Quietly Changing Lives
A song we pray you all know. The man who wrote this and many others has gone to sleep in Jesus. A lot of men and women have brought Yvonne and me to this point in God’s ministry through us and you. We will catch up with Wayne under the Tree of Life and I pray that Yvonne and me and Harriet join Wayne in Glory.
The car we were driving when we had the accident was donated by the Hoopers. God put His robe around Yvonne and me, but the car was not so lucky.
Many years ago at a Camp Meeting in the Santa Cruz mountains I was having a battle with myself over being so stupid. Dropping out of school at a young age made study hard. Wayne said, “Sing your way through it.” Well, Wayne had never listened to me sing. He will in Heaven.
When we shook hands after I picked up the car, he told me how proud he was of me and Pugs, a nickname for Yvonne.
My conversion may have been the most difficult of all time. The tug of war between Satan and God over me lasted quite awhile. In a Pastor’s study, a dear man, Euell, led me to my knees. The power of Jesus then picked me up and pushed me forward. The new me left behind drugs, alcohol, and a lot of bad habits.
The path ahead is full of obstacles, but we keep our eyes on Jesus.
WILL THE CIRCLE BE UNBROKEN?
Oh, yes. I will always feel the hands of Wayne, Jim, Lee, and Darryl pushing, humming, never giving up. The words that ring through my soul, “If ever asked to do anything in the name of Jesus, say “I’ll be happy to.” It really took a church to lead Yvonne and me through some terrible times; to the foot of the cross together. When I was baptized, and Yvonne re-baptized, never did I think I was given a life sentence back in prison. This time I carried a mighty sword, God’s Word.
Funny... I learned it as I taught it. A Grammar-school dropout ... the head of a ministry reaching into almost every prison in the United States. Looking back at a world of switch blades, zip guns, bare knuckles, being replaced by God’s saving grace. I came across an old report card signed by my mother. Like so many Moms, she was hurt so bad when I ran away. Never knowing where I was, she prayed every night. Prison and all kinds of trouble led me to a judge who really wanted to put me away but gave me a chance to join the service. Although drinking and drugs had me hooked, I made it out honorably.
My mom lived long enough to hear me preach. I had told her so many lies, but she smiled when we told her we would meet again in a much better place.
BECAUSE OF YOU
After the accident, I felt something I never knew before, fear. Not fear of dying, as I know where I’m going. Fear for Yvonne hurt much more. I know she, too, is under God’s robe of righteousness. We have a job to be done and a victory to be won. It would be neat if we had a chance at everyone in prison. But knowing each day another person hears good stuff about Jesus is happiness.
HEAVEN CAME DOWN
When this ministry started, God blessed us and it, and those who were and are involved. To get involved with Prison Ministry takes a lot of faith and much prayer. God does tell us we should go forth, and one of the places HE mentions is prison. Yvonne and I know our angels go with us always. We would like you to join us. Prison Ministry should be broken down into several areas.
1. Bible Study. Now, almost anyone can do this. I was an atheist when I accepted Christ. Never held a Bible, but a year later I was teaching it. Then six months passed and I was preaching it!
2. Areas to Avoid: Prisons often have only one Chapel, shared by all. Try to center your studies on the life and ministry of Jesus. “All Faiths Services” are the best as you are open to all, not just those from your religious persuasion. As a not-dry-behind-the-ears Christian, I was bold but learned quickly. I accepted questions of any kind, which I answered in the next study, giving me a week to research. Often you will run into inmates who have just enough know-ledge to cause problems.
Because of overcrowding, this is an area being cut back for security reasons.
3. Preaching. Make sure your sermons are Christ-centered and taught. You can build in your doctrinal ideas slowly but carefully.
THE CHAPLAIN: This can be a great, or walk softly area. Chaplains are, in many cases, forced to be cops, and inmates resent that. The paper work required by most prisons keeps Chaplains up to their necks in everything but Minis-try. When we worked at a California prison, the yearly budget was $2500 for 5,000 men. With overcrowding comes many (and often long) lockdowns. The Cell Ministry done by volunteers is a min-istry being done away with. The Chaplain is often called on to minister to any religion, but has a “full plate.” Pray for these men and women.
Also, in prison, you may have to go to Chapel by ducat, and only a few of those passes are handed out. It is a shame, also, that most prisons will not allow you to visit one on one with inmates from your study. I can tell you that having a one-to-one ministry is vital.
PAPER SUNSHINE, a.k.a. PEN FRIEND
I look at the Internet and see all the Pen Pal ads. Through our ministry, we see those looking to get ads placed on the Internet. Please do not do this!! Many inmates, especially in those states that allow weekend or overnight visits, are looking. That’s why writing through us helps prevent problems. So many scams! I once intercepted a $500 money order going to a female inmate. The inmate told the free person she was going to die, but there was a group in the town near the prison where she could get treatment. I called the prison and found all was a lie. The stories they do make up are pretty good and many have been taken.
Inmates can tell in one letter if they are going to be able to run a number on you (take advantage). When they see they can’t, they quit writing. When this happens, free folks get discouraged. As I write this, thousands of inmates are praying for a friend. Family has cut them off, which is fairly common. Friends drift away, especially if they have crowded schedules. Some of the inmates can barely write, but YOU can make a difference. No one has a ministry like ours. Other ministries use our Pen Friend Program and we supply free folks to write. I called or wrote eleven of these organizations asking them to make an appeal to have church members write; all refused. So far, we have kept up.
