Christ is incarcerated at Whawha Medium Security Prison…as well as at any other penitentiary institution, that’s according to the gospel of Saint Matthew 25 verse 37.
A student at the Midlands State University (MSU) Graduate School of Business in Gweru, Ellen says she feels empty when she fails to visit a prison to see inmate for more than a month.
“It is more like a conviction. It started when I experienced nightmares, seeing inmates crying out for help from me. The moment I started visiting prison, all that ended,” she reveals to The Flame News. When she is not at school, she keeps an eye on another of her sons at Mutimurefu (Masvingo Central) Prison. Her parents own a farm next to the prison.
As the Zimsec November exams deadline draws nigh, Ellen is juggling her study time table, and time to raise fees for the inmates from her classmates and friends. She has been co-opted into the Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services (ZPCS) Fundraising Committee for the Midlands/Masvingo Region
Says Adam Horstman, a scholar at St Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary: “In St. Matthew’s Gospel, we see that in meeting the needs of the hungry, sick, and imprisoned, we are ministering directly to Jesus, who considers the poor, sick, and the imprisoned to be his brothers.
“Theology must be applied in the concrete reality of our everyday existence. By giving our lives unto others in the love of God, we see the face of Jesus our Lord.”
Dr Augustine Deke, the senior pastor at United Apostolic Faith Church in Gweru, argues that prison is a state of the mind. “It is possible for prison wardens to daily watch over inmates, with the officers in ‘prison’ themselves, and the inmates free.” Deke, a retired journalist, also frequently visits Whawha to assist inmates.
Past Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC) President Luxon Zembe and his wife Charity, ardent Adventists heavily involved in prison work agree: “We adopt pets. We adopt children. Why not adopt a prisoner,” he asks. He and several church members have been supporting inmates at Whawha Young Offenders, and had a satellite dish installed so that the youngsters can listen to gospel music and sermons.
Human rights activist Dr Martin Luther Jnr once said: “When I die, do not tell my children that I was a Nobel laureate or multiple awards winner. Tell them I visited the sick in hospitals and prisoners in jail.
Luther was speaking at the funeral of Malik Shabbaz, known to the world as Malcoim X.
Day in and day out we hear of inmates suffering of hunger and mutter: “they deserve it.” How untrue! Vengeance is God’s. Your part is to feed them and make them feel at home.
According to Pope John Paul II, “A society will be judged on the basis of how it treats its weakest members and among the most vulnerable are surely the unborn and the dying.”
Sir Winston Churchill, then Britain’s Prime Minister, once said that “you measure the degree of civilization of a society by how it treats its weakest members.”