|V. 2000 No. 2 February 2000
Someone Cares Home Page
STEP BACK TO GO FORWARD
We write our newsletter ahead of time to get it out in time. We would like to go back to Christmas 1999. We have never had, except the rare occasions when we were with family, the true Joy we had then.
On Christmas Eve we held a Service at Corcoran with wall to wall inmates. Christmas day we held three services and the Holy Spirit was there. God filled three of the four services, Satan tried to ruin one and, as usual, he failed.
Thank you Jesus.
AND THEN WE MOVED
For many reasons we had to relocate Someone Cares and God again guided us. The move was difficult as we did it almost all by ourselves.
We did have some laughs, though. The day we moved into our house in a residential area, a wild steer from a local auction crashed the neighbors' yard, and it took an army to round him up.
GOD WILL I EVER BE FREE?
I am in prison for child molesting and live in fear for my life 24 hours a day trying to hide this from other inmates. As you know they can kill me for what I did.
I am ashamed of what I did but I don't want to die.
This man's choice is three- fold: a) Go into protective custody and receive a label for that; b) Join a gang and live in a different kind of fear; c) Put his trust and faith in God. The world we live in is really messed up. God in the home could have prevented this man's choice of Protective Custody.
ARE WE CONFUSED?
Yes my friends, changes are being made in prisons across the nation...massive prison reforms...rule changes we cannot keep up with. If you have a problem please write the Warden, or the Chaplain's office, for direction. We cannot keep up with prison moves. Your mail SHOULD be forwarded!!
IF I NEVER HAD GONE...
to the Chapel that day I would not have met Ron Halverson. It was he who led me to Christ. He planted a seed that got me out of prison and I have been out ten years now. I lost track of Yvonne and you until I heard you on the radio. Please accept the enclosed check to help lead someone else to Jesus and freedom.
MY MOUNTAIN TOP EXPERIENCE:
I watched and listened to you on 3ABN and wrote you for a Pen Friend. You at once sent me a name. I never wrote. You sent me a note asking why. I could not answer but was so ashamed I had thrown away the paperwork on the inmate.
You gave me another, and another and now I write 16. I also sent back six names as these men were looking for something I did not want to give--me.
I am so excited and so into my Bible. You enrolled three in Breath Of Life, Ten take Discover, and three are in Amazing Facts. To keep up I enrolled in each and have I learned a lot! I used to be a couch potato; now the TV is rarely watched as I am spend-ing quality time sharing Jesus. Can you send me nine more names?
I pray those of you matched with one having trouble writing will remember Kathy and her excitement. There will be many stars in her crown. By the way, she is seventeen!!!
A few years ago I received a letter from an inmate; knowing that I did not agree with St. Valentine's day, he had drawn on the front of the envelope Happy Sweetest Day with a picture of a rose, thanking us for making the Pen Friend program possible. I still have the envelope.
What would we give to our Lord and Savior? I am sure it would not be things of this earth. If anything, it should be ourselves to be used of Jesus in the way He sees fit to use us. So many times I have thought I could spend my time better than being in prison, then the Lord sends us a blessing through an inmate that lets us know we are still doing His will. This month is the gift of Love, that can be shown in many different ways.
1. The Gift of Listening.
2. The Gift of Guidelines and
3. The Gift of Discipline.
4. Knowing when not to give.
5. The Gift of Respect.
6. The Gift of Appreciation.
7. The Gift of Moderation.
8. Knowing when to let go and let God.
9. Respecting Uniqueness, Individuality.
There are many more--these are just a few for you to think about and give thought to as they may apply to your life.
ANOTHER RAY OF SUNSHINE
We got some unexpected funds and want to share with you. Our inmate was released and we pray we hear from him again.
To get in touch with your inmate when released write the Department of Corrections in the Capitol of the State they were in. Ask for the Parole Department and ask their Parole officer if he/she will give that person a letter.
