Real transformation is taking place at Waupun Correctional Institution. Grace exists where it hadn’t before. Respect and unity are replacing hatred and division. Compassion is flowing from the hearts of our students towards their fellow inmates who are starting to recognize something different in the lives of the men in our program. But beyond Waupan’s walls, hundreds of our students’ friends and family are also taking notice. From the beginning, our prayer has been that the ministry of our students would not only transform the prison system in Wisconsin but that it would flow back into the communities from which they came, where their friends and family still live, to further multiply this work of redemption. We’re delighted to see this already happening.
One recent story provides an example…A current student has started a weapon turn-in program he calls “The Emancipation Initiative.” Utilizing networks from his days prior to Waupun, he is counseling individuals still on the streets about the benefits of giving up their guns. He arranges meetups where individuals can relinquish their weapons anonymously and with no questions asked. He coordinates all of this from Waupun. When asked why he chose to start “The Emancipation Initiative,” he said: “I want to help at-risk youth. I have become an advocate against gun violence and I want to see my community and others become a better place. . . I want to be involved in the healing process instead of being a resident of harm. I have made many mistakes in my own life and I pray for a second chance to make a difference. I can relate to the young guys who feel that they do not have a way out because of their circumstances and environment. I need them to know that someone cares and is willing to help them get past the stage of feeling lost and unsafe.” Guns are being taken off the streets of our cities because of the work being done in Waupun. Simply amazing.
Light in the Darkness
Recently, two inmates not in our program had an altercation and ended up “in the hole” for several months as punishment. A current student decided to write a letter to both (he didn’t know either inmate) as a way to encourage them in their isolation. Below are some excerpts from his letter. . .“. . .please know that you matter and are thought of. I hope that a favorable outcome be in store for you however this plays out. Throughout it all, I hope that you find peace, comfort, and contentment moving forward. I also hope that you can move forward in a positive light, in which, if you like, I am willing to walk that with you.” “Before I end, I would like to share a verse from Scripture. Philippians 4:11-13 states, ‘I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In every circumstance, I have learned the secret of plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.’” Jesus strengthens me in all things and at all times. Therefore, I have no worries but rather peace, love, contentment, compassion, empathy, and joy. May the same be to you brother in all you are and do.” These are the students lighting up the darkness in Waupun and beyond. It is our privilege to share these kinds of stories that remind us of God’s grace and mercy.
Please pray that the ministry of our students would continue to transform the prison system in Wisconsin and flow back into their communities, friends, and family, to further multiply this work of redemption.
Our students have asked if they can pray for YOU! You can share your prayer requests anonymously (all identifying information will be removed) by emailing your requests to info@WisInmateEdu.org.
“Bear one another burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.”
-Galatians 6:2 ESV