In Matthew 25:34-36 Jesus says “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.”
Since the beginning days in my walk with Christ I have identified with this scripture and it’s been the same for members of The Crossing Life Church Rick and Karen Foulke, who have been faithful to Kairos Prison Ministry for well over two decades.
The Mission of Kairos Prison Ministry is “to share the transforming love and forgiveness of Jesus Christ to impact the hearts and lives of incarcerated men, women, and youth, as well as their families, to become loving and productive citizens of their communities.”
Rick and Karen’s primary focus with the ministry is called “Kairos Inside” and “Kairos Outside.” During Kairos Inside men lead men, during Kairos Outside women lead women. Both are a series of talks building on one another.
“Kairos Inside is a series of talks, discussions, chapel meditation, and prayer from (a) Thursday to Sunday,” Rick explains. “The talks build upon one another throughout the whole weekend… Men can go through the program as a resident and then have the option to come back and help.” The testimonials Rick and Karen have seen throughout the years are the evidence of changed lives through the power and consistency of the gospel.
For the first time since the pandemic, Kairos is returning to Concord, NH on October 20-23 for Kairos Inside and November 11-13 for Kairos Outside. “Chaplain Daly has been at the Concord Prison for eighteen years, and he is so excited to have Kairos back in there and to get us involved again… The Holy Spirit is truly present,” Rick shares.
While these powerful weekends happen each fall and spring, it’s evident that these two weekends are not the only things that breed consistency in the ministry itself. “There are a couple faithful individuals who go in and share every Saturday. We call it ‘Prayer and Share.’ It helps them continue their walk inside and creates that christian community within the blocks and cells,” Rick explains. Karen, who will be working alongside women in the “Outside” program this fall adds, “there’s Prayer and Share for Kairos Outside members twice a month as well.”
“A lot of these guys are completely blown away by the love that’s exemplified,” Karen says, Rick adding, “then the love carries on inside with the Christian community that’s built as a result…”
A statistical result is that 70% of people who enter the prison system and later return to life outside, end up back behind bars within months. But those that have the opportunity to go through Kairos? The number of people that return to prison drastically drops to around 25%, and “that’s why we have the support we do.”
When asked what the most rewarding part of being part of prison ministry was for the Foulke’s, they both spoke of the testimonials they hear of every year. Karen said “to hear where the residents were and where they get to during the testimony times on Sunday’s is powerful for me.”
Rick shared a personal story: “It’s seeing the Holy Spirit at work… There was a gentleman that came through in my early days with the ministry who had been locked up. It was the chaplain of the prison who said to him: ‘you’ve gotta forgive yourself, God has already forgiven you.’ It was a transforming moment for me because I had some unforgiveness with myself… What he said was transformational for me in terms of my Christian walk and forgiveness. Being able to share that with the gentleman inside, that God has forgiven them and forgives them everyday is transformative.”
For those wanting to serve, there are training weekends coming up. For men, Kairos Inside will have trainings on September 10th and 17th as well as October 1st and 8th leading up to the weekend from October 20-23. The deadline to join that team is September 17th.
For women, Kairos Outside training dates will begin September 9th-11th and October 6th-9th leading up to the Kairos Outside Weekend which is held from November 11-13. The preparation for these training weekends are overnight commitments at the Sarto Center in Hooksett.
If you need more information or want to become part of the team, you can contact Rick Foulke at 781-820-6415. It is evident that the Foulke’s have a deep passion for those incarcerated, as well as deep love, Agape love.
“What we do (in Kairos) is soaked in the love of Christ,” Rick says.
“It’s Agape,” Karen adds. Unconditional and Consistent.