HAN returns to work in prisons

Lira Main prisoners worshiping the Lord with singing. (HAN photo)

OPENING A NEW CHAPTER: Hands Across Nations allowed back into 12 prisons for literacy and bible classes…

Hands Across Nations (HAN) is opening a new chapter in their work in Uganda! The Ugandan government has now allowed HAN to return to the 12 prisons in which we had started literacy classes in the tribal language and in English and Bible Discovery groups. They had been locked down since March 2020, but because we had trained prisoners to be teachers and teacher trainers, all prisons except one still had classes going and were just waiting to receive their final exams! The one prison which didn’t have any teachers had released all of the teachers back to their home villages. They will have a teacher training workshop led by our staff in the next few weeks. This was a good test of the system which was set up for them to be able to sustain themselves.

Keith Jones, our co-director, and teacher trainer Peter made their first visits to Lira main prison this week. This is how Keith described the reuniting with the prisoners we have come to know and love:

“Peter and I were back in the prison yesterday. It was so heart filling to be back with the prisoners we have come to love. The first inmate to greet me was Okello Dennis, the man in charge of the Bible Discovery groups. He greeted and then said that they had finished Matthew, Mark and needed the book of Luke. It doesn’t get any better than that. I came home and now as I write you my heart is so full.”

So now what does God have planned for HAN in 2021? Only He knows for sure! But we do know that we will be able to look back at the end of 2021 and see that His Hands worked through Hands Across Nations to fulfill his plans for those that he calls His brothers and sisters, and when we’ve done something for them, we’ve done it for Him! The new Lira Main Prison Officer in charge wrote asking HAN to open “vocational skills training to the unit, please we are waiting for the feedback on when it will begin.”

The Lord has opened up the door without our forcing it open! During the time we have been out of the prisons, Keith has developed the plan to start the technical program and is well ready to begin!

There are four more distant and smaller prisons we have never reached who are desperate for the ‘Learning to Read to Read the Bible” program. They will be reached, God willing, in the next 6 months!

Connee Potter, from Chewelah, will be flying back to Uganda with Carolyn Jones on February 28! Connee and Jean Homer, former Chewelah Middle School Principal, have transcribed the Bible in the Lango Language to the computer over the last 2 years, and now Connee will help with the final editing to make it ready for printing! She will be continuing her work to edit the “Easy to Read” Lango Bible translated by Otim Richard and Ouni Victor, who are excellent teachers and translators. Keith and Carolyn are beyond ECSTATIC!! This is a project no one ever dreamed would come to fruition when they first thought about it in 2014! We thank God for Connee’s willingness to leave her home and family for more than a month.

With the help from our generous donors, and God’s guidance and help, Hands Across Nations will continue to work toward all Lango people learning to read, so they can read the Bible and come to know the Lord Jesus. What an adventure!