Ministry Insights

"Two women (in two different jails), who had previously served time, found themselves back "inside" once again. After being out for a year, they both ended up breaking the law and violating their probation. One had been baptized in the jail, the other had come to Bible study and had been touched by a Christian video being played. Both were learning about the grace of God as the Holy Spirit worked in their hearts. Back in jail for the second time, they recognized me when I came to their jail for Bible Study, and they were both happy to renew their studies again. This time, they seem to possess a more serious attitude, and a sincere desire to "do life with God" this time. One is going to prison and will continue her studies there for two years. One had the opportunity to be released to the outside and has already met me at church. God is in the business of planting the seeds, watering them, seeing them grow and at times letting that fruit bear more seed. In whatever stage He uses us, it is such a privilege and pleasure!  Chaplain Guenther "
"On Tuesday the Lord brought three faithful attenders to the Huber bible study and they were a joy to be with. We studied God’s plan for unity and diversity in the human race and in the church. It was an excellent opportunity to emphasize that God makes us all unique yet at the same time different – all so we can accomplish his purposes together. If all were leaders who would follow? If all were followers who would lead? We all need to get better at accepting ourselves and others, just the way God made us. Comparisons can lead to both pride and discouragement, but acceptance of our gifts, our appearances, our differences as coming from God, reminds us to be humble about them and use them for his purposes and not for selfish and self-aggrandizing goals. It’s the diverse team with many talents and many perspectives that produces a symphony, puts a man on the moon, wins sports championships, builds the church, and accomplishes common goals that are bigger than any of us individually. Summer blessings to all.  Dan (Adult Correctional Volunteer) "
"“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 "