History – Almost 14 years ago the NC Department of Prisons formally agreed to open the doors and allow Christian men of different denominations to bring Kairos Prison ministry inside the walls of Central Prison in Raleigh, NC. Led by the Holy Spirit these men took the Word of God into Central Prison as the hands and feet of Jesus Christ. Kairos for prisoners is a three day short course in Christianity similar in nature to the Walk to Emmaus, Cursillo, Presbyterian Pilgrimage, or some other three day weekends. Kairos is defined as God’s special time because each resident in Prison has the opportunity to experience God’s special love for each one of us.
Kairos Cookies – Home baked cookies are a special treat. Prisons such as Central Prison in Raleigh allocate one dollar per day per meal for each prisoner. There is no room in the budget for desserts. Each inside volunteer is encouraged to bring one hundred dozen home baked cookies to Central Prison. Each resident and staff member of Central Prison receives 1 dozen home baked cookies. The prisoners and staff look forward to receiving the cookies more than anything else. The cookies are a tangible sign of the love of God.
Remember: These cookies are used as an expression of God’s love to men behind the walls of Central Prison. Bake them with care, pack them with love, and send them with your prayers. Thank you for your love & support.
Agape or God’s love – The residents of the prison experience God’s love through agape which is the Greek word for sacrificial love. This sacrificial love is expressed by home cooked meals, prayer chains, cookies, personal letters, and testimonials.
Home Cooked Meals – The outside team is just as essential as the inside team. The outside team prepares special meals that you and I would take for granted. The inside team serves the meals and eats with the residents. These special meals consist of hamburgers, hot dogs, BBQ sandwiches, French fries, pizza, and other items not on the menu at Central Prison. Many residents of Central Prison hear about the wonderful meals and say they came for the food. This is the first step a resident makes to enter the Christian world.
Prayer – Another way the residents experience God’s love is through prayer. Members of the congregation are encouraged to participate by committing to pray for the residents and staff of Central prison by signing a link for a prayer chain. These links are gathered from communities of faith from all over the world. The links are connected together and draped within the prison walls where all the Kairos guests can see and feel the power of prayer.
Impact of Kairos cookies – One volunteer on the outside told me that the cookies made a big difference in her life. While she was in prison she felt abandoned by her friends and family. She did not go to church on a regular basis. She did not feel loved. She did not have Jesus in her life. One day a box of home baked cookies showed up in her jail cell. She wanted to know where they came from. The guard told her that a group of Christians made them and gave them to everyone in prison because of the love of Jesus Christ. She wept over the cookies wondering how someone she did not know could love her enough to give her such a special gift. When she was released from prison she immediately joined a church and began organizing the baking of cookies for Kairos. These cookies have melted many hardened hearts to allow the love of Jesus to enter.
Letters of faith, hope and love – Each resident of the prison receives a personal letter from the volunteers who participate in the Kairos weekend. This is a special time where each person is given the gift of faith, hope, and love through a personal note.
Testimonials – Each participant has the opportunity to learn about Christianity through special talks and personal testimonials. The volunteers lead the talks about Christianity and after each talk there are opportunities to discuss each topic in a small group.
Closing ceremony – The closing ceremony is for some the mountain top experience. Residents are invited to share their experiences with the entire staff of volunteers and fellow residents. One young man gave a very impassioned testimonial. He said that he was skeptical at first and did not know what to expect. He had prior experiences with Christian groups that had been disappointing but Kairos was different. He had never felt the love of God like this in his entire life. He was a changed man.
Official website – If you would like more information about Kairos, the different facets of this ministry, and how you might help in the same was as we are instructed in Matthew 25:36, I would encourage you to view the official Kairos of North Carolina web site at http://www.KairosNC.org or www.KairosPrisonMinistry.org.