Makala prison in Kinshasa is not a place for the faint-hearted.
Conditions are grim and basic to say the least. Although it is against the law in DRC to imprison children, it is known that dozens are incarcerated in Makala without access to food and healthcare other than that provided by families and charity donations. Thatâ€™s why, with BCTâ€™s support, our partner EPED prioritises visiting children in Makala to befriend and care for them and to advocate on their behalf. And why weâ€™re thrilled to hear the news that, extraordinarily, EPED in partnership with Bana Kivuvu was recently granted permission to hold a five-day Bible camp for more than 200 children in the heart of the prison! Just imagine what it was like for those children to wake up each day knowing that they would receive outside human contact – respect, care, loving kindness, counselling, food, nursing and medical care – and the hope, encouragement and liberation that comes from worshipping God together and from hearing about a Saviour who was not above â€˜being numbered amongst the transgressorsâ€™ and ultimately died branded as a criminal, strung up on a cross between two thieves.
Makala prison is not for the faint-hearted and nor is being a follower of Jesus. He leads you into places where others fear to tread. He requires that we lay down our prejudices and judgmental attitudes, and that we too become those of no reputation as we mix with those on the margins and call them â€˜friendâ€™. It means that we acknowledge in all humility that, ultimately, the one inside the prison wall is really no different from us on the â€˜outsideâ€™, because â€˜all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.â€™ And it means laying down our lives for the â€˜otherâ€™. EPED workers will continue to visit the children in the despicable hole that is Makala – week in and week out – and will continue to speak on their behalf to the authorities and to do all in their power to get them released back into the care of their families. Because thatâ€™s what those who love and follow Jesus do.