GNU Brings Jesus to Prisons at Christmas – Nanyuki, Kenya
Feb 13, 2018 1500
The year 2017 can be regarded as a breakthrough in the Prison Ministry of GNU, thanks to George Ngatia, our Chaplain in Nanyuki Prisons, Kenya.
Two days before Christmas, I received a call from the Commanding Officer of Nanyuki prisons, John Muriithi, who also happens to be a committed Christian. His request was that GNU would send a preacher and a choir to grace their Christmas celebrations. Recently, the Kenyan Government initiated some quite interesting reforms in prisons where now prisoners are given certain privileges such as celebrations of public holidays as well as some rights of worship. Because Christmas is a religious festival, the administration felt that without prayers and worship, eating and drinking would not be enough for the inmates, given that such events are also meant to contribute to the overall goal of reforming the convicts. So, having already made ourselves familiar to the inmates and officers through the existing prison ministry, the Commanding Officer felt at home inviting us to conduct prayers and fellowship in the prisons.
Because GNU isn’t a church, but instead partners with other ministries and churches, we don’t have a choir, so we invited a local church youth choir and they were more than happy to join us. The occasion was well organized and well attended. There were government officials, especially from the security department, as well as a number of pastors and other stakeholders. We were given a very rare chance to introduce GNU and its mission. The Commanding Officer introduced us as “A rare Gospel Ministry that offers its services for free”. Favorably comparing GNU to other groups that had visited the prisons earlier, he expressed his desires for GNU to initiate a fellowship in the Prison Premises, saying that many officers were looking forward to such a prospect in the future.
GNU’s ministry has achieved success in changing attitudes within the prisons
I delivered the main sermon entitled “Coming Home” taken from the parable of the prodigal son in Luke 15. The main lesson was that all human beings are lost in a spiritual far country and that the best thing that can happen to any of us is to come back to our senses and come home, where there is plenty. I proceeded to teach that even those who think that they are home and therefore point an accusing finger at others are also lost in a far country best known as self-righteousness. I emphasized the need for self-examination and repentance for everyone, saying that no one is righteous before God.
This sermon saw both prisoners and officers coming together in confessions and prayer. Giving a testimony shortly after the event, one Prison Security Officer, Duncan Ojwang, confessed that if all convicts would be treated with some godly respect, they would make the work of the security officers safer and easier. He pleaded with his fellow officers to preserve the dignity of the inmates by treating them as God’s children in need of reform and not condemnation. He cited examples of inmates whose lives had transformed in the prisons through similar encounters of grace and said that GNU’s Ministry has achieved success in changing attitudes within the prisons.
– Pr Bonifresh Muhollo (and George Ngatia)