|Vol. 2001 No. 09 September 2001
SNOW BALL TO HELL:Someone Cares Home Page
I was 12 years old when my 13-year-old brother was killed by a rival gang. Several days later I took part in the slaying of two others to get even, then three more of our friends got killed for pay back! This has been going on for years and will go on forever. There is never a chance of getting even or ahead, but you will get what I got-double life without parole.
Now the beat goes on. I have a gang label in prison. Members of the opposite gang still keep the snow ball rolling. I was in prison two days and got stabbed. Three days later I got even. Here we go again. I met an ex- gang member who knows you guys. He walked away from the gang and is still alive! Said something about teaming up with the God Squad.
I really need to meet you and Yvonne. I hear she is one tough mama! (The word should be firm.) She shares the love of Jesus with all. Does it cost anything to join? What does "to be Free in Jesus is to be free indeed" mean? I was taken to Church by my Granny but never met this Jesus!
NO MORE HELL:
HEAVEN ON EARTH!
For no cost to anyone this man now knows Jesus, thanks to a caring friend, several Bible studies and lots of prayer. Here is a man who, without direction, would never have lived to die in prison.
He is a Christian, he has earned a GED and is taking several Bible courses. He is also working with young inmates to keep them out of riding the snowball to Hell. This is some of what your support helps do.
HERE WE GO AGAIN:
I just received a letter addressed to an inmate- the return name and address was our name and address! We are not writing this inmate! On the envelope the letter came in was a box number and a ZIP code, no sender name?? I sent it back and hope it gets there. We have mail from:
S Tucker to Ann Blanse
Victor Scorcia to David Andrews
Richard Coelho to Amy Van B.
Slagle to Isabelle Gonzales
T Spain to Doug Case
Brad Brow to E Aslago
J Hardgrove to R Rodgers
Sandra Cheramie to Pat Abat
J Harris To David Blanks
Robert Williams to Natalie
R Curry to Shirley Milton
D Phillips to Pat Linn
Rick Crouch to D Lee
T Willimas to Peggy Coble
D Perez to E Davis
J Robinson to Mary Gardner
K Brewer to Elaine Cane
J Baur to Lauri Canti
Danny ? To Steve Dalles
L Williams to Darlene Mathis
John Wilkes to Tina McDaniel
Kurt Dasilva to K Sabatino
R Vincent to M @ L Cane
A Richards to Fuzz?
Please help us!
Many of you are using a Pen Name in your Paper Sunshine Ministry. Problem: you forgot to tell us what it was. You MUST register the Pen Name before using it! Please write your assigned inmate and do this:
On the envelope to your inmate put his/her name, number, and address.
Do not put stickers on the envelope. Put your name or Pen Name and our address in the return block.
Do not put "Someone Cares" anywhere on your inmate's envelope!!! Put the right amount of postage on your inmate's envelope, but do not seal it.
On the larger envelope to us, put your real name + Pen Name and your address in the return block. Then address the envelope to us at:
PO Box 472
Columbus IN 47202-0472
Slide the inmate's letter inside your envelope to us, seal it, affix the proper postage, and send it to us.
If you write three times and get no answer let us know and we will get you another Pen Friend. If we owe you a name, please let us know.
UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL
Many of you have written and asked about Yvonne and me. We thought we would share a bit. I was born in Canada and am as old as my tongue and a little older than my teeth. Yvonne is a bit younger.
Yvonne is a preacher's kid; I grew up on the streets and in alleys all over. Yvonne was educated in Christian schools; I am a grammar school dropout and graduate of the school of hard knocks. I learned to read and write in God's word, with much help from Yvonne. I left the world and Satan's lure when God called me, then Yvonne, into Prison Ministry a l-o-n-g time ago. I was the manager of an automobile dealership, making big bucks, when God called. That was the last time we received a regular pay check.
I get a hitch in my "git-along" every now and then, but bowled a 276 awhile back. Yvonne, not to be outdone, bowled a 240. My golf swing has slowed a little but Yvonne's is fine. We enjoy life and really love what we do.
Some of you were worried because I left California with some health problems. We both just had a physical and are in great shape. Thank you for your concern and your prayers.
CHAPLAINS DON & YVONNE
Last night was another Mountaintop experience. In a general assembly at Madison Mens Prison we were intro-duced as the new State Chaplains in charge of all religious programs. So we are staff in every way except pay. We still live on the free will offerings of those reading this, and why the following letter is such a joy. We will update you as we move in God's plan.
WHAT WE NEED TO START
Please send books, Bibles, musical instruments (we especially need a keyboard) and anything else that is handy and Christian to:Chaplain Don McClure
Madison Correctional Facility
711 Green Rd, State Hospital Grounds
Madison IN 47250.
If we have any spare time, we can work at the attached Mental Hospital.
How much do we take for granted? I have learned that as long as I have Jesus as my personal friend and Savior, and I maintain my relationship on a minute by minute basis, I need nothing more. When we arrived at the Madison Correctional Facility for the general assembly, it was HOT! No air conditioners, no fans, and the temperature was 92 with humidity at 62%, so to say the least we were all very warm, but Praise God, it didn't matter. We were glad to be there and they were happy we were there! What more can you ask for? Since Don and I have moved around quite a bit, and traveled across country with two dogs, I decided to make a list of things I could do without. Try it and see where you are in your list of needs? What we consider essentials and really what are essential, we might find out are two different lists. I've had a picture for years of a Daisy, and a dandelion; printed underneath the picture are these words: "If you are not busy living, you are busy dyeing! Where are You?
