Quietly Changing Lives
… A place where all that who have been a part of this Ministry have a reservation – a place prepared just for you. It will be like nothing we could ever imagine on this earth.
It is difficult with all that has happened to not think of Heaven. There are vast differences on how people believe is the way we get there, but the key is one of the only good things I learned as a youth, and that is to “be prepared.”
World events is a subject many in prison are really interested in. For those new to the Pen Friend Program, ask your friend if they are interested in what is going on world wide. We notice that when major world events happen the more educated inmates want more information. Since much of what happens in the world has been predicted in the Bible, this can be a really good “door-opener” to talking about God.
Our last newsletter pushed a
lot of buttons and the response
WELCOME FRIENDS, NEW AND OLD
Our Pen Friends are the very backbone of this Ministry. Many prison doors have been opened for Jesus, your church and ours. Many lives, both inmates and free, have and will be changed because of this Ministry.
Is writing an inmate easy? No. Writing to a complete stranger, especially in prison, can be difficult. For that reason mail goes through us for assistance and advice. Your new friend may have a sentence as long as your street or is on Death Row. You may have a burden to witness. You may be matched with a person of a different race than you.
Is it safe? Yes! Going through us we read, almost always, the inmate’s letter to protect you.
We can give advice and directions. Have you ever thought that the world is not safe anymore? Crime is rampant. Believe it or not, writing to a person in prison can help change that. It’s possible that the person you write to may be changed by your friendship, and in turn they may change a friend in prison. We have seen this happen over and over again.
Prison Ministry is crime prevention. We believe God ordains each match we make. Nothing is random with Him, for scripture says, “God put all things under the authority of Christ and made Him head over all things for the benefit of the church.” (Ephesians 1:22)
We have found out that a
whole lot of you who we thought
were matched and then never
wrote have been writing all
along - you just chose to write
directly to the prisoner and we
did not know. One such lady
had been writing for 22 years!
She saw us on TV, joined and
did what she was asked to do,
but we forgot to put her on our
mailing list so she never received
WHAT DO I WRITE ABOUT?
One of our pen friends wrote:
She is wondering what to write about. This is a good question and a tough one, which I will attempt to answer.
We push hard to get an application and introduction letter from your pen friend to you, which should tell a little about them. That is a starting point. Most inmates spend hours in their cells. Some lucky ones have radio or TV, and that is pretty much the extent of their world.
Start by asking questions about their life, family and interests. Not why they are in prison. If they tell you, that is an honor. If they talk about sports and you’re not familiar, tell them. Asking questions helps them know what to write about, as they live in a very dull world. Let them know you are a Christian, but do not push religion on them.
You will tell by their letters the level of their education. This is an area to try to push and help. If they are Christian (many say they are), ask what the prison offers for volunteer services. Do they have a Chaplain? If they are not Christian, simply work on friendship and the rest will come.
WISH WE KNEW WHO
Every month we get money orders or cash with no name connected. Since we believe they or someone in their family must receive our newsletter, we would like to say, “Thank You!” We are also impressed with some of the ways many of you have come up with money to contribute:
Jimmy raised $17.00 mowing lawns. Some ladies sent $81.00 from a bake sale. We have a box of dollar bills, individually sent in.
In six different prisons inmates
raised $234.00 and sent it
along with a bunch of notes.
One note said, “My name is
Stan. I have been in prison 31
years. Never had a visit, never
got a letter, never talked on the
phone. I found an application
blowing in the wind on the yard
which fell to my feet. (Thank you,
Jesus!) I was talked into sending
it in. I am now 78 and do not
have much longer to be here.
Thanks to Someone Cares I will
not burn in Hell but will spend
eternity in Heaven.”
THANK YOU, FRIENDS
Last month we covered our
expenses because of your
donations. If for some reason
you have missed any newsletters,
our web page has all
archived newsletters. Please
share this information with
We know of many who would write if they had the postage. Forty-four cents doesn’t seem like a lot, but if you are trying to live on Social Security it becomes a lot. We do send stamps out to Christians on the outside when we are able so they may continue to write their pen friend.
A letter means so much to those locked down. I have witnessed an inmate so excited over a letter from a pen friend that as he read it to me he had tears in his eyes, and looking up he said, “My own family won’t write but this lady doesn’t even know me and she writes to me every month.” That’s when I remember that the Bible says, even unto the least of them.
Thanks to Steve and Victoria Mulder we have a fund started that will make it possible to send money to prisons with a lot of inmate Pen Friends in it so the Chaplain can stamp and mail inmates’ letters. You may add to this fund if you are able. Also, it will be used to send stamps to free folks that need them so they can write an inmate.
Do not share this with your Pen Friend, as not all prisons will do this.
