Luke 4:18-19; Matthew 25:34-36
Prison Ministry is Difficult
Prison ministry is not an American dream. It is not the land of milk and honey, not a wonderful mission field as well. It is a very difficult mission field. You expose your life to danger, and you need a lot of resources to do the job, with no assurance of a fruitful return.
Pag-ibig Christian Ministries Inc. (PCMI) Manila accepted this challenge to get involved in prison ministry for almost 12 years now. In the early 1980s, I was involved in a prison ministry at Northern Police District Quezon City, and I served in different city jails, such as Caloocan City Jail, the Malabon Jail, and Navotas Jail.
But in 2000, something unusual happened when I was accused of a crime I never committed. When we visited our Chinese friend in the National Bureau Investigation central, we were shocked when an agent asked us whom we were visiting. My companions mentioned the name of our friend. Immediately, the agent told us to state our names also. When my companions told their names, the NBI agent said their names were included in a warrant of arrest.
Accused of Wrongdoing
While this was happening, I was by the door of an elevator, and it suddenly opened. I wanted to enter and hide myself in that elevator. With a smile, I “joked” to the agent that my name was also in the warrant of arrest, and to my shock, it was! I was accused of robbery with conspiracy by the president of a company where I conducted Bible studies. But by the grace of God, somebody paid for my temporary bail, which was worth Php 250,000.00. It took two days more before we were released for temporary freedom.
Imagine the stress we suffered! It took us more than five years of legal court battle before we were declared innocent and received our freedom.
Most of us who serve in prison ministry formerly have legal cases. However, the love of God changed us, and we have decided to minister to people behind bars. God’s love gives us unwavering commitment to do His work.
Caption: Bishop Larry De Los Santos with Police Major Rchard Lonosa of Tayuman Precint #7 extension, Tayuman Manila City NCR
PCMI Manila ministers to four different dorms inside the Manila City Jail. The Lord entrusted to us four chapels inside the custodial facilities. Unfortunately, because of the pandemic, we cannot visit there now. Nevertheless, God opened more doors to different custodial facilities in Metro Manila during this pandemic.
It is truly the LORD who gives us the vision and strategies to do the work in prison ministry. What inspires us to work for God’s glory are the following principles, which are based on Luke 4:18-19 and Matthew 25:34-36:
1) L-et the Holy Spirit anoint you to preach the gospel to the poor.
2) I-nvite people to heal their broken hearts in Christ.
3) G-ive hope and proclaim liberty to the captives.
4) H-elp them to accept the year of God’s favor.
5) T-otal deliverance from God’s vengeance
6) S-eek to fulfill and experience God’s desire to save people.
I remember what the Bible says about the end of days. The King will say to those on His right, “Come, you are blessed of My Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry, and you gave me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me drink, I was stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me, I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me. “Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.”
Indeed, we are the salt of the earth, and we are the L.I.G.H.T.S. of the world. In places like prison cells, we can let our lights shine before men so that they may glorify our Father who is in heaven.
Bishop Larry De Los Santos
Bishop Larry is one of the Board of Directors and Pastoral Staff of Pag-ibig Christian Ministries Inc. He is the Senior Pastor of PCMI Manila and the Overseer of PCMI North Luzon and Visayas Churches. He is the Reverend Chaplain and Director of Prisons Ministry of the International Auxiliaries Chaplain Association.