James 1:2 - "Consider it WHOLLY JOYFUL, my brethren, whenever you are enveloped in or encounter trials of any sort or fall into various temptations"
More than often it is very hard to describe or give feedback on the "Prison Ministry" side of what we do here in Thailand. People who have visited the inmates before will most probably agree with this statement. Many people would just like to know what are they in for. What did they do? How long must they be in prison for? It is understandable for these questions to be asked though and sure yes, they committed a crime, they sinned (like we all do) and they pleaded guilty in court and are serving the penalty the Government laid out to them.
. . . but just a handful or even just one out of a hundred will ask - "have they repented before God and received the Gospel of Jesus Christ?" YES YES they did. In fact they just didn't received it and accepted it, but God uses them to build up His Church inside the prisons and they are just so exited to share news with you on how they share the Gospel inside the prison when you visit them. They have church service, praise and worship sessions, have communion and even baptize just like any other church do. Some of the guys are even studying Theology and with almost no resources available (no internet, no computers etc) they are excelling through their studies. They don't mind writing their assessments of 80-150 pages by hand - posting it out through the post office and keep on praying until they get a letter saying that their assessments have been received. They have no back up should an assessment get lost and they have to start all over again.
Just last week I had the privilege to take a Italian Translated Bible to a guy who was given the death sentence. His prison is 1350km away from us. He radically came to salvation (a beautiful story) and asked if we could help him to get a Bible translated in his own language. He is not allowed to receive books by postage so I had to travel and take the Bibles we got for him personally to him. He is the only Christian (at this moment) inside his prison. He needs to be supported, assisted with Bible study etc. Things that we have the comfort in doing with other fellow Christians.
These guys are HERO's. They inspire people and are true "Paul's" of our time. We admire them, they inspire us for they are our brothers and sisters in Christ. In fact, their prison is not much different from our own prison we find ourselves in.