Thursday, September 21, 2017

Life Transforming Prison Ministry – East Africa

Heart of God East  Africa

Life Transforming Prison Ministry
an Outreach of Heart of God East Africa

The needs of these women are so great. Our goal is pray over them and over their needs and let the Holy Spirit work among them. We never go in and glorify ourselves, we always give to the needs in such a way that they understand that these needs were met by the One who created them.

What a blessing to have a new ministry added to Heart of God East Africa!
During our recent trip we had opportunity to visit the Luzira Womens Prison in Uganda. Saphan Muhanguzi is our newly appointed Director on the ground for this outreach. You will be reading more about Saphan and how God has transformed his life in upcoming emails.  We are
excited to see how God is using him for His glory!
Saphan Muhanguzi
Director of Life Transforming Prison Ministry

Saphan
his life in upcoming emails. Saphan and his wife Alex have been ministering to incarcerated women for some months now, and have built relationships not only with the women, but also with the staff that runs the prison.
During the trip our team members had the wonderful opportunity to go inside and visit with the women at Luzira. We broke into teams and sat with groups of women and listened to their stories, their hardships and witnessed to them in the name of Jesus Christ.
Many of these women have been incarcerated for many years without even having a court date. They were accused and, because of circumstances, were unable to fight the system and had nothing else but to remain locked up until such a time would come for them to have a trial. Some have been there 15 years with no court date … a broken system that needs to be fixed.
Women in the prison who had small children or were pregnant when they entered were allowed to keep their babies for a time. At the age of 18 months, these babies are no longer considered a part of the system and they are put outside the gates, alone. Their only hope of survival is that a well-wisher would pass by, or a relative would be on site to take the baby. Unfortunately for prisoners, and more so for their children, they take on the crimes of the parent and become outcasts of the families and tribes … no one wants them. One story we heard was from an eight year old boy. His father would hang him upside down from a tree and beat him unconscious each day for his mother being in prison. This boy is now in the custody of caring people, but you can see how crimes of the mothers become an unimaginable atrocity against the children.
We are asking for a special prayer request for a child named Sheila. Sheila is 2-1/2 years old; she has a neuro/spinal disease and will never walk, talk or even sit. By God’s grace the prison officials are allowing Sheila to stay with her mother. … for how long we don’t know. Sheila’s mother is pleading for a special wheelchair for her baby. While doing her daily chores and getting around, she is forced to carry Sheila with her and then lay her on the ground while working.  A wheelchair will enhance the life of this child and her mother so much. It will also increase the chances of an outsider wanting to take care of her. Special needs children suffer greatly in Uganda as no one wants to care for them.
Many of the sick prisoners, those with HIV/AIDS, are given medication daily. Their plea is that the time in which they are given the medication does not coincide with the time they are fed. The pain from taking the medication without food is unbearable, and so many refuse the medication. Their needs include being able to preserve food rations until they are able to eat and take the medications at the same time.
Many of the students seemed to be thriving in their education. Some of the women never received an education on the outside and have taken courses and study to get their primary and secondary education. The needs of this group stem from an educational standpoint and are invaluable to them.
The following are specific areas that need our critical attention as these items are NOT provided by the prison system:
  • The overall consensus in the groups in need was food. Given what the conditions are outside of the prison, one need only look a few yards from it and see that food is a concern for even those outside the prison walls, and no doubt it’s far worse inside.
  • They are praying for large flasks (thermos) to keep their food warm. For the mothers they feed their babies the warm porridge (rice milk) and if it’s not consumed quickly they must pour it out in order to get the rice or get no rice at all. With a flask they could save the porridge and feed the babies, while still getting their portions of rice. These same flasks would help the HIV/AIDs women as well. They could store their food inside the container and then eat when they are given their medication.
  • Womens undergarments are a big need; many go without. During their monthly cycles, or after giving birth, many undergarments are ruined and no longer useful.  Feminine products and hygiene items are also desperately needed.
  • Laundry soap is needed; many of the women do not have it and so they wear dirty clothes, along with their babies.
  • Womens sandals are needed. They cannot wear closed shoes and so flip flops are needed.
  • Baby items:  clothing, diapers (cloth with plastic covers), bottles, blankets. These women have nothing and their children have less.
  • Pre-natal vitamins.
  • Educational books and materials
  • Bibles in their native languages
  • Womens clothes are needed for their release dates. They do not leave with their prison uniform, if they have nothing, they leave that way…naked.

Because it is difficult and costly to package and ship items, we have found that we are better stewards of God’s resources to purchase the items in the nearby city and deliver them to the women.

Weekly visits are made to assess the needs and then a follow-up visit the next day brings them hope of a better life even while in custody.

Thank you for your continued prayer and support!
May God Bless You!

Denise Matthews
Executive Director
Heart of God East Africa


Wheelchair for Sheila
wheelchair

A special fund has been established to raise the cost of a wheelchair for Sheila, the 2-1/2 year old child of an incarcerated woman in Lizura Womens Prison in Uganda.  If you would like to help us make this special gift a reality, please click HERE to donate.  Thank you for your generous contribution!

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Heart of God Uganda is a member of the Heart of God International Ministries Network, a 501(c)3 tax-exempt organization.

Your prayerful support is greatly appreciated.  Please contact me if you have any questions,

~ Denise



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