Ministry News Roundup – September 2023

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Africa

Eswatini

Prison Fellowship Eswatini (PFE) volunteers visited both the Criminal Asylum and Vulamasango Boys Hostel to share the Gospel with the prisoners at both locations.  

PFE staff toured His Majesty’s Correctional Service’s stand at this year’s Eswatini international Trade Fair. Notably, the Rehabilitation and Developmental Section mentioned their fruitful partnership with PFE in their brochure. 

PFE’s local partner, Sheet Street Stores, donated bed covers and pillow cases to provide to inmates in need or recently released inmates. PFE also receives generous donations from Mr. Price Stores. Both of these partnerships help curb recidivism and improve the welfare of those reintegrating into society by acting as a support system to their rehabilitation process.  

Malawi

Prison Fellowship Malawi’s Halfway House program held a workshop titled Voice and Agency Building Among Inadequately Served Populations Through Identification of Advocacy Champions to equip individuals with program knowledge and empower them to be advocacy champions. Workshop participants included government representatives, members of civil society organizations, church representatives, community members, PFM staff, HWH graduates and Malawi prison service staff.  

Nigeria

Prison Fellowship Nigeria recently celebrated The Prisoner’s Journey graduates at Mandala Correctional Facility and Jos Correctional Center.  

Rwanda

Prison Fellowship Rwanda (PFR) received a donation of 24 laptops thanks to DOT Rwanda and GIZ Rwanda that will empower digital career counselors helping refugees in camps across the country to access jobs, scholarships and vital civil documents.  

PFR ensures children enrolled in The Child’s Journey are safe and cared for by conducting home visits. Recently, they distributed shoes to the children through these visits. 

Asia Pacific

Cambodia


Prison Fellowship Cambodia (PFC) shared a video of a child enrolled in The Child’s Journey reciting a Bible verse from John.  


The Cambodia Prisons Alliance, including PFC, the Cambodian Office of Vocational and Career Training and Cambodian Office of Reformed Education and Rehabilitation met to discuss project implementation updates, achievements, challenges and future enhancements.   

Nepal

Prison Fellowship Nepal (PFN) distributed school bags and other goods at a recent event organized through its kinship care program designed to ensure safety and roots in family and community for children of prisoners, Child’s Hope.  

As part of its prison library upgrade initiative, PFN is upgrading Bardiya Prison’s library by providing 300 additional books. Having already established libraries in all 75 Nepalese prisons, including Bardiya in 2006, they are now working to upgrade each library.  

PFN celebrated its 35th anniversary!  

Papua New Guinea

Prison Fellowship Papua New Guinea held a facilitator training for The Prisoner’s Journey at a local church.  

Singapore

Prison Fellowship Singapore (PFS) hosted a gala dinner to commemorate its 70th anniversary with ministry pioneers, volunteers, partners, supporters and former staff members. Guests were treated to an exhibition that traced the history of national prison ministry, good food, a special commemorative video, the launch of a commemorative book titled ‘Forgiven not Forsaken’ penned by PFS’ immediate past chairman and a cake cutting ceremony. Female prisoners made leather cardholders as door gifts for all guests.  

Sri Lanka

Prison Fellowship Sri Lanka organized a prisoner art competition at Colombo Public Library in partnership with the Sri Lankan Prison Department and Prisoners Welfare Department. Many individuals came to view and purchase paintings from the exhibit.  

PFSL held a cricket tournament at Welikada Prison for prison officers and police judiciary in Colombo, Borella and Demadagoda. This event provided an opportunity to build meaningful contacts with prison officials for future connections. 

Europe and Central Asia

Albania

Prison Fellowship Albania was able to provide 370 children with new back packs and school supplies for the upcoming school year through the Secured Childhood program.  

Czech Republic

Thanks to Prison Fellowship Czech Republic’s (PFCZ) Day With a Child project, 24 children across 12 families were able to see their fathers incarcerated at Belušice Prison. The families experienced a precious day full of playing, creating, competing, eating and having private moments with their fathers. One mother shared that she cried through the day as she admired the beauty of seeing her family reunited. Through this program, family bonds are strengthened and prisoners are motivated to return to their family.  

PFCZ is bringing prisoners a different perspective on their lives and an opportunity to reflect and understand what they have done wrong in it through The Prisoner’s Journey. Gabriela Kabátová, PFCZ Executive Director and Founder, shares about this program in a new video. 

England and Wales

Prison Fellowship England & Wales’ Communications Officer is running the London 10K race and he is committed to running an additional 1K for every £10 he raises! Check out his progress here. 

Israel

Prison Fellowship Israel celebrated its 41-year anniversary! Here’s to many more years of ministry.

Poland

Listen in to this short song performed by Kornelia Nel Kijak shared by Prison Fellowship Poland. This short film is about former prisoner Paweł Cwynar’s relationship with the artist, as she played an extremely important role in his life after leaving the prison walls.  

Romania

Prison Fellowship Romania received a new shipment from Barnmissionen, one of its long-lasting partners dedicated to serving people in vulnerable communities.  

Ukraine

Each month, Prison Fellowship Ukraine (PFU) leads prayers and a Bible reading for the State Criminal Enforcement Service (DKVS). This month, attendees included the priest of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church and DKVS workers. After reading from the Gospel of Luke, and praying for the country and the punishment system, the group enjoyed morning coffee and fellowship.  

Latin America and the Caribbean

Colombia

Prison Fellowship Colombia (PFC) held a training and psychosocial care session focused on providing emotional and psychosocial support to the family. This was done through training in psychological first aid for guardians, individual psychosocial care for children and adolescents, and personalized, need-based guidance for guardians. 

In partnership with Hope61 and OneMission, PFC participated in a human trafficking prevention workshop with church leaders, Prison Fellowship staff and the general public. The event increased awareness and collaboration to combat human trafficking, sexual exploitation, organ trafficking, labor exploitation and recruitment of child activists. Read more here. 

