CBN Hosts Christmas in Dangerous Peruvian Prison

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For the children of prisoners in Lima, Peru, it was an unforgettable day when volunteers from a local church brought a breath of fresh air to their sad and depressing world.

Early in the morning, several ladies lined up for a monthly visit with their imprisoned husbands. The Lurigancho penitentiary in Lima, Peru, is known as one of the most dangerous in South America.

CBN Director for Peru Ursula Scheeljee explained how dangerous it is.

"Because this prison was built for 2,400 prisoners, but right now there are more than 10,000," she said.

Prisoners are known for their violence, gangs, and drug addiction. Scheelje has seen the problem up close.

For years she has come to help prisoners and their families, as the director of the CBN ministry in Peru. She's now back in Lurigancho bringing gifts of hot chocolates, sweet bread, and much more.

"CBN has organized Christmas for more than eight years together with Orphans Promise, which helps us buy food and presents for the child who has a mother or father who's a prisoner," Scheelje said.

For a few hours, the Lurigancho gym filled up with music, Santa's helpers, children, and happiness. Members of the prison's Christian fellowship dressed in the spirit of Christmas.

Some children had their faces painted while others danced with clowns. Fathers hugged and played with their children.

As a special feature, children watched the animated story of Christmas in pre-release of the new Superbook series.

Omar Morillo, host of CBN's Vida Dura (Hard Life) program, took he mic to invite parents and children to make room for the child in the manger.

"Your heart is the manger. And in this manger, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, wants to be born right now," he said.

At the end of the program, more than 360 children received gifts, possibly their only Christmas gift this year.

More than 200 parents and children asked the same Jesus who was born in a manger to become their friend and Savior.

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Stan Jeter

Stan Jeter

CBN News Senior Producer

CBN News Senior Producer Stan Jeter specializes in Christian news and Latin American coverage.  He has lived and worked for many years in South and Central America, most recently developing the Spanish Christian news program, Mundo Cristiano.  Follow Stan on Twitter @StanJeterNews and "like" him at Facebook.com/StanJeterCBN.