Quietly Changing Lives
Forty years plus a few more have led me from atheism, alcohol, smoking and doing drugs. All this had left me in really bad shape. Yvonne led me to Pastor Euell Ashley, into his office in the Mountain View Church. It did not take long as he told me to give in, not give up. That day I was blessed and my life was changed. I quit all of the things listed above and gave my life to Jesus. I was a new Christian and was given a new direction. God blessed both Yvonne and me. Having once been in prison myself, he led me back to prison to serve HIM. To us it is still amazing to look back upon. If you have a computer go to our website, www.someonecares.org and visit the archived newsletters. I had abused my body with drugs, smoking and drinking. I still get high but on Jesus! I THINK WE HAVE FOUGHT THE GOOD FIGHT, and - God willing - we shall do so much more if He tarries. Please pray for us as we pray for you. I never thought I would live this long - Thank You Jesus! I also never thought we would run into so many problems. We have never received pay from anyone but you. If God is willing and you can, we do need funds.
He made some very stupid mstakes and went to prison. Please pray for him. We are going to try to use him to help others not make the same mistakes.
They listened to us on 3ABN Radio (Three Angels Broadcasting Network) and contacted us. We sent them two inmates to write, and they turned it a family project. Now they have written to over two hundred inmates, half of which were hard-core (bad). They asked their pastor for help when they needed answers. Jim told me he was not very “churchy” but now he has gotten involved. They started a Someone Cares group, share the problems of the inmates and deal with them together. Ten of these inmates have completed home schooling. With a bit of effort, three inmates got jobs. Once in a while they call us and we advise or suggest things. To dream the impossible dream is to have one hundred or even one thousand churches involved in Someone Cares. We need a lot more folks like Jim and Joyce.
Yvonne and I were talking about the last forty-some odd years. This Ministry started in California when we lived in Aptos and worked at Soledad and San Quentin. Then we moved to Paso Robles and worked at Soledad and Avenal. We moved to Hopkinsville Kentucky and worked at Eddyville. Then we Moved to Michigan and worked at Jackson and Coldwater prisons. We returned to California, then back to Indiana. In every move we left one prison and went to a new prison. We trained many a volunteers in prison - mainly to teach and preach which is ministry in prison. Yvonne and I did preaching, teaching and counseling. We did training for pre-release and re-entry, and dress-outs programs. We have been through the police academy 3 times. This is prison ministry. We were able to do all this by working with other churches, the Red Cross, AA and NA. We have never received funding from any specific church or any state. In most cases our programs still work. Yvonne was raised in the church and I on the streets. In most cases, we were full time volunteer chaplains with the run of the prison. We have made mistakes as we learned but always profited from these. To get or keep programs that worked we often had to take on the state. We are about ready to take on Florida who is rejecting our Pen Friend program. These programs work and those involved are not in the RECIDIVISM CATEGORY.
We read or we are taught that we die and go to Heaven. Does not the Bible say the dead in Christ will raise first? How can they rise if still here? The Bible deals with the rapture, and the Bible tells us the earth will burn. How can there still be a “here?” Many read the Bible - more do not. The most important thing is that we study more. The Bible says study. We are mostly looking forward to seeing all of you. And, we want to see those that you have - through this Ministry- led to Heaven. Let the bugle sound and let every tough confess.
Several pastors have told us why they did not invite us to their church. They were afraid their members might support us or our mission to lead men and women to Jesus. If they join our church, that is neat but Jesus loves them in any church. When we moved to Payson we were sort of thinking about slowing down. But Jesus let us know where HE wanted us. The knowledge and information about Someone Cares is very popular in prison. The jungle drums spread the word. We have a lot of inmates waiting for Pen Friends. As you read this ask yourself “What can I do to help?” Get involved! Write an inmate or write ten. Think of a person sitting in a cell. Maybe two meals a day - often bad. They are scared and hoping someone will reach out to them. Is that someone you? I preached at a church and told the folks Jesus needed them in prison, telling the inmates about Jesus. He can set the captives free. To be free in Jesus is to be free indeed. Look how Jesus handled Satan when Satan tried to tempt HIM.
