1 of the last days we could enter prison

We cry out to God
One Prisoner told us after what appeared to be our last visit, ‘we may not show how much your messages impact us, but be assured, when you are gone we all return to our cells and hide under our covers. There in our quiet places we cry out to God’.

You may wonder: Why do we still care for prisoners and their families. It seems everybody is struggling with a proper response to this new virus, and tends to think of themselves first. But what has been true before is still true these days:
Man matters to God, and we are called to:

Safe and most welcome

‘Remember the prisoners as if chained with them..’
… And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me

Since early March Albania is in Lockdown, with lots of restrictions. As expected, this has a drastic effect on almost every aspect of life. The government is trying hard to support all needy people, but for the moment the problems are big.

Many of our colleagues have shown themselves creative and persistent in supporting many many families that had literally nothing to eat.
After the dramatic earthquakes in November, we were happy we could help 400+ families for 4 months with our Winter Project.
With the Corona Lockdown many Albanians have no income at all, and we are again able to support several hundreds of families through our Child Sponsor Program, Diakonia and Emergency Program. We have received several generous gifts from partners and individuals, so we can continue to care for the Least, the Last and the Lost.

Our mission is: “building missionary churches in every prison”, where inmates care and help each other to grow and be strong. As we are no longer allowed to visit the prisons, our chaplains started writing encouraging messages to the intended leaders of these inside churches. Like the apostle Paul wrote letters from inside prison to the believers, our chaplains wrote letters from outside prison to the church-leaders inside.
To be encouraged, and to encourage their fellow inmates.
The results are wonderful.
A female prisoner had memorised the complete letter from her chaplain; Four inmates shared the letter from their chaplain and organised a Bible study;

Letter to the prisoners

With the help of the education staff all men received a copy of our chaplains’ letter for the inmates. They than discussed together the impact of this encouragement; Juveniles used the letter from their youth chaplain and celebrated Easter together; Last week in Durres prison two man have decided to follow Jesus.
Many more stories came back to us.
One prisoner wrote: ‘In a time where everything was cut off, family visits, airtime, free time, your letters kept coming with words of Hope from God. Thank you for valuing us’.

Silent heroes involved in prison ministry
Elvis, our chaplain wrote me yesterday: Her name is Tatjana, and what she does in this troubled time, is taking care of families that need her help. Even without reminder she organised everything necessary for these families of prisoners, so they would know – they are not alone.

Ilir, our partner for long in the prison of Peqin has been continuously in contact with ‘his inmates’. He has sent letters and even medicines where the prison could not provide.

Aranit is also a valued and long time partner, for the prison in Vlorë. During the present lockdown period he has been continuing sending clothes and food for totally forgotten prisoners.

This video is made at the office a coupe of days before Easter. We kept our social distance while we worshipped our risen Lord. One day we will be able to do it in all freedom again. Wonderful if we could celebrate together!

Thank you for your support and interest in our ministry.

Please keep us in your prayers, and if you like supporting us you can find more info here

Fred Westerink
director Shkbsh Prison Fellowship Albania

Prison Ministry from a Distance
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