by Everett Fritz Restored: Ten Stories of Love and Trust After Porn by Matt and Cameron Fradd Cleansed: A Catholic Guide to Freedom from Porn by Marcel LeJeune I’m sure there are plenty of other resources out there, but these are just the few that I turned to when this teen came to me. I’m happy to share that through the beauty of reconciliation, the understanding that porn has destroyed his view on women, and accountability this young man has resisted the desire to look at pornography since that Life Night several months ago. Continue to pray for teens and adults who are struggling with pornography addiction. God will entrust many teens to you, and He will guide you as you lead them to His arms, so trust in His provision and reach out for prayer and support when you need it most.