We have one couple requesting 200 hundred inmates, and a small church is asking for two hundred! A Black Church stepped up to help us with our problems matching gang raised black inmates. Satan tried to slow us down, but God said again “get behind me” and we are crossing over.
COLLEEN SHARP WRITES:
“First I would like to say how much I respect what you do. My pen friend letters are as enriching for us as they are to those confined. One lady asked for money and I sent it, opening the flood gate for more money less Ministry. I wrote and told her I valued her friendship but was not her bank. If she expected money in every letter it would not be there. It took awhile but she continued writing.
“Don and Yvonne, you give us a chance to share and receive through Paper Sunshine. Remember that if you care to write, listen to the experts and you will beat Satan always. Am still praying for your granddaughter.”
Thank you, Colleen. Our granddaughter does need the prayer. Her employer, who knew that her mother was recently murdered, fired her, saying her school schedule did not fit her work schedule. If anyone is in the Naples, Florida area and knows of any job possibilities for our grand-daughter, please let us know.
LOST AND FOUND
We have a stack of letters and we know not where they go. Some who have taken a second inmate pen friend are using a different Pen Name - please use only one pen name for all.
Some of the inmates shorten your name using Liz for Elizabeth, etc. Please ask them to use your full name when addressing the envelope. Many of you still put “Someone Cares” in the return address when you write – DO NOT do that. We should not be on the inmate’s envelope at all. Of course you may mention this ministry in the body of your letter, we just do not want on the envelope please.
If you are not getting letters from your pen friend, please contact us.
In a future newsletter we plan to list the names of inmates we have letters from so you can check and see if your pen friend is among them.
WALK THE TALK
After so many years doing this, I am still amazed when people finally do as we have pleaded for them to. Six pastors have taken Someone Cares on at their church, and four of them are writing inmates. All because some of you spread the word and told them about us.
DON’T GET MAD OFTEN
We recently received a letter from a prison saying they would not allow our Ministry in. I called, and after getting transferred to six different people was told they had an envelope with an application inside and a letter from an inmate, and that there was no name written on the letter. They thought this was a letter from an inmate to an inmate, and they do not allow inmates to write each other (no prison does).
I asked, “Is it possible that the letter was the inmate’s introduction letter they were sending to Someone Cares along with their application?” Oops - we got in after all.
WE HAVE A FRIEND
This person will take any item donated to Someone Cares and sell it for us. The funds go to Someone Cares, a tax receipt to you. Sometimes we have a real need for items and will ask for them, but we also gladly accept any items you no longer want, such as musical instruments, jewelry, computer equipment - almost anything.
We have requests from prisons for so many different things, but not the time to find them. I am still amazed at how little some inmates have, and also how little prisons have. For example, some do not have a budget for Chaplains or Chapels.
Pastors, please pay attention, and try to imagine yourself in the Chaplain’s place. They receive a salary but that’s it - no budget to buy Bibles or any literature or anything. If you had to run your Church with as limited funds as the Prison Chapels have and were not able to pay expenses for items needed to bring more souls to the church, how would things go?
We have brothers & sisters ministering to prisons, giving all they can, with no budget for religion. Under-staffing in prisons mean less volunteers, so Chaplains have to do more. Soledad, like most prisons, had closed circuit TV and we cut a deal to show Christian videos for two hours a day. We had received walkie talkie radios and binoculars, which we were able to use as items for trade, “donating” them to the warden for their towers.What can you do to help?
What do you have laying around collecting dust that could be used for a better purpose? A Barbie Doll in a box sitting on a shelf is worthless, but a Barbie Doll sold on eBay could provide much needed large-print Bibles. Do you have several items in storage that you haven’t touched in years? Why not save those storage costs and donate or sell those items for a worthy cause?
Many have got something they can give, and if you are not giving to us, be sure to give to your Church or to others in need. In the past we have been able to donate many needed items to prisons, including pianos, organs, and video equipment with videos.
VOICE OF PROPHECY RADIO
The VOP radio program asked us once again to do several shows for them. Someone Cares Prison Ministry will be featured on their radio broadcast program for a whole week in the months of October and November.
If you don’t know of a Christian radio station in your area that airs the VOP program, visit their website at http://vop.com to find a station. Or, you can listen to the live broadcasts directly from your computer.
At the vop.com home page click on the “Listen Now” link to either listen to the live show or find archived programs that you may have missed.
VOP Program Dates to Save Featuring Someone Cares Prison Ministry:
• October 25th through 29th
• November 29th through
• December 3rd.
Sometimes this life feels sort of like a game, doesn’t it? With the Biggest Loser being Satan! And with Jesus Christ on our side, we’re all the winners! Hallelujah and Amen!