March 13, 2019

Lay-led Foundation in Chile Aims to Help People Overcome Alcohol and Other Drug Addictions

Carmen Moraga, South American Division, and Adventist Review

Freddy Santis was stuck in his addiction to drugs. That changed when Santis came to the Crecer Chile rehabilitation center near the capital city of Santiago, where he got the help he needed to change the course of his life.

In Crecer Chile, Santis met Angélica Mateluna, a Seventh-day Adventist church member who partners with the facility, offering natural treatments and providing spiritual support.

“I regained faith, and little by little, day by day, I regained inner peace,” Santis said. “Thanks to Angélica, I got to know Jesus again and be happy.” Santis said that since then he has decided to live his life with Jesus and that he continues to use the Bible Mateluna gave him when they first met.

A Strong Commitment

In 2017, Mateluna opened La Fundación Pasos de Esperanza (Steps to Hope Foundation) to help people suffering from alcohol and other drug addictions. She said her heart is in this work because she knew the sad reality of addictions up close. “My daughter was taking drugs,” Mateluna confessed. “She went through all these treatments and, thank the Lord, she came out of it.”

Mateluna shared that now she is applying a similar method to other addicts. “I include a lot of love because I know what families go through,” she said.

Steps to Hope Foundation’s 56 members share a dream to help hundreds to overcome the bondage of addiction, Metaluna said. For this dream to come true, they are planning to open their own rehabilitation center in the town of Buín, outside of Santiago.

Members also set the plan in motion by taking a course called "Professional monitors for the prevention of polydrug addiction," so that they will be able to train and manage future assistants. The course was offered by Temperancia Vida Sana Institute (Temperance Healthy Life Institute), known as Intevisa, an Adventist lay-led initiative.

Adventist Church Support

“When an addict is taught the harm that drugs do, he reacts, changes, recovers the instinct of conservation and can fight against that,” explained Intevisa director Gastón Aguilera. “We make him see the danger of all the risks: biological, psychological, social, and spiritual.”

Now that they have been trained, Foundation members are working to gather permits and funds to work on their dream center. “We already have a project that we are going to take to the government level, because we already have some resources that we have obtained in the municipality of Buín,” Mateluna said. “But now we are going to go higher, climbing higher to have this center that I know that soon we will have.”

According to Foundation leaders, members are also supporting the recovery efforts of patients with cancer, diabetes, and fibromyalgia. “We offer them to combine their treatments with some natural remedies, including hydrotherapy and changes in their diet,” leaders said.

The Adventist Church is supporting the work of the Foundation, according to South Metropolitan Chile Mission publishing ministries director Duver Guzmán. His department will combine the Foundation’s health initiatives with offers of Bible courses to those who are interested. “We provide spiritual support to the Foundation’s activities,” Guzmán said. “We visit people and give them the spiritual help they so desperately need.”

The original version of this story was posted on the South American Division Spanish news site.