Cotopaxi Maximum Security Prison
Cotopaxi maximum security prison, which I visit each week, has experienced a change within the last 6 months. Due to fighting within the prisons and death threats against the Ecuadorian authorities over the prison, an agreement had to be reached. The prison guards are no longer the ones who oversee internal security for the prisons as it relates to the trafficking of drugs, alcohol, weapons, etc. Now it is the prisoners themselves who take care of the movement and transactions of these and other items. The parties to this agreement were the mafia bosses, prison authorities and government officials. This agreement was the only way to restore order to the prisons. The trafficking of these types of items is occurring in many prisons around the world but there had to be an agreement reached in Ecuador by the parties involved to stop the fighting and killing within the prisons. This shared information has not been a part of worldwide news. We have the inside story from the prisoners themselves thanks to Angel. We need to pray that the prison authorities would resume control. Prisoners and the mafia should not be in control. Ecuador has about 40,000 inmates in its penitentiary system, which has a capacity to hold about 30,000
The prison has different sections or cell blocks where the prisoners are housed. As a part of the pact, entry into these areas is controlled in such a way as to not permit the prison administrators, prison guards, authorities of any kind, or even social organizations to enter. Yet there is an astounding exception. These controlling groups recognized the transformative work being done by the Evangelical and Catholic Church and as a result, we are one of the few that are allowed into the cell blocks to meet with and help the prisoners. We continue to enter and minister because God has provided an open door for our ministry. 2 Thessalonians 3:1 …” THAT the Word of the Lord may speed ahead and be honored.”
The Bible Institute that we have set up in the prison continues to transform lives and provide a solid foundation for those turning to Christ for hope in their desperate situation. In December there were 21 first time graduates of the last class awarded a certificate in Theology. During our visits, we continue to provide counseling for past and present situations that are affecting their lives. God is at work but there is a need for these prisoners to be upheld in prayer.