Quietly Changing Lives
For two weeks we were featured on their radio show and it was great. The show aired on 117 different radio stations across the country. We pray we will also be on the Voice Of Prophecy and 3 ABN programs again as well. We can not believe how large this ministry is getting. We need a whole bunch of Pen Friends. We need an increase in funding, so if you are not a supporter please become one. A few large donations are needed. Our main need is Prayer Partners. I will be 84 in June and looking forward to retiring at 100. Yvonne is 77 and she is still our President. She handles all the inmate requests. If someone has a home they don’t need in a warm climate and would like to loan it to this ministry please keep us in mind. Ronna is keeping the mail moving. Jake is getting married next month and his dad, Mike, will also be helping us.
Some of you who asked for a Pen Friend but never wrote or never returned the forms to us. Please return the information to us. We ask you to write and if your don’t receive an answer, write again. If you still don’t get an answer return everything to us and get a new name. Keep in mind things which we take for granted - things like pens, papers, stamps are not easy to get in prison.
The bible alerts us of this. I
can not because of our non-
profit status render an opinion of
the man playing President. But if
we go to war again I pray he
remembers the almost 400,000
Inmates serving time that would
enlist. If the draft is brought in I
pray it includes the youth of
We are still fighting them. They are not allowing mail in or out to anyone connected with us. Our church’s legal department is working with us. We do have a stack of mail they rejected. If you have not gotten mail from there we have it or the attorney helping us does. Any questions please call us. We have a problem and ask for your prayers.
SOME OF OUR LETTERS
WHAT A BLESSING
An absolute surprise I almost fell out of my chair - when I received the email about your radio show. Don & Yvonne, you might not remember me. I was one of the unfortunate ones incarcerated at Soledad Prison. From 1983 to 1991. You two were such a blessing to me and hundreds, maybe thousands, of other inmates. The love and compassion you both showed all of us regardless of our crimes. I have the fondest memories. Inmates did not have decent clothes and you were there like angels with fresh clothes for us at pre-release as we got ready to start our new lives as free people. I’m sure all were as proud as I was. I wrote a book (Dark Corners) by Terry Morrissey. In that book you and Yvonne are mentioned a whole lot because of what you did for us inmates. God loves you both as I do for all you have done for others that would be impossible to copy. Thanks for being there when so many others had abandoned me. Terry
GOD IS SO GOOD
I have been in prison for a long time and ashamed of what I did but I did it. I had a public defender and think I should have been my own lawyer. We watched a TV program where they interviewed nine lawyers who were public defenders. The news man asked, “Do you think someone you defended was sent to prison and was not guilty?” All raised their hands. I was lucky as my cell mate was a good lawyer. He did not get me out but he got my sentenced reduced a lot. Also you got me a Pen Friend that got me to my knees and changed me. To be free in Jesus indeed. It seems half the population here talks about Someone Cares. We need to get the other half! Thanks for caring and sharing.
MY NAME IS JENNY
I joined with your ministry about eleven years ago and went through about twelve inmates to get four. It is not easy but Don really helped and I called often. I have been a Christian for a long time but this is the first time I did anything for or with the Lord. I, like Don, am getting older but not giving up. I ask you who can to support this ministry which has changed the lives of many including me.
My name is Bob. I was a correctional officer at San Quentin’s famous “C” section. This 250 men’s single cell section was really bad. There were 50 cells to a tier and five tiers. On the wall opposite the cell was a walkway manned 24 hours a day by armed correctional officers. The cells had a bunk and a toilet-sink combination - that’s it. One day the entrance was being unlocked and in walked a couple - Don & Yvonne! They had keys? The block commander told us they were the new, semi-full time chaplains and they choose this cell block. They both carried pretty big cases with religious materials. Over the year I watched these two lead the toughest of tough to a better way of life. Since these men spent 23 hours in their cell and often in summer they might be naked. They the inmates got together and when they entered the cell block someone, maybe even a guard, yelled out “The God Squad is here.” We had one inmate - one bad dude - who had stabbed two correctional officers. He never bathed, never shaved. I heard Yvonne say, “Would you like me to share my time and the love of Christ with you?” He straighten up, cleaned up and shaved. They arranged a Christmas visit from his mom. Also they started a Prayer Group for the staff. When inmates were allowed on the yard so was The God Squad. One Christmas every man received a book - Step to Christ - and one dollar was put on their books. Half of the men got Pen Friends before the God Squad moved on. Even though they left a part of them stayed here. I retired a couple of years later but the seeds planted were still growing. They led men to Christ.
