Quietly Changing Lives
Through your efforts for over 30 years, Someone Cares has really grown! Most base their growth on yearly production; ours is daily!
It seems like just yesterday that an alcoholic, atheist, ex-con gave his life to Jesus. At once, the Lord started putting together those broken pieces that I had been.
Believe me, it took more than a church to help me from the past I lived. The wicked ways of the world had been my life since I was a child.*I devoured the Bible and studied hard and often.
*Yvonne, who was soon to be my wife and helpmate, pushed, pulled, and made sure my eyes were on Jesus.
People who grow up in the church have no idea what a worldly person has to do to be a part of the Family of God.
I crawled; Jesus picked me up; I walked the walk and soon talked the talk. I’m so glad Jesus lifted me.
Being a real Christian is not easy, even now. My helpmate made it less difficult and was there for me all the time.
I was on fire, looking for a place to be a working part of the Family of God. Jesus patiently waited for HIS will to be done. He spoke to my spirit and led me to prison.
That really was a laugh. I had been there, done that, all my life. As always, Jesus’ wisdom put the right people around me.
I continued my study of the Bible, I was led to a neat man, Chaplain Stanley Read. Like many others, he took me under his wing at Soledad Prison.
I was soon teaching the Bible while still learning. With Stan, soon came Chaplain Harry Howard at San Quentin. A grammar school dropout to a Prison Chaplain! All the time, Yvonne was at my side. She was a willing partner but getting her to go into the prison was not easy
Some are sent;
I just got
up and went.
After I heard God’s words, telling me to go into prison ministry full time turned a lot of heads! I shall always be very grateful, and over the next few months will share all that helped us make Someone Cares now one of the oldest prison ministries in the U.S.
IF EVER ASKED TO DO ANY-THING IN THE NAME OF THE LORD, say “I’ll be happy to.
In the middle seventies, working as a full time (eleven years) Chaplain at Soledad, we were faced with many challenges.
The biggest “My First Sermon,” Chaplain Read got sick and asked me to preach at two of Soledad’s chapels. I was a grammar school dropout with no training at all. When I say “Trust in the Lord,” HE preached through me. I’d stayed up almost the whole night putting a sermon together.
Word spread through the prison, and when it came time, both chapels were wall-to-wall men. I started to read my sermon, but Jesus took over. Ever since, I have spent hours getting sermons together with lots of notes and “cheat sheets.” But He leads me. I have now preached in over 400 different churches and a whole lot of prisons. My wife is always there. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could preach at your church.
WE KNOW WHO HOLDS TOMORROW
For thirty years we have had a full-time, self-supporting ministry. Free will offerings have kept us going and growing. I must admit, at times we were not sure where our next meal was, or how we would pay bills, but I have not missed many meals and God is so generous. Lots of folks were amazed that we worked for years without any salary, especially those 11 full years at Soledad.
When we connected with Voice of Prophecy, our growth went full speed and beyond. Last Saturday we were watching Church from Loma Linda.
Our phone and Email started jumping. We were again on the radio around the world. This one-day broadcast equaled our best week ever!
With each broadcast comes many requests for Pen Friends who are willing to write to hurting inmates. Each letter brings hope and encouragement to those in prison. With each letter on its way to an inmate and back to Someone Cares’ busy office, there is postage both ways, envelopes to address, Emailed letters back and forth, auto expense taking bins of mail to the post office and back to their office with binsful of mail...well, you get the picture. We need your help.
We have inquired of the Lord as to the best route to take. We need more space, more volunteers, and the end of the year is coming up. We are doing the Lord’s work, and do not want to start the new year in debt. Friends, relatives, business acquaintances need the deduction.
For the first time, we have pastors who have become Pen Friends. I got a call from two pastors who at one time told their flocks to get involved instead of “You should not do that!” We can assure you, with references, a donation to Someone Cares gets moving pretty fast, even though we are slowing down a little. We have a great need for a Laptop computer; used is fine.
SIDE BY SIDE WE STAND
We are often asked why we do what we do. Well, I was called to do it. When called, I was not sure I could handle it all. I knew God’s direction would guide us. I learned that we need not have all the bickering that goes on out in the world, and often, the church. Since I started studying the Bible very late,
I reached for every help I could get. I contacted every prison ministry I could find and was a bit surprised that they were not willing to help. As rapidly as we could, we made it a prac-tice to give all we had to help other ministries asking. A very large ministry in Texas offers a letter writing ministry to Texas prisons. When inmates responded, they sent them our way. I called and asked them to give us a plug to get free folks to write. They refused!!! I found out early in life to kick the dust off and move on. Our growth has been helped immensely with the help of organizations like Voice of Prophecy. They allow us to broadcast on their stations, then they let us make appeals. Well, if you can help them, that helps us.
This neat, Godly man helped us so much. A song lyric was written about Someone Cares and he put it to music.
He and his wife, Harriet, donated a neat car — the one we were driving when hit. Wayne is asleep in Jesus, waiting for a huge choir we pray he will direct in Heaven. Soon, and very soon, we all will be together with so many that have been a part of this ministry — under the Tree of Life, or skating on the Sea of Glass. Since I can’t sing well, I will finally be in tune. Wayne wrote the powerful hymn “We Have This Hope.” From the time I first listened to it, to today, every time we pray for something that song is in our hearts. We have lost other friends and wish we had room for all.