I look at a pile of applications about 2 ft. high. Help Us, Jesus, find those to write. I know one thing, every time one of you writes an inmate, another inmate finds out about us. That snowball, once so small, is now as big as a mountain.
WE KEEP ON GROWING
The last radio show we were on with Voice of Prophecy really grew our waiting-for-a-Pen-Friend pile. The response from Canada has us thinking of a Someone Cares of Canada.
“I really believe in the Pen Friend Program and writing seven, soon-to-be eight in-mates. I have been checking things here in Canada and nothing comes close to what you are doing.” Roberta then asks for all the steps that we took. We will contact her and may work with her.
We have several writing to many and some willing to write lots more. To do this would require, as we are now, us to pay the postage. One couple on Social Security retirement writes 100 inmates. We pay – excuse, WILL pay, 82 cents to get a letter to and from an inmate.
By the time you get this newsletter, postage will have gone up 2 cents. To us, that is frightening. Round up your old stamps and send them our way. This increase will up our budget about $1,000/month. It would be neat to get (12) $1000 checks to cover us for a year. More importantly, we would love it if 300 of you gave $5 a month for a year. If you find five others to join you in pledging at that level, l promise to send you a CD of our latest VOP show.
After you and others, espe-cially your Pastor, listen, God will grant the increase. We will keep growing and many more men and women lost in prison will get to know Jesus; without it, there will be no Jesus for many.
UPDATE ON ACCIDENT
My surgery is on hold, as the cure may be worse than the tear. Yvonne is not so lucky. Her arm was shattered, the thumb torn from the socket, and the socket from the hand. Therapy is going very slowly. In fact, they just fit her with a thing she puts hand and arm in (3 times a day). She turns a knob to tighten it, and it hurts. Speaking of my Child Bride:
I would like to write each of you personally, to thank you for all the cards and get well notes, Emails, and to thank the many inmates who wrote me, and all the prayers. I have good news for all; it was my right hand and arm that was severely injured, but I am on the mend. The following helps:
“I received this Pen Friend application in a Voice of Prophecy Bible Study. I really did not think anyone would write a two-time loser like me. I filled it out anyway and used my last stamp to send it. About a month later, my name was called for mail from a lady that was old enough to be my grandmother. I read and re-read her letter, thinking what could I write an 81 year old woman. Thinking she was nice enough to answer (many do not) and include postage for return, the least I could do was reply. That was eight months ago, I was right. We did not have a lot In common, except our Lord and Savior, Jesus. Many letters back and forth taught me much, and Betty Showers will always have a spot in my heart. She has shown me that people really care. To those of you new to Pen Friends, or those of you who think it is not worth it, you can make a difference in someone’s life. We inmates need to know “Someone Cares”. May you all be blessed.
In His Love,
The Michigan winds are blustering these days, but that’s all the more reason to hang out laundry on a “solar dryer on steroids.” The very early flowers have bloomed, despite the cold, and the next round of God’s surprises is on the way.
In His mercy, he has also let a faithful dog go to her rest. It’s very lonely without her; I’m looking forward to Heaven and the New Earth where nothing dies, and all the big cats like lions, tigers, and snow leopards can rub against my legs and not trip me in the process.
They might enjoy an ear massage from time to time. There won’t be any inmates, no one will be sinful. I believe we’ll communicate by telepathy with no monthly billing for a cell phone to tote.
The air will always be fresh, with lots of beautiful birds and butterflies, accompanied by the most beautiful music. Everything will be in a state of perfect harmony.
There will be no storms to pull down trees or power lines; for that matter, there won’t be power lines and poles to clutter up the landscape.
One of my favorites will be the abolition of the drudgery of housekeeping and the non-stop cleaning to make it look tended to.
There will be no more pain for Don & Yvonne; they will be healed and well. No more cars for them, we can all fly with our own wings wherever we like.
By the same token, there won’t be any Someone Cares Newsletter or the data processing that goes into a ministry like Someone Cares.
The sun will not scorch or burn; if we’re hungry, we can pluck fruit from a tree or bush to eat the Whole Foods that Jesus has created just for us.
Flowers will never fade, vegetables will never rot in the back of the bottom drawer of the fridge.
We often let our imaginations roam: no junkyards; no trash pickup or landfills in smelly, noisy, clanky diesel trucks ; no chemicals to contaminate the food supply; no swamps with rotting vegetation; We can visit with Jesus whenever we like, as He tells us how beautiful Earth was when He first set it spinning among the galaxies in the Universe.
Earth ... its gardens filled with crisp, juicy, eternally good food to be arranged to please the eye at the Wedding Supper of the Lamb. Endless joys await us as we explore the rich knowledge in the libraries. Scripture tells us that we will look into the books that record Earth’s history, the joys and heartaches caused by sin, the conquering throngs who were willing and eager to be worthy of living of this new life where we can actually talk with God, our Heavenly Father; and Jesus, God’s only begotten Son, and the angels who were at our side at all times when we were in danger, or happily writing joyful notes in our books; or the splash marks on a page where we wept on our knees because we knew we’d disappointed the dearest friend we had on earth or in Heaven.
Then we could join in with the angel choir to praise our dearest friend, knowing that we would never need to worry if we might ever slip and sin again, for we had a white robe, a harp and a crown. We were also given a stone with our special new name written on it.
Some of our Pen Friends we had made on earth had accepted Jesus and obeyed His law when they were freed. We were so happy to see them. What about the others? Regretfully, they chose not to come, recorded in splashes of tears on a page.
We all have choices to make. Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda?
There’s an Email that says it all: “Talent is God’s gift to you. What you do with it is your gift to Him.