Kairos 41, Memories

As we reflect on the K 41 weekend, it’s appropriate to start with a “thank you” from one of the Residents. A thanks to everyone who helped with the weekend: volunteers, churches, the K41 team, cookie bakers, our chefs, etc…

“We at NECX would like to thank you for everything you do for us. You have no idea how much your love, prayers, hard work, and time mean to those of us who are incarcerated. Prison can be a dark depressing world. It is designed to keep our thoughts on our worst moments, on the darkest times in our past. It is designed to snuff out any light that possibly remains in our hearts, leaving our little “society” in an everlasting state of evil, hatred, violence, and death. Many of us have no one on the outside. Many of us can’t even remember what love and compassion feels like anymore. We are told we are nothing, treated as if we are less than human, and emasculated at every turn. In short, we live in a world of constant darkness.

All of this changes with you and your ministry. When you support or participate in volunteering for the Kairos weekend, you aren’t just visiting “the least of these”, you are changing lives. During our brief weekend together, our lives are flipped upside down. For the briefest of possible moments, we aren’t inmates. We aren’t criminals. We are not despised. We become human. We become men. We become loved. For the first time in years, we can forget the past, forget the fact that we are in prison, and forget our isolation. We feel the love and kindness that simply don’t exist in our world. To us, you are a light that outshines the brightest stars, lighting up our hearts, and giving us hope. In you, we see the goodness of this world. You restore our faith in humanity. We come together as strangers, but we leave as brothers.

For all of you that support this ministry in any way, from those that pray for us, to those who bake cookies, prepare and cook the food we eat, those of you that make financial donations and volunteer for this ministry, we all here at NECX want to extend our deepest gratitude. Your contributions, whatever they may be, are changing our hidden world. All of you are changing lives. You may not know us, but our hearts are united, our lives are connected. We love you and we thank you. You have impacted our lives more than you can ever know. THANK YOU!!”

There were many, many spiritual memories. Here are but a few:

Guards were assigned to the gym where Kairos 41 was held. On Sunday morning, one of the guards assigned turned to one of our outside team members and asked/stated: “Tell me more about Kairos. I have never seen anything like this in my life!”

We were visited by the Associate Warden, Security on Friday morning. As he was checking out/ examining the prayer room for safety issues, we asked him if he wanted to go into the prayer room with us so we could pray for him; he said yes. When we asked him for his prayer requests, he asked: “Please pray for the officers on the compound, they need prayer just as much, even more, than the men out there dressed in blue.”

One participant Resident on the weekend cannot speak English …. he speaks a Thailand dialect. He’s been attending the Tuesday night prayer and sharing for a couple years; always happy and upbeat, yet does not speak, nor understand English. During one of the devotional times in the chapel, he stood up, walked to the front of the meeting, then prayed out loud for at least 5 minutes in his native tongue. Well, during and after his prayer, you could have heard a needle drop. Even though no one understood a word he was saying, the Holy Spirit filled everyone’s heart in that room.

160 prayer requests were submitted during the weekend. A breakdown of the requests:

Family, 52%
Friends, 16%
Kairos/The Church, 6%
Release from prison, 6%
All others, 20%
Prayers for families were; for better relationships with wives and children, for sick family members, etc, etc. When you read these over and over, it truly makes you appreciate your family and cherish every moment with them

On Friday, one fellow wrote out a prayer request for his mom whose car had just been reposed. He put his prayer request in the bag and practically jumped out of his skin last night to tell us that on Saturday mom received a donated truck. He was a great encouragement to everyone for his testimony of prayer.

Almost all 42 men talked about the power of the Prayer Room and how their lives were changed. Most men have little practice in any kind of prayer life. This experience opened many eyes and hearts

Of course, there were many positive comments about the delicious food and the overwhelming quantity and quality of homemade cookies. Many thanks to the “Cookie Faithful” who year-in and year-out keep us stocked in cookies.

Here are a few comments by the Residents who participated in the weekend:

“Kairos shined a light in a dark spot. I am usually overwhelmed with negativity, never get a break, just looking for a break, for relief. Kairos has done this …. Met some beautiful guys, brothers, and call them family. I learned there is no limitation on God and good. Kairos showed me there is light.”

“I have been here 7 1/2 years; had I known Kairos was this good, I would have signed up long ago. Just because we have a “white strip” down our leg, doesn’t mean we are prisoners. Thank you for helping us get thru tough times. I can’t wait to get to a phone so I can tell grandma; she’s going to be amazed.”

“ This weekend has brought me out of my shell; there’s just so much love (tears began to flow). It’s just hard to explain. I was encouraged yesterday to call my mom after 6 months of not talking to her. I went back to my POD last night and called her …. it was wonderful. Let Go and Let God!”

“ I am not alone! On the street, I was alone. On the yard, I was alone. Not now, not here. This is living with God, can now reach out to others. I have been too ashamed to ask for help, but not now. Thank you for showing me I can ask for help, that I am not alone!”

“ Seen and felt lots of love here! The love of God has been put on my heart. I am learning to pray, and I now know God has me.”

“It’s good to be around good, genuine people. I thank God!”