On a monthly basis, our students at Waupun Correctional Institution are visited by a pastor or community leader for a devotional filled with wisdom, teaching, advice, and encouragement. Our ability to bring in a variety of voices allows the men to learn from gifted individuals. Each time, the message resonates with different students and it is often followed by a robust conversation on topics ranging from theology to mental health.
Jonathan Misirian, Pastor at Southbrook Church, reflected on his recent visit to Waupun.
“I love the fact that Southbrook has been a supporter of the WIEA! When we first heard about this opportunity, we prayerfully considered our response and was able to allocate money to help start this initiative. After going to the inaugural event at Waupun, I was hooked… It was so powerful to meet and talk and even pray with the first cohort of men who had signed up to be in this group.
During the past 12 months, I had the chance to visit and lead devotions on two occasions with these students. Each time I was so amazed at the depth and breadth of their questions. In February the questions ranged from dealing with suicide, grief, how to care for those who lost loved ones, German theologians, and the role of doubt with regards to our faith.
About a year ago, I told our church that I was going to Waupun to lead devotions -and that same Sunday – a new attendee to Southbrook came up to me. He told me that he was recently released from Waupun, having spent 17 of his 40 years inside. Then he told me that his new wife found Christ in the Florida prison system. He was so thankful that his new church was helping to support and encourage the men on the inside of Waupun… Each time I go to Waupun, I mention it to our church – and inevitably each time someone new to me comes up to me and thanks me – because they themselves had spent time behind bars. The reality is that all of our churches have men and women who have spent time behind bars, and we may not be aware of it.”
- Last month, we asked you to pray for our strategic planning process. Please continue to pray as we are narrowing down all of our ideas from a few pictures, drawn by our students and board members, that may explain our work in a central theme that will explain our work by use of a metaphor.
- Application Process. While slightly delayed due to the construction of additional educational space at Waupun, continue to pray for those who may be interested in joining our third cohort.
- Community Impact. Each time I (Catherine) visit Waupun, a student comes up to me, to let me know how broken relationships are being healed with members of their families because of what they are learning. Please pray for those extended family members who are a part of the ripple effect of positive change happening in our program.
“This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.”
1 John 5:14