Prison ministry thrives in Cebu as ICOC PH sees 64 baptisms
God is indeed in control as the International Churches of Christ (ICOC) Philippines has seen 64 baptisms and restorations since January to mid-April 2020 amid the Covid-19 global pandemic that put most of cities and provinces in the country under enhanced community quarantine even as the Celebrate Recovery Ministry (CRM) of ICOC Cebu continues to thrive at the Bagong Buhay Rehabilitation Center (BBRC) seeing three more inmates baptized into Christ.
Evangelist Danny Cabadsan of ICOC Cebu shared the good news during his Congregational Online Worship Service communion message on April 19 via Youtube and Facebook.
He said since the CRM program at BBRC began in May 2019, eight prisoners were baptized in October, five more made Jesus Lord in December and three also went under the waters of baptism in March 2020 during the Cebu lockdown.“Currently, there are 15 who are studying the Bible and about 10 expressed their desire to also get baptized,” he said in Messenger interview with this writer.
To date, 17 became disciples inside BBRC, which houses prisoners with various cases including drug-related ones. Two of them were recently released, Amen! The two brothers are already in touch with ICOC Cebu disciples, especially with the CRM led by Erwin and Pia Quisido.
He said, “This is is truly God’s work! If there is anyone who can tell what real confinement is it’s our brothers in the prison cell. They may be locked up for years or may be for a lifetime but their spirits are freed by the word of God.”
The CRM, according to Kuya Danny, has been making an impact to people inside BBRC such as the jail warden and other jail officers.
“Na-appreciate ng jail warden ang ginagawa namin (The jail warden appreciates what we have been doing with the prisoners. This can be a model program for the entire Philippines,” he said.
Since the CRM has a special program for BBRC inmates, the church was granted permit as service provider where brothers could visit the jail facility every first and third Wednesday of the month. From 1-3 p.m., ICOC Cebu disciples conduct, Bible studies, counseling sessions and counting the costs, among others. They usually share food with the inmates and eat with them, too.
Disciples also visit the families of jailed brothers to encourage them and share God’s Word to them.
Inmates under CRM’s BBRC program have to undergo 12 steps and a series of count the costs before they get baptized. Once they are freed, the CRM will continue to walk with them and help them adjust in their lives outside of prison.
Meanwhile, 350 persons are currently studying the Bible online with ICOC Philippines disciples. This just shows that God’s Word still thrives and won’t be stopped from spreading despite a lockdown. Some 30 have already gotten baptized and restored since the ECQ was in effect.