Monday was a beautiful day full of blessings for us and for the inmates we saw today at APAC, a faith-based prison, and San Sebastian prison. First we headed to San Rafael and toured APAC. APAC is for men who are in their last two years of their sentence where they can come here and learn how to re-enter society, job skills, bible study, etc. There are currently 82 men with capacity for 90.
Before we even entered the prison, we had the chance to pray with a young woman, Greta. She actually recognized us from a previous Kairos we attended at the women’s prison. She just got out 10 months ago and was visiting her husband at the San Rafael prison. Once inside, we toured housing, kitchen, library, computer lab, garden, butterfly garden and workshop area where we had the opportunity to purchase some of their homemade goods. One new thing this year was a small store where they can purchase needed items and snacks. Money made goes back into upgrading APAC and for inmates in need. The butterfly garden and workshop area had been upgraded and is much larger from these funds.
We were able to spend their morning motivational time worshipping and giving testimonies to them. Ruth introduced the team and sang “Supe (I Knew)”, Marlene shared her testimony, and Shelly shared hers as well. We met with Didier, Ana’s husband and talked with him a very, very long time. He shared what was in his heart and what God has done already in his life. We prayed with him and will continue to pray for reconciliation for their marriage. We had a quick lunch in the library and then was able to purchase items at the workshop area. Several of us met a non-believer, Otto and witnessed to him. By the time we were finished talking with him, we knew the seed had been planted and he said that he had a lot to think about. One interesting thing he does in prison is fix bibles and Marlene’s bible’s binding was broken and he was the one that was going to fix it. There are so many sweet notes in her bible that are all in Spanish and who knows how they will impact him as he fixes her bible.
After we left APAC, Carlos said he had a surprise for us. We stopped at a Starbucks and got coffee and drinks, then headed to San Sebastian prison.
Outside San Sebastian prison gate, a sweet elderly lady, Ruth. She was selling bags for people to carry food into the prison. She shared her testimony with us about how a local ministry had helped her from being homeless to sufficiently supporting herself. She gave God the glory! AMEN!
In San Sebastian the other Voz de Libertad (VOL) volunteers and our team prayed before we entered. These volunteers go in every Monday to help lead worship and minister to the inmates. This prison was nothing like APAC, there was very little peace, lots of tension, and a feeling of evil as you walked through numerous gates to get to the cell where they held worship service. We had to pass through their sleeping area and it was ROUGH! Shoes and clothing were hanging from the bars and it just felt very dark and extremely noisy. Ruth shared her testimony and sang a song. Shelly shared her testimony of forgiveness and a young man shared that he had a very similar experience. The inmates led two worship songs and Carlos prayed for them and we immediately had to leave. Before we went out of the gate, we circled up and prayed over the VoL team and then they prayed for us.
We headed back to the Mission House for dinner and had a few hours of heartfelt sharing of what blessings we experienced that day. Many eyes were leaking. Karla shared about the travel to and from their youth camp. There were very narrow, curvy, and dangerous roads on the side of a cliff that led to the camp. The ironic thing that happened was they got lost and and then found the correct way which was even more dangerous getting up the mountain in a large school bus. The name of the retreat was “No One Will Be Lost”. How ironic! People had to get out of the bus to make sure the tires were not going off the road. Karla felt the most spiritual time was while they were on the bus maneuvering the dangerous road praying for safety. They had to totally rely on God to handle this scary situation. We were so thankful coming back Sunday dancing and singing as they arrived back home.
We had great moments of laughter while singing songs from Frozen and just being silly. We headed back to the Hotel Francos and enjoyed our “ice cream” ministry with Javier….we’ve known him for a very long time. He is the nighttime guard and works there.
Oh and I got to meet a man sewing in prison. He fixes clothing and has been a tailor on the outside!
Have a blessed day!