Native missionaries in a country in West Africa did not know what to expect when they went to preach to inmates at a prison they had never visited, in a town unknown to them.
After a more than six-hour trip on rough roads that put them in town in the hottest part of the afternoon, they had to rely on people in the street to help them find the prison, the native ministry leader said.
They had a plan for how to proclaim Christ in a way that would most resonate with the inmates, but some things you couldn’t plan for in the 92-percent Muslim country. They were stunned to be greeted by a social service officer who had witnessed their preaching in the prison closer to their ministry base.
The social service officer began shouting to the prison personnel eating lunch in an adjoining room, according to the ministry leader.
“These people that you see here among us have transformed the lives of detainees and prison officers during their stay in our prison, and I myself was present that day,” the officer told those eating. “Please rise to welcome those partners who came from far away. I know them, they always come with good news – they are Christians, men with a big heart, to come to see us.”
In a country that is less than 1 percent Protestant Christian, the ministry leader said the officer’s testimony opened hearts in their favor before they had even begun.
“Without further ado, the other leaders stood up to walk towards us,” he said. “Each one came in turn, to present himself to us according to his name and rank. Thank you, Lord – suddenly the atmosphere had changed, and joy and peace invaded everyone’s hearts.”
The prison warden led them to his office to welcome them, and the missionaries presented the soap, toothbrushes and other hygiene products they had purchased for prisoners in the sanitation-depleted facility.
The prison officials felt a great relief to see all the donated items, the warden told him.
“The warden testified that we were the first partners to come to them to offer them such gifts,” the leader said. “He said, ‘Our prison is totally lacking in sanitation products and materials,’ as he pointed to the reserves, which was almost exhausted. ‘The detainees have really been in need for a very long time,’ he continued. Seeing the amount of donations, the entire penitentiary team continued to thank us.”
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SOURCE: Christian Aid Mission