Kateregga Kyembe served seven years in Luzira Upper Prison for a crime he did not commit and was released on March 19, 2018. He was found innocent and suffered unnecessarily because of Uganda’s poor legal system. A survey shows that 65% of the prisoners charged with capital offences are innocent and 20% committed only smaller crimes. Only 15% deserve capital punishment. The legal system in Uganda is so bad that innocent people have to wait many years before their cases are considered in court. Meanwhile they suffer in prisons under horrible living conditions. The inmates lack essentials like soap, razor blades, toothpaste, good medication, communication, proper nutrition, bedding and scholastic materials for those who want to study in prison. There is a total of 13,500 inmates in the Luzira main prison in Kampala.
The Kampala Central SDA church in Uganda has been active for many years in supplying inmates with some essentials like soap, food, and toothpaste, along with Bibles. The church also has opportunities to preach on specified visits in various prison sections. In 2013, the Bible school of Kampala Central Church started seeing spiritual interest among the inmates and officers grow as they passed out the Discover Bible lessons provided by Light Bearers. Kampala Central Church started making regular visits to the prison every Sabbath, conducting weeks of prayer and introducing more of these Bible lessons to the inmates.
…the in-house prison ministry is capable of doing communion services and nominating its own church officers under the Kampala Central church.
We praise God for the developments that took place as a result of this work! The prison’s officers and management allowed the Kampala church to conduct regular Sabbath worships and weeks of prayer. This led to baptisms and then they were even given permission to construct permanent church structures within the prison—alleluia!
Regular Sabbath visits with Discover Bible School started with just one prison section. Then another and another until all five sections of this 13,500-inmate prison were reached. The prison ministry itself has expanded to a level 5 Sabbath School. That means the in-house prison ministry is capable of doing communion services and nominating its own church officers under the Kampala Central church.
The Bible lessons are enjoyed by prisoners as leisure reading and as a way of spiritual growth. They also treasure the certificates awarded to them when they finish the Bible lessons. Interestingly enough, the certificates have helped many inmates when appearing in court for their trials. Many sentences have been reduced when the certificates are used in court as evidence of a changed life.
When it comes to Sabbath worship, the messages, prayers and welfare ministry have led many inmates to attend worship, despite differences in religion. This grants more chances for the officers to distribute Bible lessons. These Bible lessons from Light Bearers are vital. It has been noted that the welfare ministry and preaching do not accomplish the great spiritual change in the prisoners. The Bible lessons bring the gospel truth that really impacts the hearts of these inmates. In addition to the Bible lessons and Sabbath School lessons, Adventist World magazines and Great Hope books are also distributed in the prison.
In 2017 alone, 304 souls were baptized.
We praise God for the committed prison church officers who are leading many souls to Christ. Baptisms are now conducted within every prison section. In 2017 alone, 304 souls were baptized. And it increases every year as a result of the Bible lesson distribution, regular Sabbath worship services and evangelistic weeks of prayer.
Recently the prison management has granted us space to construct permanent church structures within the prison, because of the impact this prison ministry has made on the character of the prisoners. And now an additional sixth branch has been granted solely for the prison staff. Please pray that this new outreach to the prison staff will soon be functional.
The Bible lessons have played a pivotal role in sharing the message of salvation to the inmates. They have led to hundreds of baptisms, Sabbath School branches, opened doors to prison staff, and more recently the acquisition of free land for the construction of permanent church structures at Luzira prison. Amen.