March 16, 2015

Adventist Church Opens First Wellness Center in Crisis-Hit Venezuela


The Seventh-day Adventist Church has opened its first wellness center in Venezuela, offering 60 patient beds, massage rooms, and a swimming pool for water treatments on a forest-covered mountain.

The facility, Centro Integral Adventista de Vida Sana, will provide natural remedies and preventative medicine to the surrounding community of more than 55,000 people and, church leaders said, serve as a testament to the power of God to provide construction materials at a time of economic crisis.

“We can only praise God for this miracle because in just a year, amid the worst economic crisis ever in Venezuela, when cement, steel, glass, and every type of construction material is scarce, God saw through the construction of the center every day,” said Josney Rodríguez, president of the church’s East Venezuela Union.

“It was the only construction in the entire region that had cement and was able to complete its building,” he said at the opening ceremony of the yellow, two-story facility outside the city of Caripe, about 330 miles (530 kilometers) east of the capital, Caracas.

More than 250 church leaders, members and community leaders gathered for the historic moment.

The wellness center has 10 patient rooms with 60 beds, a gymnasium for physical therapy, a pool for hydrotherapy, the massage rooms, waiting rooms, a cafeteria, and a conference room surrounded by 32 acres (13 hectares) of pristine forestland.

“This place represents the perfect natural setting for anyone who wishes to regain their health,” Rodríguez said.

He underscored that the center matches requirements singled out in the health writings of Adventist Church cofounder Ellen G. White.

The facility will not only serve the surrounding community with low-cost health care, but it also will train medical missionaries to teach disease prevention and natural remedies at seminars at the 814 Adventist churches and congregations scattered across the East Venezuela Union.

The union, which stretches eastward from Caracas to Venezuela’s border with Guyana, already has two out-patient clinics, as well as several elementary schools and Venezuela Adventist University, which it operates with the West Venezuela Union.

Israel Leito, president of the church’s Inter-American Division, which includes Venezuela, urged the center’s staff at the Feb. 26 opening to remain distinctive in their faith and to be a help and blessing to all who visited.

Funding for the project began in 2012 when the East Venezuela Union’s 144,000 church members took up a special year-end offering.

Rodríguez said the wait for the wellness center had been much longer.

“For more than 35 years our church members have been waiting for the church to offer a natural health center,” he said.