At an age when many in the United States would be living at their leisure in retirement, Paklawele has faithfully ministered to the prison in Gemena, DRC. Please rejoice with us in how God has used this man’s faithful ministry as Ron Brown shares how he and Paklawele connected in ministry to the prison. (More photos of the prison ministry will be included in next week’s post–stay tuned.)
Ron says, “I had been serving in prison ministry in the US and Nicaragua for 18 years. I felt God calling me to full time missions in 2009, I thought in prison ministry. However, in the process of preparing for that, Wycliffe Associates recruited me to go to Kenya to support Bible translation. It made no sense to me, but I really felt it was God’s doing. I finally got to Kenya in 2011. After a few months I was re-assigned to Gemena, Equateur Privince, DRC…pretty remote spot.
“There is a prison in Gemena so I asked if the churches were doing anything there and the answer was no. But, there was this guy, Paklawele, who had been walking to the prison, 10 miles round trip, twice a week with no help or support of any kind for over 15 years…and Paklawele is 75-80 years old!. And to my great surprise, he lived in the village right beside my house!
“I began going to prison with Paklawele and we started talking to some other folks. As it turned out, there was a strong church leader with CECU (the Evangelical Free Church of the Congo) who was interested and within 2 months he had organized a committee (MAVUCO) of other strong leaders who began to go to prison with Paklawele and on their own. Seems like God had been working on this for some time…imagine that!
“The prisoners have no clean drinking water, get only the food that family and friends bring them, no medication when they get sick and you can imagine the conditions inside. So MAVUCO, out of their own pockets, began providing drinking water and a meal twice a month. This is a great challenge financially so we decided to see if we could drill a well for the prison (on private land) that would provide all the clean drinking water they needed and they could sell the excess to provide food and medication as well. That was early 2013.
“Today (March 4, 2015), I received word that the parts for the well are in, the land has been purchased and preparation of the land has begun.
“Isn’t that incredible?!! That is light speed for the Congo!
“My church (in the U.S.), has been providing Bibles, devotional materials, and song books. And there is now a church in the prison in Gemena.
“Isn’t God amazing?
“My heart is filled to overflowing for Paklawele today. He must feel like Joseph who labored in obscurity for so long before God, who was already at work, revealed His plan. And the best part for me is that I will be in the prison celebrating with the prisoners on March 22 (He should already be on his way back now.).
“So as those who love the Lord and love the Congo and her people…please rejoice with me today for our God is mighty, He is faithful and He is sovereign over Africa!” ~Rod Brown
Thank you to Ron for sharing this story with us here at Hope 4 Congo.
Remember to check next week’s post for more photos of the prison ministry.