Ministry Insights

"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 "
"I was called to the bedside of Ole. He was crying near the end of his life. The nurses wanted help. His physical pain was down, but his spiritual pain was growing. His sins pointed their fingers at him to condemn him. After refreshing his memory of once learned Bible stories, I then shared the saving hope and love of Jesus with his eternal promises. Finally he wiped his tears and said: “You have stopped my crying.” We gave thanks to the Lord for promising “God will wipe away every tear from their eyes” Rev. 7:17.  Chaplain K. Wenzel "
"As I introduced myself to the woman lying in the hospital bed, her eyes began to fill with tears. I wondered what I had stepped into. I then said her name, and instantly realized I was in the wrong room. This was not the person I was supposed to be seeing. I apologized, and was almost ready to leave the room when I saw the tears continue to well up in her eyes. Would it be ok if I stayed and we talked a little? She nodded yes, her friend left the room, and I pulled up a chair. Before I had settled into the chair, she blurted out, “I just don’t know if there is a God in heaven.” God did it again, he put me where I needed to be.  Chaplain M. Wenzel "
"There’s a young lady in my Bible class that’s been at the facility for quite a long time. Her precious sense of humor, immature naiveté, positive comments (despite the limits and struggles of being institutionalized), were quite endearing to me, and the other women. As she was leaving after class, she smiled and said, “I see Jesus when I see you.” My heart was warmed by her kindness, and I remembered the words of Jesus on our Bible study, “whatever you do for the least of these, you do for me.” I quickly replied, “I see Jesus in you too.” Another moment of walking on “Holy Ground.” What a privilege and pleasure!  Deaconess Owens "
"So, we're about to study the plagues God sent upon the people of Egypt, when Leon shares his recent experience with a modern day "plague" of frogs. Apparently, frogs have been finding there way into the kitchen where Leon's works, and he keeps tossing them out the door. As he pulls the last tray of dishes from the dishwasher, he discovers a freshly steamed-cleaned frog in the bottom of the unit. As he tosses out yet another frog, he tries to figure out when this little intruder "croaked" in order to decide how many trays of dishes need to be re-washed. Studying the plague of frogs in Exodus next week should be pretty interesting.  Chaplain Radsek "
"In the first prison Bible study I had after the 4th of July weekend, one of the men talked about how he’d gotten shook up when he heard all the fireworks. As he talked some more, he revealed how the explosions reminded him of gunfire. But he wasn’t talking about the trauma of being in military combat or in an unsafe neighborhood: he was talking about the shooting he’d done, and the painful guilt he was feeling now when he realized the harm he’d brought into other people’s lives. I recognized his pain, but I also thanked God for awakening a living and sensitive heart in him.  Chaplain Merten "
"I had three new ladies join me today for Bible class and we studied "The Power of Forgiveness" which was very well received. It wasn't long into the study before a couple of the ladies broke down in tears. God's Word is very healing to the aching heart and soul. One of the ladies was a Native American with little knowledge of Christianity, so we spent a lot of time on the basics. It was a great time of sharing and it was obvious that the Holy Spirit was at work. Please pray for these women that some seeds of faith were planted and will take root and grow. May God continue to bless them in their journey of faith, so real fruits of change may result.  Nancy (Adult Correctional Volunteer). "
"Have you ever cried when you had to say “Goodbye?” Perhaps it was at a funeral, or moving far away from home, or after a wedding when everyone's leaving. Tears express our emotions and open the door for our bodies to process the matter in a healthy way. The Bible is full of examples of people crying with sad (and happy) tears. Paul and his fellow Christians wept and embraced each other when they learned that he would never see each other again on earth. Prayer brought them comfort. The next time you are moved to tears, remember to take that sorrow (or joy) to your Savior in prayer.  Chaplain K. Wenzel "
"We had 12 people for Bible study which presented a bit of a challenge in keeping everyone on track. Some had questions about various sins, and while we did not have time to go over the entire 10 Commandments, I took note of the fact that they were conscious of their lives and life styles, and wanted to know if they were on the right track. God's Grace is wider than all our lives and life styles.  Phil (Adult Correctional Volunteer) "
"A new guy joined us for Bible study today — new to the group and new to the faith. He came because of his roommate (a ‘regular’ whom I confirmed here 6 years ago), who readily shares his faith with others, and is eager to study the Bible with anyone who has questions. Our new guy sat quietly and didn’t say much, but he heard the Word of God, and the Holy Spirit had the opportunity to work in his heart. Just another great day, serving a great God and the people he so dearly loves.  Chaplain Radsek "