Sunday afternoon family fun

Wilsons_2013 Posted by Rory Wilson on Thu, 24 Feb 2011 | 0 comments | Bookmark: digg this Post this to del.icio.us Post this to Facebook

Last Sunday I took Gideon on his first trip with the hospital mission team to Kapeke Prison. It is not a particularly high security prison – guards stroll around holding rifles loosely in their hands or slung casually over their shoulders. Many of the inmates are young, late teens to mid twenties. I always wonder what has brought them to this point – where they in the wrong place at the wrong time or did they actually commit a crime? Some are putting up a brave front while others in unguarded moments have telling looks of vulnerability. I wonder if they have families and if so what pain has their imprisonment caused.

When we arrived, a party of 6 adults and 3 children, they told us that they needed to wash their uniforms and let them dry them before we could speak to them. Even though temperatures are soaring in the 30’s these days I still didn’t fancy the delay, thinking of Gideon’s feeding and sleep schedule. Thankfully they decided to bring them to us in civilian clothes rather than the prison uniform – big luminous yellow outfits that take away any sign of individuality, which is maybe what they are meant to do. I usually hate watching the prisoners being herded over in the yellow outfits, in a ‘humble’ attitude before the guards, it is so demeaning. So when they were brought over in their civilian clothes it was less painful to watch plus we didn’t have to wait for 2 hours!

Gideon was oblivious to his surroundings, and by that I mean the company, rather than the dirty walls and floor of the multipurpose building we use for ‘chapel’. He smiled and babbled to the inmates seated behind us. I wondered if it made some of them homesick for family. He wasn’t thinking about their backgrounds or their actions or omissions, they were just more people to smile at and receive attention from.

The last time that I was at Kapeke was nearly a year ago to the day. There were only two prisoners who were there last year, all the other inmates were additions over the last year. It was great to share the gospel with these guys and hopefully encourage them to use this time in prison to re-evaluate their lives and choose to make better choices in the future. I wonder if God in his mercy has stopped some of them here so that He can speak into their lives before they end up in really serious trouble.

Godfrey (one of the mission team members) gave his testimony, himself an ex-thief and prisoner that God has redeemed and transformed. It was very powerful. 14 hands went up at the end of our time wishing to respond to the message given. It is difficult to know how sincere all those decisions were, but it is comforting to know that God does know and hopefully those young men will go on to greater things.

How amazing to be able to involve our children in mission. Even in the ministry of making someone smile and for a few moments enable them to forget their current situation. I hope that mission is a way of life for Gideon as he grows up in Uganda and Ireland.

We headed home after leaving the prisoners with some biscuits and soap. It felt good to visit these men and remind them that God had not forgotten them, and that they could still work towards a successful future.

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