The traditional work performed by the Adventist Church in the 16 penitentiaries in the south central part of Espírito Santo, Brazil, got special attention on Saturday, May 13, 2023. In addition to the spiritual assistance given to the group of people deprived of freedom, the religious organization held a program directed specifically to the criminal police officers who work in the Provisional Detention Center of Viana II, in Grande Vitória.
The first Meeting of Criminal Police Couples of Espírito Santo took place on May 13 and brought together 19 couples of criminal police officers who work in the prison unit of Viana. With the theme "God in first place," the program developed lectures on the couple's spirituality, children's education, self-esteem, family budget, and healthy habits, besides dynamics and moments of socialization. The event was idealized by the district pastor Paulo Furtunato, who already attends CDPV II every week and realized the need to conduct an action with this public specifically.
"In conversations with the director of the prison unit, I realized the need to do something for the prison police, since there is weekly assistance with the prisoners, but not with the police,” explained Furtunato. “We have some breakfasts and meetings with them, but we have never had something directional and intentional with this public that is so important for evangelism in prisons. It was from there that, with the support of the [Espírito Santo Conference], we were able to get a couples' meeting off the drawing board with just this public."
During the whole meeting, which took place in a farm in the city of Viana, the participants were invited to have moments of communion with God and their wives. Prison agent Eduardo Coutinho said, "I had never experienced anything like this."
Leandro Lepaus added, "Congratulations to the Adventist Church for the couples' meeting that will be marked forever in our lives. We left with renewed energy and loving family, children, and life much more."
According to Pastor Alex Fonseca, the Adventist Prison Ministry director for the conference, this meeting served to bring closer the contact and partnership that already exists with the Secretariat of Justice of Espírito Santo and show God's love to a public that is not always remembered.
"It was a very special weekend because we were able to expand the service that is already done in the prison units and show that our church is concerned, not only with the prisoners, but also with the family members [and] the employees of SEJUS," Fonseca concluded.