KAIROS

KAIROS Prison Ministry - Ferguson Unit

Learn how YOUR support can be a part of bringing the Word to inmates for Kairos!
Bethany Contact:
Paul Draper
201-394-8810

KAIROS-Ferguson is part of Kairos Prison Ministry, International. Additional information is available at www.kairosprisonministry.org and www.kairosoftexas.org. Kairos sponsors a 4-day weekend experience with a short course in Christianity to incarcerated individuals, as well as a separate experience for the families of inmates. Ongoing, continuing ministry in the prison is an essential element. At Ferguson, we typically sponsor Weekends near New Year’s Eve and Independence Day. Volunteers usually come from a collection of churches and Weekend teams are ecumenical.

Types of Volunteers Needed:

There are three types of involvement. One is with the Inside Team who engages with inmates actively during the structured activities of the Weekend and during follow-up visits. TDCJ Volunteer status is required. The second is with the Support Team that works at a church nearby the unit during the weekend, offering logistical and meal preparation support. Both the Inside Team and Support Team also meet several Saturdays for Team Formation meetings in advance of the Weekend. The third type of involvement is support through various expressions of agape love that are allowed in the unit, including prayer vigil chains, letters to inmates, hand-drawn placemats and posters, and especially home-baked cookies (about 3000 dozens!). These are funneled through the Kairos Team members involved in that weekend.

How to Volunteer:

The best way to volunteer for Inside or Support Teams is to request both a Kairos Team application and a TDCJ Volunteer application from the Kairos contact listed above. The best way to support with cookies, letters, prayer vigils, and so on is to get with your Sunday School or other Bethany missions coordinator.

** IMPORTANT NOTE **

For instructions for cookies or other agape, please use the directions in the sections located below on this page!  DO NOT use the instructions on the national site.

Current Projects/Dates:

There are usually 2 KAIROS weekends each year in July and December.

Website:

www.kairosprisonministry.org

** IMPORTANT NOTE **

For instructions for cookies or other agape, please use the directions in the sections located below on this page!  DO NOT use the instructions on the national site.

Ways YOU can support KAIROS!
Baking Cookies:

Homemade cookies are a tangible expression of Christian love and an indication of God’s concern for a group of people who seldom encounter either in the course of their daily lives. Your loving sacrifice will provide “bread” that shines the Light of God’s Grace into the darkest corners of the Ferguson Unit. Bake them as part of a team, on your own, or both. May God bless your gift of love through baking!

See Recipe Instructions Section Below

Prayer Chain/Vigil:

The prayer chain is a very visible and tangible way for incarcerated men to experience your commitment to share the love of Jesus Christ with them.

Write Letters:

Inmates sometimes go a long time without a letter, even from loved ones at home. Letters of hope and encouragement are prized. Pass on the love of Christ and the forgiveness of the Father through writing a letter to an inmate. Sign with only your first name, and address it to “Brother in Christ”. Put the letter in an unsealed envelope.

Letter Writing Guidelines Section Below

Hand Drawn Love Placemats & Posters:

Placemats are for individual prisoners. Posters are placed where all can see. Placemats are best made by children. A simple drawing and/or message in colored marker or crayon on plain white
11" x17" paper is best. Ink stamps are also allowed but please no stickers, glitter, or other glued things. If a name is put on it, please use only first name and age, such as "Abigail, 6".

Sponsor an Inmate or Bethany Missionary:

Sponsorship for one inmate or missionary is $125. You can sponsor as an individual or perhaps your small group, bible study, Sunday school class, etc. would to sponsor. You or your group will receive a letter of thanks and a weekend photo. If you can’t afford that much, give what you can to help fund the Bethany missionary fund.

Cookie Recipe Instructions
About Kairos Cookies

Homemade cookies are a tangible expression of Christian love and an indication of God’s concern for a group of people who seldom encounter either in the course of their daily lives. Your loving sacrifice will provide “bread” that shines the Light of God’s Grace into the darkest corners of the Ferguson Unit. Bake them as part of a team, on your own, or both. May God bless your gift of love through baking!

Cookie Preparation

Types of cookies considered to be acceptable include: Chocolate Chip, Sugar, Oatmeal, Molasses, Ginger, and Peanut Butter. DO NOT SPRINKLE ADDITIONAL SUGAR OR GLAZING ON THEM. Cookies should be about 2 inches in diameter (bigger is not better) and not more than 1/2 inch thick (to get 12 in a quart size plastic bag – smaller really is better). Chocolate Chip is no doubt the favorite of more than half of the inmates. Please keep separated any cookies containing peanuts or nuts.

Key Ingredient: Prayer

Stir prayer individually, as a family, or as a team as you prepare ingredients, place the cookies on the cookie sheets, and throughout the process as you make the cookies. Enjoy the process and ask God to use your cookies as a source of His love to shine on the prisoners and staff during the Kairos weekend. Pray that each cookie brings the inmate, guard, or warden who eats it closer to God. We want every person to become part of the Family of God.

Packing Your Cookies

Bag the “cooled” cookies in quart-sized Zip Lock style bags (no hard pull tabs) – a dozen to a bag. Do not label these bags in any way, but please do mark on the outside of your carrying bag or box to indicate the type and number of dozens of cookies you have provided. After loading your bags, keep the cookies in a cool place until they are delivered – freeze only for longer periods of time in excess of several weeks.

Getting Your Cookies to Prison

Deliver your cookies to the Bethany UMC church office (big Kairos box) before the KAIROS begins or contact Paul Draper (201-394-8810) for pickup arrangements, if necessary.

If you have questions, contact Paul Draper, 201-394-8810

How to write letters to inmates for a KAIROS

You are writing a message conveying the love that comes from the grace of Jesus Christ. The person you are writing to does not feel worthy of this message, may not know what love feels like, does feel alone and forsaken, and may or may not be Christian. Here are some tips:

  • You won’t know the inmate’s name, so it’s fine to start the letter “Dear Brother in White"
  • It must be handwritten and individual. It doesn’t matter how bad your handwriting is. Do not make a single letter and then photocopy it.
  • The length is up to you. A single page is sufficient, though feel free to write less or more.
  • Sign the letter only with your first name.
  • It is fine to relate some testimony about how God has moved in your life. Refrain from giving any personal information that could be traced to you or be used to identify you.
  • You can use a Scripture as part of the message.
  • Be encouraging, positive, hopeful. You are telling the inmate you want the very best for him or her.
  • Do not make references to what they did to get in prison or how long their sentence is.
  • Do not include anything in the envelope beside the letter.
  • Do not put stickers on the letter, just your handwritten words.
  • Put the letter in an unsealed, unaddressed, plain white envelope. Each letter will have to be inspected by the prison mail office anyway.

The team serving the weekend will distribute the letters. There are typically 42 inmates on a Kairos weekend, and the team tries to ensure that every inmate gets the same number of letters. So if you are writing together with others in a Sunday School class, you could try to organize yourselves to produce batches of 42 letters.

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