Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Restoration House

For three years, we have been in association with a Godly, humble Nicaraguan man named Benjamin. He has a program that focuses on the rehabilitation of men struggling with alcohol and drugs.  He teaches them to turn their focus away from substances and turn towards God.  You might remember us talking in the past about taking some of our guys out to "The Farm" located in the midst of sugar cane.  It's located a 30 minute drive from our city, not easy to find, nor is it easy to get into or out of The Farm.

Recently, there have been more and more young men that we have escorted out to The Farm for a 21 day stay.  It was becoming a concern as to how the guys would cope when they left.  The fate of Israel Jose was probably responsible for us to finally take action to implement a plan.  We had known him for years and he was brought back into our lives for a purpose.  On the drive back from The Farm after leaving him there, we asked a question to our friend Wilber, "do you think it would help the guys if they had a safe place to go after leaving The Farm?"  The very next day we started looking for a house.

Twenty-one days in recovery is not a long time.  A person is hardly finished with the detox within his body. We want to provide an additional time and place for them to begin on learning to transition back into society. Many guys were living in the streets before.  Many have lived in horribly disfunctional homes.  Many homes have more than one person actively using alcohol and drugs.   Many don't have jobs.  Many have never learned the every day life skills most people take for granted.   We want to provide a safe environment where they can learn to live as healthy, whole and Holy men.

We love how God works, which at times can be suddenly.  We looked at one house that we all thought would not work.  When we drove around the corner, we stopped on the street to get our bearings and ponder where to look next.   There was a house directly in front of us that had been for rent for almost a year.  We had called about it several times earlier in the years to use for the cabinet shop, but the answer was always the same.  The house was being remodeled and it was not ready.

We made one more phone call and finally, the house was available.  The representative said she would come right over to show us the house.  When the cab pulled up and a woman stepped out, there was no doubt that the house would be ours.   The woman was a friend of ours helping the owner who lived in the States.  She was so excited because just that morning she had asked God during her prayer time, "to please bring someone to rent the house".

The place was a perfect size because we wanted only 6 men max in the house plus the house monitor. And the favor of the Lord just kept coming.  Without asking, the rental price was reduced by $50 a month because we would not be using it for an income producing business.  Now we had less than 21 days to prepare what has become known as The Restoration House for the first occupants from The Farm.

Favor, favor, favor was continually coming our way.  We had to purchase everything we needed to supply the house.  When I say everything, I mean EVERYTHING.  We had to find a person to live in the house to manage it and watch over the guys.  AND, probably the most difficult was to establish a schedule along with rules and procedures.  Up to the final hours before the occupants arrived there were last minute things to purchase and most importantly was to fill the House with groceries.

Three young men including Israel Jose were first brought to the office in our home to talk with them about the schedule and rules. We did not anticipate the resistance that we came up against during this meeting.  It's been an ongoing battle during our entire time living and working in Nicaragua to get the local people to see the wisdom in scheduling your time and observing rules.  They are very independent and more so the young men we have dedicated ourselves to serving.

One of the guys actually broke down in tears and tried every way possible to negotiate with us.  They only looked at the schedule and policies as what was being denied them instead of how it was meant to keep order in the house and protecting them from the neighborhoods and old friends that might be harmful to them.

We've learned through experience that when you have to talk someone into something, the commitment level is not very strong. Wilber, being a recovering addict, was passionate about the guys staying in the House and talked to them for some time about the benefits. They all three agreed to "try it".

Sadly, the one in tears left the house the next day.