On my mission trip to the Philippines in the Summer of 2019, I was able to teach at one of the local prisons. The title of my message was “Freedom.”
We were putting on a Freedom Camp for a group of girls that were rescued from human trafficking, and the goal for the mission trip was to show them, with a relationship with Jesus Christ, they were free.
Since we were teaching on Freedom all week, I thought it would be a good idea to continue to talk about Freedom at the prison. The message was from Luke 4:18-19.
“The Spirit of the Lord is on me because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” Luke 4:18-19 NIV
Using these points, I taught about the verse. Jesus came to:
I. Share the Good News
II. Give Freedom to the Prisoners
III. Recover the sight of the blind
IV. Free the Oppressed
V. Proclaim the Year of the Lord
In my message, I explained to them that the Good News was that God sent His Son to die on the cross for their sins. I told them how Jesus wanted them to be free, but not just physically but mentally as well. And if their minds were free, their bodies would not have to be in prison. I taught them how Jesus healed Blind Bartimaeus of his physical blindness but that was a picture of His ability to heal us of our Spiritual Blindness. I explained how we all were spiritually blind at one point in our lives but once we have a relationship with Jesus, we are able to see spiritually.
I taught them how Jesus wants our souls, minds and spirit free - free of Oppression - and how He wants our bodies to be free as well. Because I was speaking through a translator and I could tell that they didn’t understand what the word oppressed meant, I gave them an example using the translator.
I said that oppression is like carrying a hefty weight. When you carry that weight too long, it begins to press you down. I then put my hands on the translator's shoulders and began to press down on him. I told them the longer you carry that weight the more oppress you will become. I mentioned addiction to alcohol, then I pressed down on the translator and he bent. Then I said, “addiction to drugs,” and he went down a little lower. I spoke of sexual impurity and the translator went down more and I said “murder, theft, lying, cheating,” and he laid down on the floor.
Then I begin to quote scriptures to them, telling them about God’s promises. I began to quote the scriptures over the translator, telling them that God wanted them to be free of oppression. And with each verse, the translator would stand up a little taller until he was not oppressed by his sins but he was Freed by the Love of Jesus Christ.
I ended the message with the meaning of the Year of the Lord, based on this verse:
“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” Galatians 5:1 NIV
I told them that God loved them so much that He gave His only Son so that they could be Free, and the only thing they had to do, was believe that Jesus died for their sins and He wanted them to be physically, mentally, and spiritually free. God gave His Son so that we could have Freedom.
Three of the prisoners gave their life to Christ that day, and about 80% of them in the room rededicated their life back to Christ and asked for prayer for strength and direction.
There was this one guy in the room that it seemed like everyone feared or respected, depending on how you looked at it. As I was teaching, he kept his attention on me and made sure that everyone else around him was not messing around but listening. What I found out from the guards after we left was that he was one of the leaders of the ruling gangs in that prison and because he liked us, everyone was FREE to listen and participate in the service because he okayed it.
You can Find Wisdom in a Small Men's Prison in Manila, Philippines.
Random picture of me playing with the kids after our feeding program. And it's a great picture of how free kids are even if they have oppression all around them. They find a way to have fun.
At another feeding event, we played a round of basketball with the locals. And of course we won, lol.