MCARE Devotional 2 Social Empowerment

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why care?

a devotional series by



Devotional Module 2


01 Introduction .................................................................




Integral Mission...........................................................

Social Empowerment in Malaysian CARE...............




Devotional 1

Social Empowerment: Services in Prisons ..............


05 Devotional 2

Social Empowerment: Aftercare (Halfway Homes

& Community-Based Recovery) ...............................


06 Devotional 3

Social Empowerment: HIV.........................................

07 Visio Divina

The Good Samaritan....................................................

08 How to lead Visio Divina.............................................








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Why do we do what we do? That is what the devotional aims to answer. As a Christian

social concern agency, Malaysian CARE draws inspiration and strength from the Bible to

guide its work in its more than 40-year existence. Our vision, to be the visible expression of

the wholistic mission of Christ to the poor and needy, is rooted in the foundation of our faith.

Therefore, these devotionals are one way for us to learn the values of Jesus and how our

faith relates to society. By studying Scripture, we can understand our role in empowering

communities, as we work together as one body of Christ in finding hope during times of


The devotionals are based on the four key empowerment areas of Malaysian CARE. They

are not meant to be exhaustive but to give a brief overview of the work.

Economic Empowerment

Child Empowerment

Youth Empowerment

Social Empowerment

You are encouraged to use the devotionals once a week for three weeks followed by a week

of Lectio or Visio Divina.


Integral Mission or holistic mission is the proclamation and demonstration of the gospel. As

in the life of Jesus, being, doing and saying are at the heart of our integral task. We get a

clear picture of what this means when Jesus sent out the twelve disciples. At the core of his

instructions was a two-fold mission:


“As you go, preach this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven is near.’ Heal the sick, raise the

dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons.” (Matthew 10:7-8).

Word and works are meant to be together. We are told that Christ died, not just for the

forgiveness of sins, but for the redeeming of the entire creation, to reconcile himself to all

things. To bring together all things, be it on earth or in heaven. The work of Christ on the

cross has far-reaching social and cosmic consequences (Rom 8:19-22, Col 1:20, Eph 1:9-

10). God by his grace has given local churches the task of integral mission. Therefore the

future of integral mission is in planting and enabling local churches to transform the

communities of which they are a part of. Churches as caring and inclusive communities is at

the heart of what it means to do Integral Mission.

1Adapted from Integral Mission: Biblical Foundations (Melba Maggay) and the Micah Network Declaration on

Integral Mission


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There are many areas of work that Malaysian CARE is doing in the area of Social

Empowerment. We assist people released from prison, those recovering from substance

abuse and people living with HIV. For the purpose of this devotional, we will be highlighting

three key areas:


We coordinate programs in Kajang prison, Sungai Buloh prison and Pusat Koreksional

Puncak Alam (PKPA), a juvenile correctional center. We also advocate for the rights of

prisoners and ex-prisoners via campaigns such as the "YouTurn Project" and other prison

reform initiatives. Moreover, weekly Christian classes are conducted in prisons and PKPA as

well as "Cekap Duit" which is a financial literacy program for the juveniles at PKPA.

Character development, resilience building programs as well as pre- and post- release

programs are also offered in the above mentioned facilities. With regards to prevention and

awareness, we organize and conduct programs, trainings and workshops for youth from poor

communities, schools, colleges and churches.

Aftercare (Halfway Homes & Community-Based Recovery)

We have two halfway homes:

Rumah Petros and Rumah Kepercayaan are halfway homes for male and female ex-prisoners

respectively. They aim to equip and prepare them towards positive integration back into


We also practice Community-Based Recovery to facilitate the process of recovery and

reintegration of our clients into the community via Client-Centered Rehabilitation (CCR)

and Community In Recovery (CIR) methods.


Malaysian CARE's efforts in HIV started in 1986 when Malaysia announced our first HIV

case. We then engaged a consultant from UK to train our Prison, Drugs and AIDS department

on caring for PLHIV patients. Subsequently, we got to know that some of the people who

were from prisons and drug dependents were also infected with HIV. Today, we provide a

range of community-based services which includes: home visits, hospital visits,

transportation and support groups for people living with HIV/AIDS.


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Since the start of Malaysian CARE in 1979, thousands of men, women and juveniles have encountered

our ministry, and the number of facilities and prisons served has grown over the years. The types of

classes offered have evolved from focusing only on faith-based sessions to preparing an inmate for life

after prison. The classes covers crucial teachings in areas such as models of addiction, peer pressure,

forgiveness, budgeting and even contributing back to society. All these classes are faithfully taught by

volunteers and staff at prison facilities located within the Klang Valley.

Malaysian CARE also co-organises Christian conferences on prison work and collaborates with

churches, government and non-governmental agencies to educate and advocate for prison reform on

various issues.

