Quietly Changing Lives
We start this with a very sad note - our friend and board member since we started this Ministry, Dr. Willard Regester, died. He was a man who truly helped me when I first became a Christian and kept on helping me as I grew. He did so much for us, especially me. As I grew in Christ, and had lots of questions, Willard was the one I would call, and I called a lot. Many years ago he came to Soledad Prison while we were working there and put on a stop smoking program. He started by taking all the cigarettes from the inmates and then taught them the steps to take to quit. Somebody later swiped all the cigarettes, but eighty per cent of the men quit smoking. We ask for special prayers for Willard’s wife Peggy and their family.
This girl is having her share of problems! Her third surgery in the past year was a knee replacement to be followed later by a hip replacement. Unfortunately the knee surgery brought about a serious infection, delaying her return to work. There may be a delay in mail as I don’t move as fast as I did and Yvonne is recovering from her surgery, but she is doing well.
Betty and her family joined this Ministry a long time ago. She told me once she had read one of our newsletters where we asked for a used car. She prayed God would provide them with a bunch of money to buy a new car. Recently God sent them an answer to prayer, and she and her family received a lot of money. Two large gifts to us have made a lot of things possible. In an economy that is up and down we are assured to keep the doors open and letters flowing for years to come. We don’t know what the future holds but we know who holds the future. Pray for Betty and Roger and family.
We get calls all the time as folks are referred to us by other ministries. A man called and said he had a program to help those in prison with drug problems. He called a bunch of Ministries and they all referred him to us! We have a web page but you need to be looking for it. When we were on the radio with VOP we had exposure, but no longer. Does anyone have any ideas? As I get closer to my 81st birthday I am recharged, as a recent large gift means we don’t have to spend quality time raising funds. However, we still need your support to keep us growing.
I received a call yesterday from a woman who said she wanted four more pen friends. Awhile back ago she had been given four inmates to write; one had answered but the others have not. She is still writing to them and praying for them daily. We sure wish all would do this. Wouldn’t you like the blessing of at least one more pen friend?
I joined your program to meet some females. (Sadly this is all too common.) I received your application and even though it said this was not a dating service I filled it out. Sure enough I received a female pen friend. Her letter to me was very good and made me feel a bit better. I wrote Barbara quite awhile, and when I got around to talking about me and her she did not quit writing. I found out after about 11 letters that she is 91! I learned a lesson I might not have had if she had not kept on working on me. I learned what the future holds and who holds the future.
I became a member of your Pen Friend Program and was really blessed. Seventeen others I wrote to, including some churches, never even answered.
You matched me with a really super person, Mary. She did not throw religion at me or her doctrine ever. She directed me in many ways to improve myself for release while in here. I got birthday cards and Christmas cards. Then the letters stopped. I wrote the Ministry and they found out for me she was in the hospital. She soon died. Then I got a letter from another person who Mary had arranged to take over if she did not make it. Most of us are in prison or get out and return to prison because no one cares. I’m sure glad Someone Cares.
That is my given name. My number 23874B is what my mistakes
gave me. I went by that number for twenty years. In and out of
trouble, never getting my life right. My family, like most, gave up on
me. The guy in the cell next to me was listening to the radio and I
listened to this lady talking about ministering to those in prison and
asking folks to help. I got the address and wrote them. Several
weeks later I heard my name called for mail. A letter! Not one, but
four letters from a husband and wife and two kids. They wanted to
be my friend…me! I had to borrow a pen, paper, envelope and
stamp and I wrote. This friendship gave me back my self respect.
Got me hooked up with my family and I became just “John.” I get the
newsletter and see them fighting to get folks involved. Let me tell
you, 23874B did not deserve what these folks and the Ministry gave
me. One day soon I will be released and as I learned from all of them
I will be free indeed. I have learned about Jesus. I have learned to
hold my head high, and agape is a part of my life.
My name is Madeline and I am a new Christian. The church I joined is an “All Faiths” church and pretty active. I told them about your Ministry and was surprised at the response. Fifty names are for me as I am in poor health and need something to do. Five other folks are taking ten each. I am so happy to find a way to serve Jesus, who has done so much for me. I will be writing by email. Thanks for helping me with this.
If you are already involved then please read this. If you are not, then please read it and join us. Inmates write us requesting an application, which explains this Ministry to them. It informs them that their letters to you will be read by us. It informs them we are not a dating or matrimonial service. We send this application and a introductory letter from them to you. Sometimes we send just the letter and have you send them the application with your letter. When you write them you put their letter in an envelope with their name, number and address. Don’t put the name “Someone Cares” on the envelope to your inmate, just your name and our address in the return address. Seal this and put a stamp on this, then put it in an envelope to us. We remove your letter and mail it from here. Over the years, as a result of this program, many have come to know Jesus, even some church members. Jesus tells us often about visiting and remembering the inmates in prison. Do you think He was kidding? We really need help. Paper Sunshine has been crime prevention, bringing families together. Many will be in Heaven when Jesus returns. Will you help?
Again, take a little walk with me down memory lane. When I was just a kid I ran away from home. I grew up in and out of all kinds of trouble and in and out of all kinds of “lock-ups.” I’ve been in both the gutter and the penthouse of life. Planes, boats, cars and houses a plenty, but I eventually ended up in a dingy apartment with no furniture. Yvonne’s daughter, Ronna, now a part of this Ministry, slept on a box spring that we took out of a dumpster.
Then one day things changed, as Jesus took me in. I gave up the fast lane of life for the promise of a better place. I have claimed every bit of God’s Word. We are blessed with a neat home and a couple of neat used cars. Our funding will keep us growing and your continued help will keep us growing. The amount of mail we are handling is massive and getting bigger. So, as we’ve said before, we need to start making some changes.
This provides Christmas gifts for the children of inmates who can’t afford to buy them. When someone goes to prison the whole family serves time. If your church doesn’t currently have an Angel Tree program going, perhaps you can start one.
As I stated earlier, we received a gift that will secure the needs of this Ministry for a long time. But as we grow your continued donations are needed. We thought for a moment we are getting too big. But it’s not by our own efforts – God, who is the head of this Ministry, has arranged that, so we need to keep on. Retirement does not seem to be in God’s plan for us. Last year we received 1,000 each $5.00 donations.
We are so proud to say we have never had a year in the red. We ask God to grant the increase. I listen once in awhile to preachers of huge churches that have millions of dollars, but we will keep on with the “Widow’s Mite.”
We still need one quality
used car which we will have
transported here. Most of all we
need each of you. If nothing
else, a prayer every now and
then will help. Thanks to all of
you who are involved in
supporting this Ministry.
The most effective type of program is one to one. We worked and helped an organization called M2 (match two). A man or couple would make monthly visits to an inmate who otherwise had no visitors. This is done in a prison waiting room.
The biggest problem with talking to prison inmates is getting someone to open up, to let things out. You can call the Chaplain of a prison near you. This call can also let you know of areas the Chaplain needs help in.
Next is “Dress-Outs.” Inmates leaving prison usually have nothing, and gathering used clothing to provide for free to released inmates is a huge blessing. Our Ministry clothed over 100,000 inmates in California. This ended when we left.
Most inmates are not well schooled. Remedial reading is also greatly needed. Many inmates would be released sooner if they learned to read and could do their own paper work. Budgets are terrible in prison. Most of the Bibles they have are New Testaments only. Years ago we made an appeal to a church for Bibles. The church went door to door and collected a whole lot of Bibles, in fact so many that I had to borrow a truck to get them. Many were well marked, too many had never been read, but we got them into the hands of inmates.
For the Lord hears the needy and does not despise his own
people who are prisoners.