Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Charlie Lasa's sharing in our Community Conference

I am Charlie Lasa from North B and I am here to share with you an update on our Prison Ministry. My involvement at the QC Jail started last year with a visit to Jopet Tecson, son of Joe and Flora Tecson from North B, who was jailed on drug charges. Later in August 2009, a group of seminarians vacated a 2-hour time slot for religious instruction at the jail. Other religious denominations wanted to come in and get that time slot, but it was first offered to Ligaya, our community, because we had previously donated chairs to the jail.

At that time we were reflecting on the theme: “An Open Door! Walk Through It!” and my wife Peggy thought that this could probably be the “Open Door” the Lord was inviting us to walk through, to be fruitful, multiply and occupy! Here, literally, was a space we could occupy, if only for 2 hours every Thursday. So she asked if we could go.

I wish I could tell you that I answered, “How wonderful, honey! Let’s go! Let’s walk through the open door, and occupy Quezon City Jail!” However, that was not the case. Instead, I said: “What? Are you crazy? Ano ang gagawin natin doon? Hindi naman tayo magaling magdasal sa Tagalog!” (What are we going to do there? We're not good in praying in Tagalog!)

So what is a husband to do, if his wife seems so intent in going to a place that could be dangerous to her? Leave her alone with the lions and the wolves?

But in the days that followed, I was led to reflect on Matthew 25 where Jesus says:

‘I was in prison and you did not visit me.' And when we answer, 'Lord, when was it that we saw you in prison and did not take care of you? ' He will answer, 'Truly I tell you, just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.'

I felt convicted, and eventually, I decided to go, but only until other Ligaya members, who could better pray and preach in Tagalog, will be available to take over. One Thursday led to another, and we have now been serving in QC Jail for the past 5 months.

So what have we been doing?

We take advantage of the fact that we have a captive audience for 2 hours. There is no escape from us. We start out with worship, ably led by Ben Salvedia from North A, and supported by an inmate music ministry group. Then as the Spirit leads, we give teachings, exhortations and personal sharings. Every week we provide a simple snack and give basic necessities, such as soap and other toiletries.

Little did I realize how God had been working in us and using us for His mission, until one Thursday, I received a letter scribbled on cigarette wrappers, and I quote:

“…Nawa’y huwag kayong magsawa sa pag-tulong at panga-ngaral sa katulad naming kapos palad at nakalimot kay Lord. Pero unti-unti akong nahuhubog sa mga aral at pag-intindi sa mga salita ng Diyos. Dito ko nalalaman ang katotohanan, ang tungkol sa mga salita ng bibliya na dapat sundin ng mga taong tulad ko, na naligaw ng landas…” (I hope you will not tire of helping and teaching us who are underprivileged and who have forgotten the Lord. Little by little I have been formed by the teachings and understanding the Word of God. I learn the truth here, about the Bible verses that we who have lost our way, should obey...)

Brothers and sisters, we have learned firsthand that indeed God will empower us beyond our limitations and use us to do His work. And in doing so, we have experienced many delightful moments in this ministry:

  • We have heard inmates share how prison life became better for them when they started reading the Bible.
  • We have heard them share the joy they felt after forgiving those who put them in jail.
  • We have seen men wanting to accept Jesus and asking us how.
  • We have experienced the joy in leading them to Jesus.

They have so appreciated what we have shared with them that, believe it or not, there have been some inmates who have approached me, asking me how they can join Ligaya after they get out of prison.

We thank you, brothers and sisters, for the support you have given us. Many have taken time off from work, simply to just be there for the prisoners. Some of you have chosen to celebrate your birthdays at the jail, sharing food and drinks with the inmates. Others have expressed their commitment in other ways, such as praying for our ministry, or donating in cash or kind. We continue to pray for your support.


  1. What joy to read of you being the hands, feet and voice of God in a place that seems to be without His presence. May God bless you as you serve!

  2. One of the things I miss most while I was in the Philippines is my full service to God. My whole family is into that. I honestly say that living here in Sweden made me crippled when it comes to my religion upbringing and I'm one person who is so "thirsty" and have been searching around but so sad ...... But I'm so happy that God keeps holding my hand as I tek the winding roads of my life.
    May God continue to bless you and your whole family