Caring for foreign inmate ministry in cooperation with TECC (Taiwan expatriate caring committee) and the China Lutheran Seminary CLS To be imprisoned in a foreign country and culture is hard. It often means severe loneliness: No relative or friend comes to visit and to help. Communication is a severe problem. Presently, there about 1500 Foreign inmates in Taiwan. Among them at least 150 are Christians. Most of them came to Christ in prison. Jesus says:
The one who visits my brothers in prison, visits me. Touched by the Love of God, about 12 missionaries weekly visit foreign inmates in Taiwan. (Many are members of the leading committee of
To be imprisoned in a foreign country and culture is very hard
TECC.) They bring them the
2 Good news of Jesus grace and every year about 200 inmates are saved.
Itâ€™s marvelous: The light of Jesus shines into the darkness and sets the captive free. Beside the weekly visits and bible study groups every month, there are up to 3 evangelistic rallies in different detention centers, proclaiming the saving power of Jesus. In April 2011, 500 inmates could join such rallies, and more than 80 have been saved. Now some detailed information about the ministry caring for foreign inmates:
1. Ministry in the High security Taipei prison located in Guishan 1a Situation: Among the 4000 inmates with most high sentences there are more than 320 foreign inmates. They are from most of the poor nations of south east Asia, 60 are from Thailand. Because of language problems at the court and being without a good lawyer and translator many get very high sentences, often life time prison. So many of the Thais. Most of them for
Because of the bad economic situation, many migrant workers escape into alcohol and run into problems.
the following indict: Before to come to Thailand as migrant workers they
3 had to pay 150 000 NTS in cash in advance for the agent making the visa application for them. To pay this, may had to loan this amount from a private person for 4% interest per month, that means 6000 NTS. The agent did promise a high income in Taiwan of 30 000 NTS up per month. But without overtime they get in Taiwan only 8000 NTS in cash a month, not much more than the interest they have to pay. This pressure makes them drink a lot of alcohol, which is a weak point of Thais anyway. Sitting in a pub drunken with friend they get involved in a fight with another group. In the fight one of the other group is killed. With a good lawyer they perhaps would get some years of prison for manslaughter by carelessness. But lacking a good lawyer, most have been sentenced for [murder by purpose] and get 15 years or life time. A challenge is that some area leaders in the prison do not understand the special needs and pressure of foreign inmates and want to make them Taiwanese by giving up their own culture. They scattered each language group over all 12 areas and 19 factories inside the prison, isolating many from speakers of their language with the goal to force them to learn Chinese and to become Chinese.
1b Weekly ministry: The 12 missionaries visit every Thursday the foreign inmates in Taipei prison and teach bible to believers and seekers. At the moment 150 of the 320 foreign believers and seekers join these bible study groups, among them 49 Thais, 55 English speaker from nearly all continents (including 16 Philippine), 32 Chinese speakers, 23 Indonesian or Malay speakers, 16 Vietnamese and 5 Koreans. Because after 2005 all language groups have been scattered over all areas and
4 factories, we can only reach out to all if we open for every language up to 10 bible study groups at different places.
1c Bimonthly Baptism Services: Every second month we can on one day have 3 baptisms and Lordâ€™s supper services in 3 of the 5 language groups. Every time, up to 6 new believers are baptized. A problem is that at the moment the prison allows only those to join service if he is accepted and registered by the officials as a confessing protestant believer. In June, only 30 Thais, 22 English speaker and 30 Chinese speaker got this permission. 5 new believer baptized
1d Christmas Party: In previous years, all foreign inmates could join and we could prepare a big Christmas buffet with food from their home countries. The last 3 years have seen restrictions as to the food. And only
5 registered Christians could join. We hope and pray that this year all can join again and we will have a big buffet again. This Party was started by Jon Brantingham, the founder of Light house ministries and is still organized by him). Great Christmas buffet
2. Ministry in the Detention centers Sanxia, Hsinchu and Nantou with 900 foreign inmates. 2a: Situation: Most inmates here are former
In Preaching and teaching to inmates, we use PowerPoint in five languages.
