Tackling the Issue
Near Elpis' home base in Dej, Romania is the Maximum Security Prison in Gherla. This infamous prison is the same prison where the founder of The Voice of the Martyrs, Richard Wurmbrand, was held. It houses 1300 prisoners who are all serving sentences of at least 15 years to life.
The economic situation in Romania is poor, and therefore the central government cannot fully fund the prison. The local commandant has to be creative in order to feed and clothe the prisoners, and he has appealed directly to Elpis and its partners (including ICE) for assistance.
Elpis has been ministering inside the prison for several years and focuses on the prisoners who have been abandoned by their families. These 600 inmates never have visitors and no one on the outside is helping them with clothing, food, books, or anything extra.
One program ICE helped Elpis with is giving bags of necessities to the prisoners. These bags, given on Christmas and Easter, contain toiletries, candy, a personal item, pen and paper, etc. The prisoners particularly appreciate the new socks or warm hat that is in the bag as the prison doesn't have enough money to keep the prison very warm. We usually only have enough donations for 100 bags at a time, though the demand is always more.
Another Elpis prison initiative is a Bible study called "Let's Study Mark & Acts". This correspondence course has been well received, with a peak of 400 prisoners enrolled at a time. However, new security concerns have hampered efforts and slowed down enrollment.
Elpis has also provided other items like soap, potatoes, seeds, and agricultural project assistance directly to the prison in Gherla.
Please pray with us for these prisoners, that the Light
of the World would shine into their dark world. They
are neglected by the world but not forgotten by our
Lord. They need to know the Savior that died for them.
We would like to fund someone to go every week to
disciple a small number of inmates as Elpis' current
staff is already overwhelmed with other projects.
If you would like to help sponsor this outreach, or
would like to donate to the general ministry at the
prison, please contact ICE.