Paraguay

Prison Fellowship Paraguay held a course leader training for The Prisoner’s Journey program at Cereso and Emboscada Vieja prisons. These trainings were conducted for both external volunteers and internal volunteers (incarcerated individuals who already graduated from the course).  

Uruguay

Prison Fellowship Uruguay shared pictures of course sessions and graduations for The Prisoner’s Journey and Sycamore Tree Project 

Middle East and North Africa

Lebanon

Prison Fellowship Lebanon has started a Drawing Art Academy every Saturday before noon for children of all ages. Take a look at some of the beautiful drawings and paintings they have produced.  

Ministry News Roundup – August 2023

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Africa

Sierra Leone 

With international missionary Mike Morley from Home Leone, Prison Fellowship Sierra Leone visited male and female inmates in correctional facilities in Freetown and Bo to distribute clothing and reading materials for the prisoners and their children. They also met with numerous correctional chaplains to maintain a positive relationship with the prison system. During these visits, the Word of God is shared with both officers and inmates. 

Nigeria

Prison Fellowship Nigeria and The Lord’s Chosen Charismatic Revival recently hosted a ceremony to honor The Prisoner’s Journey graduates at Ikoyi Correctional Facility.  

Prison Fellowship Nigeria (PFN) inaugurated a new chapter in Anambra State, fostering collaboration between PFN, Nigerian Correctional Service (NCS) and Nigerian Parole Board. The Command Controller of Corrections praised PFN’s continued partnership, expecting enhancements to collaboration between ministries in local custodial centers. The Parole Board Chair emphasized the effectiveness of community corrections and restorative justice as a tool of NCS’ key pillars: reformation, rehabilitation and reintegration. PFN’s Executive Director remarked that no single denomination can offer all support, so synergy of all faith-based organizations is imperative. The meeting included a Q&A session, a unanimous deciding vote, presentation of chapter interim leaders and prayers for the new chapter.  

Prison Fellowship Nigeria’s Niger State Chapter held a summer camp for children of prisoners enrolled in PromisePath. This year’s theme was “Precious to God.” 

Asia Pacific

Cambodia

Prison Fellowship Cambodia’s Livelihoods program supports families of prisoners to raise chickens in order to focus on income generation. Watch this video to see a program participant demonstrate how to make chicken or poultry feed. 

The Child’s Journey program provides care and opportunities for children of prisoners to equip them to live a life of full potential. This includes providing medical support, safe shelter, education and nutritious food. Check out the food stock that Prison Fellowship Cambodia is ready to deliver to program participants!  

Philippines

125 male prisoners in the Pasay City Jail, Philippines were recently recognized for their graduation from The Prisoner’s Journey program. Lead by Pasay City Jail wardens and Prison Fellowship Philippines, graduates received certificates of recognition, packaged meals and bowls of champorado, a sweet chocolate rice porridge, at the event.  

Sri Lanka

Prison Fellowship Sri Lanka recently held a pre-prison program in Chenkalady

Singapore

Staff and beneficiaries of Prison Fellowship Singapore’s (PFS) Women Support Group, a female-only fellowship providing a safe space for ex-offenders to make connections and establish friendships, attended a volunteer-led make-up session. PFS programs equip ex-offenders with practical skills in order to add value to their lives and contribute to their wholistic well-being. 

Europe and Central Asia

Scotland

Prison Fellowship Scotland recently released their summer newsletter! Check out the latest edition for prayer requests from around Europe and Central Asia, to learn how PFS measures success and see the impact they have had on children of prisoners recently.  

Czech Republic

A recent article highlighted the alarming recent report from the Czech Helsinki Committee about the lack of accessibility to basic hygienic supplies (toilet paper, sanitary pads, toothbrushes, etc.) in Czech prisons due to financial difficulties. To combat this issue, Prison Fellowship Czech Republic launched a fundraiser to purchase these supplies to ensure that basic hygiene is a right, not a luxury, for prisoners.  

Prison Fellowship Czech Republic’s Angel Camp was recently visited by CNN Prima’s New Day program to share a live broadcast from the camp. The journalist jumped right into the morning warm-up with the children! Watch the segment at the 21 minute-mark here. 

Ukraine

 

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The second week of Prison Fellowship Ukraine’s children’s camp organized took place in the Dmitrivka, Kyiv region. 39 children were able to rest, turn away from the horrors of war and learn Christian principles of life. Packed with games, quests, food and stories about biblical heroes. the camp had an atmosphere that was so friendly that the children did not want to say goodbye. 

Italy

Hosted by Prison Fellowship Italy, 14 prisoners at Lanusei Prison were celebrated with applause and excitement for their graduation from The Prisoner’s Journey program, marking their desire to continue toward a new life of change and hope!  

Latin America and the Caribbean

Perú

Congratulations, Prison Fellowship Perú, for celebrating 40 years of ministry! Their unwavering dedication has brought hope and transformation to countless lives of prisoners and their families. Here’s to 40 more years of restoring lives and breaking the cycle of crime! 

Brazil

APAC Passo Fundo was visited by the Secretary of Criminal and Socio Education Systems and the Secretary of Justice, Citizenship and Human Rights. The committee of secretaries, along with other criminal justice councilors and leaders, were received with lunch and music by the APAC’s director, volunteers and prisoners. This productive meeting enabled the secretaries to get acquainted with the APAC modules already built and future expectations with expansion. 

Prison Fellowship Brazil participated in an online meeting with students from the International Institute of Restorative Practices (IIRP) in in Pennsylvania, USA. IIRP is the world’s premier postgraduate school specializing in the study of restorative practices, providing education, research and consulting services. This is the third year in a row that PFB has been invited to speak to students about the experience of APACs as a restorative justice program. 

Colombia

Prison Fellowship Germany Executive Director, Tobias Merckle, recently visited Prison Fellowship Colombia to strengthens the ties between the two nations and prison ministries. During his stay, Tobias participated in various program activities and shared his experience, knowledge and perspectives to enrich our practices, impact and collaboration. 