Watch real life stories of how God can change even the

hardest of hearts at http://tiny.cc/MCarePDA


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Read Matthew 25: 34-40

Here Jesus states that love for others is what exemplifies a believer. The verse highlights six aspects of

service that we believers are to show: feeding the hungry, giving drink to the thirsty, hospitality to the


stranger, clothing the naked, visiting the sick and visiting those in prison. Love and care for the least is

the same as if we were to care for Christ himself. This is what love really looks like – it is demonstrated

by tangible acts of service.

Prisoners and ex-prisoners are not what society often deems them, rather they are precious to the

Shepherd. So much so that Christ sees that caring for them is caring for Him, the King of Kings. This is


the essence of being a believer; that we are not merely churchgoers, Bible readers or scholars. It is as

Christ states in verse 40:

“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these

brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

Sam Kian Seng, a portrait of hope and redemption

2Adapted from ‘Evidence of Love’ in Touchinglives.org https://www.touchinglives.org/devotionals/evidenceof-love

3 Ibid.


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Read Luke 19:1-10

Jesus saw that Zacchaeus had much to offer. The love of Christ transformed his heart and life. Instead of

being shunned as a worthless person, he became a channel of God’s blessing.

One modern-day example is Sam Kian Sang (pictured in previous page). He was handed a life sentence,

but gave his life to Christ after attending CARE’s classes in prison and became such an example for

other prisoners that the prison wardens lobbied for his release. After CARE and many others

campaigned for him, he was given a royal pardon.

In Christ, HOPE is available to all inmates and ex-prisoners. Paul writes in Hebrews 13:3 that we should

- ‘Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are

mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering.’Prison ministry can include many diverse services such

as literacy improvement, financial management, life and leadership skills, Bible studies and even

branching out to support inmates’ families on the outside.

After Sam was released from prison, he spent some time in CARE’s halfway home and is now running a

drop-in centre where ex-prisoners and other marginalised people can come for a meal and to fellowship.


He pursued theological studies and became one of CARE’s prison volunteers.

Photos from our past National

Prison Consultation. To get in

touch with our Prison team, do

send us an e-mail at


4 Source: https://www.bfm.my/podcast/the-bigger-picture/live-learn/the-youturn-project


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“The fruit of love is service, which is compassion in action.” – Mother Teresa

Through Christ, we can have a new life in Christ.

Discussion Questions:

How are prisoners viewed in your community?

How might you, your church or organisation practice Matthew 25:34-40 to a prisoner who has just

been released?

What are some vital mindsets and attitudes you would need to have if you were to be a prison


Prayer Points:

Pray for the prisoners to experience the love of God through the volunteers and CARE staff and

to receive hope, inspiration and new skills through the classes.

Pray for compassion and wisdom for the prison officers to treat the prisoners with care and

provide them with resources to encourage their rehabilitation.

Pray that the government will work towards reducing overcrowding and improving the facilities

and living conditions in the prisons and detention centres across the country.

Closing Prayer


Dear Lord,

I want it to be obvious that the way I live my life is a

reflection of you and your love.

So with that in mind,

I pray that you would give me opportunities this week,

to love and serve others

so that they might experience the love of Christ.

In Jesus' name,


5 Adapted from www.touchinglives.org/devotionals/evidence-of-love


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Aftercare is a process that brings about the Reconciliation of the ex-offender with family, society, and

the Church. Upon release from prison, the ex-offender has many needs to be met - mental, emotional,

physical, social and spiritual. They face unresolved issues of the past, new problems accumulated

during imprisonment, and are confronted with the negative reactions from their family, friends and

society. Many ex-offenders were formerly involved with drugs and other addictions, a lifestyle of

crime, and homelessness. Faced with the reality of life and the inability to meet their own needs and

others, this often leads them towards re-offending.


Community-based recovery (CBR) programmes are client-centred rehabilitation programmes that

involve the community in the reintegration process. These are key to reduce the recidivism rate,

especially when prisons in Malaysia are overcrowded by almost 40% of their capacity, as reported by

Suhakam in 2021. Halfway homes such as Malaysian CARE’s Rumah Petros and Rumah Kepercayaan

play an important role in helping prisoners reintegrate into society. Last year, CARE launched the

YouTurn Project, inspired by the Yellow Ribbon Project in Singapore, to encourage the community to

accept ex-prisoners. From working with prisoners and ex-prisoners, we’ve learned that they want and

need the same things as most of us: homes, loving families who accept them, and jobs to support


6 Adapted from Pax Tan's sermon


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*Lily was released from prison after being sentenced for drug-related offences. She was

determined to start a new life and was getting help from an NGO to plan for her future. After

months of preparation, Lily felt that she was ready and applied for a job at a nearby

hypermarket. After filling up the application form, she was told she would not be hired due to

her being an ex-offender. 7

What would happen if you were in Lily’s predicament? You’ve paid your dues, but society does not

allow you to forget. When people are released from prison, many of them face multiple challenges due

to the stigma that society has towards them. However during his ministry, our Lord frequently mixed

with those stigmatised by society at that time (Mark 2:16-17).

