Bread & Oranges

Sarah picked up some bread and oranges on her way to meet me at the gate. I was joining her and Sam on a visit to the local police lock-up. We said a quick prayer, clambered into the back of the “troopie”, and were on our way.

This was supposed to be a holiday, visiting my brother-in-law who lives on a mission base near Bangula, in southern Malawi. He had suggested, months before, that I might like to join their prison ministry team while I was there.

At the lockup, Sarah shared a simple Gospel message, translated into Chichewa by Sam, and then the bread and oranges were handed out – smiles all round!

Sarah knew there was more that she and Sam could be doing, and that a new prison was being built in their region, but didn’t know where to start.

We decided to visit the new prison, unannounced, that very afternoon. When we arrived, we found three armed guards sitting under a tree, while twenty prisoners dug the foundations for their new (unbuilt) prison!

One guard blew a whistle for the prisoners to gather and sit around us. Once again, Sarah shared a simple Gospel message, translated by Sam, and then the bread and oranges were handed out – more smiles!

The head guard thanked us and invited us back, any time. I saw that God had put me in that place, at that time, for a reason. I was able to encourage Sarah and Sam to pursue this opportunity. When I returned home to Hobart, I got in touch with Prison Fellowship, in northern Malawi, to see if they could help.

Sarah and Sam subsequently trained with Prison Fellowship Malawi and then set up an ongoing visits program for the new prison. In addition, all pastors at the bible college on the mission base are now equipped for prison ministry as part of their training, before being “sent out” throughout the country. 

– Michael Wood, TAS Chairman

Prison Fellowship Australia’s primary focus is within Australia. However, we are privileged to play a small international role, assisting Prison Fellowship International to build ministry capacity amongst our Pacific neighbours. Michael’s experience in Malawi, while on holiday from his role as Tasmanian Chairman, shows that God can use us anywhere, anytime to further His purposes!