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Isaiah 55:11 (ESV)

"so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;

    it shall not return to me empty,

but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,

    and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it."

When God wants His Word to go forth, nothing can stop it.  Nothing.  So, despite this unprecedented time in all of our lives, God has allowed classes to continue even though Waupun is on lockdown. Just like we all have had to adjust our lives, it has been the same for the WIEA students and Professors. Thankfully, Robin Knoll and Craig Long were able to quickly devise a creative plan for “Old School” learning (virtual learning is not an option) and put it in place with the help and support of Trinity International University and the Warden. And you ask, what is “Old School Learning”?  Let’s just say it is cumbersome with a whole lot of actual paper exchanging hands!

Robin Knoll at home preparing modified lectures.

Here is a detailed look at how assignments get to students and then back to Robin and Craig ...

  1. Robin and Craig copy lecture notes for each student in a given class.  Lecture notes include select PowerPoint slides with accompanying notes.

  2. Each student has a cover sheet with their name, cell hall, tier level, and cell number that goes on top of the lecture notes.

  3. Notes are folded in thirds, along with graded assignments, and put in an "inmate" mailbox in the Education office.  They go out at the end of the day in the inter-prison mail system and are received by the students that night or the next morning.

  4. The students complete their new assignments by Friday, place a cover sheet on it with Robin and Craig’s name on it and "Trinity Program".  Their work is picked up by a Tier Tender (an inmate who does running for the guards) and placed in the inter-prison mail system.  

  5. Craig or Robin have permission to pick up all letters on Monday morning. They go through the passive medical screening (on paper), active screening (temperature taking), the intense security check of persons, and the security check of all their papers and books.  After being cleared, they hand in all lectures and assignments to the Education Department and then pick up the students’ finished assignments for grading from the Education Department and divide them up by class (each professor gets their own student's work for grading).

  6. Work is graded during the week.

  7. Craig meets with the local professors to collect graded work and lecture notes, and handoff new assignments for grading ... usually on the weekend.

  8. Monday morning: repeat the process over again.

How are the students doing? “Resilient,” “Flexible,” “Determined,” “Eager” are just some of the words being used to describe their attitudes.  And yet, they are now facing another layer of isolation. Please pray for all inmates who are facing fear in ways they have never imagined. Praise God, along with us, for his goodness in allowing this incredible work to continue during this time. Praise God, along with us, for the sacrificial support of so many during uncertain times.  This support enables us to move forward without hesitancy. Praise God, along with us, for the continued health and perseverance  of our students.

Current Statistics:

Out of the 1,250+ inmates at Waupun Correctional Institute (a maximum-security prison), 52 of them are currently studying the Word of God in order to graduate with a Biblical Studies degree.  When finished, their goal is to become Field Mentors and then sent to mentor other inmates either at Waupun, or other prisons within the Wisconsin prison system. 

Join Us In Prayer

  • That trust would overcome fear

  • That this too shall pass and when it does, we come out as better people, neighbors, communities, and churches

  • That the WIEA initiative would not just survive but thrive during “such a time as this”

  • That our leaders in all spaces and places would use wisdom and discernment in leading us out of this pandemic

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