Come Let Us Reason Together & Food for Life Initiatives
31 Jul 2021 | NCC Staff | Jerome Bevans | North Caribbean Conference
It all started in 2016, after our scheduled time as a church (Maranatha Prison Ministry) would have its turn to conduct Sabbath Service.
It was impressed on my heart that more frequent visits to Her Majesty’s Prison (HMP), with the inmates, could have a more meaningful impact. An inquiry was made for a weekly presence to do Bible study with interested inmates. Pastor Leriano Webster (who was an intern at that time) joined me, weekly, in support of this outreach programme. As time passed, I recognized that there was a fluctuation in the attendance of inmates at the “Come Let Us Reason Together” sessions, due to a number of underlying issues.
Given the dynamics at the prison, we recognized that farming seemed to be an area of interest for the inmates. As a result, we started to alternate the weekly visits (one week, a Bible study, and the other week, a modern Poultry Agriculture class called the “Food for Life”). In 2017, the programme was interrupted by the catastrophic Hurricane Irma. For several months, the programme was put on hold as access to the prison was restricted.
Again in 2020, we were impacted by Covid-19 which triggered another lockdown of the prison. With constant prayer for a breakthrough, in 2021 the Lord opened the door at HMP to us once more. The inmates were excited to have us back and so we have embarked on the practical side of “Food for Life”. Presently, we have five inmates involved in this programme and another three inmates who consistently participate in the “Come Let Us Reason Together” programme.
The “Food for Life” initiative has started the construction of two poultry units, and each will accommodate 200-300 birds. We believe that this will allow the inmates to be industrious and allow them to learn skills which will provide them with an opportunity to earn an honest living, once released from prison.
These programmes foster loving relationships which extend beyond the prison walls. Upon release from prison, an effort is made to maintain contact with the former inmates and to continue to minister to them. We also encourage them to become a part of outreach ministries such as the “New Start Walkers” where they can feel accepted and find an easier transition back into society.
In extending our Personal Ministry programme, “Behind Bars and Beyond the Bars”, with the support of our new intern pastor Ray Edwards, we hope to teach the love of Christ to all who seek him and are willing to accept the grace with which He abundantly blesses us. We strongly believe that this is a true testimony of Galatians 6:9, “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.”
Article extracted from the NCC Communications newsletter