HOPE PRISON MINISTRY
Organisation: Hope Prison Ministry
Area of operation: Drakenstein Correctional Centre/Paarl Valley
After facing many challenges in his life, including being incarcerated, Edward Stoffls turned to God for a better life. And with the help of crucial influences like Hope Prison Ministry, he can now be an example of redemption and a role model for others.
In 1992, at the age of 27, Edward was imprisoned on charges of murder. Life in Pollsmoor Prison was tough. His life went downhill fast as he became involved with gangs “for protection” in prison.
Edward recalls “waiting for the day to be killed” since capital punishment was still effective before 1995. However, Edward got a second chance at life, and his death penalty was changed to a life sentence of 25 years.
Being transferred to multiple prisons, countrywide became a norm for Edward. He finally arrived at Drakenstein Correctional Centre (formerly Victor Verster Prison).
“I was lying on my bed, listening to a Sunday sermon on RSG. I was smoking and was high, but the sermon just spoke to me. I knew I had to change my life.”
While at Drakenstein Correctional Centre, he encountered the Hope Prison Ministry. He has been part of their restorative justice programme since 2016. The restorative justice programme reunites inmates with the will of God and their families. Its focus is to help inmates change their lives and look forward to a better future.
Through Hope Prison Ministry, he was taught and developed skills to become a builder, eventually becoming his trade. “The Bible talks about building a foundation. You lay the bricks and build on a foundation, and that’s how God can heal you, to be a cornerstone, someone people can depend on,” Edward shared.
After his release in 2018, Edward continued his journey with Hope Prison Ministry and has been part of their aftercare programme. Chantelle Hall, Boland field director at Hope Prison Ministry, said, “It’s clear that Edward wants to make a positive change in his life and help others.”
Using his life story as a lesson, Edward now volunteers at prison ministries, testifying to inmates about God’s grace and second chances. “I don’t have much, but to give something is positive for me,” he shared.