Quietly Changing Lives
When you receive this I will be 84 years old Ė Amen! God has given me a great life and a wonderful wife (helpmate). We do not know what the future holds but we know who holds the future. I still think of the look on Yvonneís face when I told her I had quit a great job to teach the Bible in prison. She said, ďBut you are just learning it. How are you going to teach it?Ē Teach what I learn and learn what I teach. Then the big day came. I had to preach TWO sermons!!! Well, as usual, I asked God and Yvonne helped me - again - still! Since then I have preached hundreds of sermons. Many I have borrowed from others. My system was to open my Bible, put my finger somewhere, and make a sermon by letting God lead. I had some favorite preachers - Jesus, Walter Pearson, Henry Wright, Randy Roberts, Dwight Nelson. Running into a longtime friend, he could not believe what I told him. I told him about an inmate who could neither read nor write but he could make up songs by looking at flowers, animals, the sky and his friends. We can all do it if we ask Jesus. I have been an interim pastor, a pastor, and hold chaplainís credentials in three states. For the first eleven years, we each made one dollar a year. Forty years in the black thanks to Jesus and so many of you.
I got out of prison with a chip on my shoulder. I probably would be back in prison if it were not for your ministry. No, I have not met you. I did hear about you both at San Quentin. I spent eleven years in that hell hole. I was stabbed, raped, and full of hate. I got out after serving every day of my sentence. I was released with no money so I hitch hiked. I got a ride with a nice couple they had on their radio. You and your Ministry and they were talking to me. Silently in the back seat of that car I accepted Christ. Arriving home was terrible, still as bad as it was when I left. I left and slept in a box car. Walking down the street a stranger said, ďyou look hungry.Ē He took me to breakfast and got me a job. I went to work and never saw him again but I know who he was. Amen! Johnnie
MY NAME IS TERRY
I am in prison for drug possession. I was taking a friend home and was stopped for a yellow light. My friend had drugs on him and I got 6 years because of a prior and I tested clean. My friend got a suspended sentence. His family got a lawyer. I got a public defender who I saw once. I am glad there is Someone Cares out there as it seems friends and family donít.
MY NAME IS JANET
I am in prison for selling drugs and possession. My boyfriend,
who I was taking to a program for drugs, had drugs in my car.
I have never used and never will. I got 2 years in prison. My exboyfriend
got three years. At first I was angry. Then I talked to the
chaplain. He gave me a form from Someone Cares. I got a Pen
Friend and an education. Folks, prison is a terrible place, and there
are so many lonely folks in here who need someone.
TO SOMEONE CARES
I am writing this because you and Yvonne, your wife, really
care. Iím serving a double life and deserve every minute of it. I met
you guys after an attempted suicide. You took the time to listen and
never rejected me. Yvonne did say, ďDo the crimes, do the time.Ē
Drugs put me here and I deserve to be here. But when you introduced
me to Jesus it put a purpose in my life. I have studied the
Bible every day and pray a lot. The main thing I learned is staying
active. I read. I study. I work out. I do have a TV but donít watch it
much, especially the news. Before Christ came into my life all I
could think of was dying. My days are a bit better as you know we
have little yard time. My Pen Friends - a man, wife and teenage son -
write rather often, so this keeps me busy. The boy told me awhile
back Jesus can do anything may even shorten my sentence to only
one life. The beauty of it all is knowing Someone Cares.
A CHRISTIAN IS WHAT A CHRISTIAN DOES
My name is Betty Conrad and Iím a Christian. I grew up in a
family that went to Church every week and said grace after every
meal. Never once do I remember sitting around reading or studying
the Bible. Never once did our Pastor give us or direct us to do
anything. When the McClures came to our Church that all changed.
Don preached a Sermon on Paul & Silas going to prison and how
they worshiped during and after much pain. I signed up for a Pen
Friend. I was match with a man serving life without parole. He told
me about his day. He got up in the morning and prayed. Then he
went to breakfast and prayed again. He had others join him and
they prayed together after every meal. He read the Bible and studied
what he read. He got me doing the same. I have now written 31
inmates. I tried hard but had to get rid of seven. I wake up in the
morning and pray, and I know all my friends do the same. I started a
prayer study group in my church and then in my home. George
joined us and a year later we married. We pray together, we study
together and we write inmates together. If you do nothing else pray
for this ministry. I am so proud to be a part of it.
