May 2011: A New Way is Possible
Go, stand in the temple court and tell the people the full message of this new life. Acts 5:20
The prison of Basse-Terre has been making the French news lately, unfortunately, for the wrong reasons. It was ranked the worst prison of France. Tim Rose, Global Ministries missionary in Guadeloupe says, I am assigned as both prison chaplain and “reinsertion” counselor at the prison of Basse-Terre.
Originally built in 1660, as a catholic convent, it was converted into a prison in 1772. Not only is the prison old and rundown, the prison is extremely overcrowded. Set up to hold 130 prisoners its current population is approximately 200 and there are only two social workers assigned to work with the prisoners.
The Protestant Reformed Church of Guadeloupe (PRCG) has a prison chaplaincy program and a partnership with a local non-profit organization, “Accolade Caraibes”, to maintain a presence in the prison. I accompany the prisoners spiritually, and I help them make plans to re-enter society after their release. Through job training, spiritual support, family counseling, transitional housing opportunities and acting as a link between the prisoners and the parole board, I try to help prisoners create a new life for themselves.
Obviously the challenges are immense. Through listening, prayer and helping prisoners find real solutions to their problems, many have come to realize that God’s promise of new life is possible.
Please pray for the prison population of Guadeloupe and the work of the Prison Chaplains and the social workers of Accolade Caraibes.
Tim Rose serves with the Reformed Church of France as the Pastoral Assistant for Diaconal Ministries in Guadeloupe and Martinique.