Hope Is Never Lost by Dicky Jiang

A photo-essay by Dicky Jiang.

“For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.”
— Matthew 25:35-36

I have been here before but without my camera. And this time it’s a bit different.

There were 30 people greeted us with smile on their faces. They were complete strangers yet some helped us carry our luggage. They were the inmates of Kebon Waru prison whom I visited on May 26, this time with a team from Pondok Daud Ministry. We were to give service on their small chapel.

At the checking point we have to leave our cellphones behind and all male visitors got stamped on their hands. We brought along some lunch and some toothpaste and soap to give out to the prisoners. When I arrived at the entrance of the chapel, I was surprised to see a familiar face — someone whom I’ve never imagined to meet in this place — a friend from a long time ago.

I felt something different when the service started, something I haven’t found on our normal services. Seeing all the faces beaming with happiness, enthusiastically following the leader, singing and even going toward the altar and start dancing. My heart was moved seeing them, young and old, enthusiastically praising God and receiving blessing that day. Afterward, they even asked us to give weekly service.

It’s not until the end that I realized something. A friend in our team — who has just been released from the same prison a month ago — said that our service is a blessing for the inmates because after 2 hours they have to go back to their cells. For them, this is the best time – the highlight – of the day.

I’m thankful for this unique and precious experience — to share hope to those imprisoned. Now, it’s time for them to turn away from their past sins and guilts, knowing that hope is never lost – it’s just waiting for them beyond their sentence time and the thick walls.

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