"I have been visiting a woman in prison for many years. Every visit she updates me on the challenges, struggles and successes she is having. This visit she shared with me the pattern she has in her prayer time. I was touched when she said "I have you in my prayers every day. I pray that God is with you and your family." I was humbled and inspired to do a better job myself of including this woman (as well as others), as I make my own prayer list, and religiously offer up prayers to the One who controls everything, hears and helps. Sometimes there are blurry lines between the helped and helper, the inspired and the inspiration. Chaplain Guenther "
"She told our group, "My cousin sexually abused me when I was a little girl, and told me to keep my mouth shut. I tried to tell my mother, and she told me the same thing: Keep your mouth shut if you know what’s good for you. So, I did, for years. I drank instead of talking. And then I met God, and he told me, ‘You don’t have to be silent any more. You can tell me everything.’" Chaplain Merten "
"I saw it again yesterday at the prison. It was there in his watery eyes — the overwhelming joy that fills the heart when that still, small voice of God's Spirit whispers in our ear: "Yes, I forgive you too!" As Christmas draws near, I am reminded of what a privilege it is to share God's amazing love for us — sending his Son so that there might be "peace to those on whom his favor rests." Even to those in prison. Chaplain Radsek "
"God brought four men to the Bible study session at County Jail today. Please commend these men to God's care in your prayers this week, as they need to stay connected to Jesus through His Word during this tough stint in their lives. Our Bible study was "The Rich Young Ruler," and wrestled with priorities and how to show proper thanks to Jesus for daily blessings and to use them in a God-pleasing manner. Alan (Adult Correctional Volunteer) "
"He could have gotten away with it. He wasn’t caught. But he understands that repentant children of God confess their sin and turn from it. So, he turned himself in. As he prepares for the day he will enter prison, he is asking, “How can you help me prepare to be God’s missionary behind bars?” We ask that you keep this child of God in your prayers. Storm the doors of heaven, asking God to give him strength, to preserve his faith, and to make him a powerful witness to all around him. Ask the Lord to make him a Joseph, who finds favor with both his fellow inmates and also with those who guard him. Ask God to empower his speech by the Holy Spirit, so that wherever he goes, living water springs up in the hearts around him. Chaplain Henselin "
"As our recovery group meeting was breaking up last week and people started heading out I noticed one guy helping another guy get out of his chair and onto his feet. The man struggling to stand had a weak leg due to cerebral palsy; the man helping him up was wearing a walking cast and leaning on a cane due to a fractured kneecap. I had to stop and take in that picture: One wounded person helping another wounded person. That's a picture of all recovery ministry, or actually, any and all gospel ministry: Struggling and forgiven people reaching out to other struggling and forgiven people. Chaplain Merten "
"So often, our ministry is a team effort. We're all on the LORD's team of course, as he sends us out to preach the gospel wherever he opens the door. But with correctional ministry, the LORD has a way of 'adding players' to the team. I was reminded of this yesterday when Norman joined our Bible study. One of our volunteers first connected with him at the county jail and took him through adult instruction. Then one of our staff chaplains connected with him as he entered the prison system. He in turn, handed Norman off to one of our volunteer pastors when he was transferred to a second prison, and now Norman is at the prison I serve. The 'team' just keeps growing, and growing, and growing! Chaplain Radsek "
"One of the main sources of pain for incarcerated women is worrying about their children, and grieving the loss of not being with them. Recently, a woman in jail told me that her 13 year old daughter was entering a mental health treatment facility for attempting suicide. Pray that these women will be able to take their pain (usually dulled by alcohol or other substances), to their Savior, who will walk with them and comfort them in their pain and helplessness. Chaplain Guenther "
"We read through the 23rd Psalm recently at a prison Bible study. I asked the guys what thoughts came to their minds as they read those words. One man said, “I look at the part where it says, ‘You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies,’ and I’m hearing God invite me to take my eyes off my enemies, and instead focus on the ways he’s showing me love – the ‘table prepared for me’”. I realized what a big deal this was for this man: he’d lived most of his life keeping his guard up, watching for violence and launching preemptive strikes. And now he was “taking his eyes off his enemies”, and seeing how loved he is. Chaplain Merten "
"There were five at the Huber Bible study (four men and one woman) last week, and we studied the eighth commandment dealing with our neighbor's reputation. Everyone was really into the subject matter of how we use our tongues, and the discussions and comments were resonating with the entire group. The talk was enthusiastic and every one present seemed to have enough Bible knowledge and life experience to contribute some thought provoking observations. Dan (Adult Correctional Volunteer) "