Inmates follow Jesus through baptism

Pastor John Leeman baptises an inmate at Teoumaville church.

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Seventeen inmates from the me­dium-risk prison in Port Vila (Vanuatu) were baptised on Sabbath, March 23 at Teoumaville Seventh-day Adventist Church as a result of the church’s prison ministry.

The inmates were escorted to the church by cor­rectional officers in prison vehicles. A number of government dignitaries witnessed the baptism, including First Political Advisor of Internal Affairs, George Naunun, and di­rector of correctional services Johnny Marango. Elders from several Adven­tist churches in Port Vila were also present.

“The prison ministries from churches have made our rehabili­tation programs effective,” Mr Marango said. “It releases a lot of tension . . . it has prepared them to go back to their communities as changed persons.” [pullquote]

Teoumaville is one of the churches on Efate that is active in prison ministry. Head elder Jackson Miake said, “Our prison ministry has a leader who was nominated and voted in our meetings because we see the need in our prisons.”

Each Sabbath minister Jack Tahun and Jackson Noal have a one-hour worship program with the prisoners. Their ministry started a few years ago. At the start they spoke about topics that motivated, encour­aged and brought hope to the inmates.

Mr Tahun said, “We do this min­istry because Jesus said in His Word, ‘When I was in prison you visited me.’”

Prior to the baptism, Teoumaville church pastor John Leeman presented a message on the life of Paul, with the 17 inmates and correctional service officers seated in the pews. Pastor Lee­man said, “Sometimes God chooses people who are terrible sinners and changes them to men and women He could use in His work.”

Following the baptism a potluck lunch was served.

Last year two baptisms were conducted for inmates in the low-risk prison. Twelve inmates were baptised in Epauto church and another 12 were baptised inside the prison.

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