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Finding Freedom in Prison

MAF volunteers bring life-changing course into PNG prison.

Opening the Bible, memorising verses, grieving about the past and working things out for the future, having a look what Jesus says and how he approaches people and circumstances were the main subjects when Harriëtte Knigge and Helen Symmonds visited the women at the Boram Correctional Service in Wewak each week under the prison’s RI-program.

While their husband pilots served the people in the remote communities through MAF’s aviation service, the two mums home-schooled their kids and were involved in various local ministries. For both, the prison visits were the most fulfilling ones. Harriëtte did this ministry for about four years, Helen only joined earlier this year to bridge a gap keeping the weekly visits going.

These are all women who have made mistakes, but women who are hungry to hear the Word of God.

— Helen Symmonds

“The prison ministry has been happening for a long time and mainly my colleague has been involved for a few years. She went on vacation earlier this year and asked if I’d join the team to help. I felt my strengths were in one-to-one relationships, so I wasn’t sure whether that would be something I’d enjoy,” Helen said.



“Visiting these women has been a great joy to me. These are all women who have made mistakes, but women who are hungry to hear the Word of God. They really want to grow in their relationship with God. This has been beautiful to see and beautiful to be part of.”

Earlier this year, Helen and Harriëtte facilitated a trauma healing course with the women.

“In November last year, we had the opportunity to join a weeklong training course called Storytelling using Stories for Trauma healing,” Helen shared. “The course was fantastic and very helpful. It talks about wounds of the heart and how we all carry wounds of the heart and how we go on this journey. We must bring our wounds of the heart out. They come out in different ways and ultimately, we must bring them to Jesus. After this weeklong training course and we are now trainers, and we were able to use this course in the prison.”

Helen experienced how this course made a difference in some of the inmates lives.

“One lady said, ‘since I’ve come to prison, I’ve found freedom, which is so crazy to think about being in prison and being free, she said. Before I was stuck in a situation, and I just found myself in a lot of trouble. But since I’ve been taken out of that situation, I’ve found freedom.’ I guess that’s what the course is about, about bringing people to a place where they can find freedom in their lives. It’s been really exciting to do that course in prison,” concludes Helen.

Story by Mandy Glass


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