Six men baptized at Ecuador rehab center
Six men undergoing addiction treatment were baptized at a rehab center in Quito, Ecuador, on 19 January 2023.
Rodrigo Olmedo, who led the ceremony, is a Nazarene pastor and the national evangelism coordinator for Ecuador. He was invited to visit the center when a patient's mother asked him to see her son, who was undergoing treatment.
"When we got here, we realized he was not the only one," Olmedo said. "There were many youths in this situation whose family members were desperate without knowing what to do; that motivated us to come work in this place."
Olmedo, an ex-addict, understands what it feels like to be trapped by addiction. His visits to the center started over two years ago. Initially, his visits were sporadic because the rehab center’s leaders were skeptical of him. Olmedo and one of his church members, Jaime Caposano, also an ex-addict, continued to visit the center, and patients and staff came to appreciate the spiritual help they offered.
"Our goal is for people to never fall into this [addiction] and, if they have, to receive rehabilitation," Olmedo said. "The process has taken time, but it's not impossible because Jesus Christ makes it possible in the life of people."
When the baptism occurred, a Nazarene Missions team from Wisconsin and Illinois were in the country doing ministry work. The team helped with some remodeling needs in the rehab center. The team's visit helped strengthen Olmedo's relationship with the center as the leaders witnessed Christ's love displayed by people who came from far away. Olmedo's goal is to plant a church near the center to continue the discipleship journey the patients began during their drug and alcohol treatment.
Olmedo and Camposano know that addictions are difficult to overcome alone. A solid support network of friends, family, or loved ones who can provide emotional support and encouragement is essential to overcome the addiction lifestyle. For that reason, they continue visiting the patients to provide spiritual help and extend the friendship patients desperately need.
Camposano is passionate about making disciples among patients undergoing rehabilitation. For over a year, he and Olmedo have been visiting the center and leading programs to help patients grow their relationship with Christ.
"This coming March, it will be one year since we started coming weekly to teach them the Bible and show the JESUS Film," Camposano said. "We thank the Lord because the Word of God doesn't return void, and as a result, today, six youths who were addicted to drugs are getting baptized."
Marcos*, a patient who chose to get baptized, was moved when going into the water and uttered, "God, I know you have always watched me. I pray that you continue watching me."
*Name changed due to privacy
--Church of the Nazarene South America