This graduation ceremony was an especially poignant one, considering the epidemic of substance abuse in India and the odds these men have overcome by choosing to give their lives over to God.
CBI India director Mathotmi Vasha and the superintendent of police awarded certificates to nine prisoners who had successfully completed the first course in CBI’s Bible study and discipleship program.
After the graduation program, Vasha held a baptism ceremony during which nine inmates were baptized. “It is amazing to know that God is opening the hearts of the inmates in Manipur,” said Vasha.
CBI India was launched in 2012, and the progress of the fledgling campus has been extraordinarily promising.
Director Vasha serves prisoners in a jail in Imphal and also works with a halfway house for recovering drug addicts.
“The drug abuse problem is very high in India, especially in my region,” Vasha said. “Of the six hundred male inmates in the jail, most are ex-drug users and ex-alcoholics.”
Because substance abuse has been on the rise throughout India in recent years, there has been a corresponding increase in the number of cases of HIV, tuberculosis and Hepatitis B and C.
Women who are married to drug abusers or alcoholics face extra problems, such as domestic violence, infectious diseases and financial problems.
In spite of these obstacles, CBI India is impacting prisoners’ lives in a deeply positive way. CBI students who have been released from prison visit Vasha’s office expressing their desire to continue their studies or to tell him how God has transformed their lives.
One student recalled, “When I joined CBI, I realized my past was wrong in the eyes of the Lord—now I want to change my life.”
“We are so pleased to see that CBI India is working to transform prisoners from the inside and from the outside,” said CBI president Dr. David Schuringa. “This has always been at the heart of our work as a prison ministry.”