Wednesday June 4th: Prison Ministry
Prison ministry was one of the most fun filled days on my trip. I actually wasn’t supposed to be going to prison ministry that day, because only 5 people were allowed to go, but I thought I would sign up for it anyway to see what would happen. When I walked over to the sign up board, I noticed that 6 people were signed up instead of 5 (five was the maximum number of people allowed to go, due to the nature of this ministry.)
So I wrote a number seven on the board, and wrote my name down. Seven missionaries from Iris Ministries (including myself) went to the prayer hut to gather for a meeting that would explain what prison ministry is about before we left to head to the prison. When our prison ministry group leader arrived, he was surprised to see seven of us instead of five. Then he asked those of us who were the extra two, to raise our hands.
My team member (Cyril) and I raised our hands. Then our group leader laughed and told us, “well I have good news for you. The director of the prison we are going to accepted Christ recently, and I asked him if it is okay if we bring more than five people in the future, and he said, ‘yes.’
We have never had more than five people come to the prison, so this will be the first time; welcome everyone!” An hour later, after all seven of us arrived at the prison, we walked through the front prison gates. As a safety precaution, we were not allowed to have our wallets with us, our phones, or any type of jewelry. When we walked into the prison, I noticed that the prisoners were surprisingly friendly.
Our group leader then told all of the inmates that we were preparing for a bible study. About 20-30 inmates lined up along both sides of the interior hallway to listen to our group leader/pastor speak. Then our group leader asked one of the men from our group (Pastor Ray) to preach to the inmates. Pastor Ray preached to the inmates, and our group leader translated the preaching into Makua so that way the inmates would understand it.
During the preaching, I looked into one of the rooms of the inmates, and there didn’t appear to be any toilet, other than a hole in the ground, and the beds did not look like beds to me. Then out of nowhere, I noticed that some of the inmates behind us were starting to get a little rowdy; a fight was starting to break out. My first thought was turn my head to see what was going on, but the Holy Spirit told me to pray for them instead of reacting in fear.
I started praying for the prisoners, and after a few minutes, the fighting stopped. Our ministry time with the prisoners was drawing so much attention, that even some Muslims who were having their own meeting were watching us. After Ray finished preaching, we left the prison and headed back to the Iris Base.
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