“I Wanted to End My Life”
Outside the United States, 8.1 million prisoners live in a world many ignore. Locked away and vilified, they are one of the most overlooked and under reached groups in the world. Families stop visiting, and some cut off any form of meaningful connection. Isolation becomes the prisoner’s companion. Without love, without hope, without forgiveness or community, they serve their sentences and often return home unchanged. The cycle repeats, or some, like Wilson in Colombia, decide to give up entirely.
Wilson was tired of prison life. His family had abandoned him. He felt worthless and hopeless. Without a reason to fight, he decided to end his life.
“But there was something inside me that wouldn’t go out until I went to church,” says Wilson. Upon his transfer to Las Mercedes de Montería prison in Cartagena, Colombia, an inmate invited him to church, where The Prisoner’s Journey® Bible study was taking place. A blessing, as many prisoners serve their entire sentences without hearing about God’s love, mercy, and forgiveness.
“After this class, I will kill myself,” he told himself.
That night, Pastor Buelvas, The Prisoner’s Journey® course facilitator, felt the Lord tell her a student in the class wanted to commit suicide. Pastor Buelvas shared her impression with the class. At first, no one responded.
“I felt my body was burning,” says Wilson. Unable to ignore the Holy Spirit’s prodding, Wilson finally stood and admitted his dark secret to the room. Pastor Buelvas asked Wilson to open his heart to the Lord and began to pray for him.
“[Pastor Buelvas] told me God loved me and he would help me out of my situation. Then Jesus spoke to [me] and told me, ‘You are so valuable to me that I paid a high price for you through the death of my Son.”
That moment saved Wilson’s life. He felt a new sense of hope and a purpose to continue living. He dedicated his life to the Lord that night and, almost exactly one month later, publicly proclaimed his new faith through Christian baptism.
Wilson says he wants to continue his journey with Jesus; he is happy, and today he is devoted to sharing about what God did for him.
The Prisoner’s Journey® is making a huge impact in Colombia. In October 2015, Bellavista Prison in Medellin 129 prisoners said yes to learning more about Jesus. It was our largest graduating class since the program’s pilot launch in early 2014 in South Africa and Nigeria.
Help prisoners like Wilson experience God’s love and healing.