Updated: May 10
Why Kairos? This is a common question that is asked at the start of the team training sessions. I thought it would be important to take a deeper dive into that simple question to better understand why we support this ministry
Robert Schellenberg Team Leader Edinburgh Kairos #10
I do Kairos because I believe that this is where God wants me to serve. The prison and the prisoners are where I feel comfortable. These are my people. Having lived a life of addiction and getting clean, I know that service work is an important aspect of recovery. More importantly a recovery through Christ. A lot of people struggle with the chains of addiction especially drug addiction. But there is a way out and that is through Jesus. People should choose to serve in an area that they are passionate about and I have made it my mission to tell the broken and hopeless that there is hope and there is a future for them. I also go into the Morgan County Jail every Thursday night and lead a bible study. I will continue to do Kairos for the rest of my life. I don’t just do it for the participants, I do it for me also and make sure God gets all the glory.. There is a certain high that you get from one of these weekends that no other drug can replace. God turned my mess into a message. I have a testimony and its mine and nobody can have it. Some people are going through the same thing I went through for 20 years and needs to hear it. Doing talks and sitting at the table and talking with these guys is very rewarding for me. I am leading the Kairos 10 weekend in the spring of 2020. What an honor and privilege this is for me. Its amazing to think about what all God has done in my life. Where he has taken me and what he has taken me away from. The people he’s put in my life and the people he’s taken out of my life. Kairos is a godsend. I know that. He gave me Kairos!!!
Willie L Pinkston Sr.Edinburgh Kairos Liaison Well, there are several reasons why but I think the most important one is the inmates rarely have Christ in their lives if they did they wouldn't be where they are. I know that Kairos can make a difference by bringing the word to them about Jesus Christ. I don't go in the prisons believing that I can make a difference in all of them. But I pray that if we could just change one life, it will be worth it. The reason I do Kairos weekends you see and feel the presence of God. The transformation in the inmates from day one to day 4 is miraculous. This is not observed in all of the inmates but there are a few that you can tell on their faces when they realize there is a God and how much he loves him. This is also confirmed when we attend prayer and share it is how they testify as to how their lives have changed for the better and how religiously they attend each meeting. I wouldn't be telling you the whole truth if I didn't also say that the feelings of great gratitude that I personally get after each meeting. The great gratitude is to our Heavenly Father for allowing me the opportunity to be in those men's lives. Travis Burgan Team Leader Edinburgh Kairos #8 The reason I do Kairos has changed with each weekend that I complete. For the 1st weekend, it was simply because I was asked by a friend and because what the Bible tells us in Matthew 25:36 'I was in prison and you came to Me.' it seemed very clear to me that this was something that needed to be done. By the 2nd weekend, I did it because the first time was such an UNREAL experience that it shook me to my core. I remember describing it as having a front-row seat to God's Miracle Factory. By the 3rd weekend, I did it for more than just the weekend it was for the whole community the guys on the inside that I see when I go to Prayer & Share, and for the guys on the team. Godly Men coming together to try to do God's will, not in a grandiose way but in a very humble way, and a very vulnerable way. Sharing their brokenness with each other, not broken in a bad way but broken in the way that only Jesus can create. I often say I feel like we are the island of broken Christians and by God's grace alone the weekend comes together to show God's love to the guys going through the weekend.
Rod Neeson Edinburgh Kairos Agape Coordinator I remember the thoughts I had some years ago while I drove past the Putnamville facility on US 40. I am ashamed to admit this but I felt only judgment and disgust as I saw men outside in the yard playing ball or just walking with others in conversation. My thoughts were, what a waste of taxpayer dollars and that these guys need to be punished and not enjoy playtime. The Kairos experience strongly confronted my prejudice. Since I had no knowledge about the men in the facility, I never knew their name, I never thought about how they feel or where they are in their walk with God, I felt justified and righteous in my condemnation of them. In my Kairos weekend, my eyes were opened as I sat at the table and listened to the men share their journey. I heard about their childhood, family upbringing, their relationships with the women in their life, and how much they miss their children. The shameful feelings they have for being locked up and most painfully how abandoned they feel and lonely. In that weekend I came to embrace each man at my table. I found a connection with them in that we share the bumps and bruises of life. I know that I am no different from anyone at my table, and together we joined as brothers in Christ. Today I look forward to going in the prison on a prayer and share night and celebrating with them the amazing love of God. We are all blessed with this love, not because we have done anything to earn it, but because God has first loved us. It is odd that God freed me of my prison of judgment by bringing into the State Prison system and healing my soul through the very people I condemned.
