A Beacon of Hope

Others, Addictions , Support

Contributed by: GAiN


Pastor Ricardo Lastra and his wife, Raquel Leon de Lastra, have been missionaries in Paraguay for 20 years. In 2006, Pastor Ricardo had the vision of helping youth with drug addiction problems and thereby helping families as well. That’s why they call the center Bethel Home Rehabilitation Center – a home for youth and family orientation.

Located in Villa Elisa, Paraguay, Bethel Home Rehabilitation Center decided that admittance to the home needed to be free of charge, considering the great economic need that many families of youth struggling with drug addiction face.

To achieve this, the home sustains itself by selling baked goods that the patients make through occupational therapy. Those who are 18 or older are admitted for one year in the home. The home has 25 to 30 spots occupied annually, with the goal of giving them a place to sleep, rest, and be fed. They are provided with the help they need to overcome their addiction and are given, above all, the message of love and redemption in Jesus through the Gospel.

Global Aid Network (GAiN) believes that each person is created in the image of God and is worthy of dignity. Regardless of their background, every individual deserves the opportunity to experience the love of God and fullness of life that they were created for.

Since the beginning, Bethel Home Rehabilitation Center has received support from Jesus Responde, GAiN’s partner in Paraguay. Jesus Responde has been providing food supplies, including dehydrated vegetables to help nourish youth in the home. Bethel offers breakfast, lunch, snacks and dinner for the whole year.

Pastor Ricardo comments that feeding the young people who are hospitalized is what is most difficult for them financially.

Many of the young people who arrive at the center have been rescued from the streets. Because of issues with drug addiction, many of the youth in the home have problems related to nutrition. Unfortunately, some of them have even spent periods of time deprived of their freedom in prisons. This causes their physical condition to deteriorate. In these cases, the dehydrated vegetables have been an important source of optimal nutrients for the vital recovery of their physical condition. Since then, dehydrated vegetables have been part of the daily menu; served in the form of stews, broths, soups, sauces, etc.

The dehydrated vegetables are included in both lunches and dinners, and have received the approval of the young people at the Bethel.

Pastor Ricardo ends by saying, “We are very grateful for what we receive in donations. The vegetables are a great help in the recovery of these young people.” Because of the support, Jesus Responde can continue to be an integral support, delivering the message of the gospel and also serving to supply needs.