Uruguay

As a program partner for The Prisoner’s Journey, Sycamore Tree Project and Prison Project Philip, Prison Fellowship Uruguay is always busy with course sessions and graduations. Check out some of the recent pictures from their many program activities and efforts!  

Costa Rica

Praxis Center of Costa Rica supports Prison Fellowship Costa Rica through student internships to build transformative alliances for a relationship of empowerment and mutual exchange of gifts. Students from the Center recently painted a mural at PFCR’s APAC Center for Restorative Justice and Social Inclusion in San Rafael de Alajuela. Learn more.

North America

Canada

So far this year, Prison Fellowship Canada volunteers have received over 1,000 phone calls from 59 participating institutions through PFC by Phone. This program started during the pandemic as a way of offering support when in-prison programs weren’t possible. Despite their in-prison ministry running again, PFC by Phone continues to be an amazing way of connecting with prisoners for conversation, spiritual friendship, and prayer.  

United States of America

Emily Colson, daughter of Prison Fellowship International founder Chuck Colson, recently shared her father’s testimony as this year marks 50 years since he came to Christ. Read the powerful story below.  

Ministry News Roundup – July 2023

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Africa

Sociotherapy Dialogues Server Perpetrators and Victims of 1994 Genocide Against the Tutsi in Rwanda

Prison Fellowship Rwanda, in partnership with Interpeace and other governmental organizations, have led more than 800 community members through dialogues on events related to the 1994 Genocide Against the Tutsi in Rwanda, with the goal of establishing the truth, promoting mutual healing, rebuilding trust, and where possible, seeking and granting forgiveness. 

Read more here or watch one victim’s testimony above. 

Celebrating Sycamore Tree Project Graduates in Nigeria 

Prison Fellowship Nigeria recently held a graduation ceremony for Sycamore Tree Project® participants. Graduates were prisoners from the Maximum and Female Correctional facilities, both in Kirikiri. The event included graduates reading apology letters, testimonies and letters of covenants. Prison Fellowship Nigeria Lagos Chapter chairman, Chaplain Michael Adeyemo, shared at the ceremony, “This is always a program where some of the inmates do take responsibility for the actions that brought them to prison and make a vow with their creator, Almighty God, not to go back to crime if they were released from the prison.” 

Prison Fellowship National Ministries Support One Another 

Thanks to donations Prison Fellowship Malta received, they were able to provide prisoners at Nanyuki Prison in Kenya with soap and other toiletries. With the growing number of prisoners in Kenya, overcoming challenges of cleanliness and finding volunteers and donors to support them are increasingly critical. 

A Day of Fun for Children of Prisoners in Malawi 

Prison Fellowship Malawi hosted children enrolled in The Child’s Journey® program to celebrate the annual TCJ Children’s Day. 125 children from around the country interacted with staff, mentors, caregivers and other children. This year’s theme was “Let the Little Children Come to Me (Matthew 19:24).”  

Asia Pacific

Honoring The Listener’s Way Graduates in Nepal

Prison Fellowship Nepal volunteers distributed certificates of completion to inmates who participated in and completed The Listener’s Way program from Female Prison Kathmandu. 

Creating Opportunities for Cambodian Families of Prisoner to Thrive

Prison Fellowship Cambodia helps families of prisoners begin raising chicken in their communities in order to generate extra income so they can support their families and send their children to school. One beneficiary, Mrs. Mey, said, “I received chicken rearing training and starter kits from [the] Livelihood Project of Prison Fellowship Cambodia. I got a very good results after a few months of raising chicken.”  

Internal Facilitators Share the Gospel with Peers in the Philippines

Prison Fellowship Philippines has resumed its discussions and sessions of The Prisoner’s Journey® program! 24 college-educated prisoners participated in facilitator training … These trained, internal facilitators now serve as guides for their colleagues using the knowledge they have gained from the past courses. The training also aims to teach prisoners resiliency and mold them into better and changed individuals. 

Europe and Central Asia

Laughter and Fun for Ukrainian Children of Prisoners

In June, the first week of children’s summer camp was held in the Kyiv region thanks to Prison Fellowship Ukraine. About 70 children from the local community had the opportunity to have a free vacation, attend Bible lessons, play fun games, learn through a variety of classes and enjoy delicious lunches and treats. 

Reuniting and Building Bonds for Italian Families

Between hugs, games and music, Prison Fellowship Italy‘s Parents Inside Out project brought together joyful families to spend time together, something once unimaginable inside a prison facility. Through this effort, many fathers gained awareness of their parental role, igniting the desire in their hearts to become better men and better parents. 

Running for Good in the Czech Republic

Did you know that by being active, you can contribute to Prison Fellowship Czech Republic’s Angel Camp? Through a mobile app, movement recorded while completing a run, bike ride, walk or other activities will award users points. Then, points can be assigned to a specific project, which the ČEZ Foundation will financially support.  

Empowering Spanish Volunteers with Training

Prison Fellowship Spain volunteers and team members met in San Bartolomé de Murcia for a dynamic training presentation about getting involved in a conscious and reasonable way while avoiding emotional exhaustion that prevents work being carried out in an optimal way. While there, they also handed out thank you cards to each of the prisoner participants.  

Latin America and the Caribbean

Multinational Organizations Partner for Monumental Research Study

Prison Fellowship International, Prison Fellowship Colombia, Pepperdine University and the National Penitentiary and Prison Institute of Colombia recently partnered to conduct a study on the effectiveness of faith-based, prison programs evaluate their effectiveness in changing prisoner attitudes, beliefs and behavior. The longitudinal study will follow participants in 12 Prison Fellowship programs throughout eight prisons for five years or more. Initial participant cohorts will launch in October 2023 with thousands of prisoners and their families being studied over the course of the evaluation. 

Read more here. 

Sharing Volunteer Testimonies at Breakfast in Mexico

Prison Fellowship Mexico recently held a volunteer breakfast in Mexico City where they heard testimonies from several volunteers and from Xime, a first-generation APAC student. Volunteers were joined by representatives from REACH, an international humanitarian organization with whom Prison Fellowship Colombia is looking to partner with. 

