From the start, the Papua New Guineans’ response to the CBI program has been overwhelmingly positive. Prisoners at Buimo Jail, in the city of Lae, enrolled at record-breaking rates, and the program was also well received by prison officials. A recent graduation ceremony for ninety-five CBI students at Buimo Jail further confirms that God is working there.
The impact of CBI Australia on the surrounding community in PNG is another confirmation. “It is humbling to see the grace of God not only at work in the prisons but also in the community of Lae itself,” said CBI Instructor Keith Bruning, who attended the graduation ceremony. “The people in Papua New Guinea are in general a gentle and hospitable people; many are very responsive to the Gospel. CBI is reaching the hearts of many prisoners as well as those around them,” Bruning said.
God is also answering prayers by providing for CBI Australia’s financial needs. The costs of operating in PNG are high—so high that earlier this year, co-directors Anne Bruinsma and Ray Hoekzema sent out a special appeal for funding.
Over the summer months, CBI Australia received some large donations that covered the expenses associated with getting materials into PNG. “We were moved by the wonderful and broad response to our appeal,” said Hoekzema. “It confirms that CBI is God’s ministry and that He meets its needs.” CBI Australia continues to pray for financial support for the coming months.
Sandra Chang Raak, CBI’s international coordinator, praised the excellent work being done in the South Pacific. “The directors of our international campuses are remarkable people. They don’t receive funding directly from CBI headquarters, so they have to raise it. They have to establish ties with prisons in their area. They have to deliver lessons to the prisons, sometimes by hand if the postal system is unreliable. They assume all this responsibility because they genuinely have a heart for spreading God’s Word. Anne and Ray’s service over these past ten years is to be commended,” Raak said.
CBI Australia fieldworker Terry West shared a special story about another answered prayer in the South Pacific. A friend of West’s had donated ten pairs of reading glasses for the women of Buimo Jail. “I happened to take one of these to a different prison in Port Moresby,” West said. “After the service, I asked the ladies if anyone needed some reading glasses. About eight hands went up. I gave the glasses to the first hand raised. As I was leaving the prison, this lady said to me, with tears rolling down her cheeks, that she had been praying for glasses for the last two months so that she could continue to read the Bible.” West later made a second trip to distribute glasses to the remaining women.
CBI president Dr. David Schuringa says the progress in Australia is encouraging for the Crossroad community. “We are praising God for all of these answered prayers,” Dr. Schuringa said. “And we know that there is a great need for the Gospel in Papua New Guinea, so we continue to pray for CBI Australia’s efforts. God does not forget His people in prison, and neither should we.”
Read more about CBI Australia’s work in Bomana Women’s Prison.