|Vol. 2000 No. 6 June 2000
IF EVER ASKED IN THE NAME OF JESUSSomeone Cares Home Page
Say "I'll be happy to."
When we were asked to speak on the Voice of Proph-ecy we were happy to. It seems that every time this happens, a special joy comes over Yvonne and me. What happened this time was more than a mountaintop exper-ience. We received over 231 phone calls, then over 241 E-mails, 111 pieces of regular mail, and it's still coming in. Almost 1,000 inmates have been matched in our Pen Friend program to those of you who are new to Paper Sunshine.
I was asked what we did to match inmates to Christians. When the inmates' applica-tions come in, we put them in a pile in the order received. As your requests to be Pen Friends arrive, they likewise go into the second pile. When your name comes up, whoever is on top of the inmates' pile is your Pen Friend. Pretty High Tech! Well this time, in a heart beat, we ran out of processed inmate applications, so many of you were matched with an inmate requesting an applica-tion. I can see the looks on their faces when they get an application with a letter from you!
Now we will share with you that the program aired in different parts of the country at all different hours, and many of you called on the spot. The first call came at 2 am. On the third day we wrapped the phone in a blanket, turned its sound off, and put it in the microwave to let us get some sleep.
COMMITMENT TO CHRIST
Hebrews 13:3 tell us to remember the inmates as if chained with them. Men and women in prison who reach out to us expect results. Many of you listening on the radio, excited by the Holy Spirit, got "ether-ed" (moved to action). All of a sudden there was in your hand the name of an inmate you were to write.
Please, dear friends, if you don't write, send the paperwork back to us. Don't do like some and say "I'll get around to it." If you like what you got, share it with anyone and everyone. Many men and women in prison test the waters by trying to get a Pen Friend, wanting to see if Christians are for real.
We can do it.
It takes you and us.
There is no "I" in Jesus.
I WAS LISTENING WITH TEARS RUNNING DOWN MY FACE
writes Joan. "I pulled over to the side of the road and listened to the rest of the story. Got pen and paper and this time got your number as I didn't last time. I called and the joy I felt listening to you on the radio grew as we chatted.
"Don, you and Yvonne have already changed my life," she writes. "I received my packet and read through all the instructions, putting the inmate's application and letter to one side. I felt fear as I reached for his application. His name is John. He is 43, I am 30. I don't know why I even thought of it! He is black, I am white. Now I sat for a long time. I have never been in contact with a black person. My church is consertive and white. I was perplexed.
Then I called and got Yvonne. I explained my problem, she said 'Well, it's about time you got your head out of the sand. Remember,' she said 'we are all Christ-like.' I have never been so lovingly spanked in my life.
"Paper and pen ready to go. I HAVE NEVER, IN MY THIRTY YEARS AS A CHRISTIAN, done anything for Jesus.
"I called again, getting Don. He told me to tell John why I was writing. Why was I? He told me to read the letter John wrote and respond around it, putting Jesus in the center. Easy for him to say. He told me to read Hebrews 13:3 and put myself in that position. I had to stand in a corner once more. But the most important thing both told was go to Jesus in prayer." [The letter she wrote John made us cry.]
VICTORY IN JESUS
My Savior forever. "Don & Yvonne, I have been a Christian for a long time but it took a girl and 39 cents to get me to make a commitment. Enclosed is a check for $390.00 which I will send every year until Jesus comes. When I talked to your wife on the phone I tried to talk about donations. She wanted to talk about involvement. Well, I would like to be a Pen Friend, and please pray God leads me. It's easy to write a check, hard to write a letter."
PUT YOUR TRUST IN JESUS
Quietly alone in a corner of the exercise yard I sat pondering how fortunate I was to be filled with so much life, even em-bedded in the circumstances of being on death row. How ironic to have been imprisioned for almost two decades, yet daily growing evermore alive and joyful. The natural and spiritual struggles experienced over the years seemed to vanish into a forgotten realm as I realized how precious and giving Jesus has continually been. As I thank God, clearly I hear Him reply "Its because I love you."
B. Payton, San Quentin
PUT YOUR HAND IN THE HAND...of a loving Jesus and He will lead.
