|Vol. 2000 No. 5
I LOVE YOU DADDYSomeone Cares Home Page
We have been around prisons so long it takes a lot to really get to us. We had just finished for the day and were leaving when a little boy, about six, said those words followed by "Are you ever coming home?"
The little boy was calling to his dad on one of the yards. Made me want to go back in and turn the man over my knee and spank his bottom. Been there, done that. It is such a shame to see all these folks come so far on visiting day. Then there is the following we don't want to go through many times.
THANK YOU JESUS
Yvonne and I had just finished a service and a member of the swat team came in and said we were needed. What followed I pray we never have to do again. We went to a closed area where a man and three women were in tears. The day before all had visited and the inmate had played with his 2-year-old and 4-month-old baby. They had come up a long way for a two- day visit. The second day the women came alone, the baby had died the evening before.
I have seen rage but not quite this bad. The swat team wanted to stay but we said no. The man was blaming God and we had to smooth things out and cool him off. We talked about a day when they would again be with the baby and it calmed things a bit. When I had prayer with them all I held the man's hand and thought, all the power in the world is in that grip. When we finished, I took him in my arms and he cried. Oh, how he cried.
His baby has been buried but he could not go to the funeral. We will introduce him to Jesus in Heaven and he will see that God was not to blame. But we are glad we were there to help.
BOOKS, BOOKS, AND MORE BOOKS
God has blessed us again through an appeal for books. I spoke at a Church in Fresno and they started a phone committee to collect used books for prison. We had six empty libraries; not any more. Please, if you were part of those who collected so many, we thank you!!
We had been rolling along so well month after month, and then came March and the bottom fell out. If you are not a Faith Partner, please become one. As little as $1.00 a month or once in awhile helps us. More is nice.
WILL IT EVER END?
I was molested as a child from the age of three by my stepfather, for quite awhile. At 15, I ran away and became a prostitute. I was beat up by Johns (customers) and my pimp (who got 50% of my earnings).
I met a man and thought things would be different. We got married, and he became my pimp. The abuse was terrible and the drinking worse. One night he got really bad and I got scared he was going to kill me, and I ended up killing him. The Judge, I really think, was fair and I was given 20 to life. I thought the streets were bad, but prison is a nightmare! The streets had drugs, alcoholics, prostitution, gangs and abuse, and so does prison. Some of the guards are really nice but some are worse than my pimps on the street. Pressure got me into a gang for survival. My life was so messed up. I got strung out on drugs and put in segregation.
It was here I found a book called Steps to Christ with Someone Cares Prison Ministry written in it. I wrote them, and the same day I got an application from them!! My mom had listened to them on the radio and they sent me a form and a Bible study. Someone Cares is an under-statement.
First, I was matched with a really neat couple. They (Bob, Jane, Kristy) all wrote me. I started doing the Bible study and for the first time in my life I'm growing up. Leaving the gang was tough but they leave me alone. Getting accepted by the girls in Chapel was harder, as they were not sure I was for real. To you who write, let me tell you, no matter what you say, you will make the difference. Now I know I'm loved because HE first loved me.
BECAUSE OF YOU?
Rocky had been in and out of prison a lifetime when he found Jesus. He grew and changed his lifestyle. He worked as Yvonne's helper in the Chapel. He led out in Bible studies. God helped him get an early release. We provided him with a complete set of Dress Outs, clothes to start his life over again. Many a man and woman leave prison with no job, no place to stay, no money and no clothes. We will be starting the Dress Out Program as soon as we get folks committed to do it.
STAFF OF SOMEONE CARES
Somehow folks think we have a large staff. Yvonne and I do all the mail. We have a ton of you writing but we read all the mail while going to prison, watching TV, and eating dinner. Darryl takes care of the finances and Jean keeps the newsletter in order. Our ministry reaches into every prison in the United States.
