He went easy on me that day but even then I found myself removing the layers of warmth as my body increasingly provided its own heat. Denis regularly gets his exercise and his thinking done by working on his property. Even though he was raised on a farm, this farm in fact, Denis worked in the marketplace for most of his life. It wasn't until he purchased his family farm forty years after his father sold it off did he find his true calling as a prison chaplain.
After Denis and his wife returned to the farm he began to look for a new job to pay the bills until retirement. Instead he found a new career in full time vocational ministry. He was surprised to land the chaplain position at Prairie du Chien Correctional Institution but knows full well that God granted him this unique opportunity.
I did not know him while he served at Prairie du Chien but I have seen Denis truly shine in this ministry. He is retired now but has not ceased serving "the least of these." He now ministers as the Wisconsin Volunteer Director for Prison Fellowship. Denis passionately promotes the nearly limitless opportunities for volunteers to help the inmates. In most cases, there is a long list of believers who are waiting for someone to lead a Bible study or help lead them into deeper fellowship with the Lord. Often they are released or relocated before their name appears at the top of the list.
It's "easy" to link work and ministry when serving in a prison ministry. Work IS your ministry, but that doesn't mean it's easy work! Tireless and dedicated describes Denis' ministry, but it's also unseen--too much so. Such ministry usually happens with in the bowels of places where most people never want to go. Yet we need a lot more men like Denis to evangelize and disciple the broken and forgotten men and women in our nations prisons.