The Ecuadorian Prison Ministry, called ACEE for Asociasion Carcelaria Ecuatoriana Evangelica, was started over 30 years ago by missionaries from several different missions, including HCJB Global, The C&MA and others. Pronounced “ah-say,” ACEE workers basically teach the Gospel to interested and willing prisoners and many are converted to Christ. Starting out, ACEE had immediate success with many conversions. The ministry’s very positive effect on the prisoners soon caught the eyes of prison officials. The bad behavior of mean-spirited felons does not change for the better by accident. And, the officials wanted to know what was going on. They began to meet with ACEE leaders and were sufficiently impressed with the program that ACEE members (converted prisoners) were eventually granted permission to have their own wing of cells and a larger open meeting area for services and other functions. They were also allowed to clean up and paint their areas including the large outside open area’s high walls where beautiful biblical scenes are visible. They continue to have many bible studies during the week, but a typical Sunday’s service held in the larger outdoor area has very joyful singing and string music ringing up and throughout the prison wings as church members worship. Other prisoners can be seen for several floors up leaning on handrails listening to the music and preaching. Many follow their curiosity to one of several weekly bible studies and accept Christ. They are then accepted into the prison church and allowed to live in the ACEE area/wing.
After a few years of such successful results, and after ACEE had started churches in other prisons, officials began to study ACEE’s method of rehabilitation more closely. A team of prison psychologists was assigned to observe the group to determine how the good results were being gained. They later reported that simple teaching of the Bible was the answer. Wanting further proof, officials in one prison assigned 50 of the most difficult and hardened felons to ACEE to see if the Gospel method could affect them. Within months of Bible study and fellowship with other Christian prisoners, over 20 had asked God for forgiveness and salvation. Over 20 very hardened, mean-spirited criminals had become gentle lambs. Such remarkable successes led prison officials to install ACEE and its Gospel method as an official rehabilitation method. ACEE workers now have access to all prisons and the prison churches are thriving.
ACEE’s program also led many prisoners to want more education and arrangements were made by ACEE to enter many of them in Distance Learning programs and many earned degrees while in prison. Several of the prisoners later became effective pastors and missionaries upon release.
Although ACEE is recognized as an approved rehabilitation program for prisoners, it receives no financial support from the government. Like most national ministers and missionaries, its workers receive little income. You can be a very large help to ACEE if you feel led to be a part of this dynamitic ministry. There is a constant need for work teams and medical or dental teams to visit for short term projects and programs. There are always needs for prayer for a very difficult group who have fallen on hard times because of enormous poverty and wrong decisions. ACEE has proven, though, that our Lord Jesus Christ is this group’s only answer for help. Please contact PMM if you wish to help or donate a gift.
Here are some progress letters from the prison ministry: