Ministry Insights

"Our lesson at the jail this week was about Facing Judgement. As we began introductions, I had the ladies tell me what came to mind when they heard the word judgement. The women made comments about prejudice and pointing fingers. They also talked about how they were their own worst critics. After everyone had shared their thoughts, I realized something. While most might think (I know I did) that women in jail would have their own court dates foremost in their minds, not one of them mentioned their own judicial judge or the justice system they were in. It is always a joy to learn more and challenge my own preconceived notions about the women in jail that I serve.  Chaplain Guenther "
"Parents who lived out of state called for a chaplain to visit their daughter who was hospitalized after an accident.  She was no longer connected to any faith group.  Through the accident the Lord tapped her on the shoulder about her faith.  She is now ready to have her faith refreshed with the love of Jesus.  Through spiritual dialogue and prayers and suggested resources, she will rehabilitate her faith as she rehabilitates her physical body.  Chaplain Wenzel "
"Before service, an inmate asked if Jesus would be here tonight. We talked briefly, and I soon discovered that his inquiry was like that of the Greeks who came to Philip, 'Sir, we would like to see Jesus.' After the service, he shook my hand and thanked me for 'bringing Jesus' into the jail.  Chaplain Radsek "
"I am euphoric! When I arrived at the jail, I saw a sign saying that visitations were cancelled. When I spoke to one of the correction officers however, I discovered I could enter the unit to do a professional visit. I was thrilled because I was hoping to do a baptism before Bible class. When I got to the unit, the guard on duty was amenable to my request to perform the baptism. I filled an empty soda cup with water from the sink. I used the liturgy from the hymnal, and I got a certificate from Pastor Hein. Four other ladies gathered around to witness the event, and they all applauded as she was baptized. It was such an honor and privilege. Thank you, Lord for this experience! Please send your Holy Spirit upon these women, and help them to know the peace and joy of your love and acceptance.  Nadine (Adult Correctional Volunteer). "
"In our discussion of the first beatitude (Mt. 5:10), we talked about the poor in spirit receiving the "kingdom of heaven." When I asked the ladies what that phrase brought to mind, I expected an answer like, "we get to go to heaven." In response, Shirley answered, the "kingdom of heaven" makes me think of "freedom." This prompted a discussion about the freedom Jesus provides for us here (like freedom from an impoverished spirit), and perfect freedom in the hereafter (no sin or tears or pain or suffering...).  Chaplain Guenther "
"Yesterday I talked to a wife who cried tears of joy when she discovered that we could serve her husband while he was incarcerated. She said, 'I never thought my family would need you.' She had given an offering to Institutional Ministries about 10 years earlier and then stopped because our ministry 'wasn't pertinent' to her family. Now she was relieved — a chaplain would soon be visiting with her husband. Thank you to all our ministry partners out there! You make it possible for us to help when our members are in times of spiritual desperation!  Chaplain Henselin (Executive Director) "
"I had six people at the jail on Sunday, and we had a great discussion on "Life After Death." This led into a few other spiritual questions which they were also interested in about Christ, God and Christianity. I also had five people show up at the Huber facility. We discussed the same topic but did not have the same response with many questions. We did, however, help them to understand our life as Christians. All in all, it went well. Larry (Adult Correctional Volunteer) "
"It's not too unusual to have tempers flare when the women in jail live in such close quarters. But two of the ladies who had chosen to attend today were obviously not on the best of terms. They were picking on one another's weaknesses, pushing buttons and not really holding back. I moved quickly into God's Word, and each of us took turns reading about Mary, the mother of Jesus (her challenges and joys). I don't always incorporate music in this Bible study group, but I did that day, and by the time we closed our study group with singing, both women were praising Jesus. Their focus was now on Jesus' love and care for them. It's always a blessing to see the Holy Spirit change hearts and minds!  Chaplain Guenther. "
"Over the years, most of the inmates that have typically attended my Bible classes have had little knowledge of Scripture. Occasionally, you will have some who know their Bibles fairly well, and once in a great while, you will have someone who is extremely knowledgeable. Last week, a young man joined our group who fell into this latter category and I was quickly reminded of unique challenge this presents — simultaneously teaching both the beginner and the advanced Bible student. Needless to say, I will be putting in a little extra prep time for next week’s lesson. Bringing your 'A-game' is essential if you want to be prepared to answer the insightful questions that inevitably come from a well-read Bible student.  Chaplain Radsek "
"Two women (in two different jails), who had previously served time, found themselves back "inside" once again. After being out for a year, they both ended up breaking the law and violating their probation. One had been baptized in the jail, the other had come to Bible study and had been touched by a Christian video being played. Both were learning about the grace of God as the Holy Spirit worked in their hearts. Back in jail for the second time, they recognized me when I came to their jail for Bible Study, and they were both happy to renew their studies again. This time, they seem to possess a more serious attitude, and a sincere desire to "do life with God" this time. One is going to prison and will continue her studies there for two years. One had the opportunity to be released to the outside and has already met me at church. God is in the business of planting the seeds, watering them, seeing them grow and at times letting that fruit bear more seed. In whatever stage He uses us, it is such a privilege and pleasure!  Chaplain Guenther "