Editor's Note: On June 26, the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, this article was written as the testimony of a staff member dedicated to gospel-centered rehabilitation ministry.
In a mountain village in Southwest China, through the power of God and unremitting efforts, a young man, leading a group of people who are unwilling to succumb to fate, has helped many drug addicts. They are practicing the inscription on the anonymous tablet in the cemetery of Westminster Abbey: Had I only changed myself first, I may have even changed the world.
In 2010, sent by a pastor of a counseling center, a Cantonese male believer W arrived in a small town in the Southwest to study in a local church. Later a ministry association was established in June 2012 and keeps operating as of today.
This association is a Christian organization specializing in helping to get rid of "addictive behaviors". The target group is people with drug, Internet, alcohol addictions, and AIDS patients with a history of substance use.
W himself has a painful 12-year history of drug addiction and detoxification. At the age of 15, out of curiosity, W took heroin for the first time. Unfortunately, in half a year, he had been unable to pull himself out of drug abuse.
W's mother had never given up on him. She often sat on the chair in the living room in order to prevent him from sneaking out of the house. Every time seeing his mother's anxious and desperate eyes, he would make up his mind to quit drugs, yet keep using them again and again. However, his mother closely looked after him, even though feeling nearly hopeless. Once W wrote a suicide note and planned to end his life. He injected ten times the usual dose of drugs into his blood vessel, waiting to die. But six or seven hours later, he woke up in a daze.
One day, when he found out that the drug addict who shared the needles with him had contracted AIDS, he felt despair and called his mother in tears. But his mother reassured him firmly that God could heal him and introduced him to the gospel-centered drug rehabilitation center administered by the pastor who always prayed for him. Thanks to the love of the believers in the center and the continuous prayers of the pastor and his mother, W finally quit drugs successfully.
When W was tested HIV negative for the second time, he determined to stay in the church without hesitation, preparing to serve God for the rest of his life. When he decided to dedicate himself to God, all of a sudden, he felt that God had been waiting for him to wake up during all these years of his being tormented and playing tug-of-war with Him.
Under God’s guidance, W was sent to open a gospel-centered drug rehabilitation institution, embarking on the path of full-time service. Now he has a Christian family with three lovely children.
W, who has overcome drug addiction for 17 years, once said, "I paid a heavy price for my frivolity and ignorance when I was young. After 12 years of drug addiction, I lost my youth and failed the love and expectations of my family. But Life can't be done all over again, for which I hope teenagers will not go down the same path as I did."
In this center, relying on the power of His gospel, they strive to bring people to Jesus Christ. With His word as a basis, participants pray, praise, read the Bible, work properly, and practice God’s word in their lives, so as to achieve holistic rehabilitation. Rooted in Christ’s love, the ministers help, manage and accompany the participants to get out of the slump based on the basic principle of "love, but not indulge; manage, but not harm".
The counseling center currently has four full-time staff workers, one seminary student, and six participants. During the ten years from June 2012 to June 2022, it has served more than 140 participants, among whom, 35 have completed their courses, sharing testimonies of relying on God and regaining a good life. And13 of them have not yet completed their studies, but insist on not taking drugs. Two participants have become full-time staff at this center. Another six were recommended to study theology after they were fully rehabilitated. Five went to serve in other gospel-centered organizations.
Note: The names of places and people in the article are all pseudonyms for privacy and safety reasons.
- Translated by Shuya Wang