Ministry Insights

"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 "
"On Tuesday the Lord brought three faithful attenders to the Huber bible study and they were a joy to be with. We studied God’s plan for unity and diversity in the human race and in the church. It was an excellent opportunity to emphasize that God makes us all unique yet at the same time different – all so we can accomplish his purposes together. If all were leaders who would follow? If all were followers who would lead? We all need to get better at accepting ourselves and others, just the way God made us. Comparisons can lead to both pride and discouragement, but acceptance of our gifts, our appearances, our differences as coming from God, reminds us to be humble about them and use them for his purposes and not for selfish and self-aggrandizing goals. It’s the diverse team with many talents and many perspectives that produces a symphony, puts a man on the moon, wins sports championships, builds the church, and accomplishes common goals that are bigger than any of us individually. Summer blessings to all.  Dan (Adult Correctional Volunteer) "
"“I’m all about waking up clear-minded and not having the monkey on my back. Coming to this class is always a blessing and I’m truly thankful for the guidance towards being the best SOBER person I can be.” – Comment from an prison inmate in the Spiritual Foundations in Recovery group.  Chaplain Merten "
"Three new men joined us today for our Bible study on the book of Acts. As we talked about Paul's journey to Rome, and the encouragement he received from the Christian's who traveled 30-40 miles from Rome (Act 28:15), just to accompany him on the final leg of his journey, we were all reminded of the blessing that come from gathering together with our fellow Christians. 'And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching' (Heb 10:24–25). Thank you Lord, for all the blessings you bestow on us through our brothers and sisters in Christ.  Chaplain Radsek "