The Greatest Gift
Sep 17, 2023 | by The Fellowship
I have been serving for years in a ministry called Super Saturday at Juvenile Detention facilities around Houston. A couple of years ago, a friend at church introduced me to another opportunity named Kairos. It is “a Christian, faith-based ministry which addresses the spiritual needs of incarcerated men, women, youth, and their families.”
During COVID, the Super Saturday ministry was prevented from holding events -- and only this year did it slowly begin to be allowed back into the juvenile centers. Kairos, on the other hand, began returning to Houston prisons last summer. My prayer is always for the Lord to give me opportunities to share His redeeming love with others. So, I was thankful to be invited to join the Kairos team ministering for a four-day weekend last October at the Jester III Unit in Richmond, Texas.
Intense training over four Saturdays preceded the event. I went into the Jester III unit excited to serve as a Table Assistant and part of the Worship Team. The greatest blessing of Kairos is knowing that we are going to encounter many men who are angry, hurt, lost, and lonely because their choices have led them to be incarcerated. In four days, the Kairos team witnesses and shares their lives with these men in white and presents them with the greatest gift on earth – new life in Christ.
There is a set program for each day, but ultimately, it is about presenting the freedom and hope in Christ that can begin inside of prison and continue until the Lord calls His own home. A portion of the weekend prepares the men to be part of a weekly Kairos gathering called Prayer and Share. It is very much like a weekly LIFE Group meeting.
One young man (R) who sat at my table still has many years in his sentence. When I first met him, he had a hatred towards his mother. Once becoming comfortable and trusting enough to share, he explained about feeling abandoned in his early teens. At that time, his father left the family and initially, his anger was pointed at his father. As years passed, he realized that his mother had been the cause of the family breakdown due to an inappropriate relationship with his grandfather. At that point in his late teens, the young man turned his anger towards his mother.
One of the most important parts of the weekend is the lessons around forgiveness. The men learn that unforgiveness must be laid at the feet of Christ for change to begin in a person’s life.
R was sharing his story after just completing the lessons on forgiveness. All the anger and hate towards his mother for so many years … R chose to leave at the feet of the Lord. It was the beginning of a new chapter in his life!
Fast forward to this August. I just recently returned for another weekend at the Jester III unit. An opportunity for inmates who have completed a Kairos weekend is that they are eligible to participate as servants for a subsequent Kairos weekend. Lo and behold, when we got to the chapel where Kairos was hosted … one of the servants was R! He immediately recognized me and gave me a big hug. I could have cried! How exciting to hear what has happened to him in the last year!
We had time for conversations and fellowship in the breaks from the activities, and this was a new man! R shared how that forgiving his mother set him free and birthed a change in his life. He began attending the weekly Prayer and Share gatherings and started growing in his faith in Christ. God has so changed his life that he is even one of the shepherd leaders at the gatherings. Now he was back at a Kairos weekend to witness God change the lives of more men! He even told me about praying specifically by name for some of his friends to be picked to attend the weekend – and God had answered!
We had many conversations over the four days about the transformation God is making in his life. R even told me at one point … “My life would not have been changed except for being inside this place and attending Kairos last year.” All I could tell him in return was: “God is amazing, isn’t He?”
What a blessing to be part of a ministry in a place where men desperately need the hope of Christ … where they can find freedom in Christ while still locked up on the inside of a prison. In answer to my prayers, the Lord sent me to the perfect place to bring the greatest gift -- the message of His redeeming love.
Listen to my cry, for I am in desperate need …
Set me free from my prison that I may praise your name.
Would you like to serve in this life-changing ministry? For information on Kairos, contact a representative at The Fellowship: . Kairos has an inside group of men who volunteer to serve within the prisons … and an outside group of men and women volunteers who prepare and deliver the materials that are used as well as meals and snacks.