Quietly Changing Lives
Believe in the Lord always. We got a call from a pastor who said he would like to get his church involved in our ministry. Amen! We got a call from a retired pastor’s wife wanting a Pen Friend. She said her husband would join later. And yet another pastor’s wife called saying they were involved and wanted more names. We had a stack of a little more than one hundred names and in a heartbeat they were gone. Amen! Being as there are few positive things in prison, every time one inmate gets a letter they share it. There are inmates a that will try to take advantage of you. We and you should not let them. If you are not sure please ask us.
It is really difficult to define “those kind of people” as prisons are full of all kinds of people. 30% are hard core and will never change. A whole lot should not be in prison as their only crime is ignorance and being uneducated. Another large bunch should be in a mental hospital, not prison. When we started this ministry prison was different. You might have gone to school or had a job. This is not so in most prisons anymore. They are overcrowded and understaffed which means most are locked down twenty-four hours a day. The food is terrible. Inmates reach out for a Pen Friend and get one. But they can’t answer because they don’t have paper, pen, or note even a stamp. Many of you write but don’t get an answer.
Please write a second letter. If you still do not receive an answer, return all the inmates contact information to us. If you are matched with someone you don’t like, once again return the inmate’s information to us we will rematch you. For those folks whom you return, we will try to work with them. So many Pen Friends have written and gotten no answer and just quit. We are so glad Jesus did not give up on us. We have a video of an interview on a gang leader. He told a recruit to take a loaf of bread and make a peanut butter sandwich with little peanut butter. He had a list of cells with inmates he knew had money on their books. He told him to sell the sandwiches for two dollars. The reporter asked what if the inmate didn’t want the sandwich. “I’d cut their throat!” was the gang leaders reply.
Last month we asked for and are praying for a few large donations. We have been able to video record a lot of interviews and things about this ministry. We converted some to video but now we need to put it on DVD. We have a lot of poems and letters we need to publish. I need to get around to writing a book. Using computers and e-mails is a bit expensive. As big as we are getting we are going to have to hire someone. Pray for us
LETTER FROM ANGELS
Many years ago a young man on death row joined our Pen Friend Program. He has been a blessing to many and we asked him to share his feelings.
Prison is a desolate place, gray and cold, filled with violence and hatred. So here you are alone, ripped from all normal reality. You are depressed, many kill themselves. You are faced with two roads. The important one is to reach for a Bible. Change does not happen at once but slowly. The other road leads to prison ways and total desperation. But someone cares. You receive your first letter. Is the person to be trusted, will they be a true friend? The system tells you not to trust anyone. Deep down you see this may be your only chance. You see they don’t share the same thoughts as you. How can they? You want a friend and they want to talk relation. It does not matter and you look forward to the next letter. Then you find your new friend is real. Now the hellish world you live in has a little light. You get another letter and a little more strength to face the day. It is still a terrible place to live but now there is some joy. For you in the real world, you will never know how important it is to be someone who cares. My cell is cleaner, my thinking has a smile once in awhile. I have shared this with others here and they now have friends who care. If you care, take time to write. God asked you to.
BECAUSE YOU CARE, SHARE
My name is Joyce. Over the years I have written a whole lot of inmates. Here is how I do it. When I get a name I go to the computer to find out about the prison and in some cases the inmate. I start and index card to keep track. If I am not sure about something I contact the McClures or call the prison. I write. If no answer I write again. If still no answer I return the name to Don. It takes awhile to get into religion with my friend. I do let them know to me this is a ministry started by my best friend Jesus on the cross. My sister started with them 40 years ago and kept it up until she died. She said she would meet many of her Pen Friends in Heaven. I keep total control not by rejection but correction. Don & Yvonne have worked very hard and with little help have gone a long way. If you can’t write, support this great, productive ministry. If you can’t afford that, pray for them.
