Posted by: calloftheandes | June 19, 2013

Transformed Man Reconciles with Parents Whom He Robbed

When their clothes and other personal effects began disappearing, Diego’s parents knew the time had come for professional help. Their own son was stealing from them. Even a tank of bottled gas disappeared from their home in the greater Quito area in Ecuador where liquefied petroleum gas commonly serves to fuel kitchen stoves.

Photo shows bottled gas tank (photo by R. Kurtenbach)

Photo shows bottled gas tank (photo by R. Kurtenbach)

“Some 15 months ago his parents came to me with the singular purpose of helping their son,” related Antonio Torres, who counsels listeners at Radio Station HCJB in Quito. “They knew all too well the private personal hell of living with an addict’s self-absorbed behavior.”

Approaching age 30, Diego had fathered a child, but his lifestyle didn’t offer the 18-month-old toddler any stability. He had been nursing a drug habit for more than a decade and had already been in and out of drug treatment centers.

Diego’s illicit drug use began in his early teens, a similar experience to that of other Ecuadorian youth who experiment with drugs. The average age for initial use is age 14, according to survey results of more than half a million 12- to 17-year-old Ecuadorians.

The 2012 survey by the Consejo Nacional de Control de Sustancias Psicotrópicas y Estupefacientes (National Council to Monitor Psychotropic Substances and Drugs) and the Observatorio Nacional de Drogas (National Drug Observatory) showed that just 1 percent of those surveyed were abusing marijuana. It was the primary drug for consumption, with perhaps 2 percent abusing alcohol.

Diego, in spurning help offered down through the years, had fled the rehabilitation centers instead of confronting his growing problem. On one occasion he had even tried to end it all with a suicide attempt.

Antonio Torres

Antonio Torres

After talking with the parents, Torres put the family in touch with a friend in Peru, Pastor Luis Bernales, who personally traveled some 36 hours by bus from Lima to accompany Diego to his Centro Clamor en el Barrio (Cry Out Center in the Neighborhood), a drug rehabilitation facility in Lima. It was an offer that Diego gladly accepted.

Upon completion of the program, the young man returned to Quito in March. He began attending a church near the radio station and is living with his parents. Each evening he studies the Bible with them, according to Torres, “he really wants to enter an evangelical seminary, get firmly grounded and serve the Lord as a pastor.”

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