Then: "Here is my MITE I didn't think a dollar would make a difference, I am glad I can help, as that is all I can afford. Yes I also will write another inmate. I pray Don is better [He is]
MY NAME WAS BEING CALLED!
I have been in prison 11 years and have never got a letter. When my name was called I was shocked. I got this wonderful letter from a couple of neat folks. I later found out a friend, knowing how lonely I was, enrolled me in your Pen Friend Program. You don't know [yes I do] the feeling when mail call comes and your name is not called. These nice folks have given me purpose in my life, I'm not a Christian but i'm going to check it out.
If you need a receipt and have not received it as of this letter, please contact us. Someone Cares is a ministry completely funded by the free-will offerings of Faith Partners. We do not draw a dime from Prisons or States. We do receive $100.00 a month from our Church. Our goal for the year 2000 is to reach 200,000 inmates completing Bible studies through Voice Of Prophecy, Amazing Facts, Breath Of Life and a dozen more Bible schools. God Bless each of you and please remember, you do not have to support this ministry to be a part of it but it sure helps, even a dollar a month.
This program took hard kids into prison to be scared by inmates. It was rough, vulgar, and did not work. We plan to take gang kids into prison, to visit inmates who were hard core, and let them tell the youth about Jesus. In your mind's eye, picture a young man taken into a Prison Chapel with a very large, totally tattooed man coming up to him saying "I am Saved By The Blood of the Lamb.
IMPORTANT MEMO FROM GOD
It has repeatedly come to My attention that there are some Christians who have for-gotten (or were never informed of) the correct procedure to handle the problems that are presented in life.PLEASE REMEMBER
1. In all situations, consult ME first.
2. Do not attempt to resolve or circumvent problems on your own.
3. Please remember that I do not need your help.
1. Put ALL problems into MY hands.
2. Do not hold on to them. (This will delay the resolution to the problems.)
3. Do not remove them. (This makes it impossible for MY attention.)
4. Problems are to be addres sed in MY time, not yours.
YOUR PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY
1. Consult ME daily in prayer.
2. Wait. You will experience MY strength as you endure.
3. Seek only GODLY counsel during the waiting process.
4. Read MY WORD daily. Many answers will be provided therein.
5. Watch for lessons from this problem that I have allowed in your life.
6. Praise ME in all circum- stances.
7. Witness to others of MY power and influence in your life.
1. Rest in Me my child ... I do not slumber or sleep.
2. Trust ME with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. AND Remember: I will never leave you nor forsake you.
(Text from Encouraging Others In Christ)
* * * * * *Dear Don & Yvonne-
Merry Christmas. May God bless you and your ministry in the coming year.
I have been writing to an inmate through your ministry since this past summer and I have enjoyed bringing a little bit of God's light into a prisoner's soul. I have decided that, as part of my Christmas gift to God this year, I would like to write to another inmate through your ministry.
Please send me another pen friend. Thank you and God Bless!
HEALTH AND WELLNESS
We live in an age of health being so important, and we know a couple who can help. BC Health & Wellness is the store to shop in and it helps us. Write them at
Box 751523, Houston TX 77275
for their newsletter.
LETTER FROM A FRIEND
Last spring, I turned to my favorite Christian radio station, KARM in Visalia, and caught the tail-end of an interview between the program host and a fellow whose last name was "McClure". All I heard was a closing reference to his "Pen Friend" ministry to inmates in prison, so I called the radio station and before long, I was on the phone to Don McClure.
After I quickly arranged gate clearances for them, Don and Yvonne came to the prison, spoke in chapel and ministered to the men numerous times and have now received "Brown Cards" enabling them to enter the prison on their own without an escort.
I often tell the men I serve that the McClures have forgotten more about this work than most chaplains will ever know! They bring a rich experience of more than 25 years of volunteer chaplaincy work with them and they have quickly found a special place in the hearts of the men in our institution.