HIS WONDERS TO PERFORM
We are strong believers in Prayer. When our main car broke down it really put us in a fix. We were donated some beautiful rings to sell, and we had our RV for sale. Then we found a car and the RV sold! So again, Thank you Jesus. If you have friends who are getting married, these rings would be a beautiful package.
THE RIGHT TO REMAIN SILENT
Many of us are familiar with the Miranda Act which instructs all peace officers to give the arrested party a review of their rights. Often we hear these lines on television or portrayed over the radio. Most inmates remember "you have the right to remain silent; anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law..." The first time you hear these words you know the situation is grave. In a somewhat different way, the believer is asked a different sort of question by the Holy Spirit in our hearts. We are questioned about our faith and trust in God for our eternal salvation on a daily basis by the world, and commanded to witness for the Lord in HIS Word. As a recent song writer wrote "You don't have to remain silent if you have been arrested by God's grace." The truth is we have been commanded in the Bible that we do not have the right to remain silent about our faith. Christians are called to tell the world about Christ's life, death and resurrection, and His saving Grace, and to tell of how we have been pardoned for our sins. Paper Sunshine lets you Share HIM with those who need it most.
THE DAY I DIED
It really seems like yester-day. I grew up in a slum area of Chicago. No heat in winter, nothing but heat in the summer.
I learned to steal at about six. I had learned to hate a little earlier. I served serious time at 14 for stabbing my mom's pimp. At 21 I bought the... [Chair] for killing a gang member and my best friend. I really did not care, as I was treated better in prison than I ever was on the street. I knew it would take a long time to pull the switch.
I read a book called Where Flies Don't Land, and it brought a spark from me I never felt before. Was there a God? If so, would he stop by here? Pray? Me? Well, I did and things happened so fast. I got a letter from a guy a did a bit with earlier [served time with] telling me he had become a Christian through a ministry that cared. The day I died was the day I accepted Christ in my life. I died from all sin. Will I ever get out? No, I doubt it, but I don't think I'll sit in the Chair either. Only God knows. Friends, if you claim to be a Chistian "DO SOMETHING FOR HIM!" Anything, and you will be dead to Sin. I thank God HIS word says " Sin not, but if you do, I give you a perfect lawyer, and freedom, indeed.
Oh, friends, the Great God we serve is so loving and kind and cares about us so much that he reaches to the depths of Death Row to find His lost sheep. He expects us to do likewise by being a Pen Friend and giving encouragement to these dear ones.JEAN'S JOTTINGS
That brings to mind a story that I truly would like to share with you, but the publisher hasn't yet acted on my request to reprint it. It's worth a trip to the library or bookstore to find the book :HIS MYSTERIOUS WAYS
by Kelly Golbeck
Compiled by the editors of Guideposts, Published by: Fleming H. Revell
Read the touching story of THE OUTCAST with a box of tissue at hand. There are NO hopeless people, only people who feel there is no hope.
A husband, grandfather, friend and bother has come home, even if it is only on parole. And what a party! My best friend had planned carefully so there would be enough food, then others heard the good news and wanted to bring more, so much that there were three huge tables full of food, plus two long lines of tables for guests who came and went all afternoon into the evening. We estimated ~200.
The joy bubbled over in laughter, hugs, and happy conversation. It occurred to me that if we were as diligent in preparing for Jesus to come, He might have felt welcome enough to do so by now.
There are so many onerous facets of being on parole, especially for the wrongfully convicted. Even before your hearing, or being let out the door, one must create a report on why you believe you're a good candidate. Then there is the report that outlines all the things you will do to not "fall into sin" in the state's eyes again. Once paroled, there are the weekly visits to the parole office, either in person or by phone (decided by the officer in charge of your case). Then, on a different day, there are counseling classes-probably a fine idea if one actually did the crime. A lot of time is spent making 50-mile round trips at the beck and call of the state.
Am I somewhat jaded re the "justice" system? Yes. It can work when the participants are honest. But I sat in the court-room watching this man being sold out by his attorney, the prosecutor, and the judge. The comfort is that "Vengeance is Mine, saith the Lord," and those who didn't respect God's law (upon which our laws are based), will have to answer to Him in His judgement.
God used an opportunity provided by a worshiper of Satan to send Steve where he could find and bring out a son for the kingdom of God. Several other men are also taking Bible studies as a result of Steve being on the inside. Score: Satan 0; God: 10.
Name the best-known of the apostles who had NOT done time! Paul spent the most time under guard, and yet he is one of the pillars of the Christ-ian church, and the best-known missionary.
The best reason in the world for being part of the Pen Friend Program and spreading paper sunshine is to reach those whom God wants to bring out of darkness into His loving light, and a sweet relationship with Him.
It matters not how bad the inmate WAS before God put that little spark of longing in the heart for a loving Pen Friend, it's where he or she is NOW and what that person can become- apples of gold in pictures of silver. What a lovely way to bear fruit for our dear Jesus.
Yes, we must be careful how we word our letters so the inmate doesn't think that the four-letter word "love" means another three-letter word. Even though we feel Christ's love for them, we must not allow it to be misinterpreted by a mind that may never have known the difference. The thief on the cross experienced Jesus' love that's so tender, if we were the only sinner on the planet, He would still go through the whole process of dying on the cross just for us!
We serve an Awesome God! I just went upstairs to check all the containers during a very rumbly weather system overhead (my roof has long-term, copious leakage, waiting to be fixed). I expected to find the 20-gallon bin full, but because I was engrossed in this column, He held the rain to a gentle but steady shower and I feel so full of joy at the moment! Praise God that He watches over every detail of our lives and cares so deeply about our mountaintops and valleys.