Serving Time in God's Kingdom

Between 1966 and 1987, Angel Aguirre was in and out of jail for stealing and trafficking drugs. During his last incarceration, a group of visitors arrived at Garcia Moreno. A man smiled as he handed Angel a little book, the New Testament. Angel almost laughed at the thought of reading a Bible, but boredom practically forced him to focus his eyes on the tiny words.

A few weeks later, Angel asked the Christians if he could buy one of the study guides. He was given one for free.

Angel read every word and filled in answers to every question. One night Angel's mind became quiet. He turned the last page in the study guide. There at the top of the page were the words: "The Sinner's Prayer." It was not hard for Angel to realize that he was the sinner, and the prayer was for him. He knelt on the ground as tears wet his hands. It made no sense that the God of all creation would desire to dwell in a depraved and dirty prisoner...but that night, Angel knew He had.

Four years passed and Angel completed a correspondence course and received his degree through the mail. In 1987 Angel was released-early. His wife was amazed by the change in Angel's life. She requested to attend church with him, and before long she, too, gave her life to Christ. Angel will never forget the experience of personally baptizing her and two of his children.

The redemptive work

Angel knew that his days at the prison were not over. Only this time he would be the one bringing the gospel to others. Daily he visited the inmates in Quito's four prisons, using the same literature that taught him the gospel. The prisoners' responses to his visits were often positive. He was the only person visiting some of the inmates.

The need for pastoral care inside the prisons became evident. Gradually, Angel recruited a group of men to join his prison ministry. He made sure that a gospel worker visited each jail every day to lead Bible studies with the inmates. Thus began Prison Outreach of Ecuador.

Angel's biggest obstacle is providing support for his 10 full-time prison workers. Forty percent of Ecuador's population lives below the poverty line, making it next to impossible for native believers to offer this needed help. Contributions from Christian Aid donors are a main source of support.

In the freedom he has found in Christ, Angel continues to serve his time in God's kingdom by entering the lives of those behind bars in Ecuador's prisons.