It does not take any talent to write an inmate through our Paper Sunshine. Think about this offer: “You might write an inmate to grow in Jesus and meet them in Heaven because you cared. Tony
Many years ago I was in the hole for stabbing another inmate. When you are locked up, it is bad enough, but the Hole ...
Steel bed, no pillow, thin blanket. Toilet, maybe a shower a week, in cuffs. Where was I going? If you could sleep you did it in the day; all night long yelling to each other.
I got a kite (prison system of notes). It said “If you want peace and freedom, write these folks.” No stamp, no paper, no pencil. I stuffed it in a pocket. Several months later I wrote this ministry, having no idea what was going to happen.
I received an application, read “Christian,” crumpled it up and chucked it out of my cell. Then I thought again, “Where am I going?”
I yelled at a guard and asked him to get the paper. He did. I wrote Someone Cares. Then I forgot about it. Rumor going around. RIOT. Not again not me, but I got a shank (prison knife) ready. The next day I got called during mail call - first time ever! I could go on forever, but all changed in my life. I no longer do drugs, smoke, drink pruno (home-made wine). The Chaplain here is not nice so I have hooked up with a bunch of Christian inmates. Yvonne got us a neat Bible study from VOP, and we are all growing. (We’ve told you about Grandma Meyers, who also is asleep in Jesus. Before she died, she arranged for folks to write all her inmates.) Once more, the God Squad grew.
We are blessed to have several couples, two women’s groups, a man’s group, a teen group with parents writing many inmates. Most write via e-mail, and write one letter to all, then personalize each. We take the E-mails, print them, cut off the address label, then snail mail to and from the in-mate. If you do not feel you can write, maybe you can support this endeavor as the postage becomes very expensive. Thank you.
RELIGION IN PRISON:
Many inmates do try to use religion. They take Bible Studies just to get certificates to show the Parole Board. Most Chaplains are really overworked and under budget. One very large California prison has a yearly budget of under $3,000!!! Many times inmates teach Bible groups on the yard, some very well, some as a power play. Doctrine can be really bad. We always make sure to have an “All Faiths Chapel.” Do remember,: try not to let your doctrine be a barrier, but a bridge. Keep Jesus as your focal point. With massive over-crowding, jobs and school are things of the past. Some states only allow so many free letters each month, some do not.
MONEY AND PHONE CALLS
Inmates try to get your phone number. If you c an afford it, fine. All calls must be collect. Some cost as high as $4.95 per minute; also this opens up the area you live in. Most will try to get money from you. If this is all they write about, you might want another inmate. One of our great Pen Friends, if she is comfortable with the inmate, allows them a $10.00 per quarter.
If you decide to do this, make sure you have the policy of the prison for sending a Money Order. Don’t Send Cash!! With Christmas coming up, please check with us before sending anything.
Some will ask you to send a money order to another inmate. Do Not Do This. We have always had a policy of “do for one, do for all.” If not sure, ask. Books must come from an Approved Vendor Book Store and must be a soft- backed (paperback) edition.
No Stickers inside or out on your letter. Drugs come into prison on the glue.
What a privilege to be able to let the Lord lead us in what He would have us do. Many times in my life I haven’t had much money, but somehow, God has always provided. It doesn’t always take a lot of money, the widow’s mite can go a very long way; it all adds up. Sometimes we need to learn what God is trying to tell us. We pray that with the Holiday Season almost here, that God will keep you safe and under His wings.
Email us and say Hi.
How could we complain about the heat only two weeks or so ago, as hungry mosquitoes swarmed in. and it was oppressively hot ‘n humid? The last visit to the prison chapel with my partner was a gorgeous day, but the minute Shirley sat on the organ bench the sky opened up like an angry entity, with a gigantic bucket of water, obliterating the view out the windows.
Our inmates were safely inside and ready for chapel service. A large part of our service involves how much God loves us, and the positive encouragement our inmates get and give one another. It may involve an uplifting book one has read, a problem and prayer for another who is discouraged, or welcoming a new member to the group,
One or two may have a parole hearing coming up; that is always a tense time for the inmate. Will he go to the next phase of his or her life? Or will the Parole Board find some flaw and give the inmate a “flop” of whatever time they designate. It’s often two more years.
We don’t have a group like ours from elsewhere to compare how we are progressing, so we just rely on God to guide us, with advice from Don and Yvonne from time to time. We also are fortunate to have a supportive local church They often have no closing hymn if the pastor runs over a bit.
Our guys are a praying group during the week as well. They pray for us, for one another, and when there is an urgent situation that Shirley and our women’s prayer group have, we know that our in-mates have joined us on the front lines. That’s as powerful as it gets.
Inmates come from all walks of life. God works in some strange ways to get us to care for his young children.
Local people in our area have joined hands to prevent crime before it starts. They recruited people from area churches to start an afternoon spot downtown, where kids can go after school. They have games, refreshments ,books, music, and a large table where they can do their homework until Mom and Dad get out of work.
When funding grew short, God worked on the hearts of bikers from the Detroit area to take a pleasant weekend ride to help out our youth center.
About 200 riders filled our village and raised over $6,000! For the center. That’s crime prevention, folks.