The Kairos Prison Ministry is an amazing ministry for both the inmates and those ministering to them. I was privileged to form part of the very first Kairos team to minister to the inmates at the Rustenburg, South Africa, prison. Thirsty Christian men volunteered to present the Kairos program inside the prison, over 3 days to 30 incarcerated guys. It started on the Thursday evening and continued till Sunday afternoon.
When the Kairos leaders introduced the program to the prison authorities the head of the prison suggested that we start with a group of “soft” prisoners. It was explained to him that we would prefer the 30 most hard core inmates because our God can move mountains. He agreed and selected a group filled with murderers, rapists and gangsters – most of whom were serving at least one life sentence. The chief insisted that we be guarded by a large group of prison wardens at all times and allocated us an area enclosed by four high walls. We pitched two tents inside this square; one serving as a conference room and the other as a prayer chapel.
For those who don’t know, a very important part of the Kairos ministry is home baked biscuits – something that the inmates NEVER see whilst incarcerated. They are flooded with biscuits which have been baked in love and prayed over. The inmates are allowed to eat as much as they wish and most of them would hide biscuits in their clothes to take back to their cells at night. There they would eat it, give some to friends and even use it to swop for other goods. Soon most of the other prisoners would know about Kairos because they have somehow received a biscuit.
On the Thursday evening we were introduced to one another i.e. the Kairos team to the 30 participating inmates. Team members had to sit on every second chair with the in-between chairs being occupied by the inmates. I therefore had two guys next to me. They barely sat down when one asked me what this was about. Having been trained, I told him that it is a Christian based Kairos workshop. The other guy immediately responded in vulgar language that he was the head of the Satanists in this prison and that we should not come to them with our “f—king Christian bulls—t”. The first guy by the name of Thabang supported his friend and told me that he was a Muslim and would therefore not participate. Soon thereafter we had our first coffee and biscuits and I think this convinced them to return the next morning.
On Friday morning the workshop commenced with a full class of 30 inmates. Some resisted more than others but no-one left. As the day progressed the work of the Holy Spirit became more visible and evident. More and more of the guys started participating and wanted to know more. They joined in during praise and worship sessions and one could see how attitudes changed. This was clearly God at work.
Early on Saturday morning the program prescribed “prayers in pairs”. Thabang insisted that he wanted to pray for me. Him being a Muslim, I did not know what to expect. We took 2 chairs and went into the prayer chapel where we sat across from each other (facing each other). Thabang insisted to pray first. He started praying in a language that sounded like Hebrew or Arabic. I did not understand anything he prayed but still prayed to my God to protect me from his god. When he finished he got up to leave but I stopped him. I told him that it was now my turn to pray for him. He reluctantly sat down. I started praying and asked the Holy Spirit to fill Thabang. Soon thereafter, whilst still praying, he stopped me and told me not to touch him. I told him that I was not touching him at all and we continued praying. A while later he again stopped me and said he could feel things happening in his body and he suspected me of touching him. I immediately knew that the Spirit was working in Thabang because I was definitely not touching him and neither could I have done the things that he felt.
At that point in time God laid it on my heart to ask Thabang what the one thing is that he really desires. I thought that he would say that he wants freedom but he surprised me by saying the biggest desire he has was to see his mother, his sister and his child. He proceeded to tell me that he was serving a double life sentence for two separate murders that he committed. He was imprisoned whilst his girlfriend was pregnant. His family rejected him and ever since he was incarcerated, 7 years ago, he has not had any contact with any of his family. He did not even know whether his child was a boy or a girl. This time I took Thabang’s hands and I prayed for forgiveness and I asked Jesus to restore the relationship between Thabang and his family.
Later on in the morning I noticed that Thabang was not in the conference room. I enquired about his whereabouts and was told that he was called by the wardens to collect his medication. About an hour later he entered the room and walked straight to me. He grabbed me and hugged me and told me in a loud voice that “you serve a real God!!” At first I did not understand but then he testified to all present in the room that he was called by a warden to accompany him to the visitors area and there, waiting to meet him, was his mother, his sister and his daughter. We looked at each other and cried.
That weekend 28 of the 30 most hard core criminals were set free in spirit when they gave their lives to Christ. Even some of the wardens who had to guard us against these guys committed their lives to God Almighty. Together they started their own cell groups and shared the Word with others. I saw Thabang during our follow up visits and I know that his relationship with his close family has been restored through the work of “our real God”.
If and when this Testimony has spoken into your heart, please go to the Commitment page.