3,800 Prisoners Saved: Advancements In Prison Ministry
A Word From Pastor Tom
All of us are responsible and accountable for our own destiny, but nations also have a responsibility. Today, nations are confronted with a global and economic crisis which really derives from a values crisis. Without a value system, we unravel. What we need are sustainable values that stem from love. As individuals—as believers and citizens of nations—we need to begin to see our political and economic order through this love driven value system, starting with our relationships in our families, friends and businesses. We have to move away from beating each other with the Gospel and go to loving each other with the Truth. Only then will we see change in our nations.
(From the message August 4th, 2013.)
Prisons throughout Africa are notorious for inhumane conditions, being overcrowded and diseased; partly due to lack of budget. Like prisons all over the world, there is minimal contact with the outside and many basic necessities are in short supply. A 2009 South African documentary exposed the dire conditions of unhygienic, overcrowded jail cells with poor lighting and lack of safety. While most people outside prison walls may not know these conditions exist, we have seen a need to reach into the bleak and desolate world—to the unwanted and forgotten souls that dwell within the prison system.
Winnie Kanoyangwa, one of our pastors, is an extraordinary woman admired by many for her courage, compassion and perseverance. In 1976, she survived a devastating land mine explosion, but her husband was killed instantly. Winnie walks in complete forgiveness of those who wronged her over 30 years ago—when she lost her right arm, eye and kneecap. For 11 years now she has responded to God’s call to minister to the prisoners of Zimbabwe. The Zimbabwean government granted her access into the Chikurubi Prison, but only to minister with women, initially. Today she has access to prisons and prisoners throughout the nation. Last May, Winnie preached to prisoners in Bulawayo and 3,800 received Christ that day. She is planning already to return to Bulawayo in October to participate in their baptisms.
In addition to her dedication, Celebration Health has also been able to give provisions (such as rice) to the prisoners. Recently, International Health Partners provided UK₤8,120 (US$10,729) worth of medications and treatments. Over the years, prison officials have constantly been astounded by what Winnie has done for the inmates, and only through our international relationships have we been able to minister at this magnitude.
Posted on September 9, 2013