Kairos 38, Ironwood State Prison, Yard D, Blythe CA
“I was in prison and you visited me.” Matthew 25:36
April 4-7 a team of 18 Outside men, mostly from the Coachella Valley and 10 Inside Kairos graduate team members held our 38thKairos weekend in D Yard at Ironwood State Prison. Our amazing Outside Team Leader for the weekend was Michael Dean, a team member from Las Vegas. We had 5 family tables with 6 new Kairos Candidates at each table. 28 of these candidates completed the weekend with us and became Kairos graduates. The new guys coming in were, as usual, recruited by the Inside Team. There was a blend of guys who knew Jesus to guys who were a long way from anything resembling a spiritual life. There was also a blend of races. The Inside Team makes the determination of which 6 candidates will be seated at each “family” table. They mix up the races (a taboo in the prison yard) and their spiritual maturity. The Outside Leaders determine who will be the 3 Outside guys at each family table. So each Family has 9 members. These assignments are guided by the Holy Spirit covered by much prayer and are never changed once the weekend begins.
As this weekend unfolded, we again saw the candidates start to open up to their family members. Guys who had built very high walls to protect themselves and their inner most thoughts began to trust one another. Just as they shared their extra food and treats they shared their fears, hopes and dreams with each other.
One guy was abandoned by parents and in multiple foster homes before he joined a gang at age 11. The gang used him to deliver drugs for them (a mule). He was In and out of Juvenile Detention and now, at age 24 in prison. The gangs were the only family he’s ever known. However, as they all find out, the gangs are not a real family. The members are used by the leaders and once they are sent to prison, they never hear from their former gang members until they are released and then welcomed back in where they can be used again. Here at Kairos a common comment is that this is the first time they feel treated like a “human being”, a person of worth. One of our goals is to show them the love God has for them, He created them and wants to have a loving relationship with them, not use them. But the peer pressure in Prison is great! These inside guys need to get to the point where their love for Jesus is more important to them than to be accepted by their gang in prison, no small hurdle.
They see and feel the love as the weekend unfolds. From talks, table discussion, making posters and preparing skits together. They also see the “Prayer Angles” going up on the wall. They learn that these are Christians that are praying for them every hour of the weekend, even while they sleep. They see all the posters kids and other Kairos teams have made to encourage them posted and strung up around the gym. And, of course, the finale is when they walk, unsuspecting, into the Visitor Center for Graduation to be met by a room of loving Christian men and women who are standing up, applauding them. Then they have an opportunity to share at “Open Mic” time their hearts. Then they get to mingle and talk with all of the guests as they enjoy cake and punch, just like real people, not prisoners. Those of you who come to the graduation are a critical part of this ministry. It is proof to the graduates that the love of Christ is more powerful than any gang. Most of them have few, if any visitors, outside of immediate family (if even then).
The goal of Kairos is to get these guys into fellowship with the other Christians in the Yard. We know that where two or three are gathered in Christ’s name, He is with them. We want them to accept Christ as their new “gang leader”. Christ is a leader who loves them, gave his life for them and wants only the best for them, regardless of their current circumstances. Several of the candidates accepted Christ, others are very close. To encourage them on their spiritual journey the outside team goes to Ironwood every third Tuesday afternoon of the month for a reunion with any and all Kairos graduates.
If you think God might be calling you to this amazing ministry, where lives are transformed before your very eyes, join us! You can test the water before diving in. Women and men can sign up to come to a Sunday afternoon Closing Ceremony. We do these 4 day weekends twice a year, April and November. Annual prison clearance forms do need to be filled out, we can do that with you. For the men we can help you with a clearance form that will allow you to go into the yard with us for one or more of the monthly Tuesday reunions in the Chapel or a weekend in the Gym. Please call one of us and we will get you started on a journey you will never forget! You will be Christ’s representative to these men.
Tim Scott 760.777.0102
Don Hobley 760.574.8279 or
Brad Smith 303.898.8229
To learn more go to KairosPrisonMinistry.org and “like” our local Facebook page “Ironwood-Kairos”.