Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Prison outreach ministry

by Katherine Parker

Last time I was home in California, one of our partner churches in Bakersfield gave me two suitcases of health kits prepared by the VBS kids to bring back to Cambodia. During a recent visit to Kompong Chhnang for a Medical Outreach Clinic I shared the kits to Rev. Ean Hun and his wife Pastor Sophean. They were very pleased to receive them in support of the prison outreach ministry of the church in Kompong Chhnang. They shared a few stories with me about the significance of this ministry.

The prison in Kompong Chhnang has 280 men in terrible conditions. Rev. Hun said that the men have to sleep in 2 hour shifts because there is a shortage of beds, there is a lack of food resulting in swollen bellies and a prevalence of itchy skin rashes due to a lack of soap and hygiene supplies. Rev. Hun has been visiting the prisoners, and when available, bringing food (basically only men who have relatives who visit have food to eat), soap and detergent for washing clothes. He has been leading a bible study and recently distributed 12 bibles to men who had been participating.

He was very pleased to have the health kits sent from Bakersfield, and shared them with the men with whom he is working. We talked a bit about his hope to be able to provide soap, detergent (for washing clothes) and liniment oil to all of the men at another point in the future. He also hopes to establish a library of Khmer language literature for the men to use during their 1 hour of release each day.

Recently, one of the prisoners Rev Hun has been working with was released. Rev. Hun has invited him to stay at the church and to lead a nearby church group without a pastor.

This is a wonderful partnership that has come out of your generosity. I am so pleased that we could support the outreach of the Cambodian Christians in this prison ministry in this way.

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