April - June 2019 | North Philippine Union Conference
What is the first thing that pops into your mind every time you hear the word “jail”? What picture lingers on your thoughts? As others see it, it is a den of wrongdoers, or a pint-size room for thieves, murderers, rapists, and drug addicts.
As Christians, we look at it differently, on a more positive perspective. Looking on the other side of the coin, we may see inmates as human beings who might have committed a big mistake in their lives but are capable of repenting and changing for the better. Jesus died for them and they are also candidates for heaven.
People behind the bars who used to be called inmates especially those who are still awaiting judgment or undergoing trial are now categorized as people deprived of liberty (PDL) as implemented by the so-called Mandela rule of the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor). They are entitled to humanitarian treatment (philstar.com/ headlines/2017/04/20).
With this, 15 members of Morning View Seventh- day Adventist Church composed of youth and elders visited Silang Municipal Jail where 500 PDLs are being detained.
Like other beginners in this kind of ministry, some of the members felt uneasy and anxious, however, to their surprise, when they led to sing “Ligaya ng Buhay,” they heard PDLs singing it in memory. As they sang together and shared hope despite their situation, worries began to flee away. The PDLs told them that they learned the song from Adventists who visited them before. They said the songs and Bible lessons have helped them become hopeful and free from the bondage of distress.
Pastor Jimmy Ramirez gave an inspirational message while PDLs followed the message through their Bibles given by other denomination. During
the sharing time, they said the Word of God is a powerful tool that helps them solve their problems, and it gives them peace of mind.
Another song that touched their hearts is the one entitled “Lumapit sa Kanya.” The words soothed the hearts of the listeners like Jesus talking to them personally, to offer their lives to Him at the present moment.
Pastor Ramirez received a letter from one of the PDLs conveying thanks for visiting them and for
the good news that brought them joy and hope. In response, he now leads in facilitating more services to them so that their relationship with God will become richer, deeper and more meaningful.
This story proves that even those in chains can experience freedom from Christ for He made everything possible.
Seventh-day Adventist beliefs are meant to permeate your whole life. Growing out of scriptures that paint a compelling portrait of God, you are invited to explore, experience and know the One who desires to make us whole.