When they enter the program, the first and most difficult thing they go through is a detoxification period, after which they are put in the care of the “encargados”, men who have been through the program and act as fathers and mentors. Every day meetings and services are held where the men are ministered to with the word of God. They are taught to pray and learn how to depend on God to supply all their needs and realize their hopes for the future. Stephen regularly instructs the leaders of the center in the word of God, which the leaders then share in the meetings. Every week we supply food to the center, which we are blessed to receive at an excellent price from a local food bank.
Our hope this year is to buy the property on which the center is built. Right now we only rent the land, and we would like to be free to make improvements and build without fear of having to give up the land one day. We would be blessed to receive any financial help that you could give in order to purchase this land, which costs about $18,000. It is more than property; it is a place where souls are rescued and won for God.
In the future we are planning to open a similar center for women. There is a great need for such a place, but few people realize it. We are praying that God will guide us as we plan this work, as well as in our current ministry so that we can be effective and continue to bring glory to His name.
As we face a new year, I know that many of us are planning how we want our lives to be different in the coming months. There are the common year-after-year resolutions (I WILL lose 10 pounds!) and others that perhaps are more private and personal. The common theme behind all resolutions, though, is renewal: we want to leave behind all of our bad habits, the things we don’t like about ourselves, and be reborn along with the new year. Why, then, if we sincerely want to change, do we so often fail? Not all the men who go through the rehab program stay clean; in fact, almost half relapse at some point and return to the center. These men face the same problem as the rest of us who make the same resolutions year after year: we want to change, we know how to change, but somehow we keep going back to our old selves. It is easy to lose hope, to be beaten down with each failure, but it is in these times that we learn to rely on the grace and mercy of God. In a ministry where a 20% success rate is considered excellent, the fact that more than 50% of the men do change their behavior for good is a testament to the power of God. It is when we depend on him, and not on our own resolve and willpower, that change can happen and we can be reborn.
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade—kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God's power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. (1 Peter 1:3-7)