My friend I stand in judgment and feel you are to blame somehow. On earth, I walked with you day by day and never did you point the way. My knowledge was very dim, you could have pointed me to Him. You knew the Lord in truth and glory, but never did tell me the story. We lived together on this earth, but you never told me of the second birth. Now I stand this day condemned because you never mentioned HIM. You taught me many things, thatís true. I called you friend and trusted you. But now Iím afraid itís too late, you might have saved me from this fate. We walked by day and talked by night but you showed me not the light. Yes, I called you friend and trusted you through joy and strife. Coming to the end I can not now call you friend.
This was left in a cell of a man who was executed His mom sent it to us.
We thank the many of you who wrote the Governor of Florida. That state is the only one who has stopped our Pen Friend Program, even though we are posted on several chapels as a source. Also, several chaplains refer us.
Here is part of the Governorís reply. ďIt appears that Someone Cares Prison Ministry (They realize that) has violated a rule against pen pals (even though we are a Pen Friend Ministry). You may write your assigned inmate but not filter mail through Someone Cares Prison Ministries address.Ē
In half of the other, states we are listed in The Prison Resource Manual. THIS DOES CREATE EXTRA FINANCIAL EXPENSE YOUR HELP IS NEEDED. WE WILL WIN - AMEN.
We pray every time we do a newsletter that it will touch each of you. We know some have written inmates and it did not work. Try again. We know some of you are going through the troubles life brings. You have the chance by writing, by supporting, by praying for this ministry. If you have had a bad experience share it with us so we can do the same. I have told the story before but will try again. There was a man whose grief was overwhelming because his daughter was murdered. His pastor told him to visit the man who killed her. He did. It did not bring her back but it really did help him. He also knew he will see her again in Glory.
Overcrowding in prison was cut back a bit when our last President saw the unfairness of sentences. This also saved the tax payer quite a bit of money. It is difficult to see what the current President has done. By demanding an increase to the minimum sentence he wants an increase to drug sentences of a maximum or super maximum sentence. Then he wants to cut back funding of programs that help those with drug problems. This will make prison over crowed again and cost the tax payer much more.
Please send us your e-mail address and phone number!
A long time ago I read that book and my life was changed. Never would I have dreamt I would become a Christian and then a Minister. With Faith in Godís word and my wife God put many broken pieces together. We often hear ďIím to old to do this or that.Ē God has laid before us plans to build on what He gave us to do Prison Ministry.
We have boxes of letters, poems and stories written by inmates. These we need to put into several books. Do to our status in prison we have a whole lot of videos, baptisms testimonies, and interviews. Again, these need to be on CDs or DVDs. We have spent quite a bit of time going through them. They bring back many memories.
Yvonne was given funds from inmates who were not Christians to have it built. Their reason was we were there for them also. Christian inmates built it. We have videos of that unit and of baptisms and testimonials of inmates having it done. It is amazing and it lasted for years.
What about the convict... who wants to use you? Our program is called the Pen Friend Program. Its purpose is to establish a friendship that will lead to a better way of life. We learn about the life and ministry of Jesus and then try to adapt simple parts to ourselves. We need to listen to what our inmate friend has to say, and slowly explain why we are writing.
Men in prisons are looking for a woman to write. If they get a man, they often donít answer. Do we give up? No! We pray that you do not. True friendship is keeping on keeping on.
One bad dude joined our program. He had an attitude and we matched him by our two-pile system with a high school principal. Talk about opposites! But time is an ally and a real blessing. It took over two years, but these two men became friends and in helping the inmate (who learned to pass a GED), the principal led him to Christ. A code in prison is: ďDo good to me and I am honor-bound to do the same to you. Do bad and look out!Ē
Yvonne and I will be doing much more helping, as this ministry is the snow ball rolling and growing.