I have been associated with many different Christian ministries over the years and have found some of the experiences better than others. After five years of volunteering, including 12 inside weekends, serving on the State Board, attending the Advanced Training sessions and leading a team, I would definitely rate Kairos Prison Ministry International one of the best ministry experiences. The organization is run top-notch and financially transparent. Low overhead and limited paid staff speak to the mission to reach lives with God's love. Each time we have the opportunity to go inside, the teams are thrilled and eager to go. I have never been disappointed, every weekend is a true mission experience as I witness lives being touched and transformed. No other ministry experience reaches so many, so significantly in such a short time. The program works and God moves in their lives. It's an honor to be a part of the Kairos ministry.
As the mother of an inmate I can a test to the value of the Kairos Prison Ministry. My son went through his 4 day walk 8 years ago. It was through him that I learned about Kairos Outside. I spent a weekend with other women who's lives were impacted by a loved ones incarceration. My life was forever changed that wonderful weekend. I found solace in knowing I wasn't alone and that God is with me every step on this journey. For four years now, I have been a Kairos Outside Volunteer, giving to other women the unconditional love and understanding that Kairos and it's members have shown to me. My son and I will be forever grateful for the opportunity to serve others in a similar situation. We also serve the Lord, while showing the broken, they are not alone. Serving in this ministry has made us stronger in our faith. It doesn't get better than that.
I have been involved with Kairos for 10 years now in Texas and can honestly say that God works through this program to change the lives of inmates. I have seen men change from withdrawn, angry individuals to men with Joy in their hearts and desirous of serving others. The one thing that sets Kairos apart from other prison ministries is our continuing presence in the same prison. We go back on a weekly basis to foster prayer and share groups, small groups of inmates that pray together and form support groups for one another. It's this continuing presence that helps to change perspective and lifestyles over time.
It is a great ministry and one that needs funding and personal time to grow. In Texas we have over 150 prisons and Kairos is only in 53 of them. I am sure that is true in other states as well. Almost all of these prisoners will be getting out of prison some day and I often ask friends, would they rather these men know and love God when they get out or would they rather they be the same or worse than when they went in.
I have been involved with Kairos Prison ministry for the past 18 years, at the Louisiana Correctional Instition for Women in St. Gabriel LA. I have personnally seen this ministry change the lives of countless women, having watched their return to productive members of society. The recidivism rate at LCIW in the Kairos graduates is 18%, which is much lower than the non Kairos resident. Kairos International also has strict financial policy's which they require all of the individual prison Kairos council to adhere to for utmost reporting and transparancy.
Review from Guidestar
This ministry has been a very important part of my life for the past 10 years. In the Tallahassee Area we have three programs currently taking place. Kairos Inside for Men is now located in three local prisons. The program is designed to help those who are presently incarcerated. It is a Christian based non-profit organization that helps them to understand how they got where they are and how to change when they are released. It is about choices that life offers everyone. Lives are permanently changed with this knowledge that is new to some and old to others and resurrected by talks from lay people and clergy. All denominations are represented by volunteers. The second program is Kairos Inside for Women who are incarcerated and women learn the love of God and that there are many on the outside that care deeply for them. The third program in this area is Kairos Outside. This program is for loved ones, wives, significent others and friends of those that are serving time in prison. It is for women only. These individuals are serving time right along with their loved ones and it is very hard for them. It is free for them and they are listened to and loved the entire time. The ministry is about changing hearts, transforming lives and impacting the world. I have seen all of these things happen and it is the most effective ministry I have ever been involved in. At the present time, we are working on starting a program in the area that will minister to troubled teenagers, our future leaders of the world.