Friday, April 26, 2013

Bugembe Bricks

Remember there is a "no photos allowed" rule.
This picture doesn't include prisoners or the prison.

Smoke filled the air as I neared Bugembe Prison. Benjamin – the in-house chaplain replacing Geoffrey, and guided by Carpenter John – waved me down before I passed too far. Without supervision, Benjamin worked alongside four other men to hone their prison-acquired brick-making skills. He reported that they’re working to make bricks for the OCs residence and eventually for sale. Brick-making is just one of many skills programs available at the prison. Better yet, the program was initiated by the officer in charge and modeled after the skills programs developed in partnership with Carpenter John and Surprised by Hope.

Though I arrived on official business on a non-visitation day, I was blessed with the kind words of a thankful man. What was Benjamin thankful for? That someone outside the prison, with nothing personal to gain, would care about them. Moreover, that people who haven’t even been to Uganda would care about them.

While not every risk can be eliminated when investing in these (or any) men, we do our best to listen to God before starting, allow him to work through us as we prepare the men for living for Jesus, and release our own control over to God as the men are also released. Please pray for each one of these men as they approach their various release dates. Prison life makes loving God easy; it’s life after prison that is hard.