Church confronting addictions

When the Rev. Albert Flores counsels alcoholics and drug addicts, he speaks from experience.

The Victory Life Church pastor at 325 N. County Road West had struggled with those problems himself from age 10 till meeting the Rev. Freddie Garcia in 1981 at Victory Temple of Texas in San Antonio, where he became a Christian and developed the ambition of becoming a minister.

Now he and a couple from San Angelo, Danny and Esperanza Zapata, are organizing to help people with drug and alcohol problems.

They hope for the donations of a van and a house so two dozen men and women can be sheltered at no cost while dealing with their addictions. They may be reached at 432-335-8925.

“These are valuable people, and there is hope for them,” said Flores, whose church averages 40 to 50 worshippers at 10 a.m. Sunday. “As Jesus says in Matthew 11:28, ‘Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.’ ”

Flores is a 64-year-old San Antonio native who graduated from high school there and served in the Marine Corps in Okinawa and Japan. He was ordained after studies with the Rev. Garcia. Flores and his wife Sandra have five children and five grandchildren.

The Zapatas came here after managing a similar home sponsored by the Joshua 1:2 Fellowship in San Angelo for four years. “We try to instill Christianity into their lives, using Biblical principles to show love, authority and discipline,” Zapata said.

“We watch over them and help them become productive citizens. I was an addict and went to prison, so I know exactly where they’re coming from. I lived on the street for three years and got stabbed and was almost killed. We need a facility to feed, clothe and house these people in for six months.”

Citing Second Corinthians 5:17, which says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation,” Zapata said, “The Bible speaks about lepers being outcasts.

“That’s what we were, and that’s what they are.”

Joshua 1:2 is the commission God gave Joshua after Moses’ death to lead the Israelites into the Promised Land.

Specializing in counseling women, Esperanza Zapata has been in the ministry since overcoming her drug and alcohol addictions in 1993. “Women need security and to receive God’s love, forgive themselves and go on with life,” she said.

“God made man and woman, but a lot of women are single. They need to be self-sufficient until God blesses them with husbands. Reality hits rich people, medium people and the low. It doesn’t matter what color you are.”