Pendant 24 ans, le Conseiller Présidentiel principal Cris Rwakasiisi a passé son temps derrière les barreaux d'une cellule de prison dans un pénitencier d'Ouganda se demandant ce qu'il allait advenir.
Alors qu'il travaillait comme ministre dans le cabinet de l'ancien président Apollo Milton Obote, Cris a été accusé à tord d'enlèvement avec l'intention d'assassiner, et a été condamné à mort en 1985 après la chute du gouvernement d'Obote.
En colère contre l'injustice de ces fausses accusations et la sentence sévère, c'est en prison que Cris a rencontré Jésus ; ou plutôt que "Jésus m'a rencontré" précise t-il.
Cris s'est senti réconforté par Dieu au travers de cette conviction que personne n'allait le tuer. Néanmoins il continua à lutter pour se réconcilier avec cette situation, et petit à petit son regard changea.
But everything started to change for Cris when a lady named Maria provided him with a pamphlet about Alpha and asked him if he would run the course in prison. A bit unsure at the beginning, Cris’ own pursuit of God as well as his spiritual drive would eventually lead him to run his first of what would be many very successful Alphas for his fellow inmates.
‘What made it much more attractive is that before every class she would provide me with donuts and tea for all the prisoners… One hundred would come take tea and by the end of the day there would maybe only be 60… but the class continued building up and building up.’
On 21 January 2009, Cris was called into the warden’s office and given a letter ordering his release effective immediately. By the time Cris left prison in 2009, more than 1,000 inmates had graduated from Alpha.
Six months later President Yoweri Museveni called Cris in to his office and explained to him that over 20 years earlier, when his death warrant had been brought before him to sign, he couldn’t bring himself to do it. He said he got on his knees and prayed to God and God told him in an audible voice, ‘do not sign it’.
Seeing the transformation that Alpha brought to the prisoners around him during his years in prison, Cris says:
‘I would encourage every prison in this country to commit [to running Alpha]. It is my appeal to the churches, my appeal to different organizations, even to big businessmen [to support Alpha], because the prison can bring reformation, but transformation comes from within and you can only be transformed by Jesus. And when these people are transformed they will never be a bother again. So I would appeal to them to support this course.’