|Vol. 2001 No. 2 January 2001
HAPPY NEW YEARSomeone Cares Home Page
Yvonne and I wish to extend to you our greetings for the New Year. May God above increase HIS love for you and yours in another year closer to HIS return.
EVERYTHING IS POSSIBLE
A few months ago we got a flurry of inquiries from the center of the country. We knew we had some adjustments to make and, as we always do, we Let Go and Let God.
First we made some inquiries regarding a place to live. God put us in contact with a pastor in Columbus, Indiana, who had just received a call to Kentucky. His house was waiting for a new tenant. In the country, with an office! Then we contacted the prison system and found out in that within driving distance were three prisons without Chaplains.
"Thank you Jesus!" I then called several Chaplains we knew of and all had an open door policy. I pray you share our real excitement as we enter a new calling with GOD's direction. We hope you enjoy the journey as we go forward IN HIS SERVICE.
GOD SQUAD ON THE MOVE
Our new address, as of January 20, 2001, will be
45 East 550 South
Columbus Indiana 47201.
Pen Friends: Your new address will be:
PO Box 472
Our phone number after January 20, 2001 will be:
812 342 2932
Fax 812 342 3021
Email stays the same.
If you have not been to our web page www.someonecares.org please visit and invite friends to visit. Your mail will be forwarded from California to Indiana. We don't know what tomorrow holds, but we know who holds tomorrow.
The joy of spending two years there was both a learning experience and a blessing. We had two fun-filled Camp Meetings. We spent time with old friends and our ministry grew. We shared with new friends and our ministry grew. We were able to reopen closed doors and our ministry grew. Our support base increased and our ministry grew. We pray that those of you currently with us as prayer warriors, Pen Friends or Faith Partners go with us so our ministry can go and grow. Not only does this move enhance Jesus and Someone Cares but gives us better east-west movement. Folks, if you have not moved it is expensive; and the drive in a U-haul will be long; in January weather; over some rough turf; but our ministry will grow. If you have a penny jar needing a place to serve, or a little extra, we can use your help.
Year end is the time some folks change cars. We are in dire need of a used car, station wagon or pickup truck. Used is just fine. Our main car will have 200,000 miles on it when we get there-it may not grow, except weary. As always, you do not have to support this ministry to be a part of it.
If you got a new computer for Christmas and need a spot for your old one and a tax deduction, see our UPS address above.OUT OF THE PAST
From a 1988 newsletter.
Today I went into prison, and there I looked upon anguish and strife;
But the message I learned from a convict I'll remember the rest of my life.
The prisoner said he was willing to pay society's dues;
"Its easy to render unto Caesar," he said,
When you have Jesus with you.
I need the quality of faith this convict had. Many of us in our freedom wander lost, this convict was never alone.
I AM A DOODLER
One day while trying to put together a newsletter I reflected on my life before Jesus and wrote a bit of my past. Not for the newsletter, but Yvonne put it there.
I went away one day...and never learned to be a boy. When all my friends were learning how to skate, I was growing up learning how to hate.
When young boys and girls my age went to the movies having pop corn to eat; I had already learned the hard way of the street-Switch- Blades, dope dealers, gay boys, hookers, zip guns and heat.
Your girls and boys good grades tried to get; my life depended on winning each bet.
Remember how you cheered when your team won? I had to worry the person at my door might be packing a gun.
I can never pick up those broken pieces, but Jesus put them together and made me new.
1987 RALPH WROTE
Oh woe is me, Oh woe is me. I feel so very sad.
Sitting here thinking of the mail I never had.
All day long I waited to see,
If the man who bought mail
Would have a letter for me.
And when he came, not my name did he call.
Oh woe is me, ain't it a shame
What I would give to hear my name!
1986 A REQUEST FROM DON & YVONNE
Everything we do is because of you, many of whom we have never met. God has opened a door and we need your help to go through. Plan God's work, work God's plan.
Would you help with a monthly donation of $______ for three years? We would like to extend this offer again.
GIVE GOD THE GLORY
I was told so long ago, if ever asked to do ANYTHING in the name of Jesus say "I'll be happy to." We started with a simple Bible study at Soledad Prison on Friday night. We grew into an International Prison Ministry really by accident. Things kept coming our way and we said "sure," taking us from Soledad to San Quentin, to Avenal and Paso Robles School, to Kentucky's North Point and Eddyville, to Michigan's Jackson and Coldwater, then back to California's Delano and Corcoran. Now only God knows the door HE will open for us to go into. Now, either by Bible Study or Pen Friend Program, Someone Cares reaches into every prison In the US and seven foreign countries. Thanks, friends.
A note in a Christmas card: When I joined your Pen Friend Program ten years ago, I never knew that God would help me help HIM to change the lives of six men and two women. Four others never answered my first letter. I had been going to Church all my life but never did anything for Jesus. I am excited when the mailman comes now and I get another chance to share or listen or teach. I would like one more, please. She then writes "I send everyone a $5.00 money order for Christmas and their birthday; this gets me away from packages." (Good idea!)
I've never made a fortune and it's probably too late now. But I don't worry about that much, I'm happy anyhow.
And as I go along life's way, I'm reaping better than I sowed. I'm drinking from my saucer, 'Cause my cup has overflowed.
Haven't got a lot of riches, and sometimes the going's tough. But I've got loving ones around me, and that makes me rich enough.
I thank God for His blessings, and the mercies He's bestowed. I'm drinking from my saucer, 'Cause my cup has overflowed.
