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A look inside a Kairos Inside Weekend

Kairos, a local outreach partner, reaches out to residents at the Northeast Correctional Facility. Twice a year they hold a Kairos Inside weekend, four days of teaching, encouragement, worship and more in which hundreds of residents participate. This is the setting for the distribution of our homemade “cookies for Kairos”. The next cookie collection is April 8-9. GFC member Keith Halberg led the last Inside weekend, and here he shares some of what went into it.

As soon as Kairos 34 ended last April, I began to plan for Kairos 35 for October 2017. Not wanting to procrastinate, I immediately set up in my basement a calendar with events, and a plan of how to check them off.

I picked my dates and follow-up reunion with the prison chaplain. I secured our hotel and cabin sleeping arrangements for the 4-day event. That included determining when and where our 8 training meetings would be, which ended up hosted at GFC.

The preparation revolves around putting a team of approximately 42 volunteers to fit various job assignments. I found a music leader, Bill Jolley, a former worship leader at GFC. It was his job to form a music team. And as it turns out one of the most joyous parts of the 4-day weekend was the music. It was truly glorious and uplifting.

The plans for putting together the 42-man team were going well. Then about half way through, around July, people began to drop off the team for various reasons. That included four key leadership roles. But by the grace of God, other men stepped up and filled those vacant roles.

One quarter of the Kairos 35 team were first-timers, including my younger son. My wife, who is involved with Kairos Outside and the Kairos leadership in Tennessee, was a constant support. An unsung group is the kitchen crew who set up shop at Bethany Baptist about 1/2 mile from the prison. These group of ladies worked 14 to 16 hour days putting the meals together that we would eat inside the prison during the weekend.

Probably the biggest keys to a successful Kairos weekend is seeing how God burdens a servant’s heart to rise up and sacrifice for a role they are asked to fill. And as I was told, putting together a Kairos weekend is like eating an elephant, it has to start one bite at a time.

I was asked by many after the weekend how it went. I kept using the word uplifting. There was so much joy in the hearts of the residents that were a part of the weekend. As for the volunteers that made up the team, so many said they were also filled with great joy to be a part of serving the Lord.

There were residents who came forward to receive the Lord, but our prayer is that God's word will not return void and that seed will grow far beyond the weekend.

There is such a joy in being where God wants you to be.

Keith Halberg

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