Sparing a Thought for the Jailbirds

DUBAI - For many around the world, Christmas is a time where families come together and eat, drink and be merry.

By Martin Croucher

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Published: Sat 27 Dec 2008, 1:19 AM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 5:26 PM

However, for those Christians who are spending this year’s festive period in jail miles away from their loved ones, it can be a lonely time.

Filipino church worker Joy Jones and a small team of volunteers, are all set to visit prisoners over the weekend to deliver on the message of Christmas.

Although prison regulations mean that gifts cannot be given to those in jail, Jones and her small team will sing Christmas carols and share the real meaning of Christmas.

“We will go on Sunday and the Anglican pastor will hold a small service and pray with them. We may sing a few carols with them too.

“We want to encourage them that there is life after prison, to move on from what they’ve done in the past. I would encourage more people to volunteer in this way if they can. It’s a wonderful feeling to touch someone’s life, to know that you’ve helped them that the right path from now on.”

Joy has been visiting the prisoners every week, rarely without fail, for 12 years. Her unswerving dedication to her ministry recently earned her a ‘Special Recognition’ in the Inspire Dubai awards at the beginning of December.

Over the years, the number of people who have joined her have varied from just one or two, to sometimes up to 20 or 30 recently.

Many of the other volunteers speak a variety of languages, which help spread the message easier.

“I hold prayers in Tagalog, while Russian volunteers hold prayers in Russian and Indian volunteers hold prayers in Hindi,” she said.

Prison authorities have allowed 30 Christian prisoners in Aweer jail to attend the prayer meetings every week.

“They have been really helpful in allowing us to visit these prisoners,” Jones said. “They really need this and it makes a huge difference in their lives.”

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