>Testimonies From Inside the Walls

>The Kairos event within Cross Roads Correctional Facility ended yesterday at around 4.30 PM. It was an incredible four days…and I am honored, privileged, and humbled to have been a part of it.

I have six new friends (who reside in the prison, pictured), and I know them better than I know most other friends because of the intensity and duration of our time together. These were the six residents who were at my table, “The Table of Mark,” along with two other “free” men.

Because of institutional rules, I am not allowed to correspond with these men (nor the other 23 inmates…one bailed on us); but I can talk to Father God about them, and ask you to also. For confidentiality, I’ll just give you their first names:  Keith, Carlos, Elvis (really), Boka, Vincent, and Duane. Pray especially for Duane, as he professes to be a Muslim. But he listened attentively throughout…

I took a lot of notes…to include the “open mike” time Saturday, and the closing ceremony Sunday. What follows are remarks made by residents as best as I could “record” them with pen and paper. To be candid, I wept as I typed…remembering…

Tried to jot down a lot of what was shared at “Open Mike” Saturday.  Probably missed a bit through the tears and the thinking…but here’s what I got:
“My expectations were blown out of the water.”
“I’ve held animosity toward the man who killed my father. Today I decided to let it go.”
“I ain’t been to church in almost two years…I chose to get a call out and get back to Christ…I came here miserable; mad at the world and myself, but…” (dissolved in tears) ((note…this was Harley…a “before” and “after” photo of him is a summary of what the Spirit of God did))
“This was a ride I was very uncertain of…it’s been overwhelming…”
“I hide my anger behind humor…I got hope, I have reason to move forward.”
“I had zero expectations…I was just gonna eat food…God’s love for me is unbelievable…” ((then Boka led us in prayer of thanksgiving))
“This was a trip. I never realized I could be happy with white people.”
“I thought I was all alone.”
“It’s for the next man…we can take Kairos to the yard. Any man who hasn’t felt God in this room – well, you ain’t alive!”
(speaking of loss of Mom) “When I was chosen for this Kairos I had no idea…but it’s a feeling you can’t explain. I feel a whole lot better. God never left me; I had to see my mother in a casket while I wore shackles and chains because I made a bad choice…but I’m gonna make it!”
“They talked about the food, but they never told me I’d be full of spiritual food…I’ve been riding the fence; I gave my life to Jesus…It’s time for me to go Jesus’ way…I’ve been here since ’97…”
“It’s time for us to be men…”
“Stay with the big picture – that’s our Lord Jesus.” ((this from a servant ((NOTE “servants” are Kairos “alumni” who remain faithful to weekly “prayer and share” groups and volunteer, and are accepted, to serve basically as waiters)), Kairos 6))
((from another servant, Kairos 6)) You’re having a good time now; but we’re in prison….There are gonna be bad days..but Kairos is here to help. I warn you: devil’s comin’ after you; and we need each other…Don’t abandon Kairos. You might have the Word I need to keep me going…it’s not just a good feeling, it’s survival!
((another servant)) “I like to do my time; I don’t want time to do me.”
((another servant)) “The smiles I see are not from the food, they’re from the Spirit.”
((another servant)) “Stick with it…I can’t go back to where I was…”
“This weekend is useless to me unless I leave with a new relationship with Jesus Christ.”
“I ain’t never seen so many smiles.”
“Sometimes I feel animalistic.”
“I never in my 63 years could have imagine this…I believe it’s a new Bill…I’m just overwhelmed by this…I should be dead, and I was dead…spiritually dead. I resisted this; you don’t know how much I resisted this..but somebody got me here. We started with forgiveness…and I knew today was gonna be my day…the lying is over, the old Bill is gone! Alcoholics Anonymous saved my life, but this has turned my life around…”
“I haven’t cried in 42 years…I’ve cried today…(after the forgiveness ceremony) I went to a guard and asked his forgiveness…”
NOW SOME NOTES FROM CLOSING CEREMONY ((must be something in the air; my eyes are watering even as I type…))
“Instead of hating everybody I’m starting to like people, love people, love God, and admit He is my God.” (from “Boo”s opening))
“Many of us found Jesus…What am I going to take with me? About five pounds…and a new relationship with my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”
“This was one of the best experiences of my life; I saw the love of Christ.”
“We have a chance and opportunity to bring people to Christ.”
“I am a Moslem…but…”
“My Lord and Savior Jesus Christ can change the hardest heart.”
“I saw gangsters crying their hearts out for Jesus.”
“I received encouragement to walk closer to Jesus and to share it.”
“See this smile? This smile wasn’t here on Thursday…I’ve renewed my faith in God…He tore down major walls…I’m ready to live for the Lord…”
“Let me tell you  – Satan lost this weekend!!!”
“I don’t think I could ever go back to who I was before Thursday.”
“God showed up and showed out – Mister Warden – you might have to open up another honor block!
“I knew God before; but I got God now.”
“There are people in this room who were on the FBI’s Most Wanted List…but I learned that God has a list, too, and I’m on it!”
“I felt I was tricked…but now I know I can do anything and be anything for Christ.”
“I recognize right from wrong; and I recognize that Kairos is right. Through the power of God we can all change.”
“I have never felt so much love in all my life.”
“I’m overwhelmed…I’m overwhelmed…I’m overwhelmed…I’m overwhelmed…”
“When I came I was emotionally bankrupt, spiritually dead…I buried that rooster this morning!”
“For 27 years heroin was a temporary solution to a permanent problem…now Jesus is my permanent solution to temporary problems…((pointing to the Kairos “free people” team)) – we want to take your example and take it out to the hill, we have to share the message with other inmates…”

I hope you are able to get a nibble of what happened. I highly recommend Kairos as an opportunity to visit Jesus in prison. For more information ask me, and/or check out The Kairos Website

Author: Jack Hager

Jesus invaded my life shortly after my arrest at age 26. I spent the first few years of my new life incarcerated. Went to Bible school after parole; have served with Kansas City Youth For Christ, Headwaters Christian Youth (Rhinelander, Wi), Family Life Ministries (Bath, NY), and now with Midland Ministries (Saint Joseph, Mo). Married with four children, work with youth, adults, inmates. Heavily involved in Bible quizzing for four decades. Narrow minded about Jesus and the gospel; fairly open minded about most other things. Speak in churches, camps (both teen and family), civic groups, public schools, Christian schools and colleges...amazed I get to do what I get to do....favorite verse Romans 15.13 "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing so that you, by the power of the Holy Spirit, may overflow with hope."

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