Ecuador - Visit a jail?
So this week has been really great and a little different because it is a make-up work week for the kids that need it. Therefore, there are only two girls who come to the school when I help out there in the mornings. Today there were three: from left to right-
Arelys, Erika, and Estefanía.
It is actually a lot of fun just having the two or three of them there and they do a much better job than when they are in a classroom full of other children. They will be done on Friday and then I will not be helping out in the classroom anymore.
So yesterday was such and interesting experience. Yes, I went to jail. haha. So I met a man named Jorge who is about 60 years old or maybe a little less, and he told me I needed to go with some of the missionaries and the pastor from Remar when they go and do the prison ministry. I was a little nervous but I said yes. Haha. So yesterday was the first experience for me in a women’s jail in Ecuador. Wow. All I can say is that it was a very very interesting and neat experience. We entered and got stamped and searched:
And then we entered where the women actually live. I was literally shocked. It wasn’t what I had expected at all. I wish I had a picture to post of the inside of the jail but obviously we weren’t allowed to have cell phones. This place looked like the slums. The women’s clothes were drying overhead, hanging outside their cells and the floors were collecting water from the rain coming in. It wasn’t an environment that wasn’t healthy for them to be in, but it definitely wasn’t the Hilton that’s for sure. Lol.
Seeing all those women was so crazy to me. Most of them are there for drug trafficking and they are waiting in this prison until they are taken to a maximum security prison near Cotopaxi. So we did some worship and Jorge played the guitar and then while the social worker of Remar gave a brief message, Jorge, another volunteer, a missionary and I passed out some materials to the women. They surprisingly wanted what we had to give them and we had many opportunities to speak with them.
These are two encounters I found most interesting:
1) There are two women there from Thailand. Yes Thailand. I don’t know what they were imprisoned or but the only reason I was able to talk to them was because they only speak there native language and English. What are the chances? There names were Ana and O. They were not able to read the material I had given them so I shared the Gospel with them and then just talked with them for a while. They had been there for two years and are learning a little bit of Spanish, but it is still difficult for them.
2) I met a lady from Toronto. Again, what are the chances? She spoke English and hardly knew any Spanish. She told me that she was there because someone planted drugs on her while she was in a hostel here. As much as I would love to believe that and take her at her word, it’s evident by her physical appearance that she has been abusing something. This lady’s name was Karen and she had been there for two years.
These two encounters really blew my mind. I can’t imagine being in prison, in a foreign country, without knowing any of the language. It’s unbelievable to me. I also talked to Diego the missionary that went with us about Karen’s story and he was very clear on explaining just how manipulating these women are. It’s sad, but true that drugs really consume your life. It is a whole different world in that prison. It is a cesspool of lies and manipulation and love of money. And many of these women have found themselves where they are because of how drugs have dictated their lives in this way. These ladies really need Jesus, so it was an amazing opportunity to share His love in that place.
I was so blessed to have that opportunity and I am looking forward to going back next week!
Today at the orphanage was also very fun because it was the last day of working with some students from the Central University doing activities with the kids! We painted today and got a little carried away hahaha
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