My husband the jailbird! For so many years we’ve been regularly stopped by the police. It was just a matter of time before the threat of being incarcerated would actually happen, especially as we won’t pay a bribe. Little did Paul know when he preached on Colossians 1 v 9-13 the previous day (endure suffering with joy) he’d have the opportunity to practise what he preached!
We were in the Orphanage mini bus when flagged down. The policeman found a small crack on the plastic shield covering the front light that he said was an offence, crazy I know but was just an excuse to haul Paul into the police station.
The policeman thought Paul was the “big shot” owner of Casuarina Night Club….a sleazy joint in Mtwapa. He saw the Casuarina sign on the side of the van but the word “Orphanage” has faded……note to self to get a new sign!. When he realised it was a case of mistaken identity he felt bad and tried to get Paul released but alas the paperwork had already been processed so was too late.
Paul was herded onto a truck (not knowing where he was being taken) with 14 other prisoners and driven 30 mins to Shimo Le Tewa prison and put in a cell with 30 other men to await his court case that afternoon. There was a pungent smell of stale sweat and urine and a disgusting toilet in the corner for them all to share. Most of the men kept scratching themselves as were itching so much with flee’s. Despite the awful situation Paul felt in his spirit God wanted him there for a reason….. Turns out he was right!
Shortly after entering the cell Paul was able to encourage 2 men by praying for them. He also took the opportunity to teach 5 inmates about Jesus, using the corridor wall as his white board, although it was more black with dirt. It was a surreal situation. 3 men in the next cell were actually snorting crack off a plastic bag on the floor. A muslim man named Jumba came forward to speak to Paul. He’d been given a Gideons New Testament Bible when entering prison 4 months earlier. Paul asked why he had the N T in his pocket and not the Koran. Jumba said he was enjoying reading it but didn’t understand and wanted Paul to explain it.
It turned out Jumba had been imprisoned unfairly too, defending his mother from a machete attack. The attackers paid a bribe to the police to arrest HIM instead of them….only in Kenya! Jumba had a mark on his forehead from where he’d been pressing on the ground so hard praying for justice. He’d been to court 3 times already but thrown back into jail each time. He was due in court again that afternoon.
Paul explained to him that Christianity is not a religion of works but a relationship of love with Jesus and how He cares for him. He then prayed for justice for Jumba, for his release that day and for him to experience and have revelation of who Jesus is.
As Paul carried on witnessing and praying for other men he suddenly noticed Jumba’s beaming smile, he had tears of joy in his eyes. Paul asked him if he was o k, Jumba was sitting crossed legged on the floor and with clenched fist was tapping his chest, gazing up at Paul he said quietly “I can feel it, I can feel it…. you’ve touched my heart”
Jumba’s case went to court ahead of Paul’s and this time they ruled in his favour and he was released. He came back to the cell especially to find Paul and shake his hand and thank him, excitedly proclaiming that God had answered their prayers…hallelujah!
After 7 hours Paul was released too. We had a choice after his court case either to pay a 10,000 shilling fine (about £80) or Paul spend 30 days in prison. As tempted as I was to leave him there I figured one day in that putrid cell was enough, so paid the fine!
We got home and I felt shell shocked but Paul was still buzzing from preaching to such a captive audience!
I guess it’s all in a day’s work……there’s never a dull moment!
Much love sent across the miles x