God At Work Through IM

You Don't Know

You Don't Know

“You don’t know what I’ve been through!” Those were the first words which Fred said to me after I had introduced myself.

Fred was not a WELS member, but he had attended a Bible study which was led by a WELS volunteer at the county jail in which he awaited trial. Fred remembered that the volunteer told him to request a pastoral visit with Pastor Iles when he was transferred to Dodge Correctional Institution in Waupun. Fred did just that.

I was, in fact, Fred’s first visitor at Dodge Correctional. Maybe that was part of the reason why his words came so quickly and without pause. Fred told me that he spent six months at the county jail awaiting trial. Following his conviction, he was transferred to Dodge Correctional where he was currently going through the intake process. He had been at Dodge for four weeks and would no doubt be there for several more weeks before his transfer to another institution. Now we were meeting in the Visiting Room at Dodge Correctional.

Fred told me again, “You don’t know what I’ve been through!” Perhaps he was somewhat surprised when I said, “You’re right. I don’t know what you’ve been through.” As I told Fred, I’ve never been arrested, never spent even one night in a county jail and never, ever been incarcerated. I didn’t know what he had been through.

There is someone who knows what we go through in this life, whatever that may be, and that someone is the Savior Jesus Christ. Jesus knows because he took on our human nature and lived without sin in this very sinful world. More wonderfully, he loves us. I reminded Fred of what a loving Savior did for all sinners, including him and me. Fred listened quietly and was, I believe, comforted by the good news about our Savior Jesus.

I had the privilege of visiting with Fred a second time while he was at Dodge Correctional. When he was transferred to another institution, I contacted our IM Chaplain at that institution so that he could encourage Fred to continue to hear and learn God’s Word. I trust that’s what Fred did, through the Holy Spirit’s work in his heart. I look forward to seeing Fred again in heaven, by God’s grace!

Chaplain Charlie Iles

Ministry Behind the Walls

Institutional Ministries is a nonprofit organization established in 1901 that carries out behind-the-walls ministry by shining the light of Jesus’ love into hearts.