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Serving With Love: Local women share Christ’s message through prison ministry

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Manning resident Terry Land is passionate about doing God’s work, and starting in 2010, that work took the form of ministering to the inmates of Camille Griffin Graham Correctional Institution through an organization called Kairos Prison Ministries International, or Kairos for short. The Kairos Ministry itself has been serving for 31 years inside the walls of Camille Griffin Graham Correctional Institution, of which I have been a part of for 11 years.

Kairos is a Greek word meaning “in God’s special time” or “in the fullness of time”, and the organization uses the word not only as its name, but also to represent the impact that time and choices have on those to whom it ministers.

“I do it because it’s God’s work,” Land said. “I want to share His love with these young ladies inside the wall of Camille Griffin Graham”, located in Columbia, SC.

Kairos structures its ministry with a weekend long series of talks, home cooked meals, lots of homemade cookies , and an ordained minister to talk with , if the participant so chooses. The goal is, first and foremost, to help inmates understand that they are loved and God has not forgotten them.

We don’t even take a Bible inside,” Land explains. “To start, one of us gets up, and we tell our story. Then we have talks and share scripture about things like choices, for example. It’s amazing when you start the weekend with two rivals at the same table, and then, by the end of the weekend, they’re hugging each other and realizing they’re both God’s children.”

However, the Covid19 pandemic created significant barriers for Land and her Kairos sisters. They have not been inside Camille Griffin Graham in nearly two years, and their bags of homemade cookies—a gift shared with all the inmates, not only those participating in the ministry—are replaced with individually bagged, store bought cookies for safety. These determined women haven’t let that stop their work though.

“For Christmas we gave them bags of cookies with scriptures inside,” Land said. “Then, we made a video so that, when they came, into the gymnasium to pick them up, we were able to let them know that they were still in our prayers.”

She goes on to explain that, for Mother’s Day, ther Kairos team gathered more bags of cookies with scripture notes attached, but this time, they added a special touch. They asked children from local churches to craft Mother’s Day cards to be distributed to all 730 inmates of Camille Griffin Graham Correctional Institution.

“I’d like to thank the congregation of Manning Baptist Church,” Land said. “Of course, many churches helped us, but on the local level they really stepped up and provided us with a lot of the cookies we’re taking for Mother’s Day.”

To learn more about Kairos Prison Ministry International, visit

https://www.kairosprisonministry.org

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