In 1958, Michael Farmer's trial made national news. After reading about Michael Farmer's trial in Life Magazine, David Wilkerson, a 26-year-old Pentecostal preacher from rural Pennsylvania, came to NYC on February 28, 1958. Pastor Wilkerson tried to speak to the Judge to obtain permission to meet the teenage defendants. However, due to death threats against the Judge during the trial by local gang members, Pastor Wilkerson was escorted from the courtroom. News media were everywhere, and Wilkerson unwittingly made himself the source of headline news throughout New York City. The judge later refused Wilkerson's request to see the boys and ordered him never to return to his courtroom.
In 1959, David Wilkerson created the first Teen Challenge Center in Brooklyn, NY. Teen Challenge is a network of corporations that offer Christ-centered, faith-based solutions to youth, adults, and families struggling with life-controlling problems, such as substance abuse. Presently, there are Teen Challenge Centers in every state nationwide. Click on the Teen Challenge USA icon (right) to learn more about Teen Challenge or if you or someone you know needs help.
In 1962, Pastor David Wilkerson wrote the book The Cross and the Switchblade. On the first page, David Wilkerson wrote: “What’s
the matter with me!” I said aloud, impatiently brushing away a tear. I looked
at the picture more carefully. The boys were all teenagers. They were members
of a gang called the Dragons. Beneath their picture was the story of how they
had gone to Highbridge Park in New York and brutally attacked and killed a
fifteen year old polio victim named Michael Farmer. The seven boys stabbed
Michael in the back several times with their knives, then beat him over the
head with garrison belts. They went away wiping blood through their hair,
saying “We messed him good.”
Pastor Don Wilkerson helped to take Teen Challenge global. Currently, Teen Challenge Centers are located in over 100 countries worldwide.
Click on the Global Teen Challenge icon (right) to learn more or if you or someone you know needs help.
To hear Jordan's remarkable story and listen to the inspired song Hello My Name Is by Matthew West, click on the picture (right). Jordan's story is only one out of thousands of Teen Challenge success stories.
Katie Farmer and Matthew West
Pastor David Wilkerson standing outside the court room of Michael Farmer's Trial