Singapore (MNN) — Since Singapore’s independence in 1965, it has grown into one of the world’s most advanced and prosperous countries, with strong trade ties and and a well-established economy.
They also have some of the lowest crime rates in the world, according to the BBC, are the healthiest people in the world, rank highly in education, low on drug abuse, and have one of the highest concentrations of millionaires.
However, Singapore also has some of the least happy people in the world.
A 2012 Gallup poll revealed that, when asked a variety of questions to gauge satisfaction and positivity levels in adults, Singapore scored lower even than countries like Iraq, Haiti, and Afghanistan.
Even in the most prosperous and thriving countries, the need for Jesus Christ and His salvation is still dire.
That’s why Crossroad Bible Institute has a ministry presence in Singapore. Crossroad works with inmates to share the love of Christ, encourage them, and assist with their transition back into society.
Cynthia Williams is Crossroad’s International Director who recently visited their locations in Southeast Asia, including Singapore and, as recently reported, Malaysia.
“A number of years ago, the Lord began opening the doors to the work around the world, and we’ve seen a lot of growth into different countries where we partner with individuals and organizations that have prison ministries in their locations and we partner with them so they can utilize our program of Bible study and discipleship,” says Williams.
“We have courses that the students go through. Each lesson is then corrected by an instructor. The instructor writes a letter that goes with the lesson, then back to the student. That relationship then is built where there’s discipleship going on, mentoring, and spiritual encouragement.”
Ultimately, it’s all about pointing the Crossroad students and their families towards God’s message of love and redemption.
“We find that really this is where change takes place. They come to know Christ, and they grow in their walk with Christ, and then their lives are changed. So when they go back into their families and communities, they are going back new people in Christ. So it’s just a very rewarding experience.”
Crossroad’s ministry in Singapore, Williams says, “has an interesting focus on not just the prisons and the prisoners, but really as they come out into halfway houses that are designed to help with rehabilitation. Many of these are people who have struggled with drug addictions, alcoholism, difficulties with substance abuse, and so our program is very strong in these halfway houses in these countries as well so there is a continuum. They are able to do the lessons in prison and the halfway houses and then there’s support for them as they are reintegrated back into their communities.”
Williams returned from her travels with impactful stories of inmates who participated in Crossroad’s program as students, and whose lives were eternally altered.
“For example, I was able to visit a restaurant that is being run by a halfway house to provide job opportunities and outreach opportunities for ex-offenders in Singapore. I was served by our very first student in Singapore who is now managing this restaurant. The restaurant is located across the street from the court building so all of the students, these residents of the halfway house, they serve the judges and the lawyers who have basically put them into the system, and they serve them with Christ’s love and grace and a desire to give back to the community.”
“This particular student, Samuel, is now married with a family and doing very very well and he attributes it to the fact that he has been able to connect with Christ through the Bible studies and the discipleship he was offered.”
Click here to learn more about Crossroad Bible Institutes prison ministry and ways you can get involved! There are even opportunities to volunteer and get your church involved.
“It’s an effort between all of us partnering together to make this happen, and we would always welcome anyone interested in doing that.”