Several years ago, Barry Cook began talking about a prison ministry he had become involved with called Kairos. Having spent almost 30 years in law enforcement, I was very interested in the idea of going into prisons to minister to the inmates (we call them “residents”) and sharing the love of Jesus with them. After coming up with excuses not to get involved, I finally agreed to attend what they call a Closing Ceremony, which is basically a graduation ceremony from a Kairos weekend.
After seeing the way the residents spoke of the impact the Kairos weekend had had on them, I knew I had to get involved. I volunteered for the next Kairos weekend (the group we are with has weekends at North Central Correctional Complex in Marion in early spring and fall). I had to attend six weeks of team meetings where we not only learned what we would be doing once we got inside the prison, but where we grew together as a team. Even if we had never gone inside the prison, those meetings were a blessing in themselves!
Some might wonder why anyone – especially a retired police officer – would take the time and effort to minister to prisoners (it definitely is a commitment in time and is a taxing weekend). After all, these guys are in prison because they deserve to be. They are criminals; the lowest of the low, preying on the weak and vulnerable in society. The world is better off without them!
But thankfully, the Lord has been working on me for the past several years and has helped me to see that the only difference between me and the guys on the inside is that their sins are illegal; mine aren’t. I just happen to engage in sins that the world has deemed “acceptable”. But in God’s eyes, my sins are every bit as bad as the murderer, the rapist or the robber.
We all have violated the rules of a holy and righteous God, and we all are deserving of nothing except His eternal wrath. But for whatever reason, God determined some 40 years ago to save me from His wrath. As a result, He has also given me a new heart for these residents and helped me to see that they are in need of His love and forgiveness – and just as undeserving of it – as I was. Through Kairos, God has allowed me to witness His transforming power in the lives of people that many – including their families – have written off as worthless.
Not everyone has been called to go inside, and it isn’t for everyone. But everyone can be a part of this amazing ministry. In order for us to put on a Kairos weekend, we need approximately $200 per man to cover the costs of food and supplies. We also need cookies; lots and lots of cookies! Each Kairos volunteer is expected to provide 200 dozen cookies. On every Kairos weekend we have been involved with so far, CFC has always come through with both cookies and financial contributions.
Barry and I can’t tell you how much we appreciate the way you all have opened your hearts to this ministry. We are so thankful for all of your prayers for us and for the guys we meet during the Kairos weekends. And men, know that you are welcome to get involved.