The Story from the Directors of the Center…
The property was unkempt, overrun with weeds and trash; the building it held, rotted and decaying – a fitting facade for those whose lives were overrun by addictions. Since our arrival in the small ranch community of Jaramillo, Mexico, my husband and I had walked or driven by the abandoned lot at least daily, sometimes more. I likely would have gone years more without interest, but something big stirred Enrique’s heart. One purposeful afternoon in our second year there, he placed his palms against the cement wall surrounding the land and proclaimed by faith, “One day this property will be a rehabilitation center for men!”
He began to investigate – the lot belonged to a man in Tijuana. Enrique grew up in Tijuana. Turns out the man who owns that little piece of this little town is the uncle of a friend of mine! And he’s willing to rent us the place at a reduced price!” The building had been a rehab center before but not well run. We reaped the harvest of the bad seed. “The inmates jumped the wall and robbed nearby houses, so the governing board of Jaramillo instituted a bylaw prohibiting any drug rehab center within the populated area,” neighbors told us.
Indeed, I had attended a town meeting in Enrique’s absence, putting forth our petition to open a locked center. The spokesman had looked me dead in the eye and pronounced with no hesitation, “Señora, your answer is no!” When I told my husband his dream had been shot down, his response was one of faith.
“It doesn’t matter! No one can stop it!”
He continued to work on the property, clearing the brush, replacing rotted wood, and painting. When families referred addicts or alcoholics to him, he channeled them to other centers. Eight months passed before another town meeting occurred with a completely new board. The first person to respond after he announced his petition was a woman who lived across the street. “The last thing I want is a bunch of addicts who can escape and break into my house!” She was the first and only town member to speak against it.
“That man helped my son get off drugs!” A rancher announced in a sure voice. “I used to be against the idea but now my perspective is changed. Heck, we got enough drug addicts in this town; why not have a rehab?”
“Ellie,” Enrique told me later, “One after another stood up and backed us! Then they voted unanimously to let it open, even the lady who first said, no! So we were on our way! We found a Director who’d live on the property. A dear friend in the area donated a machine that makes cement blocks.
“We can make our own blocks, either to build with or to sell! We’ll earn money to support the center and teach the trade to those in recovery!” my husband said with great excitement.
The next task was to erect barbed wire security fencing atop the cement wall, a requirement instituted by the town officials. The cost of materials and labor to put this along the entire perimeter of our land was beyond our budget. So God put two young entrepreneurs in our path. Valen and Manjit, two men blessed with business savvy. Valen and Manjit started a charity called The WEPT Project Inc.
“We’d love to partner with you!” They told us when they saw the center.
The name of the center will be Casa de Restauración Vida Abundante which means “Abundant Life House of Restoration.” That’s abundant life! – Elenora Lugo