The Big House

Friday when I awoke, I had no idea how much beauty the day would hold. I didn’t know it would include light-filled views …


Brightly-colored placemats …

Stained glass …


… and intricate mosaics.


Quite honestly, when the day began, I expected my emotions would have nowhere to go but down.


You see, I woke up Friday morning in Brazil … prepared to go to prison.

Renaissance Man and I were part of a small group representing Hope Unlimited for Children.  Our task was to visit a guardless prison … a prison where detainees police themselves. I didn’t know what to expect … but I went.

I’m very glad I did. Why would I do such a thing?  Well, if you’ve read this blog for awhile, you may remember THIS post I did last April.  If not, I really hope you’ll click the link above and read (or re-read) it.  Amazing story …  In that post, I told you that Hope Unlimited agreed to explore with a Brazilian state how the ministry’s model can be used to transform the lives of children who come into the state’s penal system. Children who would be otherwise lost and forgotten … in one of our world’s wealthiest countries.
Friday’s prison visit was part of that exploratory process.  The prison we visited was not a children’s facility, but rather one for adult offenders.  However, its non-traditional components are ones we want to consider as we continue putting together a proposal.


There are all sorts of stringent controls, evaluations, and details that I won’t include here, but suffice it to say that the prisoners (called “recuperees” — as in recuperate: return to health; recover) are only allowed to come to this particular type of facility after showing great progress at a formal prison. (In Brazil, that usually means one where 20 prisoners are crammed into a 20’x20′ living space — rather than 6 to 8 as is the case here.)


It was Day One at the facility for this young man.  He called us over and said, “Ask me anything you want.”  He was so excited to be there because, in his words, he now has a chance to be free — because he knows that in this facility he can truly address his drug problems … and be held accountable for his actions … and return to his family a healthy man with a hopeful future.


He was the most vocal, but he wasn’t alone.  In fact, with the exception of our four American gentlemen, it was Day One for ALL of these men.  This picture was taken after we’d had a chance to visit with them … and pray with them. They are each a metamorphosis-in-progress.  I pray God’s best for every one of them.


So what does the future hold for Hope Unlimited?  I don’t know yet … but I do know that much research and prayer is going into the decision-making process.  I do know that there are incarcerated children who desperately need hope.

I do know the source of all hope.


According to his t-shirt, this guy has figured it out, too:
Christ frees us from all prisons … Journey of liberation with Christ
So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. John 8:36
Some prisons have visible locks and bars.  Others are self-imposed, and the shackles are invisible.  You may even be in one right now …

True freedom comes from the same Source. I hope you’ll discover it.

You will know the Truth,and the Truth will set you free. John 8:32

To learn more about the work of Hope Unlimited for Children, click the logo below.


I also encourage you to click HERE to read Renaissance Man’s blog.

I’m joining Metamorphosis Monday at Between Naps on the Porch.


  1. With this post you make my day happier….hugs and blessings, ciao Flavia

  2. WOW. Every thing about this post exudes HOPE. I kept thinking, “Hope unlimited. Unlimited Hope.”

    Don’t know why, but that’s what I was thinking. Now to click to make sure I read or reread that link.

  3. Had to document that I was here to read this incredibly positive and hope-filled post. It is certainly true that bars do not a prison make. It doesn’t make much sense to toss people into a pit and expect them to return to society better people. On the other hand, it doesn’t seem wise to punish offenders with a cushy existence. It’s a conundrum. Perhaps this is an answer.

  4. I wonder how something like this would work here in the U. S. I think it’s important that people have the opportunity to take control of their own lives and their own futures, even if they are in prison. This idea seems to take that to the power it needs to be. What a great chance to test out their new-found abilities to maintain before actually getting back out there in “the real world.” If they are allowed to take jobs or learn new job skills within the prison and care for their own upkeep, etc., then the experience is that much greater!

    It’s great that all the men there were so cooperative and forthcoming. This could be a lesson to our penal system!!!