Monday, August 8, 2011

Film Ministry in Bugembe Prison

I offered a preview of NOOMA Rain and NOOMA Luggage to Robert and John before heading to visit the OC (something like the warden) so that they could be well equipped to advocate for the showing of films in the prison. Robert said, “I’ve never seen anything like this!” and both men were insistent that the films were relevant and valuable specifically for this audience.

John went to the prison in advance of our arrival to get buy-in from the OC. He scrutinized John about the effort even though the two have known one another for 10 years. When I appeared with John and Robert, the OC welcomed the idea of showing films and didn’t stipulate an advance preview. Being mzungu has many challenges, but there are at least a few benefits as well.

The chapel was a small room with drawings and sayings sketched all over the walls. When we returned the next day an electrician prisoner aided in setting up the a line to the one power outlet. More than six extensions were strung together to reach into the chapel. A chair and a drum served as the table for the projector and a bed blanket served as a screen. All the electrical elements needed for the program worked perfectly.

We watched Rain and then John explained the metaphor to the audience. They were very participative, which signals that John has been a good teacher for them. We prayed for change in the hearts of the people there. Luggage, though, was the film that seemed really to make a difference. The prisoners indicated that before watching the film they were obsessed with thinking about how best to get revenge on those who they believed were responsible for their incarceration. After the film more than three-quarters of the prisoners said they felt compelled to forgive those people and to also ask forgiveness of those they’d wronged. PRAISE GOD!