Prison Ministry is not easy and many in prison even though locked up, are of prison mentality. It takes a lot to change some, some will never change. Remember when you write-they may not have a pen, paper, or most importantly, a stamp. Men in prison might kill for a stamp. Many sign up just looking for a lady; we will take care of these. We are a proven results ministry and need your help.
A little over a year ago we started a $1.00 a month club and God has granted the increase. Some of you have gotten our newsletters for years and never given a dime. Praise God. Some have really given and made the difference. We are going down hill on the run to the Second Coming of Christ. Please pick an amount and give it monthly for a year, for one time or forever. You do not have to support this ministry to be a part of it. Satan would love to shut us down, but we have on the full armor of God.WILL HE EVER BE THE SAME?
My son went to prison about a year ago, and for a reson I did not understand, but do now, he went into protective custody. Lonely, alone and scared, he lived in fear. He made a big decision to go out to the main line. Three times in one week he was gang raped. Ashamed, he went back to protective custody. Men and women go to prison as punishment not for punishment. I know many a young man who has faced the same and made it, but they will remember it always. Not a person who goes to prison will ever be the same, but can be completly changed through the blood of Christ.
PLEASE TELL MY WIFE
This goes back a few years, but it is in my heart forever. We had this young man who led our song service, a really nice young man. He kept to himself and stayed out of trouble. One day we got a KITE (prison letter): "I'm in protective custody, please come see me."
The next day we were there. Jim said, "I was raped and beaten by several inmates, I feel so unmanly."
It is a terrible thing to happen. We worked with him and he came out of protective custody and transfered to a new prison, where we had no one to visit him. About two months went by and I got a letter.
"Don, would you or Yvonne write my wife and tell her I have Aids. I just can't do it." We desperately tried to get someone to him. When we finally got through to his wife she told us, before we told her, he had committed suicide. Sweet Jesus, do we tell her why? We felt we had to, but not over the phone. Thank God in her case we got a pastor to visit and tell her what happened. Thank You, Jesus, for all those who are willing to be soldiers in the trenches.
Prisons all over the world are locked down because of trouble. Someone owes a debt and steals to pay, and then the war starts. Two men of different races get into a fight. The code of the prison: get even. The one who lost gets a couple of friends and get even, then the ones who lost get friends and get even and on and on.
What is a lock down You are kept in you cell, dorm or pod all the time all privileges are taken away and the vultures work over time. Once at San Quentin, the prison was locked down 11 months. Inmates were fed one hot meal and two sack lunches, all given at one time. Maybe they got a shower and clean linen. No visits for a long, lonely time. All pay for the damage done by a few. There are 7.000 men where we spend a lot of time and probably 5,000 knives. Drugs all over the place and the price is high. No payment can mean death or dismemberment.
Try this: Go into your bathroom, turn off the lights, and see how stable you are after hour days weeks months. We try to bring a little light into this madness. We now ask all of you to let your light shine. Go with us to prison. Be a Pen Friend. be a Faith Partner. Be a prayer warrior. God will grant the increse.
YVONNE'S CORNER: BEWARE!
So many of us go along day by day and take so much for granted, and I am one who is guilty of that. Since Don and I work in prison, share, and witness there we are always looking for something down to earth and easy to understand. Don and I both take the word of God very seriously and study on a regular basis. I was so excited when different versions of the Bible came out in print that would make it easier for the folks in prison to understand. I recall my Father giving a sermon that even the very elect could be deceived. I was sure that it would not happen to me. Recently we received a book in the mail "If The Foundations Be Destroyed." Now that caught my attention, so I sat down with the book and two Bibles, one the NIV and the other the NKJV. What I found I could not believe! Check some of these for your self and you will hear more about it next month. Luke 9:55, Mark 7:16, Matt. 23:14, Mark 10:21. I must admit it gave me alot to think about and that is why I am sharing it with you.
Love is a gift God gives us,
A joy to have and share,
Love is of earth and heaven,
Its home is everywhere.
It's a gift to give of freely,
For though given, it's never gone.
Love will always return to us
Each time we pass it on.
What says the Bible The Bible to me?
Words of men so often deceive us
What says the Bible to me?
