Friday, 21 May 2010
“Hope is faith holding out its hand in the dark.” George Iles
“Hope costs nothing” Sidonie Gabrielle
We are all human. We all make mistakes. We all make bad decisions. Most of us pick ourselves up and move on – learn from the mistake and continue life as usual. For a long time now it has been on our hearts to work with a group of people, many of whom will never live a ‘normal’ life again. They are the prisoners in the local Ratchaburi prison. There are more than 3500 prisoners.
One of the local churches in Ratchaburi has been going to share the Gospel in the prison every Christmas for the past few years. We have had the privilege of joining them for the past 2 years, but it has been on our hearts to begin to take volunteers to minister to the prisoners more than just once a year.
This past month we took our first team of volunteers (from America) into the prison. They spent time sharing with and praying for around 100 prisoners. Seven or eight of them had already converted to Christianity through the church coming over the Christmas period. On this day however, more than half of the 100 prisoners that attended asked to accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.
Many of the prisoners have been in a place of hopelessness for a long time. For most, even their families don’t come to see them. Once they are in prison, they have nothing. Prisoners are given only two sets of clothes by the prison per year. Families bring them what we would consider daily necessities – soap, toothpaste, shampoo etc. Those prisoners whose families don’t come to see them go without such things unless there is a donation from an outside source. We know that bringing them the truth of Jesus Christ is the most wonderful gift that we can give them – eternal hope in a place where many had lost all hope. We also know that there are other ways that we can show them the love of God.
One of the things that we are hoping to do is to collect donations of men’s shorts and t-shirts (new or second hand) and toiletries to distribute to the prisoners. We have distributed Bibles, but would love to possibly start a Thai Christian library for them. We would love donations towards this too!
We are planning to continue to take teams of volunteers into the prison and want to specifically provide Bible teaching for the new believers while we are there. If you have a burden for prisoners and would like to come and serve with us, we would love to have you!
Love is what we want to bring to this group of men and women who are as special to God as you or I are - that they too may know the truth of God’s love and hope in it.
If you would like to contribute towards this project, you can do so online at: http://www.ywamthai.org/onlinedonations.php (please specify that the donation is for 'Ratchaburi' for the specific purpose of 'prison ministries').