I'm in the middle of my duties as the agape chief for Kairos Prison Ministry at Louisiana State Penitentiary for men at Angola. The men on the team go inside the prison and give a 3 1/2-day workshop to 42 residents on the love of Christ.
Inmates are used to people coming into the prison, thumping the Bible at them, telling them they are such sinners and then leaving. Kairos is a different type of ministry where the volunteers become the Bible and they demonstrate the Bible by becoming its hands and feet.
We have a special cook team who remain outside of the workshop. My friend Juanita has a gift for cooking large amounts of home cookin'-style food. We had a lady who cooked fancy gourmet stuff but the best for the ministry is to cook food that reminds them of home. Since this is south Louisiana, that may include fried chicken, barbecue, jambalaya and white beans, banana pudding and the like. There may also be men on the outside team who help with cooking or running the food from the outside kitchen to the workshop. Women's teams are just the opposite.The men stay outside and cook while the women go inside and do the workshop hands-on.
My job during these weekends is to handle agape. These are physical items that remind the prison residents that people are thinking about them and praying for them and that God loves them. I start a few weeks before we start having team meetings, which are six to eight weeks before the team goes to the prison. I go to the national web site and let other Kairos groups know that we need prayer and wall agape. Wall agape are posters from Kairos groups that are posted as greetings on the walls during the special workshop. I also make a kit for each team member so that they can collect prayers, cookies and money for the special weekend workshop.
In the past, local churches allow us to use their facilities. The Ladies have even used the kitchen of a nearby school and the hotel's old abandoned kitchen. Now the warden allows us to use the culinary school kitchen at main prison. They love this. It leaves me behind to coordinate agape at the hotel but when I'm done I get to go to the culinary school, too. I also stay behind on Sunday to greet guests and coordinate our convoy of vehicles up to the prison for the closing ceremony.
My husband, whom I met in this ministry, is usually the music leader. He has been so tired when he comes in that he goes right to the hotel room and conks out like a brick. He has not been sleeping well, lately because his daughter is sick and that has been on his mind. He has slept better and far more here each night than he has at home.
Speaking of sleep, I'd better get my nap in while I can. I will post more on what's happening here later tonight or tomorrow.