Jesus came for every soul

They’re not pastors or missionaries or chaplains. They’re husbands, fathers, and businessmen. They are Christians who take time out of their regular lives to bring the saving message to those who are most thirsty for it.

Phil Schaser, Alan Uher, and Mike Carow conduct a local prison ministry, based out of Mt. Calvary, Waukesha, Wis. Between the three of them, they volunteer to hold weekly Bible studies at both the county jail and Huber Facility in Waukesha County, Wis.

Schaser has been involved the longest. About 15 years ago he was approached to join the ministry. “It was something, in all honesty, that I really didn’t know if I wanted to do,” says Schaser. But he decided to give it a try and went a few times as a casual observer. A few times turned into 15 years and counting.

“Just being in the ministry and seeing the people who would come to our Bible study who are in jail and the true seeking of something better in their lives, something different in their lives—wanting to have someone else in control other than themselves and the true repentance that these gentlemen were coming to—it simply moved me to say this is a ministry that I need to do,” he says.

Uher, a teacher at Mt. Calvary, joined the prison ministry about ten years ago. “When this opportunity came along, I thought here’s a way to put my faith into practice,” says Uher. “Through this ministry, I’m able to look at people not just from the outside, but to look at them as a soul that Jesus paid for and someone who I can have the privilege to take the gospel to.”

Carow is newest to the group, having joined the prison ministry efforts in November 2012. After a Wisconsin Lutheran Institutional Ministries (WLIM) speaker came to Carow’s church, Christ, Big Bend, Wis., Carow decided the time was right to get involved. “God’s done a lot of really great things in my life,” he says. “I’ve had the opportunities to have him really help me understand who’s in control and the fruits of that. And as I started to experience that in my life, I started thinking more and more about how do you share that. And I started to think who needs that hope. Well everybody needs it, but who can use it more than people who are in prison?”

To conduct the Bible studies, Waukesha County requires all volunteers to go through a background check and an orientation, involving a walk-through of the facilities and instructions if something goes wrong. When volunteers enter, they are also given a device to signal for help if it is needed, though no one has ever hit the help button except on accident.

Uher says, “Before I got into the jail, I was picturing an environment full of vertical bars with people banging tin cups on the bars. It’s not like that at all.”