“It is not the healthy who need a doctor,

but the sick. I have not come to call the

righteous, but sinners.” - Jesus

Read this transformation story here


Read 2 Corinthians 5:16-21

Society often despises ex-offenders, but as the church, we should regard no one from a worldly point

of view (v.16). It’s easy to focus on their past wrongs, but God has forgiven our own wrongs and

reconciled us to Himself (v.19). He is offering this same forgiveness of sins and a fresh start to

everyone. We are thus Christ’s ambassadors in the Ministry of Reconciliation (v. 18, 20).


We must create the appropriate conditions for them to rejoin society, valuing them and respecting

them as people created by God in his own image. Many of us are fearful of ex-offenders, and we can

pray for God’s help to overcome this. CBR encompasses many different aspects such as tending to a

person’s educational, mental, financial, legal, and medical needs among others. While it can seem

overwhelming, as a community bands together, it is able to collectively share resources, support case

workers, build confidence and a sense of belonging.

Adapted from https://malaysiancare.org/youturn *(names have been changed to protect their privacy)


Devotional Module 2


We can hire them, welcome them into our communities and lobby for policy changes through

avenues like the YouTurn Project. Anyone and everyone can and should be involved, whether

as individuals, churches, or companies!

Discussion Questions:

What lessons and values can we draw from 2 Corinthians 5:16-21 in the way we respond to exoffenders?

What are some simple actions we can take to help an ex-offender reintegrate back into society?

In supporting the recovery and rehabilitation of ex-offenders, there are certain costs to the people

involved (financial, material, personal and social). But what would be the cost to ex-offenders and

the wider society if there were no such programmes?

Prayer Points:

Pray for the success of the Malaysian Prison Department’s plans for two-thirds of prisoners to be

undergoing rehabilitation in the community by 2030.

Pray that God will inspire the Church to provide more support to prisoners when released.

Pray that God will continue to provide and sustain Malaysian CARE’s Prison Ministry and the

YouTurn Project, an advocacy campaign to promote second chances for ex-prisoners in Malaysia.


Devotional Module 2



Opening question: If you went out for dinner with a group of friends, and

found out that one of them was HIV positive, how would you feel?

When HIV first emerged in the 1980s, there was little information available about it, resulting in a lot of

fear and stigma towards persons living with HIV (PLHIV). Today, HIV treatment and diagnosis is much

more advanced and many PLHIV can live a fairly normal life. However, terrible stigmas such as shame,

condemnation, and guilt, lead to unwarranted isolation and deprivation and affect access to medical,

health and employment opportunities for the 90,000 PLHIV in Malaysia.


Malaysian CARE’s work with HIV clients began with our involvement in prison work that saw us

encountering PLHIV there. Over the past 20 years, we have organized consultations with churches,

support groups for women and children, caregiver retreats, released an awareness book and trained

numerous health workers. Each December, we observe World AIDS Day to create awareness to society

in supporting the PLHIV.

Read Psalm 88

In what ways could this Psalm reflect the experience of a person living

with HIV?

In the early days of the AIDS pandemic, Psalm 88 expressed the feelings of so many who lived with

rejection, stigma, and judgement as a result of their diagnosis. Many felt like they had received a death

sentence. The deep despair still rings true despite advances in life-sustaining medicine.

The Psalmist speaks here of feelings of abandonment by God and hopelessness related to affliction. He

feels that he is going through immeasurable suffering, weighed down by God’s anger, and shunned by

his friends and neighbours. 9

8 At the end of year 2020, there were estimated 92,063 PLHIV in Malaysia.

(Global AIDS Monitoring Report 2021).

9 Adapted from http://storage.cloversites.com/unitedmethodistglobalaidsfund/documents/HIVAIDS-



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Jesus himself knew what it was to suffer and be rejected, hence he is able to understand the

pain of rejection felt by PLHIV. As Isaiah 53:3 (NLT) says,

He was despised and rejected—a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief.

We turned our backs on him and looked the other way. He was despised, and we did

not care.

Read John 9:1-7

Jesus’ disciples thought that a man was blind because he or his parents had sinned. By the time of Jesus,

many of the teachings of the Old Testament had been over-simplified, resulting in beliefs such as ‘If you

are suffering, it must be because you have sinned.’ Jesus said this man was not blind because of sin.

Instead he said that the works of God should be displayed in him.'


Today, some people are reluctant to associate with people living with HIV because they are concerned

that their disease may have been caused by the use of illegal drugs or promiscuity. Others may fear

infection through social contact, while in fact, HIV cannot spread through sharing food, hugging, or

even kissing.

