October, 2013

“God, send someone to replace me” – This was part of Felipe’s prayer   after 21 months in prison. During his time in detention he saw many coming and going. In this environment, leaders arise to guide daily meetings with Christian inmates. He became a Christian inside the prison, and was learning many things from the Bible. Felipe told me that he had already been in prison for several months, when the leaders at that time were released or deported. There suddenly was a leadership vacuum. Then another inmate, named Victor, challenged Felipe to become the leader. I remembered that many times he asked me, after the Friday Bible study to stay a little longer to answer his questions. He was looking for some advices about a biblical text he was preparing to share with the others inmates. With Victor’s support, Felipe became a leader.

But, after almost 21 months in prison, he was anxious to be with his family again.  He was missing his wife and kids. Felipe’s wife was raised as a Methodist, but after they got married, she, influenced by him, left her church. They have been married for more than 20 years and Felipe never wanted to think about God. But, after becoming a Christian in prison, now he knows it’s his duty, as Jesus’ instrument, to bring his wife back to a relationship with God and to lead his children to Jesus. Therefore, besides his desire of being with his family again, he wanted to become their spiritual guide. A sort of conflict brewed on his mind. On one hand he wanted to leave prison, but on other hand, he wanted to be sure somebody else would replace him. With Victor already released, he started to asked God to send somebody to replace him.

God heard his prayer and another man arrived at that prison, a man who was at part of the leadership team of a church. Two weeks after that, Felipe was released, and I visited him at his home, and he shared this story with me. I recorded a video of his testimony and will soon share it once it’s ready.

Felipe is still not completely free from his immigration process. He still bears an electronic ankle bracelet and must report to the immigration judge until the final decision of his case. Please, pray for him, his wife Rosa and their children. Their dream is to be allowed to stay here in the USA, the Country they love and want to live.

 

Donations received:

  • Byeta Hoover-Mulvany
  • Rosemarie Smith
  • Thomas Taylor
  • Igreja Presbiteriana de Boston
  • Greenwood Community Church
  • Bethel Presbyterian Church
  • Barrington Presbyterian Church
  • Henry Ruppenthal
  • IPI do Brasil
  • Providence Presbyterian ChurchPlease send your donations by check or money order made out to: Presbytery of Southern New England 123 Elm Street #200 – Old Saybrook, CT 06475 – Important: write a note designating your offer to the Presbyterian Immigrant Ministry. 
  • October Attendance
  •  
  • Apologies to the Providence Presbyterian Church members, because we didn’t mention their donation on the last few newsletters. They have donated on monthly basis.

Day

Prison (all units)

Attendance

01

Plymouth

24

02

Boston

39

04

Dartmouth

28

08

Plymouth

20

09

Boston

27

11

Dartmouth

XX

15

Plymouth

12

16

Boston

33

18

Dartmouth

21

22

Plymouth

19

23

Boston

29

25

Dartmouth

26

29

Plymouth

15

30

Boston

32

 

 

Baptism – On our previous newsletter I wrote about a Brazilian man named Saulo, who asked me to be baptized. The authorities of the prison authorized me to baptize him but when I went to the Boston prison two weeks ago, I discovered ICE had transferred Saulo to the Plymouth prison. Last week I met him at Plymouth, and he said he knows God is in control of everything in his life. He knows his salvation does not rest on baptism, but on God’s grace. When he finally leaves prison, he will look for a church to join, and be baptized.

 

Wedding – Last Friday night I was home when my cellphone rang. It was Rodrigo, a man who had been released from prison two weeks ago. He never failed to attend any Bible study meetings while in detention. When I arrived at the unit, I used to look for him and he immediately went to his cell to get his bible. On his way to the study he used to invite others to join. This time though, he called me for a special invitation. He had been in a relationship with a woman for several years, but never married her. Once in prison he began to think about his life and how he wanted to change things. It was when he decided that one of the first things he would do is marry his girlfriend. So he called me, to invite me to his wedding that took place the very next day. Unfortunately, I could not attend, due to the short notice. It’s my goal to visit him soon to help him share his testimony.

 

Immigration Law Reform – Many religious groups, including Christians from different political and denominational affiliation, have advocated on behalf of undocumented immigrants. The complexity of this issue goes beyond the simple diversity of point of views among legislators. It touches on the interest of small, but powerful groups that don’t want changes that will affect their lives. A few days ago I watched a video online about what has been called the “bed mandate,” which has outraged many Christians. If you want to know more about the “bed mandate”, please refer to this:

 

http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/controversial-quota-drives-immigration-detention-boom/2013/10/13/09bb689e-214c-11e3-ad1a-1a919f2ed890_story.html

http://www.msnbc.com/melissa-harris-perry/watch/immigrant-detention-and-the-bed-mandate-57194563770

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