My experience in Keffi Prison

I’ve desired to visit a Prison Cell for a while (not as an inmate), in fact it was on my To-Do list last year but the year ended without accomplishing it but like I said in an earlier post there’s really nothing wrong in carrying over an unexecuted plan into a new year. Once the announcement was made in Church for volunteers to Keffi Prison in Nasarawa State I knew God was giving me another opportunity to fulfil my desire.

I had mixed feelings early in the morning cos’ I wasn’t sure what I was going to say to the inmates if given an opportunity to speak to them and I didn’t want to break down in tears. I couldn’t tell them I understood how they felt cos’ I’ve never been in a cell before; I just prayed a simple prayer and asked God to place the right words in my mouth. We cooked three different dishes for them and tied up garri and sugar in small bags for them, incidentally they prefer the garri to the food guess you know why but for those who don’t know, I’ll help you out. Soaked garri has a way of filling the stomach up and they can feed on it for many days *takes deep breath*.

When we got to the prison we were given tags and I was told if I misplaced it I wouldn’t be leaving (I quickly tucked my own deep down my pocket), phones were not allowed inside so I couldn’t take any pictures. We got to their meeting ground and the slogan Happy Home! was chanted by the Comptroller and the inmates responded Happy Family! I just sat down there staring at the inmates and wondering what’s happy about a prison cell but then again it’s their temporal home and life’s a journey irrespective of the route we take, we’ve to find a way to make the most out of each experience.

One of us gave an exhortation and something stood out to me, he said anyone can be on the other side (which is their side) but for the grace of God… That’s so true, some of us may have committed some offences and weren’t caught, some were caught but given another chance and some of us may have taken the 2nd, 3rd or even 20th chance for granted let’s take heed we may never have another chance next time.

We shared the food with the large chunks of meat, that even one of the warders said it’s good to be in prison ohh *smh vigorously*. I noticed we only attended to the male inmates who were above 100 in number; after sometime we were asked to go see the female inmates. They were about 19, an old woman was with them (just wondering her offence); a lady was crying, the food that put smiles on the faces of the inmates meant nothing to her and when I asked I was told she was brought in a few days earlier on cos’ of a marital issue she had with her husband, her child of 4 years lives with her and she doesn’t know who’s taking care of her child (guess she doesn’t live with her husband). Looking at the ladies and the good command of English from one of them got me teary-eyed; it could have been me but for the grace of God… Just when I thought I had seen it all, an inmate who was clearing the coolers picked up a piece of meat from the floor I wanted to give a dog, dusted it straight into his pocket. Oh Lord!!! How often have we wasted food?

Some of the inmates may deserve to be in there some may not but they have chosen to make the most out of it; some are good shoe-makers, crafts-men, one recently wrote Senior School Certificate Examination (SSCE). Question is, what are you doing with your freedom? What excuse are you giving? We often need to spend some time on the other side of life to appreciate the things we have. Did I enjoy my visit? Yes, cos’ it reminded me of some important lessons of life but above all the message in Matthew 25:26 said “I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me with help and ministering help, I was in prison and you came to see me” AMP. I was humbled to be a member of the visiting team. I’m human and still have all my weaknesses including selfishness resident in me but God keeps on pruning me daily. I’m learning to be more practical in my love walk, like Pastor Sarah will say “don’t say you love me show me”. I think we’ve preached that message a lot, let’s get down to the practical aspect.

LOADS OF LOVE

JMAD

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Fast Lane

Fast lane

It was a beautiful Sunday morning. I had woken up a little late and I needed to be in church on time (if you remember my bouncing episode I talked about in Tomorrow Never Comes). I got to church a little past 6.30 a.m., getting to the gate I saw a minister in the Youth Church trying to get some change to pay the cab man. I had the exact amount in my hand but I had plans for it in church. I simply told her ‘bye’ and ran off to meet prayers in church leaving her behind. So much for been a Christian. (Yea I can see you shaking your head in disbelief)

Beyond Sight

Just imagine you are watching a dual view TV, press pause and play backwards to June 2012 on the other screen. I had closed from work. A friend gave me a lift to somewhere convenient to get a cab and suddenly the Heaven’s opened up and I had some good showers of rain. I had no umbrella, no sort of shade close by and it was getting dark. The more I stretched my hand for a taxi the greater the intensity of the downpour. I literally gave up and just stood helpless until an angel in form of a Policeman stopped. He offered me a ride, not bothered I was soaked and will mess his car up (and please don’t give me the talk of me being a lady) it was already dark. He wasn’t going my way so he stopped me where he had to turn off. I started another journey on foot, thanks to the crazy traffic on the road and just then a car turned off from the traffic to help me. An elderly Muslim; he took me straight to my house and that was it.

Love Boots

We are all conversant with the Good Samaritan story (Luke 10 vs 25 -37). In the two stories I shared, I was the priest who passed by the lady who needed the change (I didn’t want to get to church late). Did I mention I eventually got in late; and I ask, did Christ die for the church or for human beings? The policeman and the Muslim were the good Samaritans depicted in the Bible.

I won’t go through the stress of asking if you’ve acted like the priest, maybe you’ve been a saint all your life rather, I’ll speak directly to those of us who’ve Christianity placed on our forehead and our actions are a far cry from what it ought to be.

Most of us are on the fast lane. We are like racers in Formula One, our eyes are fixed on the finishing line and we can’t afford to look left or right, in fact if someone gets in our way we may run them down. It took my selfish action to realise this hard truth.

Just like we’ve been having a series on “LOVE” in church and God reminded me through His daughter Pst. Sarah Omakwu, people are tired of hearing Jesus loves them, all they need is food, shelter, clothing, money to go to school etc. Just the simple necessities of life. We love this phrase ‘It’s well’. Who knows, I may have given that lady the same reply even when I had the solution to her needs in my hand. Someone is sick and needs to buy drugs, you’ve the money with you and you pat the person on the shoulder and say It’s well.

We don’t have to wait to have our names enlisted on Forbes’s magazine to help someone. All we need is a willing heart and the push we need will be available. Make up your mind to be the reason, there’s a smile on someone’s face. Don’t ask someone to come back tomorrow, when you can help them today. You just never know who’s at the edge of the cliff waiting to take a dive.

Kind words

You may have been like me, selfish and concerned with the finishing line, but one experience changed it. Truth is there’s no set time to get to the finishing line of life. We can stop and pick people up. When we’re gone, it’s the little seed of kindness that will prove we walked this earth. I’ll end with the words of Beyoncé in the song ‘I WAS HERE’

I want to say I lived each day, until I died

And know that I meant something in, somebody’s life

The hearts I have touched, will be the proof that I lived

That I made a difference and this world will see

I was here

I lived, I loved

I was here

I did, I’ve done everything that I wanted

And it was more than I thought it would be

I will leave my mark so everyone will know

LOADS OF LOVE

JMAD.