FREEDOM BEHIND BARS
BY: MANDY LIEBIG
On March 16, 2017, Gideons in the Dominican Republic participated in a distribution at a police station. After providing each officer with a New Testament, the Gideons received permission to distribute New Testaments and speak to prisoners being held at the police station. “We soon discovered there was one only prisoner inside, and he observed us with curiosity as we handed Scriptures to police personnel,” said Gideon Robinson Candelario. “When we approached him, he introduced himself as Carlos, and he asked for a New Testament. I knew nothing about what he might be dealing with personally, but I felt led to share Psalm 27, so I opened the New Testament and began reading:
“Hear, O Lord, when I cry aloud; be gracious to me and answer me! You have said, ‘seek my face.’ My heart says to you, ‘Your face, Lord, do I seek…’ For my father and my mother have forsaken me, but the Lord will take me in.”
Robinson was surprised by the reaction Carlos had to these words. It was clear they affected him in a mighty way. After a few silent moments, Carlos shared the story of his childhood. He lost his father when he was only two years old. Not long after, his mother abandoned him. As such, the young man grew up without familial love, guidance, and social acceptance. Now, he was 18, trapped behind bars, bitter, and dejected.
…regardless of where he was or where he had been, God accepted him and loved him, as a father loves a son.
The passage from Psalms moved him because it assured him regardless of where he was or where he had been, God accepted him and loved him, as a father loves a son. “With a heartbroken, but touched by the power of the message of God, when he listened to the plan of salvation, Carlos accepted Christ as his Savior,” said Robinson. “In one simple, honest moment, the life of this young man was changed. He may face more troubles in life, but he now has ultimate peace. How awesome is our God.”