Quietly Changing Lives
As old as her tongue and a little older than her teeth, is what Yvonne says about her age. With all my love I pray that on her next birthday we all will be in Heaven, dancing on a sea of glass until we return to the New Jerusalem.
SOON AND VERY SOON!
When will that be? We all look at a world in turmoil and strife. Scripture says there will be wars and rumors of wars, and also, “Every knee shall bow! Every tongue confess!” We shall have fed the hungry, visited the prisoner, taken care of the sick, and the lost sheep shall be found. Soon and very soon, but not quite yet.
And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. Matt 24:6-7
… At the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Philippians 2:10-11
I went to breakfast the other day at our favorite spot without Yvonne, because she had fallen (she’s all better now). A lot of people asked for her and inquired about her. Why? Because we share God’s love with all wherever we go. One man asked me what we did for a living (thank you, Jesus!). I love to tell the story of Jesus and HIS love. Several others joined in the conversation (this happens often), and we had “church.”
Someone told us about their daughter who had been raped and murdered, and they wanted to know if they need to forgive that person? “What says the Bible, The Bible to me, The words of men so often confuse us, What says the Bible to me?” I told him of a man in Kentucky who was killing himself with hate for the same reason. His Pastor told him to visit the offender in prison and to work on forgiving him. That was twenty years ago - the man still visits that inmate along with many others, and he now has that “peace…that passes all understanding.”
When Yvonne’s youngest daughter was murdered she was asked if she could or would try to minister to the man who killed her. He had also killed himself, but Yvonne’s answer was, “It would have been difficult, but I would have had to or all we do would not be valid.” Praise God, there are no tears in heaven.
And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7
Letters T h i s i s W h a t I t ’s A l l A b o u t . . .My Name is Waymon…
…But everyone calls me Bear. I wanted to let
you know the Pen Friend Program is a wonderful
thing! You have blessed me in so many ways, and
I am sure many other inmates can say the same
thing. When I wrote to get in this program I never
thought I would be blessed as I have with the
family you matched me with. They are truly angels!
I have never met two people who show me
so much love and support, as well as spiritual
guidance. They have become my family and I love
them very much. I do not know what I would have
done without them and the Pen Friend Program.
I thank God daily for both of you. When I get out I want to be a part of the Pen Friend program. There are so many brothers and sisters who need to know the Love of Christ.
Passing the “Baton”
Dear Don and Yvonne - Thank you for the ministry that you do with Someone Cares. My mother, Frieda Jensen, was a strong supporter of Someone Cares Prison Ministries and faithfully corresponded with prisoners until her sudden death on June 11, 2009. She suffered a stroke while sitting at her desk writing to prisoners. In assisting my father, William, after her death, I found that she had letters prepared six weeks in advance for mailing to her inmate contacts. I prepared a generic letter to include with these letters informing the prisoners of her death thinking that this would draw her ministry to a close. Little did I realize that she had been corresponding with some of these inmates for close to 20 years. The letters that we received in return touched our hearts. It is not every day that one has the opportunity to realize the impact of a ministry on the lives of others.
To make a long story short, my husband Ron and I have continued to correspond with those prisoners who have requested that we remain in touch. We have endeavored to maintain the same style of letter that Frieda used, and have been privileged to continue the ministry that she believed in. Ron and I both work full time, care for our three elderly parents and correspond with close to 150 inmates each month. While it isn’t an easy task to keep life in balance, we feel blessed each month when we read the letters that we receive. We pray that what we share is a blessing and will continue to encourage “our” inmates to keep their eyes focused on Jesus.
… Our prayers are with you!
I have been a part of Paper Sunshine since February of last year. In that time I have been blessed beyond my wildest imagination. God paired me with a wonderful lady who has become like a mother to me. From the beginning we knew God had a part of putting us together. We share joys, laughter and tears. Most we share the love of the Lord. We have done a Bible study together and that has deepened our relationship and our walk with the Lord.
I thank God she put society’s prejudices aside to write an inmate in prison. Some people forget we are (most of us) like ordinary people that have made a mistake. Most women here did not have the loving guidance they needed to keep from making the choices they did. We are paying a high price for things we have done wrong. My life has been enriched by my Pen Friend, and she says the same. You can be that someone who cares and shares for someone like me. To show God’s love to a lonely soul who feels like they have been forgotten.