In this passage Jesus says clearly that when we are face to face with someone suffering from a disease,

the correct response is not to focus on whether sin (if any) may have caused their disease. Rather he

says that illness and suffering provides an opportunity for us to follow Christ’s example of loving care

and service to others.


Read more about what Malaysian CARE does for People

Living with HIV;

A Chance to Show Appreciation to our Caregivers


10 Adapted from https://learn.tearfund.org/-/media/learn/resources/series/reveal/b---bible-study---hiv-andaids-and-the-glory-of-god.pdf

11 Adapted from https://www.tearfund.org/-/media/learn/resources/bible-studies/hand-in-hand-biblestudies.pdf


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Today, the advances in HIV treatment enables the physical disease to be kept under control. However,

people living with HIV still suffer from broken relationships with family and community. As Christ’s

body, it is up to us to bring about that change.

Our attitude to HIV and AIDS should not be ‘Whose

fault?’ but rather, ‘God’s opportunity to do what?’

Discussion Questions:

How can we see HIV/AIDS as an opportunity to do the "works of God"?

Imagine that you tested positive for HIV. How would you like your church and community to


Prayer Points:

Pray that Malaysian Christians will recognize HIV disease as an opportunity to show Christ’s

compassion to this entire community of people who need love, comfort and acceptance.

Pray for institutions and individuals who are continuously researching new biomedical options for

HIV prevention, treatment and cure.

Closing Prayer

Gracious and compassionate God,

You hear the painful cries of your people

and your Spirit awakens in us the awareness

that we are your hands and feet, sent to accomplish your work in this


May we respond to the leading of your Spirit and take on the work

you have given us to do.

In the name of your Son, our Christ



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Jared Small, The Good Samaritan


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Visio divina, is also known as divine seeing and just like lectio

divina, it draws from ancient practices. Early Christians painted

Bible scenes in catacombs. In the Middle Ages, stained-glass

cathedral windows and illuminated Bible manuscripts helped

worshipers experience God in nonverbal ways.

Visio divina is also a practice that requires time and attention to

Scripture - a challenge in this day and age where we are tempted by

our phones and computers for attention. Therefore this spiritual

discipline offers an opportunity to focus, to get away from

everything that fights to capture our attention and permits us to

experiment in ways that open the eyes of the heart, use all the

senses, and lead people to see more clearly who God is and what

God is doing in the world.

Sharing visio divina responses in a group setting also builds

communal ties as we hear the different ways God speaks. It also

encourages us when we hear how God is working in other people’s

lives and stretches our 'spiritual imaginations'. The 'message' comes

not directly through a single sermon or teaching, but indirectly

through multiple voices and images, indirectly encouraging stronger

relationship to the message as participants participate and

contribute to it. Visio Divina helps us to connect to God in a new

and fresh way.

12 Adapted from web resources by Lausanne Europe, the Calvin Institute of Christian worship and

Anglican Communion.


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Before the session starts, look at Step 5 to choose some questions.

Sit in a relaxed manner, quieten yourself and open the session by asking the Holy Spirit to

speak to you/your group.

Words in Italics are for the facilitator to read out.


Share the selected image.

Look at the image and let your eyes stay with the very first thing that you see. Keep your

attention on that one part of the image that first catches your eye. Try to keep your eyes from

wandering to other parts of the picture.

Now, let your eyes gaze at the whole image. Take your time and look at every part of the

photograph. See it all. Reflect on the image for a minute or so. Don’t over-analyse.

Read a few of the questions below that are relevant for you/your group:

I will now ask a few questions for us to reflect on silently.

What caught your eye or jumped out at you? Why do you think God drew your attention

to this particular part?

Where might you see yourself in the artwork?

What questions do you have for the artist?

Did the image remind you of an experience, person or issue for which you’d like to offer

thanksgiving or intercession?

What did you learn about God’s nature and character?

After a few minutes, ask the group to share. If there are more people you may ask them to

keep their responses short. If you are the facilitator, you may want to jot down or summarise

the group’s responses at the end.

As we close this reflection, we will open the time for sharing. Feel free to share and

remember to keep your responses short - single words or short phrases to allow others a

chance to share.

Spend a few minutes in quiet reflection of all the things you have heard.

Close the session by bringing to prayer the collection of responses to God. Thank the Holy

Spirit for the moment together.


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Malaysian CARE acknowledges that materials for this devotional have been

adapted from the Prison Coordinating Team’s reports, sermons and presentations

as well as various external resources as indicated in the footnotes. This

devotional is intended for private usage and not for commercial purposes.

Please contact communications@malaysiancare.org for any questions or

clarifications pertaining to this devotional series.

Unless otherwise stated, scripture quotations are taken from The Holy Bible,

New International Version® NIV® Copyright © 1973 1978 1984 2011 by

Biblica, Inc. TM Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.




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