I'M HAPPY TODAY
I received an E-mail that really hit me between the eyes. We often tell stories about what God has made it possible for us to do, with your support. A friend asked if we could help her friend and we just could not find anyone to help. Here is were the rubber hits the road. I called a Pastor and asked him to visit an inmate and he said "No problem." I called a lay person to visit the family of an inmate, as he had not heard from them. "Sure," was the answer. Neither person followed through. Such a shame. Now I'm happy, as I'm going to ask those of you near a prison or prisons if you would be willing to visit an inmate. Send me the prison address near you. Those of you not willing to visit a prison and might visit a prisoner family please contact us.
I'm Happy Today because I have asked in Jesus name and know I will receive the answer.
A JOURNEY (Part 1)
by Robert L. Perry, Jr.
I always believed there was a God, that He had a Son Jesus; that there was a book called the Bible; that church was where other people went on Sunday. I knew nothing of faith, repentance, baptism, The Lord's Supper, prayer, giving, the mission of the church, or the coming of the Lord. I knew someday the world was going to end, but not why.
On a cold, damp, dreary, foggy December 20, 1989, I arrived at the State Prison of Southern Michigan. Two deputies escorted me inside the Reception Center, placed me in a holding area, wished me a Merry Christmas and departed. I was worried. I knew I couldn't add one hour to my life by worrying, but I worried anyway.
Two hours later I was processed, stripped, issued a prison uniform and showered with a foul-smelling soap which I was warned not to get in my eyes. I was photographed and fingerprinted, given a prison number and an ID card. A prison guard escorted me down a long, dimly-lit corridor. My steps that day were directed by the Lord.
The corridor came to an end in the cell block known as the "quarantine area." The very heart of the dungeon. Anyone who has experienced it will never forget it! The Lord our God walks with us where we should go. The block was three stories high, 200 feet long, cell upon cell with a soul in each one. It was a dark, dirty place where suffering, hate, and misery crawled up my spine above the din of the voices.
The Lord heard the groans of the prisoners, but many of them did not hear Him.
I stood in hell; saw what it looked like; heard the sound of it; smelled the doom. Death, darkness and Satan surrounded me. I was afraid, but in my heart I knew I didn't need to be afraid of those who kill the body. After that they cannot do anything more. Someday I will be shown the One I should be afraid of-the One who has the power to throw me into hell for eternity. I was in hell made by man, but also thankful I was still alive.
On the third story, I shared my small, dirty cell with birds, mice, rats and large cock-roaches that crawled across my face as I tried to sleep. How many souls had made the journey here before me, and how many would follow after? I felt sick. I looked for sympathy, but there was none. I looked for people to comfort me, but I found no one.
The previous person in the cell left behind a pocket version of the Bible. I picked it up and began to read. I understood little, but kept on reading. I struggled to gain knowledge, to understand the Word, but felt helpless. The Kingdom of Heaven belongs to them.
One Sunday morning as religious services were being conducted on the first floor of the block, I was awakened by an inmate singing "Amazing Grace." Such a beautiful voice, so precious and heavenly in such a place! I fell to my knees, with tears in my eyes and a sorrowful heart. I asked the Lord to please help me, to forgive me for my past mistak-es and weakness, as the precious voice echoed off the concrete walls of the cell block and penetrated the very depths of my soul. I felt so lonely and oppressed. I asked the Lord again to look at my misery and suffering and to help me.
I remained in that cell for over a month. I read the little Bible over and over, front to back, back to front. The more I tried to gain knowledge and understanding, the harder Satan worked to harden my heart, to close my mind to the Word of God. I was living in the dark, in death's very shadow, a prisoner of my own frustration and misery. ...to be Continued...
What a Great God we serve who sees to our every need, soothes our fears, is our Shelter in the Time of Storm. Michigan's tornadoes ripped through this area recently, wreaking havoc. God does answer prayer immediately. The popping-nail sound outside was half a large tree that peeled down and rested lengthwise on my beautiful van. The house was spared, but the van is crushed but insured, including tree removal. maybe to save me a mishap from an aging part. Praise God for His generosity. The tree removal people need a place to deposit excess wood, and I have a fireplace that can handle it on frosty weekends, or if the power goes off in the winter.
P.S. Don't Forget -- Don's birthday is June 8.