Quietly Changing Lives
TO YOU AND YOURS
Looking back and up, we have been truly blessed. Never did we think we would be a ministry almost forty years now. We still reflect on the turmoil I went through when I became a Christian, Yvonne growing up in the church me on the streets. I studied the Bible and she helped. I tried every job our church had but I did not fit. Hebrews 13.3 lead me to prison. I called Soledad and was accepted to teach Bible. I taught as I learned. Yvonne joined me. I pushed, she pulled but Jesus won. That was almost forty-five years ago. The God Squad had been born and Someone Cares was formed. Both Yvonne and I were offered jobs as full-time, volunteer chaplains at one dollar a year. We soon became a non-profit ministry.
When you have the opportunity to minister to thousands of inmates there are problems. Yvonne started the All Faiths Chapel. We got the prison’s churches together and they agreed, “Don’t let your doctrine be a barrier but rather a bridge to Jesus.” Amen! This slogan has gotten us through all these years.
I am soon to be 85. When time and weather permits I still play golf. table tennis and tennis. And - I am still pretty good, if I say so myself! We will keep Someone Cares going and growing. If everyone gave $5.00 a month all would be great, and it would keep the snow ball growing.
Our Pen Friend program is the backbone of this ministry. When we match you with an inmate, a ministry has started. We will have sent you an application on an inmate. We will have sent you and introduction letter from an inmate. Now you read everything. If not comfortable with your match send everything back to us and we will start over again. Following the rules, you write using our address as a return. If you do not receive an answer in thirty days, write again. If still no answer, return everything to us and we will replace your match. Your imnate may not have a pen, paper, or even a stamp.
You must stay in control. If they use improper language tell them not to do that. If they ask for things you can’t give tell them or if anything is not clear please call us.
Prison overcrowding keeps many in their cells. They are lonely and even the toughest inmates are scared. Do not let your doctrine be a barrier but rather a bridge to Jesus. If they ask for something and you can’t do it, tell them. If you are not sure call us. If you give up, please return everything to us. This is Pen Friend, not a Pen Pal program. If you use a pen name use both a first and last name, please.
We need Faith Partners! Our Postage was over $7,000 last year. We are growing as every time an inmate gets a Pen Friend, they share with others and the ball rolls on. Yes, there are very bad people in prison, but we have seen many change and turn to Christ. We have seen families put back together. Yes, you may write them when they are released. The Bile says, “I was in prison and you visited me not?” That was Jesus talking to us.
Our web page is www.someonecares.org. If you go there you can see and print the application we send out. Also, will see a radio icon. Click it and there are listed twenty-six radio shows we have done. Share this with your friends and pastor.
online through our website:
MY NAME IS SALLY. I met Yvonne at Coldwater Women’s Prison. She gave us Christmas cards to send out with stamps.
MY NAME IS TONY. I met Don at San Quentin during a lock down. He got in touch with my family that had cut me off I deserved it. Now all is well.
MY NAME IS SAM. I met Don & Yvonne at Soledad when they became the new chaplains. I was shocked they were paid a dollar a year. But was told they had been approved for a nonprofit status. There were 800 men on this yard and religion was tearing it apart. Yvonne changed the status to All Faiths and put God, not doctrine, in control.
MY NAME IS CHAPLAIN REED. Don called me one day and said he wanted to teach Bible here. They, Don and Yvonne, changed all kinds of things here and added a bunch. All Faiths took care of the many doctrinal problems and brought unity. Soon came remedial reading. Then came Dress Outs giving men leaving here free clothes. They brought in many groups and I got a lot of credit. The Pen Friend program has changed the United States prison system. They went to the police academy at their own expense and became state chaplains. At a dollar a year, Don applied for and was given nonprofit status. Hundreds of inmates found Christ through this dedicated couple. Please support.
Chaplain Reed died and is missed but he helped us plant many seeds in hard ground.
MY NAME IS NOT IMPORTANT. I am the warden of Coldwater Men’s and Women’s Prison. One day I got a call from Don. He said, “I hear you don’t have chaplains at the men and women’s prison there?” “No we do not,” I replied. “How about two and it will cost you nothing?” Now I thought he was nuts. When I met Don and Yvonne it was at a high point in my life. They got the jobs, paid their way to police academy and started working at once. This dedicated couple has changed the lives of many inmates. Don even got me to pray. Bibles, song books, and Pen Friends changed both prisons. It cost the State nothing.
VOICE OF PROPHECY
Don and Yvonne at Someone Cares have been featured on our radio show for years. They also raised a lot of money for Voice of Prophecy. We paid them nothing but they were blessed. We are still amazed at the stories of Yvonne and Don walking the yards of many prisons unescorted, going into the most dangerous cell blocks to bring the love of Jesus to many who have lost all.
Once again we have ended up with a pile of letters we have no idea where they go. One of the biggest problems we have faced over the years is that pen friends are not properly addressing their envelopes to the inmate. Old habits are hard to break, but we cannot state strongly enough how taking the time to follow the envelope addressing instructions is so extremely important. Won’t you please make a resolution to follow the proper instructions?
We received a letter to a Pen Friend that shocked even me, describing in graphic detail what sexual things his father did or made him do as a very young boy. I have suggested that the Pen Friend take a new inmate to write to and let us handle this man. This brings up a difficult question – have other letters like this fallen through the cracks, being forwarded on to you without being read by us because of too much mail? Have some of you received shocking letters? If so, we sincerely apologize. The growth of this Ministry is not going to stop, and changes need to be made to cut back on the hours it takes to read through all the mail.
Here’s What You Can Do: If your relationship with your inmate friend is good and you don’t mind getting mail without it being read, please tell us. This would cut back on our workload by quite a bit. A reminder – your mail is never read by us, so please seal your letter and make sure your full Pen Name and our address are in the return address spot.
Do not put stickers on letters or try to send inmates a stamped envelope; many put on too much postage, so please be good stewards and send us the stamps, and we will save money.
Speaking of stamps, we were donated a lot of old stamps. If there are any collectors out there who could sell them for us, this would be a great help.
In June, my birthday month, we got mail from inmates in thirty-three states, and received thanks for Paper Sunshine from family members of inmates and I thought back to a birthday in 1949 when I was sixteen and had a date that must be kept with another gang leader. This was a time when weapons were switch blades, brass knuckles, or zip guns made of wood, metal, a rubber band and bullet. We chose bare knuckles. A fight between two became a mini riot with much bloodshed, but no one was killed. So much hate - the same hate breeding in our prisons, and the same gang warfare.
We are overjoyed that over the years we have helped Jesus lead men and women away from these gangs. Every now and then someone from my past who hears of me through radio or TV calls to ask if I’m the same guy they knew. I am the same person, but cleansed by the blood of Jesus. I once tried to find the guys I ran with, worked with or partied with. I found three of them, but found there was nothing left of our friendship – all the other thirty-seven were dead.
These two articles are reprinted from our October, 2010 newsletter.
We certainly are blessed to have a wonderful family who knows of prisons and all its woes, and the wonderful family of God with Someone Cares, and Voice of Prophecy - what better company could we have? We have many friends in prison who have become great Christian people. I can’t imagine when we all get to Heaven what day that will be, we will all see Jesus and shout for victory. (Words from an old time hymn.)
Yes it will be grander than anything on this earth, better than any New Year on this earth. We pray that each of you will receive a special blessing in the Year 2018!