Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Bugembe Prison Self-Sustainability

Fifty or so men packed themselves into the tiny chapel inside Bugembe Prison to hear what the visitors had to say. These men continue to weigh on my heart. Man after man testifies about the fellowship they find in this place, which is nothing short of amazing. It’s no surprise they find the love of Jesus here.

Today, purely by God’s divine purpose, Pastor Fred joined Carpenter John and me. And with him, Gideon, a former prisoner now pastor. Each of us took a short time to deliver a message and the way they coalesced was beautiful, though we’d not spoken about our messages in advance.

I taught about Jesus as the shepherd and how the sheep know the voice of their shepherd. We likened the parable to children knowing the voice of their parents and parents knowing the voice of their children. Pastor Fred taught about Jesus as being the Way and connected to my teaching by saying that if we hear the shepherd’s voice we ought to follow him because he is the Way. Pastor Gideon talked about how following his voice leads you away from the old life and into new life with him. He used his personal testimony to illustrate the redeeming sacrifice of the Shepherd for his sheep. Oh my, it was awesome!

A quick check in on the skills development projects revealed a few wonderful surprises. First, they’ve added agriculture to the projects. Now – inside this cement fortress – maize, cassava, and various other food life can be found growing in sacks of dirt. The men will no longer eat grits only but their diet will be supplemented with healthy foods as their skills are supplemented with subsistence farming techniques. Further, alongside the many other skills the men are learning, Geoffrey the tailor proudly displayed the products the students made. They’ve all done an excellent job. My goodness I’m so thankful for them.

Carpenter John proceeded to give me the list of things they need to continue the program. I briefly discussed the value of these programs with him in that they now make products for the market that can be sold and then the money used to purchase those very needed items. Self-sufficiency. Of course, it’ll take work on John’s part, but I believe he can easily be the conduit to this program so that our financial aid is no longer needed. Please pray with me that he is motivated, encouraged, and successful in finding a market for these and any other products the tailors make. Amen.