Ministry News Roundup – June 2023

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Africa

Conversations on Restorative Justice in Nigeria

Prison Fellowship Nigeria Executive Director Benson N Iwuagwu recently appeared on the Healing Justice Radio Show on Eko FM. He was joined by two coordinators from the Lagos State Restorative Justice Centre. Watch the full interview here. 

Celebrating African Children in Malawi

Prison Fellowship Malawi celebrated The Day of The African Child on June 16, displaying the activities and services it provides through The Child’s Journey program. The theme of this year’s celebration was The Rights of The Child in The Digital Environment

Much Needed Supplies for Guinean Prisoners

 

Prison Fellowship Guinea purchased and distributed fans and medicine to prisoners across the country.  

Asia Pacific

Cross-Continental Introductions for New Team in Thailand

Prison Fellowship Thailand’s Executive Director, Rev Dr. Yupho Mathusonsawan, recently met with Prison Fellowship International’s CEO and regional staff for an introduction team after their recent chartering.  

Transformation through Literature for Nepalese Prisoners

Through faithful work, Prison Fellowship Nepal has established libraries in all 75 prisons around the country. Now, they are updating and upgrading the libraries to continue transforming and repairing the lives of prisoners.  

Providing Generational Income for Cambodian Families

Prison Fellowship Cambodia provides training and breeding of poultry to the families of prisoners through chicken rearing training and starter kits. These services allow for income generation for the families of prisoners so that they can stay at home to nurse and protect the children for their wellbeing. 

Europe and Central Asia

Partners in Europe Meet for Prison Visit

Prison Fellowship Romania received a visit from one of their partners, Seehaus eV (Prison Fellowship Germany). Together, they visited the outer section of the Gherla penitentiary in Cluj-Napoca. 

Television Discussion about Czech Prison Work

Prison Fellowship Czech Republic Executive Director Gabriela Kabátová, along with Simon Michailidis, Czech Republic Prison Service Director General, and Petr Novák, psychologist at Jiřice prison, were recently guests Round Table, a TV Noe discussion show. They spoke about how to work with prisoners, what role it plays in the life of convicted faith or guilt awareness, and families and children of prisoners. Watch the recording here. 

Morning Meditation for Ukrainian Employees

Lead by Prison Fellowship Ukraine Executive Director Vyacheslav Kogut, State Criminal Enforcement Service employees started the day with coffee, goodies and spiritual communication. The nearly 30 attendees read the Gospel of Luke, shared their thoughts, and prayed for Ukraine’s victory and prosperity, along with the wounded and missing military. This will be a new monthly tradition!  

Latin America and the Caribbean

Multi-Organizational Surinamese Training Partnership

In partnership with PUSH, Prison Fellowship Suriname trained a group on the basics of prison care with the hopes of building a movement of highly passionate workers. During this workshop, tools were provided to perform careful and correct work inside and outside prisons with more advanced training to come!  

APAC Visit from Esteemed Brazilian Minister

The Minister of the Brazilian Federal Supreme Court, Carmen Lucia, visited male and female APACs in Itaúna, along with the Prison Fellowship Brazil headquarters. The aim of the visit was to better understand the APAC Method and the facilities of the CRS – Social Reintegration Centers. Read the full story. 

Bringing the Gospel to Argentinian Prisoners

Prison Fellowship Argentina has begun conducting The Prisoner’s Journey program and shared photos of course sessions in Unit 35 of Magdalene Prison in Buenos Aires. They are working and training to break the cycle of crime through the love of Jesus. 

Ministry News Roundup – May 2023

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Africa

Engaging with Local Nigerian Correctional Center 

As part of their ongoing efforts to support incarcerated individuals, Prison Fellowship Nigeria‘s Lagos Chapter paid visits to the Ikoyi Correctional Center and all the correctional facilities in Kirikiri, Lagos, demonstrating their commitment to fostering positive change within the correctional system. 

Nigerian Chaplaincy Conference on Rehabilitation & Reintegration Strategies 

Prison Fellowship Nigeria, alongside the Nigerian Correctional Service and PRAWA, organized a two-day chaplaincy conference focused on the implementation of effective policies and strategies for the rehabilitation and reintegration of individuals to foster safer and healthier communities. The conference brought together professionals and experts to explore the crucial role of chaplaincy in the Nigerian correctional system. 

Empowering Malawian Children with Faith and Scripture

The Prison Fellowship Malawi’s The Child’s Journey® team is dedicated to guiding children in the path of righteousness and instilling a lasting faith in their lives. They recently shared this video of a beneficiary sharing her favorite verse (John 10:14-15) and celebrating the opportunity to deepen her knowledge of God, thanks to Biblica’s Reach for Life Bibles.  

Rwandan Children and Caregivers with Incarcerated Loved Ones Find Support

Children enrolled in The Child’s Journey through Prison Fellowship Rwanda participated in a meaningful conversation with representatives from a societal healing program, discussing trauma healing. Meanwhile, support groups offered valuable assistance to caregivers, empowering them to utilize available resources and foster resilience within their families. 

Asia Pacific

Building Health and Unity with the Singaporean Team 

Prison Fellowship Singapore promotes physical fitness through bi-weekly exercise sessions led by an experienced fitness instructor. PFS team members work together towards a healthier and fitter version of themselves, emphasizing the importance of unity and shared progress. 

Inspiring Video of Cambodian Girl’s Scripture Engagement

Prison Fellowship Cambodia shared this video of a girl enrolled in The Child’s Journey reading Psalm 121:1-4 from her Bible. Scriptural resources are a key component of enhancing the spiritual growth of children of prisoners.

Strong Partnerships and Dedicated Mentors Help Filipino Children of Prisoners Thrive

Prison Fellowship Philippines was among the first cohort of national ministries to launch PromisePath®, enrolling over 300 children in the program. Despite challenges, the team has skillfully forged relationships with churches, managed commitment levels, expectations and outreach methods, and selected quality mentors. 

