In a small provincial town in Zambia a Kiwi doctor, David Friend, visits men and women in local prisons, and has become a leading part of the ministry to draw them to Christ and away from a life of crime through helping them with life skills and teaching them the world of God. David has a good relationship with the prison service, who give great freedom of access and encouragement to undertake whatever help is possible.
Yet sometimes it’s hard to know what affect this is having. Two recent stories help to show this: Sarah, 16, is from a poor family. She decided to supplement their income by stealing some mattresses out of a student hostel. Little did she know that she was pregnant at the time of going to prison for her crime. After some months she was released, to find that her small one-room cottage (above) had fallen down. The project not only found a builder to fix it but also supplied some baby items. Sarah has since delivered the baby safely and our prayer is that she will keep her eyes fixed on the Lord.
Another story is about Charles, who was recently released from prison. At that time the project gave home a Bible and paid for him to renew his driver’s licence. Word from the family is that he is a changed man, and wants to go back to visit the prison to encourage others.
A senior prison officer told David, “We have come to realise, that no amount of hard labour can change the heart of a man, only the Word of God can.” David has found a huge spiritual hunger amongst the prisoners. Besides pastoral input, there are huge practical needs: Few prisoners get any visitors at all as many are sent there from far away. Not only do they need vocational and literacy training and rehabilitation coaching, but simple everyday items such as soap, toilet paper, mosquito netting, notebooks and pens. Even sandals, which only some have. Or the bus fare to get back home when they are released. The prison authorities have no money for teachers, and find it a challenge to maintain adequate clean water and sewage.
With your help the prison ministry is assisting where it can — This is the only SIM office promoting this project.
Please click here to donate — and quote project # ZM 94546