Valley Ministry Goes To The Depths To Show Gods Love

By:
Kudratdeep Kaur Dhaliwal
Imagine if you found out someone who you never met was praying for you in Uganda, what would you do?  What would you think?
Could it be love and forgiveness?
That’s what prisoners at Centinela State Prison have experienced.
Hardened by a life of circumstance and the prison environment where Satan seems to reign, these prisoners have found new hope through the Kairos Ministry of the Imperial Valley.
The Ministry is made up of volunteers from different denominations of the Christian religion who come together with the purpose of showing what God’s love is.
They hold a world-wide prayer vigil where they pray for each person by name.
In the message that Kairos delivers, these inmates find the forgiveness that they so desperately need which seems to confine them in prisons of their own.
According to Kairos member Jeff Barrowcliff children of the volunteers also write letters to the prisoners.
“As often times children can come out and say directly what’s on their minds, these letters will acknowledge crimes they may have committed but they will remind them that God forgives,” explains Barrowcliff.
Many times these stories tug at their hearts and compel them to change and that’s when the transformation takes place, he says.
“They are able to forgive themselves, others and experience God’s forgiveness,” he said.
Every week program volunteers go on a 3 day retreat for the weekend starting on Thursday where they spend time with the prisoners and listen to their stories.
“Our moto ‘Listen, Listen, Love, Love’ is the cornerstone of what we do,” says Kairos member Steve Schuyler.  “The idea behind this is if we don’t listen then we don’t really care.”
The way to reach these prisoners is not to preach but to listen to what’s going on with them, he says.
“We often break the ice with general subjects such as choices, what bad choices have they made,” says Barrowcliff.   “Everyone makes bad choices but by the grace of God we’re out here.”
Taking into account that people in prison come from different faiths, one of the messages the program conveys is it is not necessary to be Christian to receive Christ’s love.
Nevertheless it is important to have experienced God’s love in order to share it with others.
According to Kairos member, Patrick Drainville the ministry comprises of people from areas all over such as Big Bear, Yuma and San Diego who strive to make a personal impression.
“Our wives will bake cookies for them,” he said.  “Usually it’s a very long time since they’ve had anything homemade.”
Showing that strangers care helps break down their hearts and tough guy barriers, explains Drainville.
Aware of the skepticism over men in prison changing, Schuyler shares a story of a former gang member.
“This guy would receive one-hundred dollars every month for food from his father,” says Schuyler.  “But this one day he told his father on the phone that he was fine and not to send him any money but to send it to the victims in Haiti instead.”
Barrowcliff says this is an affirmation of the program working and of God using them as tools.
The Kairos Ministry even has a P.O. Box designated for correspondence with in-mates.
“We have this postal angel who forwards the letters to anyone of us if we are addressed directly,” says Barrowcliff.
He shares one letter in particular, where an in-mate writes about how he was happily surprised to receive a Christmas card from him.
Expecting to find nothing in the mail for him, the in-mate was ready to be angry at God but instead he received the card and couldn’t be angry anymore.

The program is a long-term commitment where volunteers follow-up on the progress of the in-mates every week.

“It’s hard for them to accept that we continue to come back,” says Barrowcliff.  “Their initial attitude is no one cares, but we do.”
Kairos, derived from the Greek ‘Kronos’ is a synonym of time or ‘God’s special time’.
The outreach group based in Florida, first sprang up in the San Diego 20 years ago where it ministered to the women’s prison there, says Schuyler.
The ministry to the Centinela State Prison first began on January 2007.
The Imperial Valley ministry currently consists of approximately 33 members.
It continues to thrive and spread the message of love throughout America’s prisons.
It is self-funded however it does accept donations.men in prison changing, Schuyler shares a story of a former gang member.
“This guy would receive one-hundred dollars every month for food from his father,” says Schuyler.  “But this one day he told his father on the phone that he was fine and not to send him any money but to send it to the victims in Haiti instead.”
Barrowcliff says this is an affirmation of the program working and of God using them as tools.
The Kairos Ministry even has a P.O. Box designated for correspondence with in-mates.
“We have this postal angel who forwards the letters to anyone of us if we are addressed directly,” says Barrowcliff.
He shares one letter in particular, where an in-mate writes about how he was happily surprised to receive a Christmas card from him.
Expecting to find nothing in the mail for him, the in-mate was ready to be angry at God but instead he received the card and couldn’t be angry anymore.
The program is a long-term commitment where volunteers follow-up on the progress of the in-mates every week.
“It’s hard for them to accept that we continue to come back,” says Barrowcliff.  “Their initial attitude is no one cares, but we do.”
Kairos, derived from the Greek ‘Kronos’ is a synonym of time or ‘God’s special time’.
The outreach group based in Florida, first sprang up in the San Diego 20 years ago where it ministered to the women’s prison there, says Schuyler.
The ministry to the Centinela State Prison first began on January 2007.
The Imperial Valley ministry currently consists of approximately 33 members.
It continues to thrive and spread the message of love throughout America’s prisons.
It is self-funded however it does accept donations.