The Madness of Hope + TIME

Where Prisoners Are Set Free / Link Open

We walk through the brick corridors with high security walls and are told that this was once a women’s prison. It was the last place where a woman was executed in South Africa.
When the prison closed, Pastor Steve bought the facility with a vision of turning it into a shelter for the homeless and a rehab for drug addicts, alcoholics, and abused. Now, it houses 1500, including families. As we walk through the facility we see many children running around playing, as well as several dog and cats.

Inside the men’s ward, the bunk beds are stacked six beds high, the women’s four. For, none are turned away. Neither are they forced to stay.
At first the place exudes hopelessness. Then, as more and more stories are shared, the heart is lifted. Where once this was a prison for those who had committed horrendous crimes, now this is a place where people find forgiveness of all they have done. For, Christ has already paid the penalty and prisoners have been set free.
Once the inhabitants of these walls were identified by their sins but now, they are identified by who they are in Christ. They are children of God, heirs of the kingdom, and free from their past. They do suffer the consequences of their mistakes and many feel hopeless. But they are given counseling, food, jobs and a second chance at life.
My heart breaks and heals. My spirit sours and falls. My tears fall and dry. Both last year and this, I was privileged to participate in one of their lively Sunday worship services, a requirement if you choose to live in the facilities. This year, our team had the opportunity to sing, give testimonies and minister through counseling and prayer to the women one evening.

As I get to know just a few my heart becomes attached as only family can. For the women that I meet are now my sisters in Christ. Until I return next year, they will be in my heart and prayers. And I praise God for Salem ministry and a vision to follow Christ in “setting people free from the bondage of sin”

Boxsburg, HOPE, Johannesburg, On Your Heart Tuesday, Prison, Salem Ministries, South Africa, and more:

Where Prisoners Are Set Free / Link Open + TIME