Today our team all went to prison.
One of our team members, Bob Collins, who has been serving in prison ministry for decades and who directs Heaven’s Family’s Prison Ministry & Rehab Fund, wanted to visit a Moldovan prison. Our host, Ghiorghi Cazacu, was able to obtain permission for us to hold an evangelistic meeting in the prison yard of the Soroca Penitentiary, where 600 men are paying time.
About 12 other Moldovan brothers joined us, five of whom provided music ministry for the meeting, and three of whom were former convicts themselves. One of those three had recently been released from Soroca Penitentiary himself, and most of the inmates knew or recognized him as he testified—before being publicly baptized—of how Jesus changed his life. Three current inmates, all brave men and all wearing white robes, received baptism with him.
Team members David Warnock and Bob Collins both did a good job preaching the gospel to a captive audience. The inmates were scattered around the prison yard, however, and they were not the most responsive crowd. I think they would have only come forward in an altar call if we had passed out Get Out of Jail Free cards. But surely seeds were planted, and perhaps some of the hearers will show up at one of the weekly chapel services conducted by a few of the Moldovan brothers on our team.
One of the Moldovan brothers who led the music ministry, now a pastor, later told us how he formerly was the corrupt police chief of a corrupt police force. With lights flashing on their police cars, they would pull over tourist buses, shoot out all the bus tires in front of the terrified passengers, and then board the bus and demand everyone’s money. For effect, they would wear masks and shoot one of the front-most passengers in the leg using a real gun but with rubber bullets, which sound like real bullets when discharged, but which would only convincingly sting their target. It was enough to motivate everyone to happily empty their wallets. Everything went well until a judge sentenced the police to 14 years in prison. — David