The life of evangelical churches and their spiritual leaders has been portrayed in some recent films and series. Can they help us start conversations?
DARSE received the prison social merit bronze medal. “It is faith in God what drives us to act”, Director Paco Mata said.
On Friday 23 September, the General Secretary of Spanish Penitentiary Institutions awarded Paco Mata, Director of the evangelical association DARSE (“giving” in English), the prison social merit bronze medal for his work in Valdemoro, a city near Madrid.
“I am very grateful for the award", Mata told Spanish newspaper Protestante Digital. "This is a recognition that is not just for me, but for the whole association for the work they are doing.”
“OUR ENGINE IS JESUS”
In his acceptance speech, Paco Mata explained that the “engine” of his work has been "Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior."
Mata was accompanied by some members of the association board, volunteers, other believers who also serve in prisons, and the Spanish well-known singer Antonio Carmona, relentless collaborator of the association.
SERVING SINCE 2002
DARSE works in various penitentiary centers since 2002. It aims the inmates' rehabilitation, through an assistance program which covers both the professional and the personal needs.
They offer workshops, organize sports tournaments and popular concerts, but above all "we are people who are there to help inmates, to be at their side during the difficult times."
"EVANGELICALS HAVE MUCH TO CONTRIBUTE"
"It is faith in God - who changes lives - what drives us to act. Everything we do is to thank God and hope that prisoners may also have a personal encounter with him”, he pointed out.
Mata recognized that working in prisons is a field "in which evangelicals have much to contribute" and encourages local churches and organisations to continue to leverage service opportunities provided in this context.