Emmaus Christian Church is very involved in the Kairos Prison Ministry. Connie Beekman, one of our members, wrote an article about her experience leading the latest team into the Virginia Correctional Center for Women…
But God (Showed Up)
The Team Formation and Kairos #38 Weekend at VCCW
Early on, we sensed that things would be different this time. We were confident in feeling that way, in that each and every Kairos weekend always has its own flavor, texture, and color. However, we in the leadership, DETERMINED that this Kairos would be different. We set about organizing and planning and streamlining all the tasks and assignments of responsibility for the various aspects that would need to be covered by competent and compatible people. THIS TIME there would not be any confusion over who was to do what. Everyone will know their role and responsibilities ahead of time. Everyone would execute those duties assigned to them in an orderly and efficient manner. THIS TIME, the team will know well in advance what kind of time, emotional, and financial commitment they were making to the ladies on VCCW K38. Or….maybe not….
Well, this time WAS different – but not because of us. But God stepped in. But God showed up. But God took control. He accomplished all we ever could have asked for – and more – through broken vessels, rusty “tools”, and wounded healers. All prayers that God would use us, teach us, and stretch us to accomplish His purposes for the candidates of K38 were answered! We started with a potential team number of 34 – with every possible position filled, and then some. That number quickly went back down – and settled at 26, which is technically 6 people less than considered “ideal” for a full team. God knew beforehand who would be on the team. I gave that aspect of the weekend over to Him almost immediately. He chose a mighty army. As we say in one of the talks on the weekend – any one person, plus God, is an overwhelming majority. So, our diminished numbers were not at all evident in any of the activities in the community room or in the chapel. Each and every chapel experience, each and EVERY talk that was given, left us just looking at each other and saying “WOW!”. A good number of the talks were given by people who are new to our team, so their testimonies are ones we had not heard before. Therefore, the team was equally blessed right along with the residents by how appropriate the speakers’ stories were to the topics at hand. In fact, it will be hard to imagine anyone else being able to do a few of the talks nearly as well as the presenters did this time.
Regarding the participants, we had one lady come to a decision of saving faith on Saturday – her table gently led her to Christ. We had many who had spiritual breakthroughs and who re-dedicated themselves to Christ over the course of the weekend. We saw burdens laid down, true and active forgiveness begin for some, and saw how they learned to comfort and support each other in their spiritual healing process. Many of these ladies have NEVER been shown kindness, NEVER mercy, understanding of their situation, or acceptance of them as a person – and NEVER, NEVER unconditional love. Our mission is to Listen, Listen – Love, Love. Mission accomplished for this mighty team! The visual expressions of the outpouring of Christ’s agape love, plus how we have each received it ourselves and have made ourselves available to pass it on, never fails to choke us up or to change us. Us, who are used to being loved and blessed each day, are blown away. Imagine if we had NEVER had that experience in our lives – or, worse, had it and now no longer do, because of something we’ve done. Our sin nature is common to us all. God is no respecter of persons, or of our sins. One sin is just as heinous as another in the eyes of the Lord. So, even if we’ve not done the things they have done and even if we’ve not had the life they’ve had or chosen for themselves, we still hold our sin in common with them. We are all, hopefully, better than we once were – but none of us is better than someone else. That message was delivered and received. And, for that we are grateful to a loving and giving God.