Agápē (Gk. a-gah’-pay) In the New Testament, agape is often used to describe God’s unconditional love toward us and the self-sacrificing manner in which we should love one another. Passages include:
- “Love your neighbor as yourself” – Matthew 22:39,
- “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you“ – John 15:12,
- “God is love.” – 1 John 4:8
In Kairos, agape love is expressed in many different ways: through posters, prayers, cookies, etc. But one of the most effective ways for an inmate to feel the love and acceptance of Christ (through the team) is in the form of hand-written letters. After 5 years in prison, 95% of the inmates have no contact whatsoever with outside family or friends. A personal note expressing Christian love is a powerful message!
However, One of the most difficult tasks for many new Kairos team members is figuring out HOW to write agape letters. This page will hopefully make things a little easier.
- Before writing, pray that the Holy Spirit would guide your hand as you write.
- Letters must be handwritten and original. Photocopies or computer-printed letters are not nearly as effective as one in your own hand… even if your penmanship is not the best.
- Keep everything upbeat and positive.
- There should be no mention of crimes.
- Letters need not be lengthy but should be more the one or two lines.
Weekend Host Letter To Your Participant
At some point during team formation, you will be given one particular inmate to pray for. As their “Weekend Host”, you will be there to greet them on Thursday night and will stay in contact with them throughout the Kairos Short Course. However, about 1 to 2 weeks BEFORE the Weekend, you will send this person a welcome letter. It does not need to be long or overly “spiritual”. Many participants are hesitant or nervous about the Weekend and too much “religious talk” may scare them off. Here is an example of a welcome letter:
My name is Bob Jones and I am a member of the Kairos Team that will be coming to Hancock in a week or so. I am really looking forward to meeting you on Thursday when we all get together. I will be happy to answer any questions you might have at that time. I believe this is going to be one of the best Kairos Weekends yet! May God bless you and I will see you soon!
Place the letter in a regular envelope and address it addresses “To” and “From”:
Send Mail to the Participant:
Inmate Name / DOC # / Dorm #
Hancock State Prison
PO Box 339
Sparta, GA 31087
DO NOT USE YOUR HOME RETURN ADDRESS
Use This Return Address:
PO Box 2225
McDonough, GA 30253
Do not include any sort of gifts in the envelope(Money, Stickers, Bookmarks, etc.)
42 Agape Letters
On Saturday during the Weekend, all 42 participants will receive a bag full of letters. EVERY team member is expected to write a brief personal note to ALL 42 participants. That sounds like a lot… and it is IF you try to do it all at one time. But if you spread it out over several weeks prior to the Weekend, you can do it easily. Some team members choose to write more lengthy letters using standard 8 1/2″ by 11″ notebook or printer paper. Others prefer to use smaller writing pads. The choice is yours.
As you begin to write your letters, you most likely will NOT have the names of the participants. Although YOU may not know who the letter will go to, GOD KNOWS. So write with confidence knowing that HE will see to it that your words get to the right person. When addressing the letters, rather than using a general salutation such as “Dear Brother in Christ”, many team members prefer to write their letters in advance with NO GREETING and then wait until the last minute to fill in the names. HOWEVER, IF YOU DO THIS, BE SURE TO BRING AND USE THE SAME PEN YOU WROTE THE NOTE WITH!! Otherwise there may be two different shades of ink.
If you are serving at a table, you may choose to only write 36 letters prior to the weekend and then write the last 6 on Friday evening to the 6 participants at your table (after you get to know them better). The letters can be a little more personal. HOWEVER, BE SURE NOT TO RUN OUT OF TIME. Writing 6 letters at the last minute on Friday night after a long day may be tough.
In writing your letter, you may choose to share a scripture or some positive words of encouragement. Be sure to urge the participant to join a Prayer and Share Group and to also stay active in the Kairos community by coming to the Monthly Reunions. Here is a couple of examples:
I hope you are feeling surrounded by love – the love of the Lord and the love of the community. Remember, God’s love can accomplish mighty things. He is always here for us. We just need to ask. May you always feel the presence of Christ throughout your weekly prayer and share grouping.
In Jesus’ love,
As your Kairos weekend continues, please know that many, many of us in the Christian community are praying that you are feeling the presence of the Lord in your life. He truly loves us and seeks a relationship with each of us. You are a unique individual; He has created no one else just like you and our Lord loves you for you. I will continue to pray for you throughout this weekend and the days to come. I urge you to join your new Kairos brothers in the Christian community. Please come to the Monthly Reunions so we can stay in touch.
Yours in Christ,
Do NOT put your letters in an envelope. Instead, just fold them in half and write the participant’s name on the outside of the letter. Give all your letters to the Head Agape person as soon as possible. Putting the letters in alphabetical order will help the Agape servants greatly!
General Agape & Children’s Agape Letters:
Please have your Sunday School Class, Church Group, Bible Study, etc. write a general letter of support and encouragement. A handwritten letter from the group is fine but they may choose to use a printed piece of computer artwork on colored paper signed by all individuals in the group. Adults may sign their full name if they want to. DO NOT put any personal addresses or phone numbers on the letters. Church letterhead is fine but keep in mind, the church may be contacted by the inmate if they provide that info so be forewarned.
Children are also encouraged to provide Agape! The impact of a love letter from an innocent child on these men is mind boggling! A simple crayon or marker drawing on a folded piece of construction paper is priceless. Many of these men have children of their own whom they rarely see or receive letters from. Children may sign their first name ONLY and may also give their age and/or grade.
DO NOT put the child’s church name or use the child’s last name. There should be no way the child may be traced or contacted.