On Saturday, the University of Kentucky service team traveled to the city of Debra Zeit, about 30 miles southeast of Addis Ababa. Samy and Ruth have a YWAM work in that area that includes ministry to at least two prisons. This day, the three football players got a first-hand look at a very different penal system than ours in the U.S. and had the privilege of providing some comfort to the men who were imprisoned there.
This particular prison appeared to be a rather minimum security facility! These men have all been charged with a crime and will stay here until they are either convicted or cleared. Guilty until proven innocent.
Prisons, much the same as most hospitals in Ethiopia, do not provide food or any comfort items. Family and friends have to bring these things to the men living there. But many have been imprisoned far from home and don’t have anyone to supply their needs. Samy, Ruth and their ministry partner, Raji, have a heart to share the love of Christ with these men and regularly prepare and deliver hot meals. On this day, they had butchered a goat and made up a fresh wat (Ethiopian stew) along with injera to serve.
The players handed out a tin of warm food, some fruit, a bag of toiletries and a copy of the Bible to each man.
Some men opened and read from their new bibles before diving into their much-appreciated lunches.
Later in the day, they stopped at another prison that Samy and Ruth regularly visit.
Mark Wolbert briefly shared about YWAM’s ministry and how Christ’s love is the reason they were there.
It was a privilege to come alongside Samy and Ruth and the vital ministry they provide to these prisoners. Jeff said that there was much appreciation expressed – by those who received but also by those who gave – for greatly different reasons. The team reflected on how much we have and take for granted and were grateful for the opportunity to give to these men.