By Kudzai Chingwe
Sept. 13, 2023 | HARARE, Zimbabwe (UM News)
Editor’s note: For security purposes, only the first names of incarcerated individuals have been used.
In an effort to share God’s love with those in need, The United Methodist Church brought hundreds of prisoners at Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison to Christ.
The prison is known for incarcerating men who have committed violent crimes such as murder, carjacking, human trafficking, sexual offenses, treason and robbery.
The Church and Society committee of The United Methodist Church’s Harare East District led the prison fellowship ministry.
The Rev. Timiyo Chuma, the provincial prison chaplain, said he is grateful for the church’s outreach.
“The transformation of inmates is a process and is a culmination of the work of many stakeholders and interventions. However, the effort of The UMC was amazing. It was physical, material and spiritual.”
The Rev. Oscar Nyasha Mukahanana, Harare East District superintendent, said after preaching and worshipping and receiving supplies from the church, 200 inmates offered their souls to Christ. “Two weeks later, the church was invited to witness their fruits as 350 inmates were baptized,” he said.
“The event was very emotional and exciting as I preached to the inmates from Matthew 25:35-37, which defines why we were at the prison as a church,” Mukahanana said. “The purpose was to evangelize and encourage them to accept Jesus Christ as their Savior, regardless of the gravity or heinousness of their crimes, geographical location and age.”
He said it is the church's mandate to express God's love through visiting and sharing with those in prisons.
“It was through God's grace that in my 25 years in ministry, I experienced such a response of 200 people (inmates) offering their souls to Christ at once. What a big catch,” he said.
The Rev. David Mupaya, Harare East District connectional ministries chairperson, said evangelism is about using every opportunity to spread the Word.
“Together with inmates, we danced (and) beat the drums as we praised and worshipped God, and we got instant results.”