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Thursday, July 16, 2009

The Malaysian Prison Fellowship

Sandakan: Two parishioners from St Mary's Cathedral, Stephen Chai and Dalius Lobinjang enlisted their service with the Malaysian Prison Fellowship and made their first visit to the prison on 11th July 2009, which was arranged by the Sandakan Inter Church. According to them, they were supposed to have their first visit on 4th July 2009 but were denied entry to the prison due to some technical glitch. Their approval was granted on 17th Jun 2009 from the Ministry of Home Affairs which took more than 3 months to be screened and processed by the said authority.

First visit 4/7/09 (Denied entry) – (L-R) Pastor Yanson Aban (SIB) and Stephen Chai (St Mary)

When asked of their experience, they have these to share “It was a privilege to meet our two brothers in Christ, Hussin Sauting (SIB) and James Gorou (Baptist) who encouraged and guided us on how they conducted the fellowship and some guidelines on the one hour activity. When we were in the waiting room prior to entrance inside the prison compound, a lot of negative thoughts came to our mind, for example the state of safety we are in and the level of acceptance among the prisoners. But by the grace of God, what we see inside are human beings thirsting for God, hunger for the good news, lonely and lost. There were some 20 inmates who attended the session where they joined in the praise and worship, proclamation of the scripture and reflection. The heat inside the room didn’t hamper the fellowship, in fact they joined whole heartedly and it was really touching to see them during the fellowship.”

Mr Stephen hoped that more will respond to the calling to serve for it is through selfless service that we could reach out to others. The call to commitment in service is most appropriate to Matt 25:35-36, 'for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.' Those interested to commit themselves in this Ministry may contact Raymond Wong, the RC representative of the Sandakan Inter Church.

Second visit 11/7/09 – (L-R) Stephen Chai, James Gorou and Hussin Sauting.

Report and photos by Dalius Lobinjang

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