Lifesong Kenya · lost in translation · Mentoring boys in Kenya · Mission Field · Running for My Life · Standing with boys · the making of Jim Buttons

Treading the path that leads back to juvenile prison

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It is 1:39 pm. I am 21 minutes early for my meeting with a friend. Unlike our previous meetings and what I am used to, I don’t know what the agenda is. However, I know it has something to do with my decision to resume Lifesong Kenya’s work with boys in juvenile prison.

Treading the path that leads back to juvenile prison

I order a bottle of water and settle down to reading Jim George’s The Man Who makes a Difference: 10 Keys to a Life of Impact as I continue waiting for my friend. And as I do, I can’t help but keep thinking about the path that leads back to juvenile prison. It is no coincidence that I am reading Jim George’s book about Apostle Paul’s mission and his obedience to see it through.

I am just about to take another tentative sip from my water bottle when my friends walks into the restaurant. After catching up and learning that her idea for a women’s magazine is doing well, we delve into something that continues to convince me that I am on the right path.

“Go ahead,” she said after pushing a small package towards me. “What do you think it is?”

“Buttons!” I exclaim. “This is a sign that my journey back to prison is on track,” I added, taking pictures and smiling.

“What does working with boys in juvenile prison mean to you?” she asked.

“Well, the whole world,” I replied. “I feel called to do this,” I added.

All of a sudden, I know there is much more as to why she didn’t tell me everything before hand. She goes on to share a story about two boys who met in juvenile prison and how the meeting resulted into more bitterness, despair and loss. I already know what my friend is going to ask of me and I am ready.

Basis needs of every prisoner

Most boys I have met in juvenile prison have one thing in common with every other prisoner I have met, both male and female. Every prisoner wants to be visited in prison by members of their family and friends. However, this doesn’t happen most of the time. Sadly, not many families visit relatives who are in prison.

There are many cases of prisoners who couldn’t leave prison even when they were pardoned and told they were free to leave prison. Some have even committed suicide to avoid going home where they feel unloved and un-welcomed by their relatives and friends. On the other hand, being accepted and visitations by family members and friends is a powerful tool that aids successful rehabilitation and reintegration back into the society.

“So, what would you like me to do?” I asked.

“Kindly check on both mothers and visit the boy in prison,” my friend said. “I doubt whether there is anyone visiting him.”

As I head back home, I pray and ask God for grace, strength and provision. Much as I have made up my mind to resume working with boys in juvenile prison, the lack of resources and funding is a reality I have to face. I believe things will continue getting better and I will be able to not only visit the boy but continue my work with boys in juvenile prison as well. This much I can say already, the path will continue getting clearer with every step I will keep making towards making the world a better place for boys in juvenile prison.

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