Prison Evangelism Uganda Trip - February 2017

This trip's visit to Morukatipe Prison was especially emotional.  Prison management doesn't allow pictures  to be taken except for the handing over of soaps and other personal hygiene items, see photos.  We met a large group of prisoners inside a large building while a heavy rain fell outside. 

The prison accommodates about 900 prisoners, either awaiting their day in court or serving out their sentences.  There is a large group of men who have joined the Christian fellowship and worship with their leadership several times each week.  We all sang robustly and shared stories of our faith, encouraging them to follow in their new or renewed commitment to Christ. The emotional part of the visit was when we met the perpetrator of a heinous act of "defilement" (rape) of a 9 year old girl.  The day before, we met Esther (see photo) the recipient of medical services paid for by Burning Bush donors.  During this visit we learned that her uncle committed this act and was awaiting his trial at the Morukatipe Prison.  The act led to infections and a long recovery due to complications, not to mention on-going emotional scars.  For more details of her situation, see the Healthcare Access blog.

Pastor Eric Sabiit was going to ask to see her uncle while we were at the prison.  After we delivered the supplies to the prison, Pastor Eric asked if we could see this particular prisoner.  Eric asked for him by name and within 5 minutes he was in the room in front of us. I know I wasn't alone in my thought that Eric was going to "get in his face" and condemn him for this great sin.  Earlier, while travelling in the van to the prison, the six of us each shared what we'd like to see happen to this guy.  I noticed that Eric remained silent during our discussion. The man sat on the floor and I was awaiting his "fire and brimstone" speech from Eric.  But instead he quietly asked him if he was the one who committed this act.  He said he was.  Eric asked him if he had asked God for forgiveness and was willing to commit to a new life in Christ.  The past can't be changed but the future can be completely new if we follow Christ from this day forward.  Rather than condemnation, Pastor Eric delivered a word of hope and forgiveness through Christ.   I was disappointed at first.  But soon realized that is the clear message we should carry in our hearts if we believe in Him.