From Kairos Team #32 and the woman at Fluvanna Women’s Correctional Center, we send warm Christmas greetings and a sincere thank you to all at Trinity Church who baked your wonderful cookies for our fall weekend.
These cookies are extremely important. They provide the mainstay of our program for the women; they set the stage and comfort zone for our round table discussion groups; they serve in our forgiveness ceremony; and, one dozen is given to everyone of the 1,200 prisoners late Saturday night. We are able (with a guard) to enter the wings of the prison and personally distribute the cookies. It warms one’s heart to see grateful faces and to hear their expression of gratitude—most asking God to bless those who have remembered them with these cookies. People who don’t even know them.
There is one thing of which I was unaware. Since Fluvanna is a maximum security prison, no homemade food items, from family or friends, are allowed to enter the facility. The Kairos cookies (which are screened) are the only homemade foods allowed in the prison. Now we really understand why they are so special to prisoners and staff alike.
As one woman once said to me, “I really came for those cookies but I’m leaving with so much more.”
I never cease to be amazed at how the Holy Spirit can move and change hardened hearts in a dark place into those hearts filled with forgiveness, love, peace and joy.
In closing, I would like to share a few comments from the women at their closing exercises on Sunday afternoon. They are given an open mic opportunity to describe their weekend experience:
“I found God’s face this weekend, and I’m overwhelmed with joy for what he has done for me and for others.”
“It took me seven years to get to Kairos. God knew that this was the right time for me. God is really real. God worked through you [the team] to say exactly what I needed to hear. I’ve had a problem trusting people; I build walls. I cried my make-up off thirty minutes after arriving here. I thank God for His love—for loving me—when I don’t deserve it.”
“God has shown He loves me; He’s here for me; He’s going to help me.”
“I’ve always had a problem with forgiveness and have held on tight to past hurts. I’m a wall-builder. These talks have been an eye-opener, and I’m slowly removing my blinders.”
“I was angry with God! Why did he allow me to come here? Now I know that He has a plan for my life and I need to let go and let God take control. It all starts with forgiveness of myself and others…”
“I spent my life running from God. He knew that the way to get me to Kairos was to provide cookies. I love cookies! Better than that, I’m so happy! I gave my life to Christ. Today I was filled with the Holy Spirit. I’m no longer ashamed.”
Thank you, friends of Kairos and supporters of our program. As we enter this holy season of Advent, let us thank God for the greatest gift of all—His Son, Jesus Christ.