Their "first love" is working with and ministering to inmates in AD SEG (i.e., Administrative Segregation), and to men convicted of child molestation and related charges. They move with ease among the inmates on the yard, drawing to themselves men who are desperately seeking to turn their "burned out" lives around and to make a positive contribution to society. I have watched them in counseling situations as the inmates open up to them and bare their souls, seeking to get their feet back under them again. At the same time, I've watched with amazement at their uncanny discernment and ability to size up a situation and "see through" inmates who were seeking to manipulate them, as well as the system. They don't teach this in college and seminary; it comes only by the grace of God through many years of experience.
Through the years, they have collected a large number of video materials, all the way from classic movie titles like "Ben Hur" and "The Ten Commandments" to material video-taped at individual prisons showing the power of the gospel to change the lives of men. They have made this resource available to us and our men love every opportunity to sit in chapel and view some healthy videos.
They have also provided us with thousands of dollars worth of materials including new and used Bibles, Bible study courses, and Christian reading material of many kinds.
Now that Don and Yvonne have their Brown Cards, they are able to enter the institution, go to any yard, and do virtually anything a state-employed chaplain can do. They are currently coming to the prison on Wednesdays and Fridays and will be alternating with me from yard to yard. This enables us to provide a "ministry of presence" to twice as many yards as I can do by myself. Every other weekend, they will also be conducting chapel services on different yards.
Our facility, CSATF/SP (California Substance Abuse Treatment Facility/State Prison) is California's newest (August, 1997) and largest (7,000 in-mate capacity) prison. It covers 288 acres and measures 2.8 miles in circumference. Pro-testant religious programming for the seven yards is divided between the other Protestant chaplain and me. Without some measure of volunteer help, it is difficult, if not impossible, to offer quality programming for the inmates.
This is where I really get excited. Just as Don and Yvonne enable me to multiply my effectiveness, still other volunteers with a heart for this type of ministry can help expand it even further. My goal is to have 75 volunteers coming into the prison for ministry on a minimum of the four yards where I provide chapel programming.
Since our prison is new, inmate access to the chapel area is limited to the hours a chaplain is physically on the yard. But with Brown Card Volunteers in place, they are able to provide counseling for the inmates, open the chapel for viewing quality Christian films or to lead Bible studies. Their presence also makes it possible for inmate clerks to open the chapel library where the inmates can gain access to valuable reading material.
The volunteers will also be able to teach Bible studies themselves, or supervise and facilitate inmate-led studies.
Our level II yards open at 8:00 or 9:00 a.m., close at 4:00 p.m., and re-open after the evening meal at 7:00 p.m. until final yard re-call at 9:00 p.m. Some people may have not given much thought to volunteering for ministry in a prison as they are employed and can't come during the day. However, people living in the Corcoran/Hanford/Visalia/ Tulare/Fresno area could come in the evening and offer one or more of the ministries mentioned earlier. Two of our volunteers drive 75 miles one way every Thursday night and lead a Bible Study on one of the yards!
Still others who work in the mornings could come in the afternoon (or vice versa) and provide a valuable ministry during a three or four hour block of time during the time of day when they're not working.
If you're looking for a ministry to share the love of Jesus with some people who have made poor choices, I would encourage you to consider doing some volunteer work at a prison near you. Trust me: You won't regret it.
It was a good day when the Lord brought me into contact with Don and Yvonne McClure. They are to be commended for their unselfish devotion to a cause that will outlive them, me, and you for the kingdom of God.
CSATF/SP, POB 7100
Corcoran CA 93212
(559) 992-7100, Ext. 6378
Isn't God wonderful? Yesterday we heard the testimony of a couple who had each been led through a back-ground from hell, into the warmth of God's grace and love, marriage to each other, and now were joined in baptism with a whole church family. It was a high day!!
I am happy to hear about the wellness store in Texas. I need some things and that will help Someone Cares as well.