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Published: January 18th 2012
Today was prison ministry; Megan, me and about 10 others gathered together to go on a trip to go to the local prison. This is a ministry that Iris do once a week on a Tuesday, run by a guy who used to be in the prison himself, called Ezekiel. We all jumped into the back of a truck to take us on a 20 minute drive before we arrived at the prison.
We arrived in the grounds of the prison where we took our ‘valuables’ out of our pockets before we went in to the confined prison building. This was quite annoying as I wanted to take pictures but perhaps you will just have to imagine it…
…We entered through the main gate into the prison building itself and straight in front of us was a long corridor with rooms coming off the side, the ceiling was very high with small window about 3 foot by 1 foot right at the top of the walls on either side. As we walked down the hall we could hear the loud singing echoing off the walls and then off the tall ceiling, in the small space to make a huge noise. The ‘ministry’ happened in the hallway at the other end of the building so we got to poke our heads into the bedrooms where there were still some trying to sleep beyond the singing. Some rooms had bunk beds with mattresses and other rooms were just full of mattresses on the floor.
This was a medium security prison, so all the hardened ‘criminals’ go to a big prison a few hours away; there was still need to keep some people behind bars as we walked through the prison. Most of the people there were wondering about as we walked through and what struck all of us was how well behaved they all were. I was a little cautious walking down the hall, especially being the last of the group… I didn’t have my back ‘covered’… and actually it wasn’t a problem as the prisoners were going out of their way to shake your hands and say hello.
We got to the end of the hall way and joined the singing prisoners standing with their backs against the wall either side of the hall way looking at each other. We joined in the singing, clapping and dancing led by a couple of guys in the prison. After 20 minutes Ezekiel got up to speak about something (it was in Portuguese and I have heard too many ‘talks’ I’m getting them all mixed up in my head.) The talk ended with Ezekiel inviting any testimonies, which there were a few and the He invited anyone who wanted to follow this person called Jesus to come up. There were about 12 people who came up saying they wanted to know this Jesus, our group of 10ish started to pray for them and while we were doing that Ezekiel invited any sick or hurting to come up for prayer too. They came up and we prayed for them too, apparently all professing to feel better but talking to them through the translator can be quite hard sometimes.
The 100 prisoners who were ‘part’ of the worship, along with the 12 who accepted Jesus for the first time started singing and coming to meet us formally all perfecting our African handshakes. As we walked back down the long hall toward the gate, to let us out, we continued to greet other prisoners who all seemed to appreciate us offering a hand and a smile.
The guards didn’t really check us in and I guess they didn’t really need to check us white people in but there were 3 other Mozambicans who came with us and I thought it might be quite funny if one of them got told that he should stay. We got out of the building to find, to my surprise, that all my valuables were all still there and hadn’t ‘disappeared’. We waved to the prisoners, got back in our truck and endured the 20 minute trip back to the base without a seat.
All in all a very interesting and good morning of the day.
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