Quietly Changing Lives
Looking back over the years, that Babe who cried long ago in Bethlehem has changed the world. Another Christmas season is upon us, yet so many do not hear the cry or remember the tears. HE WEPT.
So many years have passed since I heard that cry which changed my life. We (Yvonne and I) have spent 20 Christmases in prison. The joy of Christmas took many years to really sink in. Ignorance is bliss?
When I became a Christian my Church had an In-Gathering - going door to door singing and raising money for the poor. Now friends, I sing badly and I didn’t know the songs, so I was given the job of going to the door and asking for money. No one told me what to say. At every house as I collected money I would listen to the Christmas Carols that I would later learn. When we got back to the Church I was asked, “How did you collect so much money?” Well, I just told the folks that we were raising AND A BABY CRIED money for the poor and the Lord’s business and if they did not give they might go to Hell!
I am so glad that if anyone is in Christ he is a New Creation; the old is passed away and the new has come. Our first prison Christmas was at Soledad and we did two services - one at South Facility where Yvonne was Chaplain, the other at North Facility were I worked as Chaplain. Both Chapels were jammed, and the Holy Spirit fell Continured on page 2 that night on both yards. Security showed up to shut us down for crowd control, but the warden said to let it go on. At that time I had been a Christian about four months. Thank you, Jesus!
We will be with family this Christmas but our hearts will be in the prisons. We end another year at the foot of the Cross. Our prayer is “soon and very soon.”
We think of all the inmates that will now be ready when Jesus returns because of your efforts in working with us. We pray that the world will put Jesus back into this season, as HE is the reason for the season.
“’Tis the season to give” is a
common saying, but the real
giving is of ourselves in HIS
service. Can you hear HIS
words, “Get in the boat - we are
going to the other side.”
So many of our friends that
have been with us in this Ministry
are now resting and dearly
missed. I can see us all on the
sea of glass praising the Lord of
So many times this time of year we get all caught up in decorating the house, and planning on what gifts we are getting everyone, yet we have the greatest gift of all – our Savior. Yes, we will go to church and not know how many are sitting around us who won’t have a Christmas at all or may not have any food.
We console ourselves that they can go to Salvation Army, or maybe another church, but think of the people who are just too embarrassed to ask or let anyone know. There may be some who will be all alone with no gift, no special dinner, just another day of the week. If all goes well Christmas day we shall have 6,000 people praying for those who have nothing. We ask you to join us in prayer. We also want to add that Jesus was born so we can know the gift of giving. The best present HE should get from us is our efforts in giving to others.
THANKS AGAIN VOICE OF PROPHECY
We were on the radio in October, November and December. We welcome many new folks to Someone Cares (as we do care). We welcome you to Paper Sunshine (and it does spread sunshine to those in prison). And welcome all to the God Squad, which it always will be. It was a Christmas at San Quentin many years ago when we were given the God Squad “handle.” When we entered a cell block someone yelled, the God Squad is here! This was an alert to get dressed or off the toilet. Due to special donations we were able to give every inmate a Christian book and one dollar. This got the attention of many inmates and brought many to the Chapel.
My name is Jim. I was in the hole (Segregation) when Yvonne appeared at my cell. She said she wanted to wish me a Merry Christmas and handed me a book called Steps To Christ. She informed me that a dollar had been put on my account, also from Jesus. She and Don became like family to me and many others. Way back then a dollar went a long way. I later was sent to Soledad and when released I receive free Dress Out clothes from them. That was fifteen years ago. I’m married now, have two kids and of course am a Christian.
Becoming a Christian was
special and has kept me going.
When I joined a Church (not
theirs) I called to tell them (Don
and Yvonne) and they were
overjoyed. The family of God
has many houses.
My Name is John
I received a book and a dollar from Someone Cares. It was and is the biggest gift I have ever received. Its importance was the timing. I had received a Dear John letter from my wife informing me of a divorce. With ten more years to serve I had decided to pack it in.
The book was on my bunk when I returned from a shower. I asked the guard on the gun rail were it came from and he said, “The God Squad dropped it off.” I sent a “kite” (prison letter) to the Chapel and a few days later Don stopped by. I had read the book, as it was all I had. Don explained that to be free in Jesus was to be free indeed – a point soon proven as I got a six year sentence cut.
Don contacted my wife and
talked her into a visit before a
divorce. Don and Yvonne sat
with my wife and I as we spent
several hours in the waiting
room. The result of that book is
I’m free in Jesus and free indeed.
My wife and I are very
happily married as we both
accepted Christ in that visiting
room, in front of a Christmas
tree. I gave the book to another
inmate and he later joined the
Family of God.
IT WILL NOT WORK
Yvonne had an idea – have a Christmas party on Death Row for inmates and family members. I said the warden will not approve it. At Eddyville Prison we had a joyful Christmas Party for inmates and many family members. With lots of help on food and presents, a good time was had by all.
The biggest blessing was what happened to a tough old guard. We started off singing Christmas Carols. During one of the songs, I turned and there were tears running down the guard’s cheeks. He accepted Christ that night. A few years later he died, but his wife told us the years were full of joy after that night.
TOLD BEFORE, TELL IT AGAIN
In California there was a Boys Prison with some of the worst of the worse. We got permission to hold a Christmas party in one of the dorms. Most of these kids had the same motto I had as a youth, which was “live fast, die young, and have a good looking corpse.” Most knew they would end up in prison, and all wanted it to be a prison with a name everyone knew.
With the help of a bunch of volunteers we brought food, presents and the love of the Lord. The Holy Spirit was there as we started singing carols. Many did not know the songs, so we taught them. You could almost see the tears take away the hate many of these kids had. Church members learned a lot about sharing Jesus that day.
A few years later we visited that boys facility again and found that most had gone to prison or had been killed by gang warfare. But after all this time we still receive cards from three or four of them.
Want to join us and help lead or grow someone in Jesus’ name?
2011 DEDICATED TO SERVE
Someone Cares will again end the year in the black, which is a true miracle. You will receive tax deduction receipts for your gifts with February’s newsletter. We thank all of you who have ever given to this ministry, either through time or money. Please know that all we receive goes to serving Jesus in prison.
We once again find ourselves over-loaded as three more pen pal prison ministries recently closed, giving all of their inmates to us without even asking! It has been a miracle that we have kept on going, but we are confident that we will kept on growing IN JESUS’ NAME.
Do have any excess that you can pass on to us? If you have any extra stamps you can send, we could sure use them.
We still need a quality used car for our daughter, Ronna, who is helping us with this Ministry. One blessing we received this year is dollar bills sent to us with no name attached.
Even though we don’t know everyone’s names who have helped us in one way or another, those names are written in a Book in Heaven, and we pray that each one of your names is written in the Book of Life, so that you may be delivered to eternity with our Lord.
Things may get tougher before they get better, so stay strong in your walk with the Lord.
God Bless you and yours during this Holiday Season. Don & Yvonne