Saturday, May 18, 2013

Spiritual Steroids - Day 2

Friday began like the day before – up at 4:45 AM and off to the shower.  With only 2 showers available, I figured early is better than later.  

The women on the team were up early as usual fixing us a wonderful breakfast.  We had fruit, sausage, eggs & pancakes – what a joy and blessing.  Like most mornings I had coffee only.  It was STRONG!  WOW!  As we began to filter into the conference room we were getting ready to go to the prison. 

Breakfast was now over and we were loading into the cars and trucks to begin our journey.  It was refreshing to see the rising sun – the morning mist – the quiet calm.  What an awesome site our Lord provided us to begin our journey.  The trip to the prison was around 10 miles or so. 

As we arrived into the parking lot, we had to remember to empty our pockets – only our prison ID’s, drivers license & wedding ring were allowed.  We could take in a comb.  We also had to lock the car and take our key with us.  As we all arrived and congregated in front of the prison entrance, there on a table were 7 or 8 dozen glazed donuts – fresh and waiting to be mated with a cup of coffee.  

We then began the slow entry into the prison – 4 at a time.  The donuts were inspected too.  Once inside we went to the community room where we were greeted by the MIB (men in blue).  They were standing and applauding us.  What a special and memorable moment it was.  After our morning prayers our first speaker spoke on the topic.  “Three Encounters with Christ..”  The first encounter was the Rich man ‘Mark 10:17-22.  The second was Judah –John 12:4-6 and finally Peter – Mark 14:27-31.  We would always pause after each presentation for group table discussions.  Our second talk was about “Choices.”  We were reminded as a child, choices are make for us – some we liked and many we didn’t.  When we’re adolescents we begin choosing based on our expression of independence from our parents.  And as an adult our choices are ours alone.  Those choices are guided by our past experiences.  Making NO choice is also a choice.  With hope, we can amend our ways going forward and make GOOD choices. 

Our next endeavor was to go into the chapel for group photos followed by coffee/snacks.  Around 10:00 or so our next session began entitled “you are not alone.”  We also choose who we go around with or become friends with.  God promises us in the old testament to be with us.  In the new testament He reaffirms this and pronounces to help us.  The church is one way God affirms His help for us.  After this we paused for silent meditation.  While we were waiting for the next talk, team leaders started putting up posters, photo’s and pray chains made by people from all over the country including such distant places as Singapore and Thailand.  There were prayers for MIB from other prisoners across the country, wanting us to know they were in prayer for us. Kairos 60 – DeSoto Correctional!  Wow!  It brought tears to many eyes.

Our next talk was “Friendship with God.”  In essence, God wants to be our friend.  He pursues us.  In spite of our abandonment of God, He continues to cherish, love and pursue us.  God reaches out to us through  the ministry and life of Jesus, His son.  Our MOST important and satisfying life goal is our friendship with God.  We got up and went into the chapel for prayer and song.  One of our ministers than gave a homily based on Isaiah 49.

We then broke for lunch.  Today, were Burger King Whoppers.  For me, mealtime was such an emotional moment watching the faces of the MIB as they began eating a real beef burger, for many their first one in 20 years!  Wow!  Their looks of thanks and appreciation brought tears to my eyes.  I politely passed on my burger.  Greeted with equal zest and zeal were the Burger King ice cream pies!

After lunch, we sang some songs and prepared for the afternoon session.  The first talk was about the Church.  We learned God pursues us and wants us, and He comes to us through others we come to know as the Church.  Sometimes we withdraw and build walls around us.  The Church is the body of Christ – one body with many parts.  Around 3:00, we take a break for more coffee/drinks/snacks.  The next talk is on opening the door.  We learned God wants a relationship with us but we must open the door to let Him in.  It is hoped that this Kairos weekend will help to open the door.  We also spoke to the MIB about spiritual counseling.  Dinner was about 5:00 PM.  Another great meal.  After dinner each table family came forward to introduce themselves.  I was at the table of Matthew.  Each participant was loudly cheered and applauded.  We then had our leader Bob Betancourt do a summary of the day.  We then had evening prayer & songs in the chapel.  We left for home around 8:00 PM.  Once back at church we had snacks, some showered – others visited.  Around 9:00 or so we had round table discussions of the events for the day.  Then around 10-10:30 a quick call to Linda to tell her I loved her – brushed my teeth and collapsed on my air mattress!

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