Though they live in different countries and speak different languages, Karla Posantes and Sheldon Adkins are united in their desire to show Christ’s love to people struggling against addiction.
Posantes, a 28-year-old psychologist, is director of CEREPA, a Spanish acronym that translates as “Center for Rehabilitation of Patients with Addictions.” The in-patient facility in Honduras’ impoverished Olancho state has treated people from across Latin America for a quarter-century. The center is associated with Predisan, a medical ministry in Catacamas, Honduras, supported by Churches of Christ.
About 1,600 miles north, Adkins, 46, serves as director of the counseling center at Oklahoma Christian University in Oklahoma City. A licensed professional counselor, Adkins helps coordinate the Celebrate Recovery program at the Memorial Road Church of Christ in Edmond, Okla.
A Christian adaptation of Alcoholics Anonymous, Celebrate Recovery is “designed to help those struggling with hurts, hang-ups and habits by showing them the loving power of Jesus Christ through the recovery process,” according to the program’s website, www.celebraterecovery.com.
Through their connections with Predisan, Adkins and fellow members of Memorial Road’s Celebrate Recovery team traveled to Honduras to provide support and training for staff workers at CEREPA. The U.S. Christians built a low-ropes obstacle course to teach teamwork. With their Honduran counterparts, they look for ways to incorporate the principles of Celebrate Recovery into CEREPA.
Posantes’ responses are translated from Spanish.
What do CEREPA and Celebrate Recovery have in common?
Posantes: Both ministries work from a Christ-centered perspective, meaning that only through acceptance of the love, grace and forgiveness of our Savior does one ultimately find healing.
Both programs address addiction. The residency program of CEREPA is a treatment center for people who want to consume drugs but know that they shouldn’t. Both give hope to patients and their families.
Adkins: Both use the supportive settings where members are able to learn from the experiences of other group members and are able to share — often for the first time — their greatest fears and struggles. This sharing helps to shed light on sin that had previously been in the dark.
Both ministries also encourage members who have begun experiencing change in their lives to begin helping others by giving back to the ministry. In both, it may begin by sharing victories in a small group — or it may be helping with cleanup after meals. Eventually, it may be sharing a testimony of how God is changing the group member’s life.
What steps do you take to help people with their addictions?
Posantes: Phase One is the detox phase. The patient cleans his mind and body of destructive drugs and harmful emotions and attitudes.
Phase Two is the rehabilitation of healthy and spiritual thoughts and habits. It is a new way of thinking and acting developed through motivational interviews.
Phase Three is follow-up, which involves consultation with a therapist and support groups.
Adkins: Celebrate Recovery provides a safe place for people to meet with others who have similar hurts, hang-ups, addictions and habits. The program provides leaders who have at least one year of recovery from their own struggle to facilitate each group.
Each group member is encouraged to find a mentor with a struggle similar to their own, to help guide them through the steps and principles.
What kind of working relationship have you created?
Posantes: Ours is a professional, long-distance relationship based on trust, solidarity and Christian principles.
On several occasions Sheldon and members of his CR group have traveled to Catacamas to train our CEREPA personnel and patients in the CR program. As a result, we have developed a strong friendship.
Adkins: In July 2011 a Celebrate Recovery group of 10 people from the Memorial Road church in went to Catacamas with two primary purposes:
• Train the Mission Predisan and CEREPA staff in the seven keys of Celebrate Recovery so they could eventually begin using CR both in the church in Catacamas and at CEREPA,
• Build a low-ropes course as a therapeutic tool to help the patients develop trust, teamwork, frustration tolerance, patience and problem-solving skills.
We also trained the CEREPA staff in facilitating what group members experienced on the course and relating those experiences to everyday life.
I returned to Catacamas in February 2012 and again in July 2012 to provide follow-up training both for CR and the ropes course. A group of six from our Celebrate Recovery team just returned from another follow-up trip.
How is this relationship helping people — both in the U.S. and in Honduras?
Posantes: To know that we are working in similar ministries — building hope, sharing experiences, testimonies and affection — strengthens all of us, in Honduras and Oklahoma.
We are working together and sharing our experiences, expertise and faith in God. It is very healing to all of us.
Adkins: One of the daily principles that we follow in CR is to give back to others as we become more aware of what God has given to us. We believe CR ministers to those who might not be open to allowing God into their lives otherwise.
By taking CR and a ropes course to the people in Catacamas, we are able to physically live out that principle. Group members raised money and prayed that God’s will would be done in our lives and in the lives of the Hondurans that we met.
It is our prayer that as the ministry continues in Catacamas that lives will change not only there but also throughout Honduras.
For more information, see predisan.org.