Quietly Changing Lives
We had a foul up with both the Post Office and the printer. Our new address is Post Office Box 25629. The Zip Code 46825. Our phone number remains the same at 260-387-7423. This has caused some confusion. This is correct and the note I may have sent was wrong as well as newsletter for July. We need writers and Faith Partners. We have an ad in the Recorder magazine and MAY soon have an article in Message magazine. My 85 year old eyes are a bit shady from reading mail all day. We are looking to make some changes as this ministry is getting very big. Raising money we could hire others. We can maybe attach us to other ministries. At 85 and 78 we are both very healthy. But only God knows. We are open to ideas.
When God called us to this Ministry HIS word was all I needed. Yvonne helped define that. The first sermons I preached was borrowed from Walter Pearson until I learned to Preach and teach on my own. Again with my bride at my side, going were I went was great fun and rewarding.
All inmate mail is put in a pile. When you send in information about becoming a Pen Friend, you are put at the bottom of another pile. When your information makes it to the top of the pile, you are matched with someone at the top of the other pile.
In prison are a lot of people in the wrong place at the wrong time. One man was convicted by the testimony of a twelve year old and spent thirty-nine years in prison. The boy - now a man - told the truth. He yelled while in tears “I lied.” Yvonne says, “Do the crime, do the time.” What is going on now in this country is people receiveing unequal sentence time for the same crime. Racial tension causes time served for black and Mexican folks to be different. If you have an attorney you stand a better chance at less time unless the attorney is appointed by the court. We believe a lot of men and women sentenced to prison will end up in HEAVEN. If they have help His name is Bobbie and he they will be there IF WE FIND A WAY TO REACH THEM.
His name is Bobbie and he took our videos and put them on DVD. They need some editing and will soon be available. Pray for this man.
The DVDs will show inmate testimonies, inmate baptisms and the good side of the bad side. We are going to share inmate’s stories, forty years of them. You will see the baptismal built by inmates. You will see the God squad at work. Next we have forty years of inmate’s letters, poems. and stories. You may understand why Jesus said, “I was in prison and you visited me not.”
There is a possibility we will be in Message Magazine, much needed in prison. We need to change our website, Someonecares.org. We have had a very successful ministry and it has taught us there is so much that can still be done.
There is quite a bit of difference in doing what we do now and what we had done before. Now my house is like a post office with mail everywhere. People are surprised when I tell them I really miss going cell to cell. As we have said before, the blocks are five stories high with fifty cells to a block. It did not take long for inmates to learn we were there because we cared. In fact when we entered the blocks someone would yell, “Get decent.” You really could feel the hate and anger. I remember one day talking to an inmate, standing outside his cell, as a shot was fired. He jumped under his bunk. I stood against the wall. After over forty years we do miss going in. We do enjoy the Pen Friend Program. Some men write to themselves to hear their name called. Think about what Jesus said and become a Pen Friend or take one more name. I have always said, “Do the crimes, do the time.” But Jesus changed my husband and taught us to serve him. A nun we recruited told me ministering in prison must be positive. I wish I could go into the cell blocks. As we have always said please don’t let your doctrine be a barrier but a bridge to Jesus. To our church we are trying to prove SDA does not mean Sitting Down Always. We really need help from young and old, men or women. We are a faith ministry and need support which Is tax deductible.
MY NAME IS JACK
I got a Pen Friend and am impressed. I was matched with an older lady and she, after two years, is like a mom. I am writing this as an alert and an answered prayer. If you write and get no answer don’t give up. I often trade meals for a stamp. I get a letter a week and it keep me sane. You will never know how lonely it is when you sit in a cell twenty-four hours a day, sever days a week. I’m so glad that Jesus is now here. I’m getting a cell mate so its going to be crowded. Bless you all.
CHAPLAIN STANLEY READ
As a minister I do believe in miracles. When Don called me as a new Christian wanting to teach the Bible I was amazed. He was a new Christen I wanted to see. When Yvonne joined him I was amazed. When they both, after a few months, said, “You are overcrowded and have no staff. We would like to volunteer to be full time Chaplains.” I sent them to the police academy and they got the status as full time staff chaplains. Don had quit a very good job. They bought Jesus to the main line.
