A Message from the Chairperson
of Kairos Prison Ministry International – South Africa
The beginning of a new year is truly a wonderful time. Somehow all the things left undone the previous year seem to fade a little and we hope once again to achieve the things we set out to do, irrespective of how we did last year. Sometimes we do and other times the goals fade into the mists of time. When God calls us, however, things are often different – at least for a while. A call from the Lord of all creation carries a little more weight somehow. But this too will fade if we allow it to. It is not the calling that fades but rather our response to it. Somehow in the hustle and bustle of daily life we are drawn into a rut again and the choices we make are inclined to slip back into their default settings, whatever they may be work, sport, television and all sorts of distractions that allow us to lose focus. It is my prayer that 2012 will be a year of freshness in this wonderful ministry. A freshness that comes from a renewed focus on the reason why each volunteer has chosen to serve in this ministry and why each Kairos graduate chose to attend their life-changing weekend when they did. I pray that,in a sense, we will be blessed with the gift of looking at the old things in a new way. Somehow, even in the rather challenging economic times we find ourselves in, I have noticed a renewed sense of purpose demonstrated by many of the volunteers I have been fortunate enough to chat to recently. It seems as if the Lord of the harvest has been raising up and preparing so many people to attend to His fields. I have met Christians in the most unlikely places and received so many words of encouragement from strangers recently that it has been overwhelming at times. Just last week I was stopped in a police roadblock whilst on my way to a meeting in Soweto.
This was on a route I don’t normally use when visiting the area and my first reaction was one of frustration because I would be late for my appointment. Little did I realise that my choice of a different route would lead me to an appointment with a brother in Christ. The officer that stopped me asked me how I was feeling. “Fine thanks” I replied. “Are you sure?” he asked me again. “I’m 100%” I said, “I’m healthy, happy, I have a job – life is good.” All this time he seemed to be checking my reaction to his questions, perhaps trying to evaluate whether I had anything to hide I thought. “You can’t be 100% unless you have Jesus in you” he said to me. This was the last thing I expected to hear from a busy police officer. He made my day. After that he told me the story of how Samuel was guided by the Lord to anoint King David. He reminded me that it was not the obvious choice of Eliab that Samuel was led to by the Lord. “The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (1 Sam 17:7 NLT) After having Jesse summon all his sons without success, only young David was left. And it was this young lad that we have all heard so much about that the Lord told Samuel to anoint as king. The message that the police officer had for me that day was to remind me that we, as followers of Christ, are to be guided by the Holy Spirit in our actions.
We cannot presume to know the plans God has for us unless we are in communication with the Holy Spirit. For that, we need to spend time with him. Kairos time. God’s Special Time. For me, as I embark on a new adventure, leading Kairos Prison Ministry International in South Africa, I aim to do just that. I have experienced first-hand the wonders of this ministry. How lives have been transformed on both sides of the wall. Without exception, these times have come when the leader of a weekend has been well prepared to present the programme, has selected the God-appointed team to support him or her and in so doing, has been allowed to focus on being in communion with the Holy Spirit. Kairos is a ministry of unity. Our volunteer base comes from all walks of life and from many different denominations and yet we enter the weekend programmes in unity – as brothers and sisters united in our love for the Lord. We have a simple motto “LISTEN, LISTEN, LOVE, LOVE” and if we learn from the wisdom of Kairos gained over more than 30 years of ministry in prisons across the world we can show Christ’s love to those that have rarely experienced any love at all. I am reminded of the words of the prophet Isaiah found in Isaiah 64:4 and recalled by the Apostle Paul in his 1st letter to the Corinthians (1 Cor 2:9 NLT) “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.” No matter where we go, no matter who we meet, no matter what we see or earn or achieve, nothing we ever accomplish can come close to the Glory of our Lord. And yet He chooses us to show His love to those that are in prison and to their loved ones. We are privileged indeed. In South Africa there is hardly a single person that has not been affected by crime directly in some way or otherand yet for some reason the church as the body of Christ is often reluctant to follow the directive of Christ in Matthew 25:36“… I was in prison and you visited me.”
Kairos offers ordinary people an opportunity to become involved in an extraordinary ministry. As demonstrated on the KPMI website www.mykairos.org: “Kairos is a ministry of the church … a ministry of the apostles whom Jesus, the Christ, has called into community and sent forth into the environment of the correctional institution. Kairos has been called the best example of the early church in existence today.” When I think of this, I am all the more encouraged by the Kairos volunteers across the country that have visited Christ in prison and outside. May 2012 be a year of great outcomes for each and every Kairos volunteer and participant as we serve the Lord according to our gifts within the Kairos ministry that he calls us to. I ask that each volunteer commits to uphold this ministry in prayer so that we may fulfil our mission statement: “… to share the transforming love and forgiveness of Jesus Christ to impact the hearts and lives of incarcerated men, women and youth, as well as their families, to become loving and productive citizens of their communities.” There are many ways in which people from all walks of life and of all ages can get involved in Kairos Prison Ministry International and in so doing show the love of Christ as we are all called to do. God is calling many to this ministry today in order to do just that.
Will you answer His call today?
Your brother in Christ