Loreto Weekend Report – Santa Rosalía Prison May 30 – June 3, 2017

Report for Weekender Prison Team May 30 – June 3, 2017

This month we were in a prison again – this time in Santa Rosalía, where we have been going every year for the past eight years – sometimes twice in a year. It was so wonderful to be back again sharing the love of Jesus and the message of salvation with some of the staff, guards and inmates; and to see some of the fruit of our previous labors.

On the day we arrived, we were welcomed very warmly by many of the staff and guards – quite a difference from how everything began eight years ago. All of the suspicion, apprehension, and criticism we experienced back then had been replaced with embrace after embrace; and on the last day, one of the lead guards asked if we could take our health fairs to the communities around his home – and he assured us that he wanted to help us put these health fairs on…

In the meetings we had with some of the staff and guards at the beginning of each day, I explained exactly why we keep coming back – beginning by telling them why every time we come we give everyone the little booklet, “Agua Viva”- the Gospel of John.

What makes this book special is that the writer had seen and heard something so very unique, from a person he had got to know so well, that he felt compelled to share what he had come to know with as many people as possible. In the same way we too have come to know and experience some-thing we want to share – especially with the inmates (who have been discarded from society) – because everyone who comes to know and experience what this writer explains, will have their lives will be changed forever, for the good…

The writer used these words trying to describe who Jesus was: The Word, Creator, Life, Light, Grace, Truth, Son of God, Lamb of God, Forgiver… During these three morning meetings we read together John 1:1-23 and I explained in detail what each of these words meant; and then I went on to explain that John the Baptist declared himself to be preparing the way for the Messiah – the One who was coming into their world as promised, to change everything…!  In the same way I said, “We’re like John the Baptist – coming into your world to share this same wonderful news…”

After the meeting on the third day one of the office staff came to me explaining how much she really appreciated what we were doing, and had done over the years; and then went on to explain that her life had been changed as a result, and that she had been attending one of the churches in Santa Rosalia that we had held our health fairs at a few years ago…

At the meetings we had with all of the inmates at the end of our three days I again explained to them, using a modern parable, the personal value there can be of reading the Bible, believing what it tells us, and doing what it says…, over one hundred men picked up Bibles.

Click here to see pictures and read our Full Report…

Loreto Weekender May-June, 2016

Santa RosalÍa Prison Ministry
Santa RosalÍa Prison Ministry

May-June, 2016 – Weekender Team Report

Missionary Don Karsgaard writes:

As in all of our Health Fairs we begin each day with a message from the Bible, to put the day and our lives in the proper perspective. So I began the Health Fairs in the prison in Santa Rosalía on June 1 sharing with our Team and some of the prison staff about how it is that I really ‘feel at home’ in that prison. I told the prison staff that I felt them to be my friends, and I could see the eyes of some of the staff start to redden – especially as I went on to define the criteria for ‘friendship’. Then shared that I also felt very comfortable with the inmates – then tears started to well up in the eyes of almost everyone as I went on next to describe how Jesus wants to be a friend to each of us; and that it was His love in me that gave me all of these wonderful feelings

for them and the inmates… I was so glad to have been able to go to the Prison this month, and to be able to share this… (Praise the Lord!) And it has been so wonderful to see the lives of some of the prison staff change over the years that we have been going to this prison – some from antagonism towards us and towards Christ – but what a difference Christ has made in their lives… (Praise the Lord!)

Loreto Report, May 2015

What can we do for these men in the Santa Rosalía prison? What can we say when the government has regulations that we must adhere to? We are allowed more freedom when talking with each inmate privately – during those times we do our best to share the love of Jesus, and the message of salvation with those who have not accepted Christ as Savior. And with those who have made a decision for Christ, we give encouragement…

At the end of the 3 days of our Health Fairs, on Sunday, we’re permitted to have a meeting with all of the prisoners. During these 3 meetings we are allowed to give ‘a short talk of encouragement’ to the men, and to then give out the things we have brought for them all – which are plastic bags containing a wash cloth, a large bar of soap, a large bottle of shampoo, a tooth brush, a large tube of toothpaste, a roll of dental floss, a blank notebook, a pen, a Gospel of John, an a booklet entitled, ‘The Story of Jesus’. We also give them the option to pick up a Bible if they would like one…

We are not allowed to ‘preach’ during these 3 meetings because the inmates are required to attend – their attendance is not voluntary. Praise the Lord! So, what can we talk to the men about during this ‘message of encouragement’…? (NB: We are allowed to ‘preach’ at designated church service times – because attendance to these services is voluntary.)

This is what I’ve done: Last time I spoke on ‘evolution’ and why this teaching should not be trusted, because of the lack of evidence to support it. “On the other side”, I said, “there’s a lot of evidence to support ‘creation’ so it’s a very likely true we’ll all face God at the end of our lives; agreed? So pick up a Bible and read it yourself… Then draw your own conclusion without feeling you’re under any pressure.”

This time I decided to tell the men a story – fashioning it after Matthew 13:10-17. The story I told them was fictional, but there was truth that could be found in the story, and they could put themselves in the story if they understood it. The essence of the story was this: If you wanted to get to Cancun from Cabo you’d need to take a bus, or a boat, or a plane or a combination of these. The problems are that sometimes buses breakdown, boats sink, and planes crash – so they are not reliable! But in my story there’s a super-train that is reliable, but tickets cannot be purchased…, and what would it be like on the train? Well one could go down to the station and hang on to the side of the train and look in as it travels down the tracks – and some people have tried this, but they have gotten knocked off when the train came to a tunnel. So it’s evident, to receive the benefits of the super-train, one must get on/in the train! But people are still hesitant because they are not sure what it’s like on the train. So they ask their friends or others – but they have gotten their information from the newspapers and TV – and that info is often incorrect, (in fact they usually only tell stories about boats that sank or planes that have crashed…) No! One must have faith, and just get on the train! The good news is: today in Santa Rosalía there’s someone giving out free tickets for the super-train. And he says, it’s not dependent upon how good or bad you’ve been…

Then I explained, the real story is in ‘the Book’… The story was confusing for some of the men and some of the guards, but for others – they understood it! In fact 2 men picked up Bibles after the story saying they are looking forward to seeing us in ‘Cancun’. About 150 men picked up Bibles that day. Praise the Lord!

So the Gospel can be shared even when there may be regulations that curtail our freedom. And while the men would’ve closed their ears to ‘preaching’ they’ll remember this story – so pray for them as they do…

Thank you so much again for helping to make all of this happen. We do praise the Lord, for your partnership!