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a_couple_in_prison_-_part_1 [2018/07/29 01:22] (current)
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 +=A Couple In Prison - Part 1=
 +The residents of condominium unit 2407 are
 +frequently in and out of jail. Romy and Susan
 +Ramos are not felons, though. They simply
 +love doing the Lord's work for prison inmates
 +whom they call "our brothers in the Lord."
 +
 +Romy has been serving as the National Coordinator of the CFC
 +Prison Ministry since 1997, taking over the assignment from Ben
 +Donato, a CFC missionary who gave his life while on mission. Romy
 +was Provincial Area Head of CFC Abra prior to this assignment. He
 +recalls going from one difficulty to another at the start of his prison
 +mission. There was the cold reception from, and the indifference of,
 +the inmates themselves. There was the heartbreaking experience of
 +listening to endless litanies of inmates'​ needs, heartaches and cries
 +for justice. Most frustrating of all, there was the impression that he
 +stood alone in performing this God-given mission.
 +
 +Susan too felt somewhat "​lost"​ at the start. Her initiation into the
 +mission was a virtual baptism of fire , especially since she was
 +informed that there would be a CLP at the Correctional only on the
 +first day of the CLP itself! "When I got to the correctional,​ everybody
 +had a task to fulfill except myself. I prayed to God, telling Him that
 +since this was obviously His plan for me, He had to take care of all
 +my concerns. After the Orientation Talk, imagine my surprise when I
 +was called in as the sharer since the original sharer backed out! But
 +the Holy Spirit was truly present. My sharing touched most of the
 +participants since they could relate to what I had been through. They
 +found a kindred spirit in me because I too was once in spiritual bondage.
 +When I accepted Jesus, everything was transformed. I gave my life to
 +God in gratitude to Him."
 +
 +The Prison Ministry Council was created in 1999 with Romy as
 +Chairman and with Nides Respicio, Oca Lagman, Man Buyco and
 +Boobom Laracas as members. The adoption of clear guidelines
 +governing the prison ministry made the work a bit easier. Also, more
 +and more people began to give their support.
 +
 +==Highly personalized==
 +Seeking to establish rapport with the women inmates, Susan
 +decided to spend regular time with them every week, giving
 +up the luxury of simply staying at home. "In the beginning, I
 +would go to the correctional everyday, just interacting with
 +the women. A touching moment for me was when one inmate
 +affirmed how my sharing inspired those who heard it." Until
 +now, Susan visits the women twice a week, sometimes even
 +more, especially if there is a concern that needs to be
 +addressed. One needs to be cautious though, Susan said,
 +because these women are fed up with being corrected! So
 +she attends to them as a trusted friend who is genuinely
 +interested in their lives, and not as someone in authority.
 +
 +Susan likewise discovered that for the sisters there, the need
 +to grow in spiritual maturity is just one of their concerns. "They
 +also have practical needs. The inmates would tell me that
 +though they had been there for 15 years, their actual needs
 +had not been really addressed. They would tell me, 'how can
 +you tell me about God's love for me, while I'm here worrying
 +about the family I left behind, without any relatives to support
 +them?" Susan discovered that the inmates worry not just
 +about forgiveness from those they have wronged or about
 +being rejected by family; they are also burdened by physical
 +illnesses. Susan found an avenue to address this particular
 +concern by constantly sharing the inmates'​ plight in Elders'​
 +Core Group gatherings of CFC. The response was
 +overwhelming. Members donated cash and basic necessities
 +such as shampoo, toothpaste, bath soap, sanitary napkins,
 +laundry bars, and coffee.
 +
 +==We keep them going!==
 +Aside from providing the inmates spiritual nourishment
 +through weekly prayer meetings, the Prison Ministry sees to
 +it that their physical needs are also met. Susan and her
 +group provide toiletries to the inmates every month. The
 +Medical Mission of CFC conducts twice-yearly missions at
 +the Correctional. "​Through the services of the Medical
 +Mission, we discovered several cancer cases, and praise
 +God all these were addressed before it was too late," Susan
 +beamed. She admits however that there are certain items
 +they have no way of addressing such as bed mites, viral
 +infections and asthma attacks. Nevertheless,​ total health is
 +the goal, that is why Susan and Romy regularly give vitamins
 +to both men and women inmates to strengthen their
 +resistance and promote general good health.
 +
 +"We also give them livelihood programs at the correctional,"​
 +Susan said, "such as crocheting and card-making,​ since
 +boredom is a major concern."​ Susan has helped them sell
 +their finished products, giving them back the profit. For the
 +first time, many of the inmates were able to send hard-earned
 +money to their families. Susan has issued an appeal for
 +sewing machines for the women inmates in order
 +to further improve their opportunities to earn.
 +
 +There is even a program for prisoners who are
 +eventually pardoned or who have completed their
 +sentence. Upon release, the prison ministry
 +members led by Romy and Susan visit the
 +inmates at their homes to check their condition
 +and to provide help in whatever way they can.
 +One important function of the ministry at the post-release
 +stage is to make sure that the men and
 +women are integrated as members of our
 +community in their respective areas. Some have
 +even been given jobs.
 +
 +
 +
 +[[Category:​Home]] | [[Category:​Religion]] | [[Category:​Christianity]] | [[Category:​Society]] | [[Category:​Regional]] | [[Category:​Asia]] |  | [[Category:​Family]] | [[Category:​Organizations]]
  

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