Jesus was away on a trip when He was informed that HIS friend had died. He did not rush back. Jesus - from where he was - could handle anything. He slowly walked to the Tomb. I don’t think HE said “Lazarus, come down,” or “Lazarus up.” He said, “Lazarus, come forth!” We serve a risen savior and there HE is.
If you have a computer
young folks at home learn to
find out where they are going on
the internet. Also, be very careful
yourself as we are all
tempted, often by money scams
or messages that are not true.
May people including older folks
are getting hurt. WE are tempted
to go see what is being offered.
You will receive a letter from your assigned inmate. Respond to it. Ask them about prison and what goals they might have. What is a day in his or her life like? Do not ask why they are in prison, for It is called Pen Friend program. Try to be friendly. Ask about what the prison provides. Always keep in mind they are in prison. Fear is a terrible thing and prison today is bad. Sentences are long. Most have little schooling. It may surprise you but some have great Bible knowledge. Some may ask for money or other things. If you are uncomfortable with anything return the inmate’s information to us and we will rematch you with someone else. If you wish to send things into prison, ask us first if it is allowed. Books must be soft cover including Bibles.
We are in dire need of writers. It seem every time we get an inmate as a Pen Friend they tell someone else. We are swamped with requests for Pen Friends. Notice - we need Pen Friends, not Pen PALS.
Folks, you will never know
until you try. Yvonne and I met
at a Soquel camp meeting. Don
was speaking and when finished
we got together. She later
talked me into having a pen
friend. Not a problem. Several
weeks later I got a packet.
Reading about the person, I saw
that he was black. I am
ashamed that I hesitated but I
wrote. That was twenty-one
years ago. I have received a real
blessing. And two other Pen
Friends still write. I was raised in
a church but no one ever asked
me to do anything. I love Don’s
two pile system - free folks in
one pile inmates in another. Try
it - you will love it. Be prepared
to learn and contact the God
As this ministry grows we have not been able to keep up with some problems. When we get a request from an inmate for a Pen Friend we send them an application to fill out and a letter to their new friend. We recently had a computer crash, and in rebuilding our system we found out some folks got the information but never wrote or returned it. Others did not like the race of the inmate and once again never wrote or returned their information. Some other folks wrote once or twice but because of things the inmate ask, for quit writing. Most of these contacted us. I called seventy-five people who we shown as writing . Forty-one were still writing and eighteen requested a new person. What we wish to do is match you with an inmate. If anything is wrong, please send their information packet back and we will rematch you. Yvonne, Ronna and myself will take on the hard-core inmates if you do not feel comfortable.
This Ministry has proven to be crime prevention. We ask everyone to ask their pastors to make an appeal remembering what Jesus said, “I was in prison and you visited me not.” The penalty was pretty serve. Hebrews 13:3 says remember the prisoners as if chained with them. We want to match five hundred inmates with Paper Sunshine. Please, each one - reach one!
When Jesus took me in it also changed my life. Thanks to most of you it has also changed the lives of many inmates. I got a call from John, and like many other inmates he said that I would not remember him. Read on.
I met Yvonne on the yard at Soledad. I was getting out and need clothes. She and Don got them for me. This was my third release from prison. I got to my parole destination with $57.00, no place to live, no family, no job. Neat clothes though! I remember Don told me don’t give up, give in. I walked to a junk yard and told a man I need a job. Who sent you? I thought for a minute - Don? Yvonne? No - I said Jesus. I got a job and a bunk in the office. That was a couple of years ago. I joined a church and listened to Don and Yvonne on the radio. They do what they say and there is victory in Jesus. Three of my friends, all in prison with me, are out and all have stayed out. It will be neat when Jesus returns and we all see him. Without Someone Cares I would have missed that.
Officials in the state of Florida want to stop the Pen Friend program. We have taken on two other states and won. Over the years we have shown this ministry works. God Bless you all.