Europe and Central Asia

Unforgettable Weekend for Czech Children of Prisoners 

Children from Prison Fellowship Czech Republic’s Angel Club in Brno had a fantastic weekend getaway in the Vysočina region, enjoying nature, games and creative workshops. This event provided a much-needed break for these children, fostering camaraderie among them and deepening their trust in the club’s leaders. 

Bibles donated for Italian participants in The Prisoner’s Journey® 

The Italian Episcopal Conference has donated 8,000 Bibles for each participating prisoner in The Prisoner’s Journey. This generous gesture was accompanied by the bishops’ well wishes and commitment to pray for each individual, recognizing Prison Fellowship Italy for its potential to bring about positive change in the hearts and lives of those in prison. 

Supporting Romanian Women in Business at Local Event 

Prison Fellowship Romania participated in the “Making Cluj Thrive Together” event, fostering connections and supporting women in business and entrepreneurship within the community, aiming to strengthen relationships and provide a supportive environment for professional growth. 

Ukrainian Prayer Breakfast Highlights Transformative Power of Faith 

Prison Fellowship Ukraine, accompanied by partners from Prison Fellowship Romania and PFI, participated in the Second Prayer Breakfast hosted by the State Criminal-Executive Service of Ukraine. The event served as a platform to showcase the collaborative work between the service and local churches, featuring insightful presentations and personal narratives from former prisoners and prison officials. The focus was on the profound impact of faith and cooperation in transforming lives and fostering positive change within the criminal justice system.  

Latin America and the Caribbean

Honoring Generosity and Support of Trinidadians Donors 

Prison Fellowship Trinidad & Tobago held its inaugural Donors Appreciation Award function at Grace Communion Church to honor and recognize the contributions of its donors. The event served as a platform to express gratitude and celebrate the support received from generous donors. Watch the full event here

Cross-Country Governance and Fundraising Training 

Lacides Hernandez, Prison Fellowship Colombia President, conducted a four-day training session for Prison Fellowship Argentina volunteers and board members, focusing on governance and fundraising to enhance their capacity. 

Empowering Collaborators and Recovery Participants through APAC Training 

Prison Fellowship Brazil conducted a training session at APAC Nepomuceno, covering team management, problem identification, strategy development and effective decision-making for collaborators, while offering a comprehensive understanding of APAC methodology and history for the recovery participants. 

Celebrating Growth of Paraguayan Participants in The Prisoner’s Journey 

Prison Fellowship Paraguay shared their exciting growth of The Prisoner’s Journey course, which now includes three new prisons. Celebrating the graduation of the first 36 participants, Prison Fellowship Paraguay asks for prayers for God’s continued guidance as they help prisoners deepen their personal relationship with their Savior. 

Middle East and North Africa

Sharing the Good News with Lebanese Prisoners  

Prison Fellowship Lebanon Executive Director, Rima Saade Turk, and her team members shared a photo of them before entering prison to share the Good News with incarcerated men and women. The national ministry runs both The Prisoner’s Journey and the Sycamore Tree Project® to reach prisoners.  

North America

New Study Confirms Positive Impact of Religion on Mental Health in Prisoners 

A recent study conducted by Baylor University in Colombia reveals that participation in religious programs and practices among prisoners leads to the development of positive virtues, reduction in negative emotional states and transformative effects on beliefs and behavior. The findings support the mission of Prison Fellowship International’s in-prison program, The Prisoner’s Journey, and provide empirical evidence of the positive impact of religious programming that national ministries conduct for prisoners worldwide.

Read the complete study here: Virtuous Effects of Religion on Negative Emotions among Offenders in a Colombian Prison

Ministry News Roundup – April 2023

Want your ministry featured in the next Touchstone issue? Submit content here!

Africa

Executive Leadership Transition for PFR

Prison Fellowship Rwanda’s (PFR) Board of Directors has appointed Celestin Ngaruyinka as its interim Executive Director. Mr. Celestin replaces Bishop Gashagaza Deo who has transitioned to PFR’s Strategic Guidance Coordinator. Read the full release here 

Working to Decrease Recidivism for Youth

Prison Fellowship Cote d’Ivoire and the National Federation of Livestock and Meat Cooperatives of Cote D’Ivoire held a working session to discuss a partnership between the two organizations. This hopeful meeting included conversations about the training of residents and material/financial support for the activities of the ONESIME Centre, a rehabilitative and alternative solution to incarceration for minors that increases their chances of positive reintegration. 

Disaster Relief for Cyclone Victims

Prison Fellowship Malawi (PFM) donated various items to cyclone Freddy victims at Nyengeni camp in Mulanje. PFM provided 25 bags of maize flour, 11 bales of soya pieces, 18 cartons of soap, 2 bales of sugar and 18 bags of assorted clothes to the nearly 700 camp inhabitants. Cyclone Freddy struck on February 4, 20223 and claimed 511 lives, injured 1,724 people and internally displaced 563,771 people. 

Asia Pacific

Enabling Families with Incarcerated Loved Ones to Thrive

When the main household provider goes to prison, families often find their lives financially difficult to live. Through their Livelihoods project, Prison Fellowship Cambodia provided chicken and poultry farming kits for two families in the Kampot province to begin raising chickens to generate income to support their families. 

National Christian Prison Ministries Highlighted for Faithful Work

Prison Fellowship Singapore was featured in an article by Christianity Today that closely surveys the Singaporean prison ministry landscape. The article covers the PFS integrated ministry (IM) strategy and includes these words from Lee Oi Wei, head of the IM program: “We look after the silent victims, the family members, bringing healing and restoration. Our main purpose is to help bring reconciliation to the families because family is a very strong motivation for change and turning over a new leaf.” Read the full story here

Hope for Children of Prisoners through Angel Tree

Prison Fellowship Bangladesh recently held an Angel Tree event to provide school supplies for 45 children of prisoners.

