Not to Be Messed With

C&MA worker Joan Ewan had been meeting with six drug dealers inside the women’s prison in Quito, Ecuador, trying to convince them to leave a Christian inmate alone. Then one of the women challenged her authority.

“I’m not afraid of you,” Joan said.

“Go get the knife!” the leader of the group barked to a fellow inmate.

“Yes, go get it!” Joan responded.

The dealer was shocked. “What are you saying?” she asked.

“You told her to go get the knife, so I’m agreeing with you,” Joan explained. “I am not afraid because I am an ambassador of God!”

The woman backed down and considered Joan’s words. Then she turned to the other five prisoners. “Joan is my friend,” she said. “She does represent God, and we don’t want to mess with God.”

Joan’s work at the prison has gotten the petite, sixty-something missionary into tight situations. She is often the only visitor allowed in during strikes, bringing food and other supplies to her “girls,” as she calls them. They call her “Mom.” She meets with several dozen inmates regularly to study Scripture and pray.

Her efforts to get the Christian prisoner transferred back to Quito from a remote coastal facility involved hours of advocacy with government officials and many forms that had to be completed. But her concern for Lindi’s spiritual growth and physical safety motivated Joan to persist until the process was complete.

In honor of Lindi’s “homecoming,” the women in the Bible study prepared a skit on the prodigal son. Afterwards, Joan spoke on the meaning of the text, and the group shared a meal. During the event, Patrice, a prisoner from Belgium, gave her life to Christ. “We have twenty-five attending the study, and many of them are unbelievers,” reports Joan. “Thank you all for praying and for being there for us.”


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