REACHING INMATES WITH THE GOSPEL
The Philippines – We’re excited to share some timely updates from Resty and Mel Enguerra, Indigenous Ministries Southeast Asia Coordinators. In 2021, Indigenous Ministries Southeast Asia (IM SEA) became a partner with Jesus Our Hope Family Church (JOHFC) to reach inmates and their families with the gospel. Together, we continue to provide basic monthly food (especially rice) to inmates and food packs to their families; including educational support for their children.
How it started: On July 16, 2019, Engineer Ernesto (Ian) Monasterial (now a pastor) responded to an inmate who requested a Bible and a Bible study in his cell at the Angono Custodial Jail. Ian Monasterial and his son brought bread, coffee and Word of God plus worship songs. The first visit became regular Bible studies in the jail.
The COVID lockdown heavily impacted inmates (now referred to as Persons Deprived of Liberty – PDL) with shortages of food, medicines and toiletries. By phone text messages they reached out to Pastor Ian about their needs.
Once again he responded. The Bible and food distribution continued regularly despite dangers of the pandemic. God who is true to His name, always protected and provided for the ministry needs. The Jail Ministry found favor with the authorities who allowed them unrestricted visits to the Detention Centers upon witnessing life transformations amongst the inmates. The Bible studies became a regular Saturday Praise and Worship Time. Inmates responded to the gospel and lives were transformed.
In April 2022, Mel & Resty Enguerra, Indigenous Ministries South East Asia Ministry Coordinators, visited the
four detention Centers where JOHFC was ministering. The Jail Ministry Team consists of former PDLs who are pastors of their respective churches and former PDL volunteers. An estimate of over 800 men and women inmates participated in praise and worship throughout the day.
In October 2022, a Bible school was started inside the four Detentions Centers. Resty shared, “On my visit last February, I witnessed 80 men and women inmates from the different detention centers receive certificates for reading the entire Bible and journaling in their notebooks for three months.”
Last June 2023, another graduation ceremony was held at the detention centers. This time only 19 men and women inmates participated and received certificates. But this time they completed reading and Journaling the entire Bible three times.
HOW TO ENGAGE WITH THIS VITAL MINISTRY:
Please continue praying for these inmates to be grounded in God’s word so when they are released from jail, they will not be influenced by the world. Pastor Ian shared that some of the released inmates tend to return to jail within a year or so; he also noted that when the men know they are prayed for and are participating in the ministry, many of the inmates stay out of prison.