Robert Williams confessed to murdering 3 women and trying to kill a 4th on a 3-day, 3 state rampage in 1977. Now, 20 years later and with only months until Williams’ execution, Bill Hance was on his way to talk about God’s Salvation with a convicted killer.
As Hance made his way to the Lincoln prison, he was not thinking about the crimes the man who he would eventually call Brother Bob had committed. He was simply concerned with helping a man who was looking for God’s salvation.
“It is not my place to judge when people ask me if I think the people in jail did it, I just say that we are all sinners,” Hance said.
Hance began as a volunteer clergy member at prisons throughout Nebraska when he arrived in Lincoln in August of 1987. He began to volunteer with a member of his church to go and lead bible studies at the Lincoln Diagnostic Evaluation Center. After the first time, he told the volunteers he wouldn’t mind doing this and would even take early retirement from his job in order to run a halfway home and be the full-time prison minister.
Hance worked with prison inmates at various prisons to spread God’s message. He would convert many. Just this year, he estimates that around 100 inmates have been baptized.
Eventually, he found himself teaching a bible study on death row at the state’s maximum security prison in Tecumseh to some unlikely brothers in Christ.
Many believe that the people he teaches do not deserve God.
“Every time a person finds salvation, they have become a successful human being,” Hance said. “We all reach success at different points in our lives, and think a person dying lost is a terrible tragedy.”
Coming up on 33 years as a volunteer minister, Hance continues to preach The Word.
“Jesus said, ‘I was sick and in prison and you visited me. In as much, you’ve done at least to these you’ve done it to me.’ This morning I went out to the prison, and I visited with 13 inmates. And I visited with Jesus 13 times,” Hance said with a smile. “But there were another 600 inmates that I didn’t visit with, and they needed someone to visit them too.”