We were so blessed by our time at the women's prison in Cabaret last year we were all sure we had to go again. Pastor Watson escorted us while Geoff and the students remained behind to continue work at the new school facility. We will have more to update you on that tomorrow.
The now familiar drive through the bustling street market in Port Au Prince took us north west along Port Au Prince Bay to Cabaret. The one hour drive leads through the more sparsely populated countryside where cattle and horses roam freely feeding on the roadside vegetation. The view of the cloud covered bay adds to the peacefulness of the area.
The prison, which does not allow interior photos, is a white beacon against a bright blue sky. We were kindly met by guards who led us through the white walled corridors up to the second floor to a large classroom with concrete benches and tables. Like most residential structures in Haiti the many windows had no glass or screens but allowed plenty of light and air to flow through the security bars.
As the ladies began to find their seats there were a handful that we recognized and who recognized us from our last visit. They greeted us with smiles and waiving hands. We opened with prayer and Pastor Watson led us in worship but the women's voices drowned out his guitar as he sang.
Maltresa shared a short but powerful devotional on being a light in a dark world and that before we are anything, black or white, woman or man, we are children of God first. We had brought a few bibles to pass out but there were only eight bibles to share between 50 women. There is a shortage of bibles available to the school so the ladies would have to return the bibles at the end of the study. This had a great impact on us all as we realized how blessed we are to have the bible easily accessible in so many forms.
Last year we were delayed in the waiting room for unknown reasons and did not have much time with the ladies. This time we had begun our time together almost immediately which allowed us to go around the room praying for the women who asked for it. Through our prayers we learned that often it can take years for them to see a judge for the first time after their arrest. Many prayed for the opportunity to go before a judge quickly or to see their families or children. Others asked the Lord to give them spiritual strength or to heal them from health trouble. We encouraged them to continue to pray for each other after we left.
It is easy for us to judge and assume that a person in prison deserves to be left there but Paul, a murderer in his own right, and so many other disciples of Christ have spent countless years imprisoned doing the Lords work. These women, regardless of deeds can also be such a light in the darkness. Matresa’s devotional is even more powerful when we stop seeing them as prisoners and start seeing them as Children of God first.
When all was done and we closed in prayer we passed out all 50 hygiene bags that your support helped us provide. Please continue to pray for the women of this prison, that they would find fellowship with each other, find freedom in Jesus and provision in his Word.