Johannesburg Central Prison Testimony
I had the opportunity to testify in Johannesburg, Central prison for women (ronically nicknamed – Sun City). It houses 1000 women and 46 babies. It is very difficult to get permission to enter, but by God's grace, my sister and her husband, who started a group called “Shockwave”,got invited to deliver a drama with song and dance. They enacted a prisoner who feels angry and alone, but eventually meets Jesus through the guidance of a fellow prisoner. Afterwards, my role was to connect with them from a physically “imprisoned” perspective. I knew God wanted them to know that He does not condemn them, but that He loves them and is waiting for them.


While we were setting up, I chatted to a lovely girl who I perceived to be a staff member. She impressed me so much that I asked her what her job was. It turn out that she was in the top ranks of the Satanists and was a very successful serial killer. It was a great triumph for the police when they caught her, because she killed since she was 16 years old. She is in prison for 4 years now and loves Jesus. What a testimony for the Kingdom of God.


The play was amazing – they sat riveted – they lived and knew all of it so well; when she gave her heart to Jesus, “He” came and walked among the prisoners with a beautiful smile and a soft expression. That was the highlight. They cheered like children for their hero!


All of them were desperate for God. Some knew Him, but did not have joy; others knew of Him, but have never entered in, and feel so condemned, that they were scared to open up and make themselves vulnerable; others sought to hide behind defiance and were as loud, disruptive and rude as they could be – Satanists, sangomas and aggressive lesbians groups – but they too were desperate.


I sensed God prompting me to tell them how He sees them and feels about them and to tell them  of my sufferings and make sure they understood that it was not an easy life style, but that the choice to walk without Jesus or be in a wheelchair with Jesus, an easy choice for me – a thousand times over, I would choose to be with Jesus even with physical pain.


Linda, my sister and I used to sing together on stages, before I had my accident – I told the prisoners that God chose the prison to be the first stage I shared with her after 25 years! Previously I sang songs to large audiences to entertain, but now I have only one agenda: to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ.  Many prisoners broke down when I drew a similarity between my situation and God the Father : when Jamesie was a tiny baby, he would fall and cry; I would  call to him:”Come to Mommy!!”, but he wouldn't come and anyone else picking him up would comfort him. So too, they “fell” and took comfort in drugs, etc. despite God's call. But He never gives up and keep on calling.


When I asked who wanted to give their hearts to God, 53 women came forward. Some ran... after the sinner's prayer – we asked God to baptise them in the Holy Spirit and rapidly increase the growth of the fruit of the Spirit.


And then I invited them to come and feel God's love by hugging me.( All of us were so overwhelmed by the Holy Spirit from the moment we entered the concrete court yard, where there is nothing , but 3 stories high of concrete wall)...........it was effortless, I never got tired. They stood in queues. I hugged and kissed with all the love and hope of Jesus that I could muster to transfer to these shattered souls. My heart broke when one frail, grey, very old Afrikaans lady greeted me and said with tears streaming down her face: “I hope we'll  see each other in heaven one day.”

- By Mari Nell