Sunday, 29th October, 2023, marked the second year in a roll that Essentials of Christ Mission Church fellowshipped with the inmates of Akuse Prison in the Eastern Region of Ghana.

This is part of the response to Jesus’ call that when he was in prison, he was not visited. Though this is premised on our core mission to make Jesus Essential to all, we are committed to SDG 3, good health and well-being, as well as SDG 10, reduction in inequalities, as inmates are mostly left out in many decisions for their well-being, marginalised and stigmatised.

Essentials of Christ Mission (ECM) is a church that seeks to praise God and spread the name of Jesus abroad as the Essential.

The word of God is the basis for all the teachings and activities of the Church. At ECM, we believe in the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18- 20), which urges us to go to the world to make disciples and the Great Commandment (Matthew 22:36-40), loving God and our neighbours.

It is in obedience to these instructions that the Church has prioritised the “Hope Behind Bars Project”.

The Church last year, l made 50 bags of cement donations towards the beyond of the officer’s canteen and mess with other assorted items.

This year’s donation included toiletries, soap, shampoo, and body lotion. Further items were bags of water and bathroom slippers.

In our commitment to holistic well-being support, the donation included toothpaste and toothbrushes to promote dental wellness, a common challenge inmates endure. We took the opportunity to treat them with various types of home-cooked food. We crowned the items with Bibles to nourish and feed their souls

The inmates and the church fellowship together, and it was an indescribable feeling of praise and worship that the inmates led. Before the word of God was shared with them, although the inmates were confined within the hot, unforgiving walls of the correctional facility, they had a lot of wise words of advice and caution for the church.

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They gave many testimonies of how they see God working in their lives and how they know that God is still looking after them. Notable among the words of wisdom were our ability to control anger and heart, desisting from wrong associations, and nurturing our children in the fear of the Lord.

They reiterated that one is a potential prisoner and, therefore, needs to take good care of ourselves and train our children well. Their stories gave us key lessons for life.

Amidst the challenges of prison life, the church emphasised the transformative power of faith. Faith in God’s divine plan was preached through heartfelt words, rekindling hope in every heart.

The first speaker, Mr Jonathan Amponsah Otoo,
Principal Medical Laboratory Scientist at
UPSA CLINIC gave a heartfelt word on our final destination as humans.

His message was to invite the inmates to anchor Christ as their Lord and personal saviour, and this led some inmates to accept Jesus Christ into their hearts and lives to repent from sin.

One of Africa’s renowned Transformational Executive Coach, Scofray Nana Yaw Yeboah, had a passionate and life-shifting session. He explores Joseph’s diligence as head of inmates, which gave him leadership lessons.

He drew lessons from the life of Jesus as the foundation of greatness and high achievement. Also, the inspirational stories of the lives of global leaders such as Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King Jr. and our very own Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah buttress his point as to how Jesus can change the story of anyone.

He explained that for God to get the chance to do something new in your life, you must give him your heart and be faithful even in the little things. Coach Scofray implored the inmates not to see their current situation as their final destination.

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He emphasised the transformative power of Jesus that can make a difference in their lives.
, he asked some thought-provoking questions that brought tears to the eyes of some inmates and got us all reflecting on our lives: “What would we regret the most in our life when we die?

What would we do differently if we were given another opportunity?” Many of the inmates were excited to share their aspirations. It is our prayer, like how Joseph excelled even in prison, that the Lord would remember all the inmates and make their lives bring glory to His name.

The last speaker, the head pastor of ECM, Pastor Dr Samuel Edwin Tandoh, delivered the sermon, focusing on how our encounter with Jesus leads to finding our purpose and grace.

He emphasised his plans for us are for our good and not evil to give us hope and a future. The woman at the well, Saul, who became Paul and Zacchaeus, all encountered HIM and found purpose and grace. As he spoke, his words resonated with all those present. It was a powerful reminder that in the eyes of God, everyone is worthy of love and forgiveness regardless of their past mistakes.

To wrap up the visit, we climaxed with assorted hearty meals and refreshing beverages to ensure the inmates enjoyed a fulfilling and memorable day.

The opportunity to share a meal fostered a sense of community and reminded them that they were not alone, illuminating the prison environment with warmth and care. These tangible gestures of kindness are a reflection of the church’s commitment to serving not only spiritual but also physical needs.

As the day drew to a close, there was a sense of fulfilment and unity among all the church members, and it was very reassuring to hear how much impact our visit had had on the inmates.

Our greatest accomplishment on this trip was the number of inmates who gave their lives to Christ and decided to start living on the straight, narrow path leading to salvation.

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The inmates could not stop expressing their gratitude towards us for remembering them since they often feel forgotten and discarded by society.

Our donation to Akuse Prisons underscores our commitment to positively impacting the lives of those who often go unnoticed in society to contribute to SDG Goals 3 and 10.

We believe that small acts of kindness can bring about significant change, and we will continue to strive to make a difference in the lives of those who need it most.

It is worth mentioning that there were vision bearers, not members of the Essentials of Christ Mission Church, who joined the trip and donated towards the “Hope Behind Bars Project”.

In the end, ECM’s visit to the Akuse Local Prison was not just one of our church activities but a spiritual activity to demonstrate that even in the darkest places, a glimmer of hope can shine through and remind us of the potential for redemption and transformation.

This experience is a testament to the power of collective kindness and our unwavering dedication to supporting our community.

The mission is to make Jesus known as the Essential expression of love, motivation, and practical assistance. Love knows no boundaries, and faith can flourish even in challenging circumstances. The visit is a testament to the church’s dedication to making a positive impact.

We look forward to more opportunities to give back and make a meaningful difference in the lives of those who need it.

This church tradition will continue to be a beacon of light in the lives of all those it touches behind and beyond the prison bars. In foresight, we pray to extend love and the good news of making Jesus Essential to many more prisons and win more souls for God. King Jesus, He is our Life!

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