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Chains are Broken

During our last couple weeks before we left for Lesotho we were given the amazing opportunity to do prison ministry in the prison Nelson Mandela was held in after Robyn Island. It was the prison he had his famed "Long walk to freedom". This experience was something I will never forget and has truly changed my life. We went in through the multiple secured gates, past armed guards, beyond the pat downs and barking dogs, gawking prisoners and finally arrived in the cell block where the men we were there to meet we're staying. When we came into the room there was a shift, I no longer felt like I was in a prison but maybe a church service. We were welcomed by smiling faces and friendly handshakes from joyous prisoners awaiting our arrival. On the wall was a tree painted on it and all of our names on individual papers that they each had drawn and decorated for us. You would never know these men had a criminal history other than the matching maroon jumpsuits they were in. Many of these men had life sentences and some would be getting out in the next year. One of the men had a life sentence but after giving his life to the Lord, God worked a miracle and he will be getting out next year. We came in with testimonies and worship prepared to minister but these men also had worship and testimonies prepared and we came together as brothers and sisters in Christ to spur each other on in our faith. One of the most moving moments was when one of our leaders felt the Lord leading her to do something. She came forward and had all the men come forward as well. She told them that she doesn't know what they have done or seen or why they are here, "but on behalf of the people you may have hurt or harmed I forgive you and God forgives you." At that moment these men began weeping, as she went around one by one looking them in the eyes and telling them she forgives them. One word brought these tough men to tears and that was the word Forgiveness. We were able to meet men of God who had made mistakes but God sought them out and now they are sold out Jesus Freaks starting a revival in their prison. We went in with a man named Preston who does a radio show and also leads the ministry in the prison. He does a program there that disciples and creates disciples there in the prison. The actual prison has an 80% return rate but this program has an 8% return rate, it just goes to show the redemptive power of Jesus. That day we sang "Break every chain" with a group of free men who are fulfilling the great commission in prison, what excuse do we have not to keep pushing on and setting people free in Christ. Our freedom is for freedom after all.

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