Jesus in Bunia DRC Congo Prison Mission

By 01/08/2012Mission

Day 2 Bunia DR Congo – Mission Trip

As I mentioned again I woke up to the sound of drums banging and people praying and thought that this would be a good time to read the Word. I have been reading through Psalm 119 and have been so blessed but also challenged by it. It talks about keeping the Lords precepts and meditating on them day and night.

David spent the watches of the night meditating on the Word and it seems that this is what we should spend our thoughts on. I have found it so comforting and strengthening to focus on the word of God. It is life to my bones and brings such a peace.

Psalm 119:148 Mine eyes prevent the night watches, that I might meditate in thy word.

Once we had taken some oat porridge for breakfast it was straight off to take some pictures of some dear dear ladies. These ladies had been up all night cooking beans and rice for the 1033 prisoners. A arrived and they where so pleased to see me and where all really keen to have their photo taken. It was a tremendous amount of food that they where making and I don’t think I have ever seen so many beans and vats of rice.

We then had to rush back as mama ( my mum is referred to as mama) wanted to be on time for the prison visit we where about to do. We squeezed into two 4X4 vehicles and made our way through the back streets to the prison. We arrived and where let into the prison outer grounds and took a seat just outside the chief wardens office. We where all dead silent as our souls knew something important was about to take place. I found that all I could do was pray for what was about to happen. It was amazing how the Lord dropped a scripture on my heart.

John 6

35 And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.

47 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.

It was clear that we where not only taking physical food to the dear prisoners but spiritual food and sharing the most important meal they would ever eat.

Shortly after this I was asked to go and help with the technical set up. So Me, Josh, Benson and Cikiuru took a generator two small speakers 2 microphones and a mixer desk to the door of the prison. It was at this point that I felt some nerves it was not fear but just nerves. I was thinking what was it going to be like but thankfully was not afraid. We then proceeded to carry the gear in and then it hit me. There where over 1000 men crammed into what as about 50 meter by 50 meters of living space. They had set up a pulpit area in the middle of the prison courtyard. Over head was some tattered tarpaulin material sheltering us from the blistering sun. The men where all waiting are ready in great anticipation. There was a tremdous buz of swaheli and lingala words flying around many of which included the word musungi (white man). Cikuru and where rooted to the spot in the middle and could only but watch whilst the others set up the sound system. The floor had small canals carved into it with sewage running through it. The walls where decorated with scratching and paint. I think I saw a moc UN base depot sketch on one wall. It was hard to see everything as it was so crowded but there was an area over to the right of us that looked like it may be where they sleep.

These men where in the prison for all sorts of crimes the predominate was rape. There where men that had been there for over 10 years and would have been put in prison for murder and even fighting. Some of the military where in there also as a punishment for war crimes. The sad thing was that many had been accused of a crime and flung into prison then have never had a fair trial. Many have been waiting for 2-3 years to even get a sitting for trial. We where informed by Pastor Mario that the starting fee to get out of prison was 500 USD which a huge sum of money for some. The magistrates are so corrupt that if someone is willing to pay they will let them out of prison. The sad thing is that many will sell all they have including their land that has been in their family for years and this still not be enough to release them. But we know that Christ came and died for men such as these. He came to set the free and bind up the broken hearted.

Once we had finally got the system running (well done Josh) we where joined by Roger, Shireen and Char. We where then ready to share the word. Pastor Mario introduced us. It was good to hear him say this is the day that the Lord has made let us rejoice and be glad. It was true it was the Lords day and we where about to rejoice and be glad. I was then asked to pray which was a bit of shock. I saw Mario looking at me and I then realised I had to get up and say something. I close my eyes an just prayed a few words that came to me and seem to remember inviting the holy spirit to the meeting. This was the first time I had address a group of Africans and what a joy it was to be address the dear prisoners.

