7 Last Words In Jail on a Good Friday

Good Friday in JailPastor Carlos M. Castro and myself were among seven preachers from different denominations who were assigned to each speak about the “Seven Last Words” of Jesus in the afternoon of Good Friday, April 10. We were invited by Pastor Pio Umlas, our GCI Pampanga prison ministry leader at the Pampanga Provincial Jail.

Pastor Carlos M. Castro was assigned to speak on the fifth saying, “I thirst.” He told the 200 or so inmates that Jesus is the living water where everyone can drink of and never thirst again. He told them that God is freely offering them this living water, the Holy Spirit.

As for me, I was assigned to speak on the last saying. I spoke on what Jesus meant when he said, “It is finished.” I told the inmates that it was God’s plan all along to draw all men — not just a few — to himself when Jesus was lifted up (John 12:32).

Everyone’s Reconciled

In his great love, God had planned all along to reconcile everyone to himself (Col. 1:20). I explained that everyone has been predestined to be adopted as God’s children (Ephesians 1:5). I explained that Jesus was not “Plan B” which God quickly came up with as a solution when man messed things up because of sin. Jesus was the lamb slain from the foundation of the world. It was planned all along, before the beginning of time.

I told them that in so far as God was concerned, it is all been done—finished. Everything that’s needed to be done for us to be reconciled back to him has already been done by our Lord Jesus. I encouraged all the inmates to receive, accept, believe and experience God’s love and his free gift of reconciliation.

Good Friday Message of Hope

Despite the differences in beliefs and practices among the preachers, the messages that were given that day uplifted and encouraged the inmates who heard the gospel that day on a Good Friday. A few months back, we baptized 17 inmates (15 females, 2 males) in this provincial jail.

Russian Consul Visits Angeles City Mayor

Russian Consul
Never in my life did I plan something like this. It just sort of—happened. Who would have thought that a Russian consul would call me on the phone and meet with me personally! This was really amazing to me. So unexpected and a once in a lifetime experience—at least for me. He called me because I am the senior pastor of the Worldwide Church of God (WCG) local congregation in Pampanga.

This morning, the Pampanga prison ministry team of WCG escorted the Russian Consul as he made a courtesy call to the city mayor of Angeles City. Days before, he invited us (insisted) that we go with him so that he can explain and express to the mayor his gratitude to us in the WCG Pampanga prison ministry team for helping his fellow Russian citizen who was wrongly imprisoned at the city’s district jail for about 5 months. It was actually WCG Pampanga’s prison ministry leader, Ed Estrella—whose passion is to reach out to prison inmates— that got into contact with this Russian citizen who was unjustly imprisoned.

Russian Consul Receives Symbolic Key from City Mayor

The visit was cordial and the two dignitaries exchanged pleasantries. The mayor gave the consul a symbolic key to the city. The Russian consul also thanked the chief immigration officer who also extended help to his fellow Russian citizen whose visa expired as a result of being unjustly imprisoned.

At the end of the meeting, I had the honor of leading in prayer for the city mayor as well as for the Russian consul. What a “once in a lifetime” experience that was! Surely, God was with us and was directing everything that happened. We just sort of—enjoyed the ride haha!