Reformed criminals lead walk

2017-11-21 06:00
Young dancers held placards during the prayer walk. They also performed at the event to bring a message of hope.

Young dancers held placards during the prayer walk. They also performed at the event to bring a message of hope.

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Orange prison jumpsuits worn by reformed criminals walked the streets of Lentegeur for one very important reason – to encourage the youth to stay away from a life of crime.

As part of an annual initiative by local churches, more than 300 residents joined these men for a prayer walk in Lentegeur on Sunday 12 November.

The joint venture by Jehovah Jireh Community Outreach Ministries and Abhukaluli Prison Ministries started at the Jehovah church in Kreupelhout Street at 14:30 and ended at the Agapanthus park.

“About two years ago, I started visiting Pollsmoor prison and ministering there,” says evangelist Cecil Isaacs, pastor of the Jehovah Jireh Community Outreach ­Ministries.

It was here that he and fellow pastors helped prisoners to reform. This led to their first prayer walk last November.

“The main aim of this walk is to bring hope and encourage the youth to not get involved in drugs, gangsterism and crime,” says Isaacs.

The walk was led by the flags of 50 countries, followed by a local brass band and around 300 people from all over the Cape Flats, says Isaacs.

The reformed criminals in their jumpsuits were also accompanied by young dancers who held up placards and a total of 50 cars.

The walk followed AZ Berman Drive and ended with encouraging talks by some of the former prisoners who shared their stories, as well as ministry by the pastors.

There was also an act by local spiritual dancers.

“We prayed for the community and for an end to the crime and gangsterism. We finished around 18:00 and by the time we finished, no-one wanted to leave,” says Isaacs.

Abhukaluli Prison Ministries is an initiative by various churches in Mitchell’s Plain and surrounds that came together under one umbrella to minister at prisons and help criminals to reform.

Part of their work is to help prisoners find God while still in prison.

The former prisoners who joined the walk are all reformed criminals who were released after serving their sentences.

“These are really hardened criminals. There are some with murder and rape charges with sentences of 25 years,” says Isaacs.

“The jumpsuits they are wearing are replicas and we have permission from the correctional services department to wear them.”

The main organisers were Isaacs and his wife Zelda of Jehovah Jireh Community Outreach Ministries, pastors of Abukaluli Prison Ministries and evangelist George Crayford.

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