Community Visits With the Prison Fellowship Colombia Team
Children’s Program Team
Prison Fellowship International
I am so grateful to have been able to visit our team at Prison Fellowship Colombia (PFC) and see the incredible impact that they are making through The Child’s Journey (TCJ). I am sharing part of my experience with you with the hope that you will join with me in celebrating and praying for this dedicated team.
Our week started at the Prison Fellowship Colombia headquarters where we loaded the supplies for a community lunch and food pack distribution onto a large bus. Alba, the TCJ Program Coordinator for PFC, arranged for us to participate in the community events and join the caseworkers for home visits throughout the day. Once we arrived, we unloaded the bus of all of the supplies that we brought along. Together, with my colleagues and a group of caseworkers, I started the long trek up many flights of stairs to meet with families while the remaining staff stayed behind to start cooking lunch. The chicken stew and rice that was going to be served took four hours to prepare and was cooked in a large pot suspended over an outdoor fire.
The home visits are eye opening, you cannot walk into someone’s home, hear their testimony, see their struggle, pray for them and not leave changed in some way.
The families shared how TCJ has impacted their lives, how long they’ve been in the program and how grateful they are for the support that is provided physically and spiritually. Many of the families have been in the program for six years and they talked about the tight-knight relationships that they have built with the PFC staff over the years.
The caseworkers care so deeply for each family. The love that they have for these families truly is the love of Jesus.
During our time together, they were also able to share their concerns with us. Most families struggle with their homes in one form or another and they have concerns about the ability protect their children. The feedback from the families was honest and loving. Because of the great relationships the staff have with the families and the knowledge of TCJ operations, the staff is able to talk to the families when tough subjects need to be discussed concerning program standards. This allows everyone involved to be heard and grow in the program.
The community lunches have enabled PFC to gain the trust and respect of the community. They feed everyone; you do not need to be a TCJ beneficiary to participate. This has allowed the children in TCJ to connect with their peers. It also allows caregivers to meet with other parents in the surrounding community and build a network of care for both them and their child. This helps them to have a support system both within the program and outside of the program that has been built by community gatherings.
The food pack distribution happened at the end of the event. All TCJ families were able to take home a month’s worth of food. The packs consist of lentils, meat, juices, rice, crackers, eggs, and cookies. Food distribution plays a key role in ensuring the children are well nourished. This impacts one of the “key result areas” that are tracked through The Child’s Journey and it was an honor to be a part of one of these important events.
This experience allowed me to see how The Child’s Journey is excelling in Colombia and providing essential services throughout communities and families affected by crime. I am grateful to my colleagues, the field teams, and the dedicated sponsors and supporters who make this life-changing program possible for vulnerable children of prisoners. May God bless you all.
Click here to check out a short video of the day’s events!
See children available for sponsorship HERE.