Rehab and recovery through faith


At the corner of North Medina Street and West Martin Street on Tuesday evening, a group of five workers with Outcry in the Barrio, a faith-based drug rehabilitation organization, hit the streets to see if they can sway some people.

Their target: a smattering of folks sitting, standing, squatting or lying on the sidewalk in front of an abandoned building; sections of glass in the dusty multi-paned windows are busted out. Below, Stephen Rodriguez, 23, leans against the brick facade. He is tall and quiet; his head is shaved and his arms are tattooed. Lizzy Garay, a petite 64-year-old grandmother who works for Outcry in the Barrio, approaches him. The ministry workers offer literature on the organization, talk about Jesus and tell people on the street about the facilities at Outcry in the Barrio, always mentioning that they’re welcome to come there. She asks Rodriguez to come back with them to the facility and take at least 30 days to go through rehab and bible study.

Rodriguez is polite but not interested. He has just arrived from Houston, where he served three years in prison for selling crack. Right now, he says, he’s just looking for a way to get to Austin.

Garay is unflappable in the face of rejection. She moves on to a tall barefoot woman in a dirty gray dress. Garay asks if she can pray for her; the woman waves her off like a fly.

It’s getting dark; others at this street corner listen and let the workers pray for them, which is something of a production in and of itself. The ministry workers circle around and get the person to repeat a simple prayer with them before all the ministry workers launch into their own separate and improvisational prayers at volume best described as baseball stadium loud. The people who are the focus of these prayers almost always close their eyes and are frequently moved to tears.

After about 30 minutes of talking to everyone hanging out at this corner, which is on the same block as the Bexar County Jail and a block from the Haven for Hope homeless shelter, the ministry workers head back to their cars. They stop once more to talk to an elderly man, and while they’re praying over him, Rodriguez catches up to the group. He has decided to go to Outcry in the Barrio.

“Y’all were walking away, and the further you were walking away, it was like, ‘Dude, go with them,’” Rodriguez says. “Thirty days is nothing. I just threw three years of my life away. So I’m going to try these 30 days out.”

Rodriguez says he’s a little nervous that the program won’t work for him, but he has a 6-year-old daughter, and he knows something needs to change.

“I’m at rock bottom right now, and standing on that corner, I can’t do that.” Article Link…

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.