Quietly Changing Lives
We start this year wishing you and yours all of God’s blessings. We look at what’s going on in the world, and it is not good. Prayerfully, we know that God can deal with any problems He wishes to, and with the people causing them. We also know He will bless us as He always has. Our humble prayer is that this may be the year that He returns. To that end, we ask each of you reading this to help lead someone to Him. Our prayer is that everyone who reads this will say, “I’ll get involved this year and try to get someone else involved also.”
This past year ended with us receiving a call from a young man who had recently been given the job of Prison Ministry Leader. He had no experience and no idea what he wanted to or should do. He called around and was led to us. It is very common for those getting started in prison ministry to give us a call, and what we tell them is to plan their work and work their plan. I recommended that this young man get his Church of 300 involved in Paper Sunshine to get the snow ball rolling.
Thanks to all of you who are already involved with us in this Ministry. Many inmates will have a Happy New Year because you took the time to bring Paper Sunshine into their life.
with them, and those who are mistreated, since you also are
in the body.”Hebrews 13:3 ESV
When I drove to Soledad Prison so many years ago at age forty, it never occurred to me that I would begin my second shift at this job at the age of eighty! My eye surgery has resulted in having to be driven around by Yvonne, Ronna or Jake.
As I recently was going through some old paper work, I suddenly realized just how many friends who had helped us over the years were now gone. A day is coming (soon, we hope) when we will see all those old friends, as well as the many inmates they led to Jesus, in Glory.
When I became a Christian it took a bunch of people to help me. One very special person was Dick Cadavero. My friend is asleep, waiting on Jesus. Chaplain Stan Read, who opened the prison doors for us, is also waiting. I cannot name them all but Jesus holds them securely in His hands.
With God’s help we are going to make some changes around here. Jake will be advancing his education and can no longer continue working for us as he has in the past. This is a loss for us now, but we have hopes it will be a big plus later on down the road. Jake will be sorely missed, but Ronna will be taking over his duties and of course will do a good job. We ask that you pray for the direction that Jake has taken. My short-lived semi-retirement will have to wait for another time.
We have plans to utilize Christian radio and printed advertising to expand the Pen Friend Program. Voice of Prophecy has revamped and we pray we are included in their programming. Many of you came to us as a result of hearing us on that radio platform.
I got some news that I have severe hearing loss in both ears. If it gets worse Yvonne will teach me sign language. Please pray for me. I’m going to need a couple of hearing aids, but as usual will keep on keeping on.
We are trying to stay up to date a bit by utilizing the internet for writing to your inmates. Although I must say that a hand written letter carries much more impact, as it is more personal. A problem that happens with a typed letter is that the personal touch is lost. While we do allow you to write through email, it is a lot of extra work for us. It is not our preference, but if this is the only way you are able to join us in this Ministry, that is fine.
If you choose to write through email, here is how it works. In the body of the email, type your pen friend’s name, number and address at the top. Then write your letter and send it to our email address. When we receive the email we print it, cutting off your email address. We then address and stamp an envelope to your pen friend and mail the letter to them. When we receive the inmate’s response we can either mail it to you or scan and email to you.
Some of you write form letters, especially if you are writing to more than one inmate. Others send form letters, but with an added personal note. Another way some write is through Jpay.com, an online service for writing (similar to email) to prisoners for the cost of a postage stamp. The most important thing is that you write!
I came to prison fifteen years ago and deserve every second spent here. About five years ago I listened to VOP on the radio, and you and your wife and Ministry were featured. My grandmother took me to church when I was young but when I left home I left that. I wrote you guys and received a pen friend and a Bible Study. The couple seemed very nice and very caring. It did not take long for me to see my only way to stay out of prison was to change. Could I? I spent hours in God’s word and kept growing in Him.
My pen friend helped me
every step of the way and the
one time I got out of line you
guys stepped in. I will be
paroled soon. As for my future,
thanks to Someone Cares and
my friends and of course Jesus,
I’m sure I’ll be free indeed.
Several years ago I was driving home and listened to you on
VOP. I was touched and called you. Soon after I received a packet
with two inmates. I chatted with my Pastor, but he said no (?). I
asked my husband and he said, if God called you. Both my husband
and I have written about twenty inmates with our kid drawing pictures.
This also made us dig into God’s word to deal with questions.
Those who may read this, this Ministry is great and makes us do
what God asked us to. If more pastors would write an inmate then
promote this program Jesus would be here sooner.
You asked us to try to get folks to write inmates. I asked my
pastors if I could make an appeal, but they said no. So we asked a
few friends and they joined us. We have written about thirty inmates
with only a couple of problems which you took care of. We do see
why it is difficult. My daughter and I sit at our kitchen table and write.
We cut out interesting things from the paper and magazines and are
having a ball. Thanks for arranging for someone to visit one of our
I am a Pastor and think this program is really neat. We got ourselves
and our small church involved. We have a Vesper service and
we read and discuss our pen friends letters, help each other with
Bible questions and pray a lot. Of the twenty-seven inmates we have
written, eleven have been released. Of those, seven still write and
two have visited our church. I stressed the danger of writing inmates,
but your safety rules made it so we have never had a problem.
Pastors, did Jesus not say, “I was in prison and YOU visited me not.”
Hello to everyone! It seems like such a long time since I have written in the newsletter! God has truly blessed me, as my body heals very fast and it is a blessing when I have so many surgeries to go. This Ministry has truly blessed me, like when I get letters from inmates thanking us for finding them someone to write to and asking us to please never stop what we are doing because there are so many people that need us. They always say that God will always bless us for what we are doing for people. And that includes all of the people involved in this Ministry. Thank you all so very much for all you do, and I pray you all have a wonderful New Year.
I would like to mention a few things to the new people that have joined our Ministry. I get so many requests from inmates for a pen friend and I read every one of them. If they seem good at heart I go ahead and send them an application, and if they are looking for something other than a good Christian pen friend we send them a post card to let them know we are a Christian Ministry and cannot help them at this time. I just want you all to know we do everything to make this Ministry very safe for everyone.
To think that another year has gone right by, when I had thought by now that we might be retired. But, what would we do if retired? I believe I would just get bored.
It seems to me like it is getting harder to witness to people, so I have a new strategy. When I run into a stranger, I walk up and say hi. They usually ask, “Do you know me?” And I always reply, “Well I hope to!” They may look at me a little strange, but I just keep on talking and I am surprised how many new friends I’ve met. The greeters at the store are perfect for that introduction.
We have a new great grandson named Miles – he is ever so cute! And we have another great grandson in Florida named Peyton. Speaking of grandsons, it is so nice to have Jake going further with his education, which is a positive move. We are so fortunate to have Ronna here to step right in and help us so much. She has had shoulder and back surgery and needs hip and knee replacement, and also both of her feet need joint replacement.
God blesses us so much and we want God to bless you throughout this New Year!
Don, Yvonne & Ronna