6 migrant workers from Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand and the Philippines, who overstayed their visa. Many have left their legal working place because of bad working conditions or bad payment or treatment and run away. By this, they lost their legal visa and became illegal. They usually stay in the Detention Centers between one week and some months. Some have entered Taiwan by a fake marriage or fake papers. Most get a sentence from 6 months to 2 years. Beside this, some people from mainland China have entered Taiwan illegal by boat, fake marriage or fake papers. They have to stay up to 2 years.
2b Weekly ministry: We weekly visit the Detention Center in Sanxia and in Hsinchu and biweekly the Detention Center in Nantou. Praise the Lord: Every month we can share the Gospel and teach the bible to up to 100 inmates. Many are saved by the power of the Spirit from darkness and enter into the Kingdom of God. Besides, we have met many Christians who have gone astray, and find the way back to Jesus in prison. For example, at a weekly visit we showed the Jesus Movie in Indonesian to some Indonesians. An Indonesian mother began to weep and asked to speak with me after the group meeting. She wanted to confess her sins and start a new life. She had gone through deep darkness, but now came back to Jesus.
2c:Evangelistic rallies: In each of these 3 Detention Centers we have one special festival or evangelistic rally every month with 30 to 250 Inmates each time. At Easter time, we had 2 Easter festivals in 2 places with over 400 inmates and 80 were saved by the Love of Jesus. At
7 Christmas time, all inmates can join our Christmas party. At the weekly visits and the special festivals and rallies many students and teachers of China Lutheran Seminary participate. Easter Festival 2011 in Hsinchu Detention Center with 250 inmates. Students of CLS performed a Christmas play and one student preached the gospel. Some 30 inmates responded and received Christ. The Easter songs were projected in 5 languages, and a colored easter tract in 5 languages was shared. Easter Festival in Nantou: Also here the CLS sudents performed a Easter play. Here more than 50 received Christ.
3. Challenges 3a: We face many needs: The ministry includes providing evangelistic and followup literature in the 5
The team of the easter festival in Hsinchu. CLS vize direktor Josef Lu (right).
Languages of English, Chinese, Thai, Indonesian and Vietnamese. To provide all this literature every week would be more than a full-time job. Many inmates have special problems and need our help in contacting embassies, relatives and so on. Some are ill and need medical help. They can get this only if we pay for it.
It takes a lot of strength to do this great ministry now in 4 prisons and Detention Centers. But by the grace of God, we can help a lot. For example, an inmate with a brain illness from Northern Europe had lost all money and papers and was in an Detention Center for over-stay. To go back, he needed us to contact his parent to buy an air ticket and to find a way to get a new passport. This was difficult because his nation did not have an embassy in Taiwan. Finally, we could find another European Embassy to issue a European passport.
To share good Christian literature in all 5 languages is a challenge. Here: Part of a 12 page Easter booklet in 5 languages
10 Another example is that lady from Mainland China had an car accident and suffered from a party broken backbone. Because she was caught as a prostitute, she was supposed to be in Detention Center for 2 years. Because she was from Mainland China, there was no way for her to get medical treatment in Taiwan. After many consultations, the Detention Center was willing to send her quickly back to China for treatment.
3b: A big challenge is the growing expense of the growing ministry: There are expenses for the weekly shared literature and Bibles, for the festivals (including food), for medical treatment and for solving special problems. All 12 missionaries do this caring for foreign inmates in addition to their assignment by their mission. Therefore, their missions are not willing to pay much for this voluntary ministry. Until now, most of the costs have been supported privately out of their own pockets. But now, the ministry has grown so much that the costs exceed this possibility.
Therefore we ask all foreigners in Taiwan and all international churches to consider sharing by giving special offerings or (even better) monthly support for this prison ministry.
11 Caring for foreign inmates ministry in Taiwan: More Info: Immanuel Scharrer Tel. 0910321732 E-Mail email@example.com
Support for the caring for foreign ministry can be giving through 3 institutions. All 3 institutions can issue tax receipts. Important: Do not forget the remark: Prison ministry. 1. TECC, 2. China Lutheran Seminary CLS Account Chang Hua Bank, Hsinchu Branch, Bank code: 009 Account 5727-01-20301-900 Chinese name：財團法人基督教中華信義神學 基金會
3. Taiwan Fellowship Deaconry Mission (TFDM) Account: Changhua Bank, Taipei Chonglun Branch 5154-0130064-710.