Mum introduced us all and josh and I got up and shared a short hello. It was well received and they seemed to like the joke we made about me being the brains but josh having the brawn or strength. They genuinely loved the company and where extremely receptive. All you had to do was say praise the Lord and with gusto they replied AMEN. We then had some praise and worship. Wow these guys can sing. I mean they would put to shame many if not all churches in the UK. They had a guy on a big oil drum with a cow skin stretched over it as the main beat then a wooden stick that slapped the side of the drum making a higher snare like sound. They went for it and boy they really raised their voices. It was clear that there is a culture of singing and praising and many of the songs where sung but a soloist followed by a response. It was great fun. By this point I was not at all nervous but in fact very much enjoying it.

Roger (Dad) then got up and started to pour out his heart to them. It was amazing. He spoke with Etiene and together they took the men through the gospel starting with the story about the Snake on a stick and how this represented Christ. Dad felt that it was important to say that Jesus saves now and you can receive everlasting life now. It was very interesting to hear a full on gospel salavation talk that explained what Jesus did on the cross as I had not heard one like this for quite some time. The men listened intently and where very focussed throughout the talk. It was clearly the power of the Holy Spirit at work. It struck me there and then that this could be last time they would have heard the Gospel and so it was entirely appropriate to go for the jugular and make a call for salvation without pulling any punches.

Shireen (Mum) was then invited to come up and lead them through a prayer of salvation. She asked that if any would like to receive Christ they should put their hands up and I noticed that a sea of hands flew up. There was no hesitation to receive Jesus. Then mum asked them to mean what they said and it was great to that they did appear to. They did and it was marvellous to hear them pray sincerely and really meaning it. Once they had finished prayed for the Holy spirit to come and baptise them and it was quite something. Nothing crazy or wacky but simply the Holy Spirit touching their inner man. They had their eyes shut and God was intimately meeting with each one of them. Some even started to pray in tongues, it was beautiful. Finally Brother Roger felt lead to pray for healing for them. It was very simple – lay hands on the part that hurts if everywhere hurts then lay hands on your head. There where too many to personally lay hands on so this was a good alternative. They don’t necessarily need the “evangelist” to lay hands on them as God can do the work through their own hands. It was interesting as the main area that dad felt to be prayed for was nightmares and night terrors and I trust the Lord has done some great healings. And the final final part of the meeting was to praise the Lord as mum felt it was good to tell them to praise as even in the prison revival can break out and God hears their prayers. It again was a wonderful sound. There was a chaplain who was also a prisoner and he was there and we commissioned him to lead more and more praise and worship sessions.

Then we split up as a team and this time it was mine and Josh’s turn to preach to the Youth prisoners.

We entered into a separate section that was quite spacious in comparison to the adults. They where all playing football and the prison warden got them to get some benches and set up some pews. I was completely out of my depth but felt the spirit lead and we where able to go ahead in the power of the Holy Spirit. The rain came started to come down and it was quite hard to hear things so me and dad prayed for it to calm down. I introduced everyone and then invited josh to come up and say a few things. He gave his testimony which was powerful and he spoke really well. I then got up and felt to share with them the John 6 Scripture.

35 And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.

47 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.

It was wonderful to have this tell them about Jesus and how if they follow him with all their heart they will have everlasting life.

I also felt to share with them Jeremiah 29 for I know the plans I have for you plans to prosper you and not harm you and plans to give you a hope and a future.

This was the first time that this verse really became real to me as for these young boys it was such hope. A hope for a future a hope. Then I invited dad to come up and pray with them. I realised that I was not fully confident to lead them in a prayer of salvation but I know that I’m learning quickly and heard how mum an dad. Thank goodnes its only by grace that people are saved and not because man has a special formula. We again prayed for the holy spirit to come be with them and it was clear that God was moving in their hearts. It was brilliant to see that some of them even started speaking in other tongues and where meeting with Jesus in a intimate way. This time we where able to lay hands on all of them and just bless them in the Name of Jesus.

After it was great to hear that one young man said that when he got out of prison he would work for Jesus.

One other chap had a bad pain in his leg and we prayed for that and though we didn’t see an immediate healing I know that God will heal him.

These young guys where mostly in prison for rape it was quite shocking really but praise God loves them just the same and no sin is to great for Jesus to whipe away.

Above all that happened today I know that the holy spirit will be working in their Lives and will be their counsellor and advocate. It is not by might nor by power but my spirit says the Lord!

What a joy it is to serve the Lord out here with the dear Congolese people.

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