Ministry Insights

"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) "
"When we finished our Bible study at the prison yesterday, one of my guys said, "Thanks Pastor, this was good stuff, just what I needed to hear." His comment brought to mind God's promise through the prophet Isaiah, " is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it." It is always a joy to observe God's Word in action, as He fills the needs of His people, whatever that need may be.  Chaplain Radsek "
"A woman in group today shared that she was both amazed and touched when her mother came to visit over the weekend (Her mom had just undergone a heart surgery and still had staples in). Her mom had said matter-of-factly, "Of course I came!"  Chaplain Guenther "
"I asked a prison inmate I was visiting with how he was doing, and he told me, “Well, I’m sore. I just started working out yesterday…” and then he stopped himself. “No. That’s not how I want to say it. I’ll put it this way: ‘I worked out yesterday.’ I’m not going to say, ‘I started…’ I don’t know what the future holds. I need to stay in the present.” I said, “You mean, like how Jesus says, ‘Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself’, and James says, ‘You do not even know what will happen tomorrow’?” He said, “Exactly. I’m not going to set myself up for failure any more. I’m going to stay in the present, where Jesus is.”  Chaplain Merten "
"I had 9 at Huber this week (3 ladies and 6 men). We studied "let your light shine" which gave us practical applications on living our lives as Christians. It also gave us awesome examples in the Bible of the most unlikely people who let their light shine amidst overwhelming push-back from society. Many of the inmates offered the group inspiring ways to let their light shine. It was so fun to be with a group that was really interested in following their LORD.  Phil (Adult Correctional Volunteer). "
"As we gather together, I usually ask the group to introduce themselves, answer a random question and share a prayer request. The question for today was "Share a time when you were proud of an accomplishment." All of the ladies had something to share (often about their children), but one of the ladies had this to say. "Since I have become part of God's family, I'd have to say, that being His child is what I am most proud of." Having been recently baptized (in the jail), Jesus was on this woman's heart and mind, and she continues to testify to what God has done (and continues to do), to the other women in the jail.  Chaplain Guenther "