Dear Friends and Family,
Last month I shared with you our experiences in the prisons of Cameroon. The second part of our African trip took us to the city of Goma in the Democratic Republic of Congo. It is very difficult to explain what this city is like. Goma has been decimated by 20 years of off-and-on warfare.
Despite a fragile peace that now exists, it did not take many hours of being in Goma to realize that the only hope for its future lies in breaking the cycle of vengeance and retaliation. Our Heaven’s Family partner in Goma, pastor Simeon Muhunga, is a very courageous prison chaplain who works tirelessly with his team to foster forgiveness and reconciliation through Jesus Christ—to both victims and offenders.
Theirs is a daunting task, as almost everyone in Goma has had a family member raped, murdered, or imprisoned. Much of their ministry is directed towards the perpetrators of these crimes who are now incarcerated in Goma’s Munzenze Prison. When prisoners there repent and believe in the Lord, the groundwork is laid for reaching out to the offended parties to bring forgiveness and restitution.
We met with many women in Goma who told us stories of being raped, having their husbands or children murdered, and of being forced to flee from their homes. We also listened, however, to many heart-wrenching stories of criminals repenting and victims forgiving them—and who are now living in harmony with those they had so cruelly wronged. This incredible work could only happen because of the persistent efforts of the Holy Spirit working through Simeon and his team as they present the power of the gospel!
Carole and I were given permission to go inside Munzenze Prison twice to minister to the inmates. It is a shocking place, incomparable to any prison in the Western world. Thanks to our Heaven’s Family donors, however, we were able to bring some blessing, taking with us several hundred pounds of corn, beans, flour, oil and other food items. Because the inmates consider themselves lucky if they receive one rationed meal a day, they greatly appreciated our gifts of food! We also donated much-needed medicine that will save many lives.
Carole and I also attended a church service at Munzenze attended by about 700 inmates. We had a great time in the Word of God, and many repented and made decisions to follow Jesus. Praise the Lord for the opportunity to minister the hope of the gospel in such a horrible place!
Carole was given opportunity to minister directly to the female prisoners—whose children are often imprisoned with them. Although kept separate from male prisoners, the women and children are still vulnerable to rape, as well as disease and malnutrition. We felt privileged to minister encouragement and hope to those women and their children on behalf of you who prayed and gave so that we could serve them.
Carole also met with three pregnant female prisoners who will be delivering their babies in the prison, and with very little medical attention. She gave those desperate women food, cooking supplies, and much-needed personal hygiene items.
Heaven’s Family has partnered with Simeon to continue Jesus’ work of reconciliation and forgiveness in Goma. Even as he and his team struggle with their own poverty, their work shines like a bright light in a very dark, hellish place. The needs are great, but God is greater! Thanks, on behalf of everyone who has benefitted, for your contributions to the Prison Ministry & Rehab Fund. Your gifts are making a difference in the lives of prisoners who will thank you in heaven.
Ministering to “the least of these” in Jesus’ Name,