By this time next week Carl and I will be in Fairfield, Texas with a great team of folks from the Waco area Kairos Team. We will be at the Boyd Men’s Prison Unit. Kairos is a Christian faith-based ministry that addresses the spiritual needs of men, women, and youth in the prison system, as well as their families.
Kairos gives those in prison the opportunity to “reconsider” their life choices. The Team Carl and I are on have seen miracles and lives changed through this four day, 12 to 14 hours per day, with unconditional love turn people’s hearts and lives away from destructive behaviors to transformation of hearts and minds.
An article on the Kairos website (www.mykairos.org) says, “It’s been said that it costs the government $1 million to keep ‘me’ locked up and a $100 program from Karios to set ‘me’ free.” Free in the love and forgiveness of Jesus Christ.
Many years ago, Carl was invited to participate in a Kairos weekend. He came away with the feeling that this was truly a ministry that changed hearts and lives, and not just within the prison system. It changed the hearts and lives of the men who participated in the four day weekend in the prison.
We have been preparing for this weekend (October 23-26) for months. Carl is working with the inside team (only men can go into a men’s unit), and I am the clergy person for the outside team.
The inside team spends four days praying with, eating with, talking with, and following a Karios in depth program with the “Men in White.” The outside team cooks a LOT, prays even more, and prepares meals for both those going in and the Men in White.
The outside team is baking approximately 5,000 dozen cookies — 60,000 cookies, sweet breads, birthday cakes, fruit and other meal products. [Right now my house smells of COOKIES. In the last 24 hours I have made about 450 cookies with about 800+ to go. Others are also working hard making cookies. So we are on our way toward the 60,000.] The Men in White never get cookies, sweet breads, fruit, or a birthday cake. One of the stories we heard was that one man broken down crying when he saw a birthday cake on his table. “This is the first birthday cake I ever got. I didn’t think anyone cared that I was born.”
I listened to an ex-inmate talk about Kairos, “A lot of people said we were dead men, but I was a mad man. I beat up inmates who wanted to be a Christian. I ran the prison gangs. Kairos came inside the walls and picked the worse dudes. But Christ gave me back my life.”
There is a 70% retention rate of prisoners who attend a Kairos weekend. That is 29 men out of 42 develop a relationship with Christ. When they get out of prison, they stay out. Wouldn’t it be amazing to see those kinds of numbers in our churches? Some of the men remain in prison but lead a Christian life in the midst of chaos — fighting, lots of noise, yelling, men getting hurt, beaten up, someone else telling them what to do every minute of their day, gangs, drugs. Got the idea?!
I am not saying that once a prisoner accepts Christ as his savior that he is to be let out of prison. They have committed a crime and need to complete their punishment. But I wonder how we would do if we found ourselves in a place like that? Would our faith withstand the brutality these men have to face each day? Just because you become a Christian does not mean that life becomes a “bed of roses.”
Please keep the Kairos Team and the Men in White in your prayers for the next two weeks. Hearts and lives will be changed.
Today, do something that challenges you, Linda