Praise our Lord for the New Year, perhaps the one He returns. How much I love the both of you and the many years you have given to the least of these. Every newsletter makes me hope and pray for those in prison. “There, but for the grace of God” be any one of us. Enclosed is a poem from one of my friends in prison.
We are living in reality, let me tell you it is insanity.
This is not the place to be, it is insanity.
This is not the place to be, I’m ashamed to say.
I live this way, I’ll tell you why.
There is no ears to hear, or eyes to see,
What this place has done to me.
The bars are thick, the walls are high,
As I walk the yard, most inmates are cold and hard.
But in their eyes I can see their hurt.
When little kids suffering so much hurt, really tired of living like dirt.
The sex, the drugs have taken their toll,
It’s eating them up, making them old.
The fakes, the snakes, they’re all the same,
Always trying to run some game.
Pointing figures here and there, mainly ‘cause they’re really scared.
Look past the madness, get on your knees, Jesus is the answer.
Repent and pray each and every day.
In HIS word He will show you things we need to know.
Jesus is the freedom we need to know now. We can be set free.
We have been given a massive amount of Christian music records which had belonged to Yvonne’s parents, Clyde and Vera Groomer, so now we need a record player. (Later we hope to convert them to CDs.) Someone has also donated a bunch of DVDs and we need a player for them, then later we will donate the DVDs to different prisons.
Our grandson, Jake, needs a car or van. We are looking for something used and on the older side, but in good condition. We hope to find something at the right price (cheap) that is within a thousand miles of Fort Wayne. Lastly, whatever you have that is of Christian content, we could make use of it.
TO ERR, HUMAN
We recently did three radio shows and received a lot of names of those who want to join Someone Cares as pen friends, and also a lot of requests from inmates requesting pen friends. AMEN! We are wondering if everyone who made a request received a name? If not, please contact us either by email, phone, or letter. If we sent you a name and you did not write, will you please return it?
We felt very blessed this year as we worked on your receipts. With the world economy the way it is, as well as our conditions here in the U.S, it is a true miracle to have ended up in the black again. One thing that really touched my heart is receiving donations from folks who have been with us for a long time and have now given for the first time. These gifts, which are tax deductible, will keep us growing.
Last year we grew by 18%, our donations by 4%, and our love by 100%. We pray that all the receipts are correct, but if not please call. We also pray that God will bless each one of you, and that you will be able to give equally as much this coming year as you did last year. Pray, write, and donate and HE will grant the increase.
POLICIES FOR PRISONERS
As this Ministry has grown, it has become a sort of “clearing house” for a lot of questions. Many Church members have kin being locked up, and we are contacted for help. Here are some of our policies:
General Help. If anyone is in prison (not jail) with a sentence longer than a year and they want help, we will try. The prisoner needs to contact us by mail.
Resources for Released. If your friend is getting out and wants information on what help is available upon their release, we cannot help them if their release is imminent, as this is time consuming and needs to be done a long time prior to release. Contact us for information on this at least six months prior to the expected release date.
Stamps & Books. You cannot send stamps or books to your pen friend, since that is a way for some to ship drugs into prison. Any books you want to send must be new and shipped directly from a prison approved vendor.
Requests. The meek shall inherit the earth, but in prison they will fall by the way side. Inmates have 24 hours a day to work on ideas for getting you to give what they want. As we’ve said before, if you are able to provide something the inmate asks for, that’s fine, but YOU MUST contact the prison to find out what their policy is for receiving items or money. However, if your pen friend is constantly asking for things, or if you have any reservations at all about any request, please ask us before sending anything. (Years and years ago when I was in prison, I must admit that if I thought there was anyway to get something from somebody, I would sure try.)
Phone Calls. Some inmates want their pen friend’s phone number. We do not advise this as all phone calls from prison are collect and very expensive, and this also gives away your location.
Inmate Moved. If you find out that your pen friend is transferred, call that State’s Department of Corrections office with the inmate’s name and inmate number, and they should be able to provide you with the new facility address.
Money, Debt & Promises. If an inmate becomes indebted to another inmate, it’s a very serious problem that could lead to death. Several years ago a pen friend told an inmate they would send him money, but did not. On that promise the inmate borrowed from someone but then could not repay—he was stabbed but not killed. The police said they would put him in protective custody if he gave the names of those threatening him. If he gives the names, he is labeled a snitch and his life is really in danger. The policy here is - do not make any promise you cannot keep.