February 10 2016
has a widespread and long-lasting impact on victims, offenders, and the
community. One Mission Society partner ministry Prison Fellowship of Colombia
promotes healing for those affected by crime through its restorative justice program,
on the story of Jesus and Zacchaeus, the tax collector, who agreed to repay the
people he had cheated, this project brings victims into prisons to meet with offenders.
Prisoners come to a full understanding of the effects of their
crimes and discuss what it would mean to take responsibility for their actions.
Victims and their families are also afforded the opportunity to offer
partner, Lacides Hernandez, president of Prison Fellowship of Colombia, tells
of one prisoner who recently completed the program. He had been involved in the
murder of seven people, whom he secretly buried. However, after participating
in Sycamore Tree, he wanted to help bring closure for the families of the seven
victims by helping them recover the bodies of their loved ones. He called the
authorities, who came to the prison. As a result of his action, the bodies were
recovered for the families. This is very important in a country where many
people have simply disappeared over the years.
emphasizes relationships, accountability, human rights, healing, and
transformation. It gives victims a voice, lowers the rate of repeat offenses,
and offers a powerful example of the application of biblical principles to social
Painting by James Tissot, late 1800s. (Brooklyn Museum/Wikimedia Commons)
February 2 2016
many decades, Colombian prisons were notorious for their violence and
hopelessness. But today, by the grace of God, lives are being transformed
through the love of Christ and the ministry of faithful believers in those same
prisons. Colombian prisons now have become a place of forgiveness, healing, and
restoration for hundreds of inmates.
is one of these. After masterminding the murder of her husband, Miriam was
sentenced to prison. She says that for 20 years, her husband abused her,
leaving scars all over her body, which to this day still show the evidence of
his abuse. Though she sought to put an end to her troubles through his death,
her guilt so consumed her that she turned herself in to the authorities.
she arrived at the prison, she joined one of the cell block prayer groups. She
had heard of God, but for the first time she began to truly understand his
love. She later signed up for training in the prison Bible school, which
deepened her understanding and love for God.
Miriam is living for the Lord. He has done miraculous things in her life. She
has received forgiveness from her children for the murder and no longer lives
with the burden of guilt.
the greatest miracle of all, she says, is that she feels completely loved by
Follow these blogs and OMS social media to hear more about how prison ministry in Colombia is changing lives...
April 16 2015
I love it when a plan comes together, especially when it is
God’s plan. On March 15, 2014, the plan was in place, and Pastors Willy and
Vicky moved from Tarlac City to Tacloban City. By car, this is a more than
24-hour move. Their plan was to distribute roofing sheets to people who lost
their roofs during the typhoon. This would give them an opportunity for
connection to the community.
In the first two months they had distributed sheets to 44
homes in one area and 22 in another. They requested the roofs be painted red so
you can see which houses were given new roofs. The picture gives a view from
the top with several homes “seeing red.” The best part of the ministry is the
relationships built with people who have started attending house churches as
new believers. In two months they already had two worshiping groups meeting
weekly with more than 50 total in attendance.
The people of the Philippines are such giving people,
despite what little they may have. If you are visiting, they will prepare a
meal or an afternoon merienda (snack) from what little they have. Many of the
locals lost their families. Parents lost all their children, children lost all
of their family – 26 people were lost in one family alone.
A woman survived with all eight of her children by clinging
to trees while the storm surge hit. By God’s miraculous grace they all
survived. This is not the case for many as more than 6,000 people lost their
lives in Typhoon Yolanda. The area was devastated, yet the people still show
love and hope.
Pastors Willy and Vicky have committed to stay three years
to help those in need and build up leaders in the church. They live
sacrificially and have a true heart for glorifying God in their daily lives.
They yearn to do more for the families of Tacloban City.
To be continued…