Crusaders of God


WALKING into Bomana, the country’s largest prison on the evening of Friday, Sept 2, the feeling was different from when I first visited there one Sunday more than 15 years ago to see a relative who was serving time.
My recent visit was as part of the women’s ministry of the Debeini’s Living Water Church in Gerehu. We were visiting juveniles at the prison.
Bomana is definitely not the same and the turnout at the three-night crusade by the prison ministry teams in partnership with Debeini’s Living Water Church was evidence enough.
The facilitator and man who had brought a lot of change in the lives of the inmates is commanding officer, Supt Haraha Kiddy Keko.
He believes that churches play an important role in the rehabilitation of prisoners and he has always held the door open for more church visits.
“For the last three years we have enjoyed the fellowship with the inmates, my officials have provided the leadership in making it a success.
“It’s our prayer and hope that more churches and organised groups can come and minister to the prisoners,” he said.
Keko said for the last 38 years most of the church activities were confined to the minimum security unit until only recently when they opened it up to the main compound.
In 2014, religious worship was opened to the maximum security unit, which didn’t previously take part and was kept well away from visitors.
The female wing of the prison also, for the first time, participated in a crusade in July this year.
Keko said the prison fellowship ministry teams have been given the opportunity to take charge of running church meetings and gatherings together with visiting teams from outside the prison.
“I have a security manager, I have correction officers responsible but in these activities prisoners take charge, they arrange the movement of inmates back into their cells after such events.
During an evening crusade there can be anywhere between 300 to 400 prisoners moving around unaccompanied.
The total prison population is around 550 people.
“Last year we had a big crusade by Foursquare Living Waters and the team came, it rained the first night and prisoners just stood in the pouring rain, it showed how keen they were to hear the word of God.”
On the second night there was a blackout but the prisoners calmly organised themselves and went back into their cells without any fuss.
Prison chaplain Lani Pilai said it went back to 1996 when the Lord showed him something in a vision.
“Something is going to happen in this place, starting with the prisoners, the staff and then it will flow out to the nation so it has become a promise for me to see it through.
“And I’m just blessed to see God’s will being established in this place, to see people coming in here and being set free by God and that’s what we are here for, not just for our pay packet but to see men and women coming into the prison camp being set free by God.
“That’s what Christ did, he came to seek and save the lost and that’s the great commission that he has left for us.”
DLW senior pastor Peter Solomon said it the first time for the ministry teams to conduct a crusade at Bomana although they have been involved in weekly visitations.
“We’ve seen a lot of things here that I’ve not see before, lots of changes and I want to thank God for what’s happening.
“Credit goes to the commander and his senior officers here, they’ve worked together to see religious activities take a foothold in here at Bomana.”
On the final evening of the crusade on Sunday night, the DLW ministry team presented 47 bags of 20 kg rice and other food items and gift bags for the women inmates.
We felt in our hearts that it’s one thing to go and preach the gospel and it’s another to help in whatever way we can.
The group left 40 parcels of gifts for women prisoners.

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