MY NAME IS RUDY
I met the two of you many years ago when Yvonne popped
up at my cell. I must admit I was stunned as my cell was in San
Quentin’s infamous “C” section. Don, your wife is attractive. She
introduced herself and said she was a volunteer! “Why here in one
of the worst section of any prison,” I asked. “Why not?” she threw
back at me. “Lady, the men are the worst of the worst and most
would kill at the drop of a hat.” She told me God has sent his angels
with her and her husband is here also. She gave me a book and a
couple of other items. Later they got me a Pen Friend and
introduced me to Jesus. I saw them often and may have still been in
prison if not for them and the several Pen Friends. Yesterday (I’m
out of Prison) I was eating breakfast at McDonalds and I heard a
couple talking about Someone Cares. One of the ladies had your
newsletter. The other said, “Oh I could never do that. Who wants
those kind of people?” I turned and said I’m one of those kind of
people. Without them I would still be in prison. We chatted a bit and she
gave me your newsletter. Folks I can say these two and those
connected with them are the real deal.
I’m sorry. I tried to get my pastor and my friends involved but no one seemed to care.
Jesus cares and that is so important. When I first became a Christian many folks, because of my background, had doubts. Forty years later that has changed. We look at the condition of the world today. And because of our non-profit status we are silent. The wasted cost and expense of incarnation is terrible. The ignorance of politics is stupid. The Bible says “Rebuke publicly. On that hill far away, on that old rugged cross, Jesus stopped dying to save a convict - like many in prison but not guilty. All we are asking is take time - a very little - to write an inmate and just maybe we will hear that trumpet sound.
Just imagine no cell phone, no computer, no letters, no communication with anyone! No birthday or Christmas cards, no shopping, no getting out. Just sitting on a cot all day long or walking around a space the size of your bathroom. Very boring. If you were in that situation, you would want someone to write to you, and so would I. Well, that is what prison is like, and most are at maximum capacity.
Your heart must be in it to write or send a card. Inmates need good news from the outside world, since all they usually hear are other inmates complaining. They need to know that someone cares and to hear the good things in your life. They really need to know that Jesus loves them, but that will take time. We thank God for each one of you and hope more will want to share Paper Sunshine.
Sounds like a good thing, but it can be a nightmare. At one of the prisons that Yvonne worked at almost thirty years ago, we turned the Chapel into an All Faiths Chapel. This bunched the doctrines of some churches together. The Muslim religion takes a bad rap since often black gang members use it as a meeting place. We have a lot of inmate friends that are true Muslims who must deal with that problem.
I am reminded once of a challenge I received, which was to preach a sermon without using the name of Jesus. I could not do it, and when I failed the head Chaplain cautioned me; however, six members of the Muslim faith said, “Let the brother speak. We know who Jesus is.” Amen.
We are asking that everyone give a copy of this newsletter to their Pastor, asking them to read it to their congregations and tell them about this Ministry and Paper Sunshine. Our program has done a massive amount of good for those involved, even those who are free. Christians have been commissioned to do much by God’s word, including feeding, clothing, and visiting those in prison. God blesses us for doing what He tells us to do and puts out a severe penalty for not. Many will go to Heaven because of this Ministry. If your Pastor will help organize a program in your church, God will grant the increase.
In working with Voice of Prophecy (VOP), Someone Cares Paper Sunshine has led one million inmates to complete Bible Studies. Amen! It has also prompted many groups to go into prisons to teach the Bible. Please remember VOP in your prayers.
Here is how the Pen Friend (aka Paper Sunshine) program works. When you contact us we match you with an inmate pen friend. You then receive an application and a letter from him or her. You respond to their letter and we pray that a blessing is received by all. You do not ever use your own address, but all mail is funneled through Someone Cares. As an added protection, we can assign you with a “pen name.” When the inmate writes to you (at our address) we read their letter for your protection (but we never read the letters you write), then send it to you.
Since writing letters has become a lost art, we have started a new email program. You can type your letter to the inmate and email it to us, we will then “snail mail” your printed letter (with the top cut off so your email address does not show) to the inmate. When the inmate sends their reply, we scan it and email it to you.
We would like to work with other Prison Ministries. If your church does any type of ministry in any U.S. prison (not jail), please have them email us with their contact information, at firstname.lastname@example.org . By the way, visit our new web page www.someonecares.org and go to archived newsletters for a real trip through time.
At this time we wish to thank all those who for 87 cents and up have supported this non-profit organization for so long. We sure have needed your help in these tough times.
We received this letter a couple of weeks ago: “My two boys know my husband and I write several inmates and send something every month to you, their Ministry. Without us knowing it they gathered up a lot of stuff and had a rummage sale. Here is $97.17 from John and James.”