"“If I have to do all this to be in a relationship with someone, I think I’ll just not get into a relationship.” What the young man was having trouble grasping is that we are always in relationships with others whether we want to be or not. How we behave in those momentary, seemingly less important relationships could have a huge impact on our lives. Chaplain M. Wenzel "
"I gave a Grace Oasis member a ride to a clinic recently. As we drove past McGovern Park, I noticed the lagoon there and mentioned how two sixth-grade boys drowned there ten years ago. We talked about how the boys were missing for weeks while nearly the whole city of Milwaukee was looking and praying for them, fearing they’d been abducted and murdered. When their bodies were finally discovered in the water, investigators concluded that one of the boys had fallen in and the other boy had gone into the water to try to save him. My friend told me, “You know, I was just talking with someone the other day about whether it would be better to die receiving unconditional love or to die giving unconditional love. Looks like that’s what happened to those boys: One died giving his friend love, and the other one died being loved by his friend.” Chaplain Merten "
"I attended the required annual orientation at my prison this week, but before we started going through all the DOC rules and regulations governing 'volunteers', they brought in six inmates to speak to us. As the six took their turn, thanking all the volunteers that had gathered (mostly from religious organizations), for their services, I was struck once again by the sincere appreciation that these men have for our weekly visits. What a privilege it is to be a part of our LORD's ministry to these men -- 'I was in prison and you came to visit me' (Mt. 25:36). Chaplain Radsek "
"We sat in a group in Bible Study and began in prayer, sharing with Jesus those things that were concerns for the ladies. After prayer, one of the young ladies said, very seriously, "I can feel Jesus here right now." Quietly, she said again, "It feels good to feel that He is here." And that is one of the greatest feelings, not that we need that confirmation or reward, however, if there would be one that is an honor and so reinforcing it would be that. That as God's children, filled with His love, hope and peace, we can have it overflow to others, especially to those who need it most. Deaconess Owens "
"Today I had an inmate in the office with whom I have been talking with concerning where he is going when he gets out. He has shared that he will be homeless and that he needs to change his ways, especially his drug use. So we made a phone call to Serenity Inns, a spiritual, residential treatment facility. He meets their criteria, they have room, they will come and pick him up from the House of Corrections, but…. What about my kids? What about my stuff? I can handle this on my own. I got this. No matter what I countered with, there was another ‘but’. That stubborn, prideful nature we have gets in the way again. As long as there is that glimmer of hope that we can do it ourselves, we resist the guidance of God’s Spirit. Chaplain M. Wenzel "
"In Bible Study, one of the ladies asked where a verse from one of our previously Bible studies was from. I had to wrack my brain and then I remembered, “Philippians 4”. The girl pondered my answer, wondering now how to spell Philippians. Hmm, is that's one "p" and one "l" or two of each? Smiling, another young lady quickly said, “Just put Phil”. That was so cool. She gave me a great, simple example of how not to get so caught up in the details that we fail to accomplish what’s really important. Deaconess Owens "
"Jesus was nailed to a tree. He didn’t curse the people doing it to him. He didn’t curse God. He spoke words of forgiveness and words of trust. What would you do? What would you do if someone threatened your life or the lives of your loved ones? Frankly, I don’t know what I would or would not do in the heat of the moment, but I know that Jesus asks me to love my enemy and to not resist the one who does evil. So each day I ask Jesus to train me to be more like him and to trust in his way, not my ways. So when that day comes and I am faced with that horrible scenario, I may be able to face it as Jesus did. Chaplain M. Wenzel "
"God blessed my Bible Study with some hurting women today as we read and sang 'Just as I Am, Without One Plea'. We read a verse at a time (there are like six or seven of them), sang it, and then talked about it. Each verse was filled with gold and the women had great comments. The cross has “broken down” so many barriers in their lives. I love incorporating music when I can, and in the institutions, that typically means singing a-cappella. Sometime a few women sing, sometimes I sing alone, but today, everyone sang and it was so beautiful. We closed with I Know that My Redeemer Lives. Precious, holy time. Deaconess Owens. "
"There was a dishonest streak inside of him, and his scheming and deceitfulness had finally reached "critical mass". Alone and on the run from a murderous brother, he felt isolated and perhaps even fearful of what lay ahead of him. Yet here, on this desolate path he had chosen, God shows up in a big way. And just as the LORD brought Jacob comfort and hope during this troubling time in his life, so he shows up in our lives when we need him most. Not in dreams of heavenly staircases and personal appearances, but with his never failing promises (to be with us, to watch over us, to bring us safely home). This was our Bible lesson in prison today, and the men I serve there weren't the only ones thankful for the gracious God who reveals himself through the words of Moses (Gen. 28). Chaplain Radsek "
"The ladies were disappointed when no one came to the jail last Sunday, but our Bible lesson this week was on the Armor of God, and we had a lot of participation (especially from two of the ladies). Please remember to keep these ladies in your prayers. Have a blessed day, Shirley (Adult Correctional Volunteer) "