This story starts before we even arrived in Papua New Guinea.
During preparation for our Discipleship Training School (DTS) outreach, our team prayed together in New Zealand. Different people received words about prison ministry, working with criminals, and speaking in front of prisoners in Papua New Guinea. My husband Thomas envisioned a big river flowing through a prison, not fully knowing what it meant.
We wrote everything down, and dreamed of something big that would happen in the next two months.
However, when we arrived in Papua New Guinea, nothing seemed to be working. Week after week, our local contacts tried arrange a visit to a prison. But in the last two weeks—their perseverance finally succeeded.
Suddenly, our contacts informed us we were going to a prison with one of the highest profile criminals, to speak in front of more than 400 inmates.
Our eyes nearly popped out of our heads.
“God if You really want us to go there, You better go with us. This was Your idea...”
During our preparation time, I felt clearly I needed to speak and share the gospel. Thomas felt he needed to oversee, constantly pray, and MC the event. Everyone in our team volunteered for different responsibilities and we grew in confidence that we could do it together, as one team.
But hey, 400+ you said? And like, you mean, the worst criminals? Our stress hormones were working overtime.
But God spoke clearly, so our part of the job was just... to go.
And we did. We spoke. We prayed. We shook their hands. We looked them in the eye. All 437 of them.
We spoke words of hope and restoration over their lives. And they were listening, they looked intrigued, with a hunger in their heart. After we shared what we wanted to tell them, we invited them to raise their hand if they wanted to accept Jesus in their heart.
We saw more than 150 hands go up.
Hands that once committed a crime were reaching out to heaven.
Eyes that once looked scary were weeping, crying out to Jesus to allow Him to come and changes their lives.
After that day, our contacts returned to that same prison to continue the work we started together.
That is one of the beautiful things about the way we connect with local ministries—this story is only the beginning!
By the way, remember the beginning of the story?
How Thomas prayed and envisioned a big river flowing through a prison, not knowing what it would mean?
After a fatiguing, bumpy two-hour bus drive to the prison, suddenly a large river had caught our attention. We crossed a bridge, turned left and kept on following the river. Once arrived in prison, we saw the same river curling through the complex. We stood still and were astonished. This was exactly what Thomas saw in that vision, more than two months ago in New Zealand....
It couldn’t be more clear, that day was already scheduled in God’s agenda.
Even long before we could even dream about it.