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Ministry Insights: Prison Ministry in Colombia

Prison cells in Colombia

“We are human, but we don’t wage war as humans do. We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments.” 2 Corinthians 10:3-4 (NLT).

Bellavista. This maximum security prison, located in Colombia, was once known as the most violent prison in South America. On average, 50 deaths happened every month, sometimes up to 20 deaths would happen in one day. The Bellavista Prison held numerous men who were identified as drug traffickers, kidnappers, murderers, hired hitmen, smugglers and thieves. Darkness surrounded Bellavista and it was in desperate need of light.

In 1992, Jeannine Baron, an OMS missionary, stepped out in faith and ventured into Bellavista. News had spread that only a year before, a Colombian Pastor had started ministering in the prison, resulting in a significant drop in the death toll. Jeannine was eager to be a part of this incredible work that God was doing, so she began the Bellavista Prison Bible Institute.

Due to ministering in the prison for so many years, she has gained the nickname, ‘The Angel of Bellavista’. Through her and her teams work, God has changed countless lives. Men once identified as criminals are now identified as God’s masterpieces. Many of the men that have been saved in the prison, have willingly returned as Pastors and ministry workers to help save those that need God’s intervention.

Where there was once darkness, there is now light!

Over the years, this prison ministry has grown, and as inmates were transferred to other institutions, the Gospel has spread with them. Today, OMS is involved with over 200 active ministries across prisons in Colombia. These programs offer discipleship training, planting churches in prisons, providing courses to inmates, and guiding restorative justice ministries between victims and offenders.

Prayer warriors are always needed to join the fight for this prison ministry in Colombia. Tell your friends and family and encourage them to join you in praying for this incredible ministry. If you’d like to know more, send us a message!

Originally written 1 July 2019.

Revised March 2024.

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