Prisoners meet for prayer and worship, Bulgaria
Eastern European prisons are old, overcrowded, dreary and inhumane. why Inmates feel forgotten, unwanted and hopeless. PrisonCare reaches out to desperate men and women with visits, What the Gospel and practical gifts. Where Bulgaria, Albania and Ukraine, but soon spreading into other countries. supporting those visiting and supplying hygiene packs, clothes, How By shoes and Christmas parcels. MWB staff and volunteers working alongside local churches. Who
“I was in prison and you visited me” – Jesus (Mt 25:36, 44) “I was craving for chocolate as I have not eaten any for years... My life has been very difficult so far. But I believe that God exists and that he will not forsake me.” Asen, prisoner, Bulgaria
“The fact that such fine people with warm hearts came to meet with us touched my soul.” Yordan, prisoner, Bulgaria “My friends made big promises that they would visit me if I ended up in
prison (but they didn’t). Now it’s you, complete strangers, that come to see me and bring me gifts. Only you with your Christmas gifts keep my hope alive.” A prisoner, Sofia
A big dark room, lit by only a few dim electric light bulbs. Windows covered with wooden planks. Rough wooden benches. A depressing atmosphere. This is what they found when our MWB Bulgaria team first visited Pazardzhik Prison in Southern Bulgaria. 650 prisoners live there. They receive no letters or cards from home; they have no money and cannot get even basic things like soap or a towel. Many have no warm clothes or shoes and wear jandals even in the cold of winter. Most come from poor families who cannot support them because they can barely survive themselves. Some are rejected by their families for what they have done and never have visitors. 80 percent are illiterate, and most have trouble expressing their thoughts and feelings. These are the forgotten ones.
Pastor Rangel Kalvachev (pictured at front centre), whom MWB supports, visiting the prison at Christmas 2000.
Sarkis Ovanesyan, Director of MWB Bulgaria, talking to the men at a service, Pazardzhik Prison. The men were pleased to see new faces – they are starved of simple human contact from outsiders.
Women receiving their care packs, Albania. Gifts must be in plastic bags and be inspected by a police officer. The prisoners are delighted to have them.
Prisoners in Bulgaria receiving a simple tract explaining the Christian Gospel. Many need it read to them because they are illiterate.
LD (name withheld) at a woman’s prison in Tirana, Albania. She comes from a tragic background and is grateful for the Mission’s care pack.
Giving them practical help Apart from visiting the prisoners, one way to show care is to give them basic things they just never have. Each “PrisonCare pack” contains things like: • Shampoo • Towel • Soap • Socks • Toothpaste and toothbrush • Chocolate or sweets • Sanitary pads (women) • Shaving soap and razor (men) We also supply clothing, shoes and Bibles when we have the opportunity.
“We’ve seen many prisoners come to saving faith in Jesus Christ. Their families have testified time and again about the change that has taken place in their hearts, as expressed in their attitude and behaviour. We’ve had inmates who have in turn reached their loved ones with the Gospel. Once I even heard the testimony of a man who stood up to thank the Lord for allowing this unfortunate turn of events in his life, so he might be able to encounter the Lord behind prison bars.” Pastor Rumen Bordjiev, Bulgaria (pictured above with a group of prisoners receiving gifts)
MISSIONWITHOUTBORDERS Helping to Change Lives in Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Moldova, Romania and Ukraine
PO Box 56264, Dominion Road, Auckland 1446 Phone 09 309 6969 / 0800 469269 | Fax 09 309 6968 Email email@example.com | Website www.mwb.org.nz |
Reg. Charity No. CC37218