I am 66 years old. Yvonne is as old as her tongue and a little older than her teeth. The ministry pays our medical expenses, our housing, and we receive a small stipend. To give you an idea, we raised $77,000 in 1999, thanks to you, and we got our work all done. Any of you wishing a Financial Report, please ask. The IRS has made deductions harder, but if you need a tax writeoff, this is the place. We have a board of super folks who keep us in line. We do not have retirement here, but what a retirement program Jesus has for us! We have not, and probably will not meet many of you in this lifetime, but please know you are a large part of the whole ministry. If you have any questions call us. Either one of us will answer, or our machine, and we will get back to you.
We wish to welcome to the God Squad all of you who joined us through VOP's radio show. Some of you listened to all, some bits and pieces. Some of you pulled over while driving and wrote our number down. Some came by Faxes, some by E-mails, some letters, some by phone, but thank God you came! The God Squad needs you and yours.
If you would like to get the whole 5 days of broadcasting call Voice Of Prophecy at (805) 955 7611 there is a small charge for cassettes or CDs.
EACH ONE REACH ONE
Would each of you reading this get involved with us or through us? Here are your options:a. Prayer Partners
b. Pen Friends
c Faith Partners.
We are fully a faith ministry and a501C3 non-profit ministry. In a cell somewhere is a man, woman, boy or girl who your efforts might lead to CHRIST and away from crime. Being a part of the God Squad is really fun and you can make a DIFFERENCE.
JESUS LOVES ME, THIS I KNOW
No one can believe that a hard core officer can have a heart. The lid on the Chapel attendance is 50 inmates. We have been running over 70, and they have been allowed to stay for our services. Now, I love to preach and teach, but a class that size is hard. God has led and we have managed to get through. If you live in the Fresno area and would like to join us at Corcoran, please call us. We need Bible Teachers, Preachers, Song Leaders, men and women to lead out in AA Groups, EA Groups, and those wishing to teach Remedial Reading. For helpers, we need pianos and guitars so much. Even a medium-sized keyboard with a speaker would help. Christian videos are great. Also, if you wish to get involved in your own ministry, we can train you inside Corcoran. Our friend, Chaplain Harry Howard, needs special folks to visit California Death Row inmates (call us, Harry). In Yvonne's corner, she will help you get over any fear you might have of prison.
Y2K = 250K
Last month Jean mentioned a place we came across--there are three similar places out there. One of our dreams has been to ease the massive problems of prison release- and one is re-entry. We would love to take men and women who have been down a long time and really institutionalized, to a re-entry training ranch or something like that. We found a place that has 40 acres--a former turkey ranch (not operational) and three homes. Two of the homes are 2,000 sq. feet; each with three bedrooms. The third is 3,000 sq, ft, with 9 bedrooms. We can get it all for less than the $250,000 asking price, which we do not have. That's 250 sponsors at $1,000, 2500 at $100. There may even be someone out there who would like to invest the whole project. I have no idea, but if God wants us to do this, HE will provide funds and staff. We will keep you posted if this is a direction we're led to take. We want all of you to know that if anything happens to either or both of us, provision is made for Someone Cares to go on. I will go to the prisons until Jesus comes or I go, if someone (neat word) has to carry me like Jesus has for all these years
SOME OF YOU ASKED ABOUT JEAN. SHE IS AN ANGEL GOD SENT OUR WAY TO MAKE OUR NEWS-LETTER READABLE.
[Come on, people, you're making me blush. When God lays a burden on your heart to pick up for Him, He won't take NO for an answer. Then He turns it into a blessing you wouldn't trade for anything!]
God laid upon my back a grievous load, A heavy cross to bear along the road. I staggered on, and lo! one weary day, An angry lion sprang across my way. I prayed to God, and swift at His command The cross became a weapon in my hand. It slew my raging enemy, and then Became a cross upon my back again. I reached a desert. O'er the burning track. I persevered- the cross upon my back. No shade was there, and in the cruel sun, I sank at last, and thought my day was done. But lo! The Lord works many a blest surprise, The cross became a tree before my very eyes. I slept -- I woke -- to feel the strength of ten; I found the cross upon my back again. And so through all my days from then to this, The cross-my burden-has become my bliss. Nor ever shall I lay my burden down. For God some day will make my cross a crown.
