Dr Richard Kent and Rev Roger French regularly travel to Death Row in the Philippines, within the New Bilibid Prison, Manila.
Richard was first invited to the Philippines in the year 2000 by Pastor Gordon Smith, who is still very much interested in work in the Philippines.
There was originally a team of six believers from the UK, and this team originally stayed at “Half Way House” near the main prison, where ex-prisoners are released to the world.
This prison complex is the largest prison in Asia. There are 3 main prisons, Maximum, Medium and Minimum Security, with a total of 18,000 prisoners. There are 12,000 prisoners within Maximum Security, and 1,100 on Death Row. These prisoners on Death Row are potentially awaiting execution for capital offences, although their sentences are commuted at present.
The prison was a Japanese Internment Camp during World War 2, and there were trials for war crimes when the Americans occupied the Philippines.
One of the very early evangelists to visit the prison was Corrie Ten Boom in 1946.
Richard and Roger also work in Medium Security, and The Women’s Prison.
Richard and Roger work very closely with two pastors who work full time in the prison, Pastor Lucas and Pastor Ding and one full time lady assistant, Sister Leony.
There are actually missionaries from about 40 countries within the prison, and the authorities thoroughly approve of “religious volunteers” since the crime rate within the prison has declined so dramatically, which is a testament to the work of the Holy Spirit within the prison. Well known churches that work in the Maximum Security prison include Calvary Chapel from the USA.
Richard has made close friends with an American missionary family, Don and Molly McAlvany, who he met whilst working within Maximum Security. They also run orphanages in the Philippines.
Pastor Lucas and Sister Leony have set up a Bible School within the Maximum Security prison, and are also very involved in the 18 churches within the prison.
Richard’s charity, The Final Frontier Charitable Trust, and Roger’s Living Word Church provide salaries for the Philippine missionaries, two vehicles, and a motor bike, to transport relatives to the prison, and computer and other equipment for the missionaries.
For the Bible School in the prison the charity provides computers, photocopiers, projectors, and Christian DVD’s. Richard and Roger work in the Bible School, and in the churches within Maximum Security, including Death Row.