A different kind of freedom

written by OM International

Women who are imprisoned in the area of Concepcion have received visits from Logos Hope's crewmembers.

Members of a church near to where the vessel is berthed visit the women's prison on a weekly basis. Josue Tardon – whose father, a bishop, has been ministering at the prison for 30 years – explained that the women appreciated the volunteers coming, as it helped them forget their seclusion for a few hours.

Bianca Kotzé (South Africa) described how the team of crewmembers sensed reluctance or resistance before the outreach. “We had this feeling in our stomachs, and wondered if it was opposition. We felt discouraged and none of us wanted to share, so we thought that perhaps the church members should lead the programme. We prayed and realised that, no, God had brought us there and given us a message.” She added, “The inmates need to hear the gospel. We should persist when Satan does not want us to.”

The team worshipped together with the women and Bianca explained that they started to feel peace when one of them told her story. She talked about living in sin, about God’s forgiveness and the fact that no sin is too great for God to forgive. Some of the prisoners got up and walked away, but most of those who stayed were moved to tears as they listened. “They were grateful,” Josue said, “This experience helped them psychologically – it was positive for them.”

The women later came forward for the team to pray for them and over babies who are in the prison with their mothers until they reach the age of two. “There was a woman who was upset,” said Bianca. “She was standing a little way off, so I put my hand over her back and the more we prayed, the closer she came to me. She was warming up to me; I gave her a hug and she began to weep. Just being able to be there and give her that hug of support made my day.”

Josue recalled the scriptural instruction not to forget those who are mistreated, poor and condemned by society. He congratulated the volunteers for maintaining the character of the early Church, in caring for the needy and outcast. “Even in the toughest jail," he said, "The light of hope, which is Jesus’ gospel, always shines.”