Europe and Central Asia

Children of Prisoners Supported during Holiday Season

Prison Fellowship England and Wales (PFE&W)shared the incredible lifetime impact of their Angel Tree program! Since program inception in 1994, PFE&W has created 100,000 connections between children and their parents in prison.  

Bringing the Word of God Behind Bars

Prison Fellowship Italy collaborated with the Italian Episcopal Conference and the Inspectorate General of Prison Chaplains to deliver 8,000 Bibles to prisoners in 100 prisons. The initiative aims to promote the spiritual, educational and catechetical development to help incarcerated individuals discover hope and new life. Read the full article here. 

Latin America and the Caribbean

Incarcerated Enabled to Take Responsibility for Actions

Ten young incarcerated men have graduated from Prison Fellowship Colombia’s Restorative Justice, Reconciliation and Forgiveness program. The program, containing components of the Sycamore Tree Project® and The Prisoner’s Journey®, aims to give detainees the opportunity and tools to reflect on their actions and redirect their behavior, taking into account the negative impacts of their crime. Read the full story here.

Sharing the Gospel and Good News with Those in Prison

Prison Fellowship Paraguay (PFP) began running The Prisoner’s Journey® (TPJ) courses in six prisons in March. PFP shared their gratitude for the volunteers who put in the effort and give their time to God to teach the valuable gospel of Jesus, along with their appreciation for prayers. Let us join them in praying that God gives understanding and wisdom to the TPJ volunteers and participants.  

Transforming Women’s Lives Through Jesus’ Love

Prison Fellowship Puerto Rico graduated 68 incarcerated women from the Madalena Project, one of their initiatives aimed at transforming women through the message of love, dignity and hope from Jesus Christ

North America

Joining in Daily Prayer with Other National Ministries

Did you know that Prison Fellowship Canada produces a monthly prayer calendar? View it here in English or French to join in daily prayer for a range of needs and requests.  

April 2023 Officially Declared Second Chance Month

Prison Fellowship Ministries’ Second Chance Month initiative was officially declared April 2023 by the President of the United States. This initiative supports the removal of unnecessary barriers for the 1 in 3 American adults with a criminal record. Read the proclamation here 

Ministry News Roundup – March 2023

Want your ministry featured in the next Touchstone issue? Submit content here!

Africa

Providing Opportunities for Prisoners Outside Cell Walls

Prison Fellowship Guinea-Conakry has begun working on the courtyard at Coyah Civil Prison to provide a space for prisoners to have space for sports and gardening, allowing them to reduce the amount of time they spend in their cell.  

Festivities, Fun and Food Provide Transformation

Love feasts are great days at correctional facilities thanks to Prison Fellowship Nigeria and partner churches. These activities provide inmates with fun through games, prizes, Bible quizzes and food while the PFN staff ensures that lives are transformed at each meeting.

Asia Pacific

Joyous Reunion Between Children and Incarcerated Mothers

Thanks to the hard work of The Child’s Journey caseworkers from Prison Fellowship Cambodia, children were able to visit their incarcerated mothers for the first time in a while. What a beautiful moment of reuniting! 

Volunteer Shares Prisoner’s Inspiring Story

Prison Fellowship Australia shared a video of a volunteer who recounts the story of a prisoner who only attended their service to enjoy the cool air, but ended up asking for prayer and seeking forgiveness!

Europe and Central Asia

One Year Later – PF Ukraine’s Response to the War

Last month marked one year of the war in Ukraine. No words can describe the tragedy that has occurred, but this short video from PF Ukraine beautifully summarizes what has happened and how their ministry has responded. Watch the video interview here or above. Be sure to click “Settings” to translate the captions into your language.

Finding Forgiveness and Rehabilitation through The Prisoner’s Journey

Graduates celebrated their completion of The Prisoner’s Journey course at Liberec Prison, Czech Republic as they received certificates and, of course, delicious sandwiches. Course facilitator Vladimír Burkner shared the following about the program: “The aim of the course was to raise questions in the convicts that they never had to answer or even think about in their lives. Participants actively participated in debates on various life topics, including forgiveness and awareness of the consequences of life.” 

Partnering with LEGO Provides Fun Activities for Children of Prisoners

Thanks to their longtime supporter, LEGO, Prison Fellowship Czech Republic received a donation of LEGO DUPLO bricks. Each child visiting their parents in Světlá nad Sázavou and Kuřim Prisons received two large boxes with a mixture of these cubes. PFCZ believes that with this partnership, children will be able to make fun memories with their incarcerated parents to temporarily forget the pain they are experiencing. 

Latin America and the Caribbean

Municipal Partnership Provides Revitalization and Recovery

Partnered with the local city hall and judiciary, the APAC in Conceição das Alagoas through PF Brazil allows recovering individuals to complete various municipal tasks, including repairing buildings, installing benches, painting schools, gardening and cleaning public roads. Not only does this initiative provide reintegration opportunities, it also contributes to the recovery of self-esteem and self-image of the recovering persons. Read the full story.

Reaching and Feeding the Community

Along with partner organizations that provide healthcare and support for men, Prison Fellowship Bahamas provided lunch to children and adults in the inner-city community.

The Prisoner’s Journey Training Across the Region

The PFI team visited both Prison Fellowship Paraguay (top) and Prison Fellowship Dominican Republic (bottom) to train the first group of internal and external TPJ facilitators for both national ministries. 

Back-to-School Event Provides Support for Children of Prisoners

Prison Fellowship Brazil hosted a back-to-school event for children of prisoners enrolled in PromisePath, providing school kits including things like backpacks, notebooks, pencils/pens and other educational supplies. 

Middle East and North Africa

Cross-Continental Appointment Highlights Strong Work

The Swiss Department of Foreign Affairs officially announced the appointment of Prison Fellowship Israel’s Jamal Kamil Shahade as an honorary consul of Switzerland. The official ceremony was attended by the Swiss Ambassador, along with a number of dignitaries.

