Story #1: 40 Years in the Desert
I entered prison here at Union Correctional Facility in Raiford, Florida in 1976.
I heard a brand new program called Kairos was coming. (Turns out it was the very first Kairos Weekend ever held.) They said there would be chicken and cookies and much more, so I signed up. But I backed out at the last minute.
40 years later, when Kairos was celebrating its 80th Weekend at the prison, I finally came. I had spent those 40 years wandering in the desert.
I now have a new perspective, and I found joy. These people came in, touched me, hugged me and prayed for me. Look around and see what God can do with a cookie!
Story #2: Kairos Has the Ammunition!
In 2010 my wife Marilyn and I were volunteering on a Kairos Torch Team in Mississippi.
We were entering the facility that first day and had loaded supplies onto a borrowed trailer pulled by a borrowed truck. As we entered the sallyport area of the prison that afternoon we were surprised when a security check turned up some unused shotgun shells within the truck. The female officer conducting the search immediately grabbed her radio and reported to the Deputy Warden for all to hear that “Kairos was at the gate and has the ammunition.”
The lesson here was ALWAYS search the vehicle your are bringing onto prison grounds! But this female officer just did not realize the type of ammunition we were really packing that day!
Story #3: Beautiful Colors
My dearest Kairos Inside Team sisters,
All of last night I had dreams about the Weekend. I relived some of the high points, some of the questions remaining in my mind and some of the very sad moments that were being expunged from people’s minds and hearts. When I got up to make coffee, I was overwhelmed with the beautiful colors in our living room and dining room as if seeing them for the first time. I then realized that I had spent 3 ½ days sharing with people who mostly see grays and blues.
Then I recalled the posters, the banners and the prayer chain in concert with our team’s efforts to wear bright colors and I realized even more how difficult life is for all of the residents. I felt joy and hurt when our little table family separated from us and showed signs of forming real bonds of love and trust with each other that did not include us. It was like letting go of a beloved daughter knowing that this was the right way for things to evolve. Our little “babe chicks” were growing up.
Thank you all for letting me a part of this experience and a part of your special lives. I am in awe of your experiences and your overcoming strength and beauty as women of God.
Story #4: 21 Years to Go But Already Set Free
March 4th, 2016.
That’s the day I dedicated my life to Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. I am incarcerated in Texas. I am serving a Life Sentence for Murder. I’ve been locked up 19 years. I must do another 21 more years before even being considered for parole.
Yet I am already set free. I’ve never felt so much freedom. A court room judge said I must do a mandatory 40 years. Jesus Christ has set me free. I was Blessed to have been chosen by God to attend Kairos at my prison from 3/3/16 to 3/6/16. It was a true Godsend. I am a changed man, and because of it so is my family.
I know all thanks goes to God, and that the people from Kairos are merely God’s tools, but never have I been so appreciative of a tool. Thank you all Praise God for the people you all are because Christ our Savior.
Sincerely with Love & Admiration,
Your New Brother in Christ
Story #5: Connecting the Lost with the Found
Rushing around on Thursday of the #80 Weekend at Union CI in Florida, Rick forgot to close the tailgate on his pickup truck, where a plastic bin with his clothes and his laptop computer lay on the truck bed. When he discovered them missing upon arrival, he went into search mode. Up and down the road Rick drove, back-tracking his route.
An angel had already found them lying on the centerline of the road, undamaged. After opening up the laptop and turning it on, she discovered the owner of it. She then called the International office phone number (found on the inside cover of the Kairos songbook) and was put in touch with Gina Brockmeyer, the Women’s Coordinator. Gina knew that AKT Trainer Nolan Gilmore was attending the #80 Weekend. Nolan found Rick and connected the lost with the found.
Now for the rest of the story. Sensing Rick’s anxiety about his loss, fellow volunteer Rich Desmond said to him, “God has got this, Rick. Go pray about it.” “I already did,” Rick said. “Pray again,” said Rich, and Rick did. The moment his prayer ended, his phone rang. Rick never carries cash, but for some reason he had stuffed a $100 bill into his top shirt pocket that morning. When Rick arrived at the rough and tumble trailer in the woods, the angel would at first not accept the reward offered from Rick’s top shirt pocket. He insisted, and she replied, “You have no idea how much this means to me!” Rick echoed her sentiment.
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