"It was a fairly large group at the jail for Bible study with several talkative ladies with much to share. One of the ladies however, sat quietly in the back and really didn't say much of anything till the very end of our study. While the rest of the women were talking about never wanting to come back to jail again, the quiet lady in the back finally spoke up, "You won't see me back here...well except to do ministry." Pray that the message does bear fruit and go full circle so that those who are now hearing can be those who share. Chaplain Sarah Guenther "
"We had our annual volunteer orientation/appreciation dinner last night at Kettle Moraine Correctional. The "re-orientation" gets a little tedious at times (going through everything year after year), but it's always uplifting hearing from the half dozen or so inmates, who come in to thank all the volunteers. Every time I hear them express their heartfelt appreciation, and the positive impact it has on their lives, It always reminds me of Jesus' words in Matthew 25: "I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me." What a privilege it is, to serve Jesus, by serving those he loves. Chaplain Radsek "
"While sharing his addiction journey with the class (12th step of Spiritual Foundations in Recovery), M told us that his companion through it all, was his cat. When he was freaking out, high, or in recovery, his cat would listen to him and give him a head-butt of love. Who has been your cat through thick and thin? Whose cat are you? These are the thoughts we talked about as we considered how sinners help sinners. Chaplain M. Wenzel "
"Last Sunday I went to the jail and had only one man show up (Rick, a 57 years old, with a long history of drugs and living on the street). He told me that at one time, he had been a regular attendee at church, but then got involved in voodoo, and this became his religion for quite some time. When he came to me to study Gods Word, he was a broken man, and in desperate need of peace in in his life. We studied the Sower and the Seed, and discussed what faith really is. We then went on to Mathew 7, to talk about treasures and worry. And we finally ended up in John 14, talking about heaven prepared and Jesus the only way. Rick didn't understand why our LORD only had the two of us in Bible study that day, but he was extremely grateful for the one-on-one time and the WORD given to him. I hope Rick shows up again next week to hear more from the Prince of Peace, for HE has exactly what Rick is searching so desperately for. Our ministry....One soul at a time. Phil (Adult Correctional Volunteer) "
"One of the inmates in my prison addiction recovery group asked me if I was familiar with Proverbs 23:29-35. He was grinning when he asked. I looked it up and recognized it immediately: “Who has woe? Who has sorrow? Who has strife? Who has complaints? Who has needless bruises? Who has bloodshot eyes? Those who linger over wine… Your eyes will see strange sights, and your mind will imagine confusing things. You will be like one sleeping on the high seas, lying on top of the rigging. ‘They hit me,’ you will say, ‘but I’m not hurt! They beat me, but I don’t feel it! When will I wake up so I can find another drink?’” Everybody who’s experienced being drunk relates to the imagery here. It’s one of those parts of the Bible people read and realize: Wow, this is about real life! MY life! Chaplain Merten "
"It is interesting to watch at the athletic gym how people drive around aggressively to get the parking spot closest to the front door. Likewise we are tempted to try to drive our own way closer to God. Abraham, Moses, and St. Paul tried it on their own but failed. Really it was the Holy Spirit who directed their hearts to enter God’s plan of salvation. Through God’s Word, the Holy Spirit drives us into God’s presence and exercises our faith in his joyful and saving love. Chaplain K. Wenzel "
"It was bitter cold at the prison this morning, and I was especially thankful for the fact that the correction officers transport us from the front gate to the chapel. Knowing that at least two of my guys (who live in units on the outskirts of the campus) have close to a quarter mile to walk, I was heartened to see that all the "regulars" braved the cold. Never underestimate the drawing power of God's Word. Chaplain Radsek "
"We were reading Psalm 18 in Bible study and there were so many beautiful and helpful verses. The women were especially encouraged by God's power and deliverance. With problems like addiction, legal issues, relationships and parenting problems (just to name a few), not to mention the spiritual battle being waged, there seems to be a great wall between the women and God and sanity, health and functional relationships and living. Yet as David says, with God, we can "scale a wall" (Ps. 18:29). What a wonderful image and promise. Whatever barriers seem to be in our way to God's holiness, forgiveness and a full life, God has overcome through Jesus and we can therefore be conquerors and overcomers as well. Deaconess Guenther "
"I took one of my cars to a salvage yard and as I was signing the title over, I realized I forgot to take off the front license plate. I went out in the cold and kneeled down in the snow with a cheap adjustable wrench and worked on getting the plate off. The bolts weren’t budging, and the wrench kept slipping, and my knuckles were getting bloody, and my knees were getting cold and wet, and I started saying a few very bad words. And then a voice from behind me said, “Pastor Phil, is that you?” And there stood a couple of guys I’d worked with while they were in drug rehab a few weeks before. Oops. They didn’t seem too upset about my vulgar hissy fit; maybe they just recognized that the treasure came in a “jar of clay”, one that said bad words sometimes. Chaplain Merten "
"After Bible class today, one of my guys privately shared with me his concern about losing his faith. "What if I harden my heart like Pharaoh, or I cause God's Spirit to depart from me like King Saul." I encouraged him to stop focusing on what he might do, and stay focused on what God has already done for him in Christ. "Focus on that 'inseparable' love that God has for you in Christ," I encouraged, "and remember the Good Shepherd's promise to you: 'My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand/'" What a privilege it is to share the hope of Jesus Christ when people need it the most! Chaplain Radsek "