"“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 "
"Build up my faith, Jesus in the foregiveness You have won for me. Romans 8:28-39 "
"The LORD brought one man to my study on Sunday. He was a rather humble man and initially, I didn’t think he was listening. But when we read Psalm 1, he came out of his shell and told me his story. “I use to go to church with my wife and child, but once we got back home, I head out to the streets.” There, in the words of the Psalmist, he would “walk in the counsel of the wicked, stand in the way of sinners” and “sit in the seat of mockers.” His wife repeatedly pointed out this inconsistency — going to church and hanging out on the streets — but he couldn’t see the problem. Now, in jail, he says his wife was right, “To walk, sit and stand with unbelievers and evil doers is not what God desires for our life.” Our study was on the Vine and Branches, which is a great lesson on staying connected with God and producing fruit that will last. Phil (Adult Correctional Volunteer) "
"In a Bible study this week, an Institutional Ministries volunteer and his group discussed how hard it is to make real changes and how much we need God’s help. Satan will tempt us to go the easy route. Only God can give the strength to make the hard changes. They went on to discuss: If you had an 18-year-old version of you, what would you tell that person to help them stay out of jail? God loves us, He and wants to use us for His benefit, to help others. If we learn this lesson from God, we may be able to help others stay with God and walk a path of peace and hope. Chaplain Henselin (Executive Director) "
"Recently, I encountered two women (in two separate institutions), who have been heavily influenced by Muslim teachings. Both of them have expressed their desire to have Jesus as their LORD and Savior, but their Muslim training has been making it difficult for them to trust in His grace and believe in His divine nature. I am however, beginning to see evidence of God working in their hearts and lives — Thank you, Jesus! — but I pray that God might continue to work through His Spirit, to enable them to wholly trust in His perfect redemption, and see Him as He is — the Son of God and Savior of the World. Chaplain Guenther "
"One of the ladies I’ve been visiting with really has a rather difficult and sordid past (traumatic childhood, rocky relationships and multiple divorces). The last man she was married to was Muslim, and so she also has a great deal of spiritual confusion. "You'll have to have patience with me,” she said recently. “After all that I've heard and believed in the past, I still have a hard time believing that Jesus was anything more than a good man." I told her that God is a patient God and that we are all works in progress. I also encouraged her to allow God to continue working in her heart through His word. Each person is on a different part of the journey of knowing, believing, trusting God and His Son to be who they are, Creator, Father, Savior. Pray with me that God keeps touching hearts, minds and lives. Chaplain Guenther "
"Does “I am a new creation in Christ” mean “I am no longer an addict”? That gets kicked around frequently in the groups I help facilitate. Recently a man told me this: “I was walking back to my dorm from the prison chapel after a Bible study, and I was really feeling close to God and thinking, ‘I’m healed! I’m delivered!’ And then I started smelling a skunk somewhere. And I stopped, and breathed it in. And my mouth actually started watering: all I could think of was smoking weed. I was all messed up, because I was smelling a skunk! I guess God’s still working on me.” Chaplain Merten "
"In our study of Acts today, we covered Paul and Silas being flogged and thrown into prison at Philippi. As they sat there in the dark, locked up in stocks within the inner most part of the prison, Paul and Silas began singing hymns of praise to God. As you might guess, the men sitting around the table with me in prison, found it rather easy to identify with Paul and Silas, and we spent some time discussing the peace and joy that are ours (regardless of our circumstances). One after another, the men began sharing examples from their own lives of being similarly blessed and filled with joy. For over 20 years now, I’ve been sharing God’s Word with people inside of correctional facilities, and I cannot begin to tell you how many times I’ve heard the guys I serve express joy and contentment (despite spending month after month locked up in prison), because Jesus is in their lives. How blessed we are to know Jesus, and make him known to others. Chaplain Radsek "
"Easter is without question my favorite day of the year, and what pure joy to have shared Easter with eight women at the Jail! In our study, we examined various gospel readings that support the truth of what occurred that first Easter Sunday. We also considered what all of this means to us now and for eternity. It was especially comforting for these ladies, who often struggle to have confidence that ALL their sins can be FULLY forgiven, and that a better way of living is possible...Easter takes care of that! One of the ladies in our group indicated that she will be going to prison soon. She looked very sad and fragile, but was encouraged to hear that she could seek out our chaplains in prison to continue her study of God’s Word. Please continue to pray for those we visit in prison. Nadine (Adult Correctional Volunteer) "