CHAPLAIN HARRY HOWARD
The new Warden at San Quentin came from Soledad. He liked what
they did there and bought them down a 95 mile drive one way. I
enjoyed working with them. I gave them the worst cell block any
where. Yvonne, being small, handled all and did it well. Don’s reputation
preceded him. In fact the black gangs all got together and
made them honorary blacks. Don had a special talent in handling
hard core and Death row inmates.
We have really gotten big. We can no longer read all the mail. We will on slow days if we ever get one. Please - if you write an inmate and don’t get an answer write once more. If you still don’t get an answer return the inmate’s infomation to us and we will re-match you. Please contact us if you are not sure of anything.
You are arrested, put into cuffs and taken off to jail. After booking you are questioned, often for a long time. Then you are moved to a cell, maybe full. If you have an attorney things might move faster. If not, you are given a public defender. The crime is not severe and you get two years. Again you are cuffed and put on to a bus. Next stop - HELL.
If you are not street raised things will be tough. If you have money they take it. If you do not have friends they take you. In one of our DVDs you will see Yvonne sitting in an inmate’s cell with the inmate, two bunks and a toilet with a sink. You might shower once a week.
Due to massive overcrowding you may be in that cell seven days a week. You might get one warm meal and two sandwiches all at once. Your outside time will be in another cell with maybe a basket ball. If you get visits they may be in a very crowed, smokey room. You might get out of you cell for an hour a day or once a week.
Prison is split with regards to church or religious background - most inmates have had little or none, some a bit more. We developed Paper Sunshine as a Friendship Ministry hoping to lead inmates to Jesus. We ask our writers to not let their doctrine be a barrier, but a bridge to Jesus. We have had a million inmates complete some sort of Bible study, mostly through Voice Of Prophecy.
If you decide to write to one or fifty inmates, the Program works this way: Your name goes into a pile. The inmate’s request, which has a detailed application and a letter of introduction, go into another pile. The pen friends are matched by whoever’s on the top of each pile. If a male inmate requests a female pen friend, we inform them we are not a dating or matrimonial service. Sure they try sometimes and we sometimes miss it. But if you have a problem we will take care of it. In over thirty years we have never had a major problem. We even have children writing with parents, helping to lead inmates to Christ.
Years ago I received a letter from an inmate, and it was rough and raw. I threw it in the waste basket, but Yvonne pulled it out. He was raised like I had been, had done things I had done. He was on Death Row, and I was not even close to it. His name was also Don, and I wrote to him for quite awhile and enrolled him in several Bible studies. I then got him a new Pen Friend and Jesus took over. Don became the preacher on Death Row, leading many to Jesus. I spent time in prayer with him before his execution and will look forward to seeing him in Heaven.
A woman named Mary has written to over one hundred inmates through us for the past twenty five years, and all have taken Bible studies and most have accepted Christ. If she was not comfortable with any of them, she would send their information back to us. Sad to say, many people have tried this Program, not liked it, and quit without the courtesy of returning the information so someone else could try.
Paper Sunshine is Crime Prevention. Yvonne will tell you how this all started with one inmate. I will finish with a man who was terrible.
I walked into a cell block and headed toward the first row of cells. I could smell hate, garbage and human waste. The first cell I arrived at was a mess and had a man with his back to me, hair all the way down his back. He turned and charged me, and I don’t know what he would have done had the cell doors not been there. Several guards came over and asked if I needed help, but I told them no. The next time we entered that cell block the same thing happened. Then Yvonne joined me, and we passed by his cell. About a year later we passed his cell as usual, but a guard came after us and said the man wanted to see us. I told Yvonne to stay well behind me. The man spoke to us, saying, “I have money and I want to buy whatever you are selling. I’ve seen men in here change, and some even left for better parts of the prison. But what do you sell?” I was stuck. Yvonne pushed me back and moved around me, while all the guards moved closer with their rifles. Yvonne told him we were selling nothing, but were giving away freedom and peace through Jesus. She talked for about thirty minutes. Then a little bitty tear fell down his face. “I also want Jesus!” he said. We asked him if he would pray with us, and we put our hands through the bars and took hold of his. All the rifles were cocked. Yvonne started the prayer, and then the man prayed a prayer I’m sure Jesus had never heard before. He became a changed man, and his life changed. He was moved into general population and three years ago he earned a parole. The worst of the worst become a child of the King. Nothing is impossible for God!
You can read more about us and this
ministry on our web page