by an Australian Pioneer in Fiji
As a people group, prisoners and ex-prisoners have unique needs. Not only are they defined by crime, incarceration and negative community attitudes, unique relational issues and varying degrees of dysfunction also define them.
Serving this people group is intensely demanding and incredibly exciting. We don’t use one particular program or approach, but rather what has worked for us is a mosaic of creative ideas that build on the central idea of “relationship.”
We begin by investing ourselves into relationship with the prisoner, to help them explore a relationship with Jesus. We gather families, villages and churches together to receive, reconcile and support the returning prodigal son or daughter from prison.
We then continue in relationship past the prison gate to illustrate to the community the value that we see in the relationship with this person. Each relationship that is built gives us the keys with which to listen, love and extend grace. The goal is that each prisoner, family and community would have their eyes opened to see beyond sin, dysfunction and prejudice and rather embrace their completeness in Christ.
The cost is wonderfully huge. But understanding that it cost God his Son and Christ his life to build relationship with us and our dysfunction—what else can any of us do?