Del ChafeyEdinburgh Advisory Council Secretary I have been answering the question “why I do Kairos” for over 11 years. Each weekend presents new experiences, good or not so good. Each experience blesses me with an understanding of not only who the offenders are, but who I am also. I’ve come a long way since I was asked to work my first Kairos weekend in 2007. I turned down the opportunity because, like Rod’s initial thinking, I knew everyone in prison deserved to be there, and I didn’t. Matthew 25: 31 to 46 talks about “doing for the least of these”. I love these words and used them to tell myself I had done all I could for those who have the least, but when I reached verses 45 and 46 I faltered, even now. The Holy Spirit points us in the right direction and it’s up to us to do the right thing. The right thing in 2007 would’ve been to at least test the Spirit and see for myself what prison was like. So, in the fall of 2007, I entered prison for a weekend and was unbelievably blessed. I have been blessed by each weekend since. So, why do I do Kairos? In Matthew 25 Jesus says in verse 40, “I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.” It is a blessing for me to see just one offender turn his life over to the Lord, and what could be better than that? Mark VanHook Team Leader Edinburgh #9 Why? In a word - JOY; sweet, delightful JOY!!! It may appear selfish to say it is a joy, indeed a blast, to be a tool where God is working, where He satisfies the deepest of hungers and thirsts. What a Joy to hear the gratitude of the men we meet, who are so pleased to just have us show up! How about this for Joy - this amazing group of zany, some may say crazy, brothers who form God's Team to go into prison! What amazes me most is the absence of discord, and better yet, the permeating presence of unity! Each one willing to offer himself "wherever you need me!" Praying, praising, serving, and loving in Jesus' name! Our God has opened the prison door to us. His thoughts and plans are so much higher and eternal than ours. His steadfast love endures forever when our patience wanes. He knows and loves each man and staff person at Edinburgh infinitely. And He wants each to know and love Him. One day I found Jesus to be my best friend so I can know and love God. And the JOY has no end! We may not comprehend how God is working His plan, but we are surely confident that we are where He is working and blessing. That is sufficient for me. Luke 15 shares the stories of the lost - lost sheep, lost coin, and lost son. We've all been lost sometime and felt the drag and dispair. But the gut-wrenching hurt is overwhelmed by the JOY of being found! Each story says to share the joy! What greater JOY can we experience than when we share Jesus - and a lost son comes home to God! Heaven rejoices! And so do we! God, let us increase Your JOY!
Robert Kattau Team Leader Edinburgh #12 For a large part of my life, I’ve felt an urge to be of service to others. When I was younger, I had aspirations of becoming a priest. However, as I grew older and prayed for God’s guidance, I came to realize that He had a different path in mind for me. I left the seminary and went on to pursue a pre-med course with the idea of becoming a small-town doctor where I could help those who didn’t necessarily have ready access to large city medical facilities. My hope for a medical career, unfortunately, came to an end since I sometimes have difficulty agreeing with the demands of professors who deemed that I would agree to things that I felt were wrong.
After college, I got a job in industry. Having my weekends free, I was able to work on Saturdays at the St. Vincent de Paul Society, initially picking up household items for their warehouse and later working at their food pantry. My volunteering there ended when I was no longer able to work standing up over extended periods of time. It was around that time that I was invited to join KAIROS in Indianapolis (IREF). Since I had known a priest who had ministered at the federal prison in Terre Haute, joining a prison ministry was never really off the table for me. After the Indianapolis facility closed I was invited to, and joined, KAIROS at Edinburgh.
I find being part of a group of people who have such widely diverse backgrounds and come together for only a few weeks to form a ministry for Christ to be somewhat strange, and yet so in line with the first apostles. However, I also find that bringing the light of Christ into a facility, which many in our society are afraid to enter, is both a challenge and an awesome blessing from God. While the training sessions, Prayer and Share evenings, and weekend retreats seem to tie up a lot of time, what I get from attending them far exceeds the personal cost. And lastly, being able to watch as people make changes to their life which can help them come to God is such a wonderful way of being of service to others. I’m glad that I have joined this ministry.