Anna rejoiced when she heard the decision: Yes, you can come. That was the open door she had prayed for, and she began making plans to visit a place that had broken her heart—a prison for boys.
Constructed decades ago on land that the Myanmar government confiscated from a Roman Catholic church, Hneh Aw San Prison currently holds about 500 boys behind its walls. All of them are under the age of 17—with some as young as 12. They are serving time for petty crimes such as theft, but some are also locked up for more serious crimes such as rape and murder. Tragically, some were found guilty only of being street orphans. Five of the boys are handicapped.
Anna, a single mother who also directs a Heaven’s Family-sponsored orphanage, is no stranger to Myanmar’s prisons. Over the years she has served alongside her father assisting his prison ministry, which had already brought them twice to Hneh Aw San. On those two visits, however, Anna and her father had not been permitted to preach the gospel. They could only bring food to serve the boys a meal. Remembering the hopeless looks on the faces of hundreds of boys, Anna was compelled to pray for them—and pray for an opportunity to return and preach the gospel.
Recent political changes in Myanmar seem to be filtering down even to the prisons. Upon her arrival at Hneh Aw San, Anna found that the prison warden was unusually sympathetic and accommodating, and he gave her unprecedented liberty. After serving all 500 boys a meal that was a feast compared to their typical prison food (paid for through gifts to Heaven’s Family’s Prison Ministry & Rehab Fund), Anna gathered them together. She and some accompanying Christian friends shared their testimonies of how Jesus—a man whom many of them had never heard of—had broken the chains of sin from their lives. Finally, Anna cast the gospel net. Many of the boys responded positively. Anna also taught them some Christian songs and handed out Bibles (also provided through gifts to the Prison Ministry & Rehab Fund). Since then, the prison warden at Hneh An San has reported a noticeable improvement in the boys’ general behavior.
Anna is anticipating further visits to Hneh Aw San for follow-up, discipleship, and to meet pressing needs for clothing, food, medicine and school supplies. She recently wrote to us, “We are really thankful for your love for prisoners in Myanmar today, and what we hope for is all these children will become effective ministers of God, faithful servants of God and good leaders when they leave prison.”
Thank you for helping Heaven’s Family stand beside Anna, as well as other prison ministers around the world, who are taking the hope only Jesus can offer to forgotten inmates.