Lester Ordoñez was a high school student in Laure, Honduras when he started abusing drugs and alcohol. He had already experienced great hardship, including the illness and death of his 35-year-old mother and the loss of his 8-year-old brother in a shooting. His choices were taking him down a dark path.
At the age of 9, Lester came to Laure to live with his grandmother. She worked hard to put food on table, but Lester did not see much hope of escaping poverty.
“At 13 I started consuming marijuana and alcohol,” explained Lester. “At 14 I was consuming cocaine and crack.”
Lester is far from the only young person in Honduras to have faced such struggles. Substance abuse is a heart-breaking reality for youth in the country—especially for those living in communities where employment and job opportunities are extremely limited.
Often young people also lack supportive relationships from family members or leaders to help guide them in making healthy decisions.
All of these factors create a climate of poverty and desperation for young people, increasing their risk of turning to drugs or alcohol.
World Renew is working through local Christian partners in Honduras to provide programs for at-risk youth that seek to prevent substance abuse by anchoring teens in biblical values and promoting healthy values while also providing vocational training.
“I feel sad to see so many young people on the streets of Laure under the influence of drugs,” said World Renew partner staff Noel Larios, describing a target community for World Renew’s outreach.
For seven years, Lester was one of these desperate young adults. His life started to change, however, when Larios and a local pastor invited him to a youth meeting.
“I was very drunk and had also used marijuana,” said Lester. “With lots of doubt, I went to the meeting. I was surprised, because the topic was drugs and their effects. Suddenly I felt something in my heart. That day that I gave my life to Jesus Christ.”
Six months after Lester was baptized, he helped start an “Impact Club,” which provides a place for young people to come together for fun, fellowship, and spiritual growth while working on community projects and developing skills for income generation.
World Renew has now expanded its substance abuse prevention activities in Honduras to including training at local schools. Currently 72 children have received training and counseling.
Today, 23-year-old Lester has renewed joy in his life and hope for the future. He earns a living by making nylon bracelets and repairing furniture. He has been serving God for three years and is engaged to a woman from his church. His story is a powerful example of a life transformed by God’s grace and changed for the better through World Renew programs.
“I thank God for rescuing me from drugs. I also thank Pastor Apolinario and brother Noel for their support.,” he said.