O, I remember times when things went wrong, My faith wore somewhat thin. But all at once the dark clouds broke, and the sun peeped through again. So Lord, help me not to gripe about the tough rows that I've hoed. I'm drinking from my saucer, 'Cause my cup has overflowed.
If God gives me strength and courage, when the way grows steep and rough, I'll not ask for other blessings, I'm already blessed enough. And may I never be too busy to help others bear their loads. Then I'll keep drinking from my saucer, 'Cause my cup has overflowed."
Please keep us in your prayers as we move to meet a new challenge! We will be praying that each of you may be blessed in this New Year.
I counted the other day and in my lifetime I have moved fifty-three times; this will be fifty-four. You are all more than welcome to jump in the car or U-Haul truck. Come along with us and the two dogs for the next exciting 2100 miles ahead.
Now, if we had planned this, it would not have been this time of year. But as my Father would say, "When God opens a door, you are to walk through it." So it will be exciting to see what God has in store for us. Just keep reading your newsletter, I promise to keep you up to date!
FLORIDA NEEDS HELP
"As Senior Chaplain of a major Florida prison, I am again asking for help. My budget has again been cut in half, leaving me reaching again for your generosity, needing materials for our Chapel library from books to videos." (Uplifting, please!) We ask our Florida and area friends to send what you can, new or used, toChaplain Barry Collins Walton Correctional,
691 World War II Lane,
DeFuniak, Fl 32433
Mention us, please.
$50,000 A YEAR ... for each inmate, and Corcoran has 7,000 inmates. That's a bunch of taxpayers' money! The Chaplain's budget there is $2,500 a year for all his supplies. Then the prison spends over $50,000 to enhance the entrance! Go figure. With the challenge ahead, please save your books for us if in Kentucky, Tennessee, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan. Have your pastors invite us to speak and we will pick them up. If its Christian, we need it especially. Thank You!
DO I REMEMBER YOU?
Greg writes: Twenty years ago I entered the California Prison system, after a year of madness in LA county jail. You may not be aware of it but you two were the first two genuinely kind people I met upon entering the prison system. I consider you what I call my anchor angels. It was through you both I was able to anchor myself in the trials that were coming. When you asked me to be a part of a video on prison life, I never knew the effect it would have on me. I'm really quite impressed with the growth you two have had, yet still meek and humble. I remember you helping start Lifers for Christ, and even though I am a Muslim you allowed me to be a part. Don and Yvonne, many men will see God because of you and the gentle way you introduce HIM to all. I remember a service you held years ago where the Chaplain asked you to preach and not mention Jesus. You could not do it, but All Faiths joined in your love for HIM. The All Faiths Chapel sign left shortly after you did; wish you and it were here. I may die in here but it will be in HIS honor. Our doctrine may be different, I'm still learning, but our God is the same. Through prayer, the courts may hear my appeal, you and Yvonne know I did not do what I am here for. (YEP, we do.)
CHRISTMAS ON DEATH ROW
Yvonne and I had an idea and we presented it to the Chaplain at Edyville in Kentucky. He said "If the Warden oks it and you both do the work, fine." The idea to have a Christmas Party on Death Row for inmates and their families? Crazy, all our friends said. We had lots of prayer and went to the Warden. To our surprise, he said YES! Friends, the Holy Spirit fell on Eddyville prison that night. Inmates and family members came to Christ together only because SOMEONE CARES. All present that night are still there except one who died of natural causes. Also there is a volunteer who is part of Prison Ministry, because to get rid of the hate for the man who raped and killed his daughter, his priest told him to visit and try to forgive. God convicted him and he led the inmate who killed his daughter to Christ and through the love of Jesus found peace. Maybe next year we can again go to Eddyville or were ever Jesus leads us. If ever asked to do anything in the name of Jesus say "I'll be Happy to."
JEAN'S JOTTINGS HAPPY NEW YEAR!
from Yours Truly, Miss Cubby, Walter, Rascal, Tat and Mousie. (That's one dog and four cats.)
One of our Pen Friends gave me an idea for this month's column. Thanks, Lynn,
Don and Yvonne are probably in transit at the moment, but maybe I can answer your question about matching inmates. Actually, almost every issue explains the process, and they're the only ones to handle all the incredible work load that goes on in their ministry, so they REALLY need to keep it simple. That's why their matching system works so well. We take who we get and make the best of it. I wouldn't have asked for a young man on death row, but that's who they matched me with and I would not trade that relationship for anything.
You said a lot of inmates are not reliable. You're right. That's how they came to be where they are. They could not be relied on to keep the law, so they were removed from society. Our job is to be positive, encouraging, uplifting, and cheerful. We can't dwell on our own pain and loneliness. Instead, we need to let them know that Jesus loves them, and so do we. Unconditionally. We're here for them. (That's our work for the Lord.) Some inmates don't write often because they think their lives are so boring. We still need to keep on schedule with our end of the bargain. Maybe they lost all their stamps in a shake-down, or to a gang. It takes awhile to build a new stash.
We Christians mean well when we enclose a tract with a letter. Double check to make sure it carries a positive note. Our Pen Friend has probably been reminded often enough that s/he is a sinner. That person needs to know there's something beautiful headed their way- US and JESUS.
We have so little time until Jesus comes, and we need so much to help our Pen Friends be ready to go home with us. What would Heaven be without these dear friends by our sides?
Very, very lonely.