You have seen the news on the death penalty? There are all kinds of ways to kill a person and still it is not a deterrent to crime. In fact putting someone to death cost millions of dollars more than life sentences. We worked on Death Row at San Quentin and Eddyville when we were in Kentucky. We have talked to and seen some of the worst criminals. In fact we put on a Christmas Party on Eddyville’s Death Row with family members present. And more than the Government wishes to talk about, many a man has been found not guilty after being put to death.
You write letter via e mail, starting with your information name and pen name. We will remove this. Write letter starting with inmates name number and address. Write letter e-mail it to us. WE will snail mail it to inmate. When the inmate writes back to you we will scan their letter and e-mail it to you. We can read and give advice to prevent problems. Also you now can go to our web page and get the application the inmate fills out if they have friends that want a pen friend.
If you know of anyone doing prison ministry send us their name and phone number. If you know any prison chaplains send us their information. If there is a women’s prison near, you try to get their chaplain’s name and number. We need to be able to provide inmates for free people and free people for inmates.
I just want you to know I have a lot of mail here and I don’t know where to send it. If you wrote and did not hear anything, please call us, we might have it here. The blue form always needs to be sent back to us so I can enter the information in the computer. Also please do not use any kind of stickers; we will just have to remove them. The prisons are also rejecting colored envelopes. I really feel that the devil is at work, we can’t reach the inmates in Florida at this point. I pray that will change. Thank you all for all you do! God bless, RONNA
In prison there are many really bad folks. They slip through our system and you are matched. They either try to get things or make passes and this upsets many of you which we understand. When this happens send it all back and we will rematch you and take the sour apples. WE DO MAKE MISTAKES and gladly will take being rebukes. To err human to forgive divine.
WE HAVE THIS HOPE
A song we pray you all know. The man who wrote this and many others has gone to sleep in Jesus. A lot of men and women have brought Yvonne and me to this point in God’s ministry through us and you. We will catch up with Wayne under the Tree of Life and I pray that Yvonne and me and Harriet join Wayne in Glory.
The car we were driving when we had the accident was donated by the Hoopers. God put His robe around Yvonne and me, but the car was not so lucky.
Many years ago at a Camp Meeting in the Santa Cruz mountains I was having a battle with myself over being so stupid. Dropping out of school at a young age made study hard. Wayne said, “Sing your way through it.” Well, Wayne had never listened to me sing. He will in Heaven.
When we shook hands after I picked up the car, he told me how proud he was of me and Pugs, a nickname for Yvonne.
My conversion may have been the most difficult of all time. The tug of war between Satan and God over me lasted quite awhile. In a Pastor’s study, a dear man, Euell, led me to my knees. The power of Jesus then picked me up and pushed me forward. The new me left behind drugs, alcohol, and a lot of bad habits.
The path ahead is full of obstacles, but we keep our eyes on Jesus.
WILL THE CIRCLE BE UNBROKEN?
Oh, yes. I will always feel the hands of Wayne, Jim, Lee, and Darryl pushing, humming, never giving up. The words that ring through my soul, “If ever asked to do anything in the name of Jesus, say “I’ll be happy to.” It really took a church to lead Yvonne and I through some terrible times; to the foot of the cross together. When I was baptized, and Yvonne re-baptized, never did I think I was given a life sentence back in prison. This time I carried a mighty sword, God’s Word.
Funny... I learned it as I taught it. A Grammar-school dropout ... the head of a ministry reaching into almost every prison in the United States. Looking back at a world of switch blades, zip guns, bare knuckles, being replaced by God’s saving grace. I came across an old report card signed by my mother. Like so many Moms, she was hurt so bad when I ran away. Never knowing where I was, she prayed every night. Prison and all kinds of trouble led me to a judge who really wanted to put me away but gave me a chance to join the service. Although drinking and drugs had me hooked, I made it out honorably.
My mom lived long enough to hear me preach. I had told her so many lies, but she smiled when we told her we would meet again in a much better place.