The weekend was a blast although it can wear ya down. I was thinking as I tried to get out of bed this morning that perhaps I should have taken an extra day off from work just to rest and recuperate. I am so thankful that two of the ladies stayed behind at the hotel with me to help with some of the agape duties before they went to help at the prison's culinary school kitchen.
The prayer chain on Thursday night was most involved. In the past I have had to get a physical chain ready with blanks for names and times written in. Each team member was given a two-hour block of prayers to collect from church members, friends, etc. I would have to go on line or email my friends in South Africa and Ireland whom I have met via this ministry and ask them to take our wee hours of the morning slots that are the middle of the day for them. Ultimately, the guys on the team would forget their chains, have them partly filled or just not do them. This time, I had the chain on line at 3dayol.org. It made for the most complete chain we had ever had. I took my net book and a little printer and I was able to download the prayer chain from the web site and print it on colored paper at the hotel. Two other sisters helped cut them out and we stapled together 468 links n the prayer chain. If it had not been for them I would have been up half the night trying to cut and staple the chain.
The other way, the men cut and staple their own assigned parts of the chain but I don't always get all the parts. This way every prayer is accounted for.
The purpose of the chain is for it to be a visible representation to the inmate participants of the prayers that are being lifted up in their behalf during the 3 1/2-day weekend. With an orderly chain they can walk up to the chain and see who is praying at that particular hour. They are overwhelmed by this to be sure.
On Fridays I get the agape bags ready. We have collected items from all over for those bags. I will not say what except to say that when you are asked, it's a cool thing to do. i don't want to spoil the surprise in case there is someone who may receive such a bag at a similar spiritual walk. When the guys leave the prison on Friday night they load the bags with their letters. Some of them are up half the night. I give them until Saturday morning before they leave for the prison to get their items in the bags. Saturday morning I have to get them taped up, grouped into table families and bagged by table family in jumbo trash bags. Then I get to take them up to the prison by 10AM.
This time, as I came to the prison gates on Saturday morning, my name was not on the gate pass. One of the security ladies remembered me from the last time I was on a team so she had her partner take my license and call to the back where they were holding the workshop. By the time the message got back there, through telephone wires and radios,my first name had become garbled into "Francine." My husband was asked if he knew anyone with that name and of course he said, "Never heard of 'em."
The ladies in the culinary school kitchen were called and my good friend the head cook said, "Well, that is Kathy's last name but maybe that is her middle name. But, yes we are expecting a lady with that last name."
At any rate I was allowed to drive back of Main Prison Complex to the culinary school with my garbage bags. "Franceeeeeeen is in the house!" I said when I arrived. Among by kitchen friends I am now Francine with extra emphasis on the "eeeeen." One cannot say a simple Francine. It has to be said in just that way---or I do not answer. Perhaps I will start another blog for that alter ego and include just the right amount of Es in the title which is at least 3.
Saturday evening is the most relaxed day. I was able to stay at the culinary school with the ladies and the two residents who man the culinary school kitchen for a couple of hours. The two culinary school residents are lovely, soft spoken guys who love it when the Kairos ladies come. We had lunch after the workshop lunch was taken over to the guys and then a few minutes to play the spoon game. Then it was back to work at the hotel for Franceeen!
Saturday night is the best! That's when we get to hear the reflections of the new people on the team. I took plenty of pictures which I intend to share with the team on either flicker or Kodak. I have a special surprise for Morris, our team leader. At any rate, the leader is given a plaque and we all share the wonderment of the Holy Spirit as we witness it over the weekend.
Then we get ready for Sunday!
Well, I have used two breaks to write this much. Part 3 at a later time.