Behind Prison Doors
Today I went into the only women's prison in Costa Rica. Supposedly, I had permission to go in but when we arrived at the gates it appeared my name was not on the list. So I was left at the guard station for about an hour and a half waiting to see if I could get permission while the others went in without me. I was slightly agitated but just started praying under my breath for the Lord to work it out. In the meantime, I was able to chat and share about what I was doing in Costa Rica and El Salvador with one of the guards. I finally was given written permission from the Director to go in but I was not able to bring in my camera. I happened to come into the nursery as a Pastor was dedicating to the Lord some of the new babies born to the inmates. So we were able to pray over these babies and their moms. We also gave out about 15 questionnaires to the women to fill out about their life, as a mother, in prison. Many women started crying as they were filling out our papers. Marking they felt like they did not deserve to be mothers and how they will never forgive themselves. Many of the women are in for drug trafficking but a few were in for homicide. The living conditions were pretty bad but they do all have their own little room and the children sleep with them. The nursery we were in is completely ran by the women from Bandera Blanca. As we were leaving the women from the U.S., who is in prison for coming to Costa Rica with her children because her husband was abusing her, was walking past and Teresa, a Missionary Associate here in Costa Rica who has been working with Bandera Blanca, asked her how she was. This women's case is famous in Costa Rica and she has been in prison almost a year and has not been sentenced and the US is doing nothing to help her. I was told she is very hard and probably won't talk to us. But the Lord had it all worked out because she just started talking to me and telling me her whole story. We were able to pray with her and she started crying. Then she sat and talked to me for about 30 minutes more and I was able to share my testimony with her. She is going in front of a judge tomorrow for the first time and she wanted us to keep her in our prayers. She has one little boy living with her in prison and her eight year old daughter is living with a random family here in Costa Rica. I have worked in prisons before, at home, but never in a women's prison and never in Central America. It is a hard place to survive. These women are hurting and no one cares about them. They have nothing and they have no one. We are going in again next Monday, hopefully with permission to take in my camera. Please be praying that these women will feel the love of God in our lives and that the Lord uses us as we go in.