Prison ministries leaders from the Carolina Conference have started a prison ministry in the country of India. This idea originated when Robert Dhason, a member of the West Columbia, S.C., Church, and a friend of the president of the Northern India Union section, brought this need to the attention of the prison ministry team in the Carolinas.
There was no Adventist prison ministry in India prior to this trip. The initiative was met with tremendous support. The Southern Union provided the cost for the plane ticket, and the rest of the funds for the trip were donated by Columbia First, West Columbia, Irmo, Three Angels, Midtown, and Charleston churches. With the cost covered, Robert Dhason, Larry Barker, Tony Bowers, and William Morgan set out to make it happen.
In India the team visited churches, schools, and hospitals in Karnataka and Bangalore. Students, teachers, and Pathfinders actually had the opportunity to go into the prison and teach inmates about hygiene. They also taught local doctors and nurses about reaching out to the prisoners.
The group felt immensely blessed by the welcome they received from the churches in India.
“There was one church that was the smallest but most spiritual church we went to,” said Barker. “They just kept saying ‘pray for me, pray for me.’ They wouldn’t let us leave until we prayed for them.”
Another man, an individual from another denomination, had been going into the prisons for quite some time. He was impressed with what the Carolina group was doing, and has since become a part of the Seventh-day Adventist prison ministry in India.
“The goal is outreach,” said Barker. “Where there is an inmate there is also a family, so we’re able to reach the inmates and their families. Service and outreach go hand in hand.”
Carolina | September 2019