-----Amos R. Wells------
Spring is here and Summer is soon to follow, and I know how most think of vacations and such. With us it is Prison, and hopefully camp meeting at Soquel. I do pray that those of you who feel you are able will seriously pray about coming to prison and helping us. I have never been afraid as I know my Guardian Angels walk with me wherever I go. You will come away from prison wondering why you never did this before! You will leave with a great Blessing, for you know you have truly been blessed when you have helped one of the least of them. I would like to copy a letter that we received not long ago:
To Don & Yvonne:
Once upon a time, a lonely man cried, But the McClures helped dry my tears. They reached out and gave me hope, Friendship to help me cope, Throughout these painful years. They do this out of their heart, Never have they asked for praise. Two fine people filled with Love, God Bless their names. They understand a convict's woes, I love them so much. So to them I wanted to say -- Don & Yvonne you mean the world to me, Because you touched my hardened heart And a little bit of me you have freed.
[It really wasn't us, it was God working through us. At my Father's funeral this past August, Elder Art Covell said that one thing among several he enjoyed, was that my Father was always for the down and out. I am so thankful for the simple lessons I was taught as a child, in a Christian Home.]
THE TWINKLE OF AN EYE
The Christian world has lost a true friend, as have we, with the death of Harold Richards, Jr. He has been at the helm of Voice of Prophecy since the death of his father, H.M.S. Richards, Sr. One of the joys we have to look forward to is joining him someday soon under the Tree of Life in Heaven. Our prayers go out to the family and the staff of V.O.P..
The following transmissions came through Email on how to contact your prisoner if he or she moves - in this case, the inmate wanted to be moved to a facility closer to the Pen Friend and was sent to the wrong place. We enter an E- conversation:
Who did you contact that listened to you? How did you get their names and numbers? I am proud of you and other prayer warriors. I have only written to the chaplain, sent him books, asked him questions, etc., only to be ignored. So, I could use your suggestions on effective interfacing with prison personnel. Thanks for rallying behind your pen pal and sharing with us.
Oh boy, let's see if I can remember! :-) I called the Chaplain at the prison he (the inmate) was moved FROM. He (and the prisoner) had said to talk to the prisoner's former caseworker (whose name I had, and who had gone home for the day). Then I called the Chaplain at the prison he had been moved TO, and he said I should talk to the Assistant Superintendent for Programs, who was there. I had a nice talk with him and he wanted me to follow up with a letter on my letterhead, which I did today. Then I called (at his home, as I know him) the Chaplain at the prison he wants to go TO, and he said I should talk to the Transfer Coordinator at the prison he wants to go TO. That was all yesterday. Today I called the caseworker at the prison he was moved FROM who said he doesn't have any say once he's been moved, and suggested I talk to the man who is over all the programs there, which I did. He said my prisoner had been assigned a caseworker where he is now, and gave me he name. I talked to her and she said she had already talked with the prisoner and he would be put on something called a backlog list and that I should call the above mentioned Transfer Coordinator. I did that and she was the one who told me he would be moved (where we want him to go) on Tuesday!
Did I completely confuse you?
I find I do better with phone calls than letters. I say I'm calling long distance and I'm with a prison ministry. They seem willing to listen. Of course there are chaplains, and there are chaplains! If you've been ignored maybe they aren't very good chaplains?? Or maybe they are just too busy to write letters!
Long ago we used to write letters to find correct addresses for prisoners (who have moved) for their pen pal listing. RARELY ever got any response. So now I just call and ask for Inmate Records and almost always get the information I need.
Oh, you asked how I got their numbers. Well, with a computer you can go to www.hotsheet.com and then scroll down to Directories/Search Sites, and under People you'll see a list starting with 555-1212 of sites you can go to in order to find out phone numbers, if you know the name of the prison. Or once you get one prison in the state or the area, you can ask them the number of the other(s) That hotsheet is a good one to bookmark as a favorite..
Hope that helps!
[Sorry about the type size. The information is important and this was the only way to squeeze it in. Jean]