Ministry News Roundup – February 2023

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Africa

The Prisoner’s Journey Graduates Joyfully Celebrate

Prison Fellowship Nigeria graduated 150 prisoners from The Prisoner’s Journey® and celebrated at a joy-filled ceremony. In addition to praise, dancing and worship, graduates enjoyed receiving certificates of participation and gift items. Read the full story here. 

Staff Honored at Annual Employee Retreat

Prison Fellowship Rwanda held a corporate all-staff retreat to bring the team closer and build a strong cohesive culture. At the event full of food, drinks, games and brainstorming, the PFR 2022 Employee of the Year was also awarded to mark one individual’s exceptional work, contribution, behavior and success. The best employee from each of PFR’s seven program areas were also named. Read more about the event here 

Asia Pacific

Children of Prisoners Recognized for Outstanding Achievement

One of the ways Prison Fellowship Singapore supports the families of prisoners is through their Care Club, a program that empowers children of prisoners through tuition support, counseling, games, art, music and family bonding activities. Recently, PFS celebrated multiple Care Club students who were awarded scholarships at the Edusave Awards, recognizing academic achievements and exemplary conduct. 

Partnerships Allow Programs and Families to Thrive

Prison Fellowship Cambodia and members of the Hopebearer Foundation recently visited participants in their Livelihood program, providing families of prisoners resources and supplies to raise small animals to improve long-term quality of life and spiritual growth through a sustainable income.

Europe and Central Asia

Providing Expert Opinion from Restorative Lens

Prison Fellowship England and Wales CEO Peter Holloway recently shared about the importance of a rehabilitative approach to criminal justice on a TWR UK radio broadcast. Watch the full interview here or above. Click “Settings” to translate the captions into your language.

Regional Forum Provides Connection, Training and Inspiration

Representatives from European and Central Asian national ministries gathered for a long-awaited event, the regional forum! Titled “”Flowers and Eagles”” to reflect the blooming and soaring of the greater PFI ministry, this year’s conference brought together 54 people from 26 countries to reflect on their prison ministry experiences and gain inspiring ideas to grow their own ministry. Watch a video recap of the event here or below. Click “Settings” to translate the captions into your language.

Church’s Role in Prison Reform Discussed in Expert Interview

Prison Fellowship Ukraine Executive Director Vyacheslav Kogut joined “Cabinet of Experts” to discuss prisoners and the role of the church in social work within prisons. Since 2006, Vyacheslav has traveled to and ministered within prisons across the country. Watch the video interview here or above. Click “Settings” to translate the captions into your language. 

Training for Transformation in Italy

Prison Fellowship Italy organized facilitator training for 35 individuals to begin implementing The Prisoner’s Journey® in prisons around the country. 

Latin America and the Caribbean

Supporting Anti-Violence Rally for Men Amidst Crime

Prison Fellowship Bahamas stood with the International Men’s Day Committee in support of their rally for the elimination of violence against men and boys. The event was held in wake of a double murder in Nassau.

Reducing Recidivism in Prisons with Ministry Collaboration

Prison Fellowship Suriname met with delegates from the Dutch Ministry of Justice & Security to explore the possibilities of how to reduce recidivism in prisoners and how to support them in their human and professional development.

Praying and United in Faith

Prison Fellowship Trinidad and Tobago participated in the annual interfaith service organized by the country’s prison system under the theme “Restoring Perspectives through Faith, Gratitude and Perseverance.” 

Middle East and North Africa

Sharing the Prison Fellowship Experience Across Borders

Jamal [middle] from Prison Fellowship Israel visited Prison Fellowship Scotland and joined their prayer meeting to share about PF Israel’s work, specifically about serving and supporting prisoners after their release.

Ministry News Roundup – January 2023

Would you like your ministry featured in the next Touchstone issue? Submit your content submissions here! We are especially looking for any Angel Tree® or Christmas photos and videos you have.  

Africa

Children Reunited with Parents After Lengthy COVID Restrictions

For the first time since COVID-19 pandemic restrictions locked down access to prisons across the world, Prison Fellowship Rwanda (PFR) was finally able to bring children enrolled in The Child’s Journey (TCJ) program to visit their incarcerated parent.

PFR shared: “When a father sees his 14-year-old for the first time or when a daughter jumps in the hands of her father after seven years, then you know why prison visits are one of the highest impact areas within TCJ.”

Providing Opportunities for Released Prisoners to Thrive in Trade

Prison Fellowship Malawi (PFM) graduated 52 residents from their six-month vocational skills training. The residents have been serving their remaining six months sentence at PFM’s Halfway House while being trained in carpentry, joinery, welding, electrical installation and tailoring. Each student received start-up tools and capital for their trade.

The graduates were encouraged to use their newly obtained skills as a source of income after their release and reintegration. Government officials, civil society organization leaders, religious leaders, community leaders and the media were all present for the occasion.

Asia Pacific

Bringing the Hope of God to Prisoners During Christmas Celebration

Prison Fellowship Malaysia (PFM) donated fruit, pastries, water and hygiene products to Miri Central Prison. These gifts were distributed to prisoners during the celebration on Christmas day. Mr. Loh Lin Kwong, Chairman of Prison Fellowship Malaysia – Miri Division presented the gifts to Mr. Muhammad Khalid Bin Muhammad, Deputy Director of Miri Central Prison.

Ministry Recognized by Government Agency for Fair and Progressive Employer Practices

Prison Fellowship Singapore (PFS) was recognized by Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices as a progressive employer in five areas: work-life harmony, unpaid caregiving leave, grievance handling, flexible work arrangements and age-friendly workplaces. Learn more about the Tripartite Standard adopted by PFS to be a fair and progressive employer.

Europe and Central Asia

Angel Tree® and Christmas Blessings Return to Children of Prisoners

After a seven-year pause, Prison Fellowship Kazakhstan revived its Angel Tree® program this Christmas! God has begun to open doors for the children of prisoners in this country thanks to the big hearts and efforts from the PFKZ team.

Magical, Musical Trip for Daughters of Prisoners helps Realize Dreams

Prison Fellowship Czech Republic (PFCZ) knows that children with incarcerated parents often lack familial motivation, money to support their interests and perspective when choosing their occupation. Through Dream Academy, children of prisoners visit professionals from various fields to learn about their life stories, obstacles and complications, providing the courage to gain self-confidence, worth and acceptance.

Recently, girls from Dream Academy visited musician and producer Tereza Mat Matjková’s recording studio, allowing them to learn more about her life and career path. Many of the girls joined in the musical fun! Listen to the song that Tereza wrote for PFCZ’s Angel Camp.

Latin America and the Caribbean

Christmas Celebrations Across the Region 

Prison Fellowship Peru brought gifts and treats to the women incarcerated at Santa Monica Penitentiary. The children and their mothers also enjoyed a singing performance by some of the prisoners.

Smiles were brought to the faces of many children of prisoners through Prison Fellowship Colombia’s Angel Tree® Christmas event that included sharing gifts and doing creative activities with the children.

The families of prisoners celebrated Christmas through numerous Angel Tree® celebrations held by Prison Fellowship Brazil that included delicious food, a visit from Santa, fun games (and a bouncy house!), photo opportunities and plays depicting Bible stories.

From Beneficiary to Facilitator: Firsthand Account of Sycamore Tree Project: Justice and Peace®: Justice and Peace Impact

Click here or the image above to watch the powerful video of Prison Fellowship Colombia’s Sycamore Tree Project: Justice and Peace®: Justice and Peace program facilitator Diana Giraldo’s testimony about the impact of the program on her life.

Middle East and North Africa

Christmas Service Unites Christian Denominations in Egypt

PF Egypt hosted a service to celebrate Christmas, inviting leaders from all Christian denominations present in Egypt, home to the largest Christian population in the region. Historically, this service has also been a TPJ graduation, providing a bigger audience to celebrate the graduating prisoners. With infrequent communication across denominations in Egypt, this celebration serves as a bridge builder for prisoners and the entire community across the varied Christian traditions.

 

 

Ministry News Roundup – December 2022

Latin America and the Caribbean

Prison Fellowship Brazil’s documentary, Unguarded, now available on Amazon Prime 

Recorded in 2019 in partnership with Prison Fellowship Brazil (FBAC), Unguarded portrays the experience of recovering persons participating in the Association for the Protection and Assistance of the Convicted (APAC) alternative prison model. Receiving numerous awards, this film shows the application of the 12 fundamental elements of the APAC methodology.  

Rent or purchase the film on Amazon or on Globo Play in Brazil.   

Alternative Prison Model Expands Reach in Mexico with Promising Results

Prison Fellowship Mexico presented the results of its pilot project for Association for the Protection and Assistance of the Convicted (APAC) Methodological Transfer. This unconventional prison model was implemented in the Quinta del Bosque Detention Center for Adolescents in Toluca, Mexico. Watch the full presentation.

Partnering with National Prison Department, Prison Fellowship Peru Brings Hope to Prisoners

Accompanied by the Peruvian National Penitentiary Institute (INPE), Prison Fellowship Peru visited the Huánuco, Cerro de Pasco and Cochamarca prisons to deliver donations, including digital thermometers, wool hats, and thread. They also went to support the resocialization work that is being carried out in prison. Watch INPE’s highlight of PF Peru and the work they are doing in prisons around the country.

Prison Fellowship Dominican Republic Supports In-Prison, Bible-Based Play Performed by Prisoners

At a prison in La Vega, Dominican Republic, prisoners acted out a play based on the Bible story of Paul and Silas, complete with costumes and scenery. Aldo, a PFDR team member, was also there to hand out Angel Tree® treats for the children of prisoners present.

Europe and Central Asia

Prison Fellowship England and Wales Shares Lucy’s Angel Tree® Story

Angel Tree® has the power to bring families separated by prison walls together for Christmas. Prison Fellowship England and Wales shared that with her husband in prison, Lucy figured this Christmas would be like the last – once where her children received no presents from their father. However, through Angel Tree®, her kids woke up to a present and handwritten note from their dad! Read the full story or watch this short animation about Angel Tree®.

Prisoners and Victims Come Together through Prison Fellowship Czech Republic’s Building Bridges Project

Coming with personal stories of crime experiences, six prisoners and six victims gathered to start the path towards healing, forgiveness and repentance on the basis of restorative dialogue between both groups. The closing ceremony, attended by the public and media, illustrated the project’s great impact for both sides of participants and influence on their perception of the past, all for the better. Read the full story.

Africa

Sharing Stories and Repairing the Harm: Prison Fellowship Rwanda Hosts Reconciliation Project

The Bilalo Byetu Project, a partnership between Prison Fellowship Rwanda and UNDP’s Elman Peace is contributing to the reintegration and reconciliation of those affected by the Rwandan genocide. Reduced rejection and stigmatization for perpetrators and increased social cohesion with survivors works to bring peace and cohesion to all citizens. Read the full article to hear direct impact stories from both sides of the dialogues.

Asia-Pacific

Prison Fellowship Sri Lanka Celebrates Milestone Anniversary

Congratulations to Prison Fellowship Sri Lanka for reaching its 50th anniversary! As part of their celebrations, they received a visit from Asia-Pacific Regional Director, Daniel Bey (4th from the right).

Middle East and North Africa

Prison Fellowship Egypt Celebrates a Prisoner’s Journey from Addiction to Freedom

A course facilitator shared the following story about how The Prisoner’s Journey® program transformed the life of a prisoner:

“One prisoner who participated in The Prisoner’s Journey struggles with addiction. At the end of the course, during the graduation ceremony, he stood up to announce his experience, saying he had to be imprisoned before he could know the meaning of freedom. This prisoner said, “My life began here. By God, I was freed from addiction through The Prisoner’s Journey program, and I intend to continue learning more about Jesus through the Bible and by participating in any program that I can. I plan to invite all my fellow prisoners to attend these sessions. It changed my life; I know it can change theirs too.” God used TPJ to free this man from his imprisonment to addiction.”

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