|Vol. 1998 No. 8
GO WHERE HE WANTS ME/US TO GO:
We left behind in Michigan Yvonne's parents Clyde and Vera Groomer; Yvonne’s sister and her husband; her three daughters, their husbands and four grandchildren; a home we looked years to find and years to make just like we wanted; also some very super friends. Everything God was showing us directed us to Go West, plus our expertise is in the California prison system. Our goal is to build in California a model ministry that can be copied in every state in the United States. The willingness of a lot of people pushed us the way God was directing us. Prior to God sending two great people to provide the way, we had massive offers of help from California. It seems God wants this to be a very large ministry, and we sure want what God wants.
REACH OUT:Reach out and touch a soul that is hungry;
Reach out and touch a spirit in despair;
Reach out and touch a life torn and dirty;
A man who’s unlovely—if you care!
Reach out and touch a neighbor who hates you;
Reach out and touch that stranger who meets you;
Reach out and touch the brother/sister who needs you;
Reach out and touch a friend who is weary;
Reach out and touch a seeker unaware;
Reach out and touch, tho' touching means losing
A part of your own self—If you dare!
I think Don and I share the same amount of excitement in the move we have made— even a little selfishness, as I do love California. When we started talking about what God seemed to want us to do, I was a little apprehensive about what we were giving up, not thinking clearly on what we were gaining. Oh, I cried a lot as we drove off heading West and leaving so much behind. I will cry more tears thinking of those we love in Michigan, but God called us. I told Don, when God spoke to his heart when we left California, that next time He had better talk to me person-to-person and He sure did. As we drove across country, farther and father from those we love and closer and closer to God's calling, a new joy engulfed my spirit about the new doors we are going to be able to open through God's power. I do admit that I was thinking of a day when we could settle down and relax, not worry about fund raising, or opening closed doors. But I also know in my heart that Don thrives on the joy of leading men and women in prison to Christ. We both enjoy getting those who have hardened hearts to melt a little. We pray each of you will join us in prayer that Satan cringes at what is coming at him with your help and support. We also pray that those we leave behind will go with us in spirit and love.
PLEASE COME HERE:
The word is out you are coming back to California. Please stop by Soledad, San Quentin, C.M.C.
(Notes from inmates we have worked with in the past, begging us to see them, and we will.)
One of the most important things we have always tried to do is to keep the flame growing. We have learned much in the years we have traveled, and God will put this additional experience to work. If you are in a church that has tried, is trying, or wants to try prison ministry, contact us. If you have a ministry that wants to grow, contact us. We have been blessed for twenty years because we work with every-one. We do not see color or doctrine—we see Jesus.
SOQUEL CAMP MEETING:
It was many years ago, in the Santa Cruz Mountains at Soquel, I met Jesus. It was there that this ministry became real, and blessed. We would like to thank Jim Finn for seeing the vision we had and sticking with us as we stumbled and fell, got up and stumbled again. For Dr Russ Lemon, who is resting with Jesus, and his wife who just passed away, we will carry on what you made possible.
EACH LIFE AFFECTS ANOTHER'S
We may not always realize
That everything we do
Affects not only our lives
But touches others, too --
A single happy SMILE
Can always brighten up the day
For anyone who happens
To be passing by your way.
And a little bit of THOUGHTFULNESS
That shows someone you care
Creates a ray of SUNSHINE
For both of you to share --
Yes, every time you offer
Someone a helping hand,
Every time you show a FRIEND
Every time you have a kind
And gentle word to give,
You help someone find BEAUTY
In this precious life we live.
For happiness brings happiness,
And loving ways bring LOVE,
And giving is the treasure that contentment is made of.
CHAPLAIN STANLEY REED:
"Upon retiring from 20 years of service as a Correctional Chaplain, and also learning you are contemplating a change, I feel this short letter is in order. For twelve years you had volunteered your talents and energies to the religious programs here. Yvonne, I shall never forget the new vitality that you put into our worship services by forming and directing inmate choirs, as well as accompanying on piano or organ, whichever was working. Inasmuch as I cannot carry a tune in a bushel basket (true), you will never know how much your efforts were appreciated by me and the inmate congre-gration. Later, you expanded your ministry with a class on the study of the scriptures, some counseling, and lively, thought-out and prepared discussion groups. Your demeanor in an all-male population was always above anything of a questionable nature and you quickly learned how to fend off any ‘slurs’ that may have come from inmates who had not learned to respect a lady. Don, your masculine approach to the men was always an example to the Christians and non-Christians that a vital and viable religious faith not only gives strength, but also requires it. Your many man-to-man interviews with individuals, and your group sessions, contributed to the development of Christian character in those inmates who took their participation seriously.
"These, and your other services had, in my opinion, a definite impact toward ameliorating the quality of life for inmates while in a correctional setting and after their release. As a team, you came up with some innovative ideas. Some of them were too advanced for an agency as conservative as the Department of Corrections and its institutions to appreciate fully. I can identify with the sense of frustration you must have felt on occasion. Nevertheless, this lack of foresightedness at Administrative levels did not dampen your spirits. Also, there were times when you were put on the hot seat when you really did not deserve to be there. I appreciated your
graciousness at such times and in such circumstances then, and at the present time. None know what the future holds for us. However, it is my prayer and expectation that it holds a promise of new and exciting ways to be of service to our Lord and Savior Jesus through ministering to His oft-forgotten children in prisons, and the mainstream of society. May our God always be with you with abundant blessing and unlimited strength, wisdom, and patience. "
What a joy divine it will be to be working with men like Chaplain Reed, now retired, and Chaplain Harry Howard, now retired, and again gleaning from their vast experience as we are still learning.
Friends, let me tell you, it is really expensive and has tapped our reserve. If you are not a Faith Partner but want to be a part of the excitement ahead, please send what you can. We are taking every short cut we can to be good stewards of the Lord’s funds. God will bless every extra dime you send and we will use it to His glory. Isn’t it neat that when we move to Heaven there will be no packing, no decision on what to take or leave, no negotiating for the moving van, no boxes. That trip is prepaid and we have a reservation!
BRIGHTEN THE CORNER WHERE YOU ARE
God has blessed us in so many ways here in Michigan. We have learned more and will take that learning experience with us wherever we are. We are told to brighten the corner where we are, and we do this through where you all are. We pray all of you stay with us as we go forward. Two people who have made a massive difference in this ministry are Jean Winter, who takes what I send her and makes it all come out so neat each month. We are blessed she will continue doing our newsletter. Darrell Ferree has been a right arm to us as a Board member. Now he will be a long arm reaching back to Michigan where we will still be somewhat entrenched.
When you receive this newsletter, it will be an instant change of address for all of you writing inmates. So write your pen friend now using the California address:
PO Box B
Ivanhoe CA 93235
Don’t forget to remind your Pen Friend about the new address as well.
CALIFORNIA, HERE [THEY] COME
I was on a downer because Don and Yvonne were leaving Michigan. It wasn’t like we were next door neighbors, we lived at least 60 miles apart; but they were going AWAY!!
When God calls us, we must go, however, or have no peace, so I just reconciled myself to talking with them and sending the newsletter back and forth by Email. Surely they’d reached this or that part of their journey, and at last, their new home. Yvonne drove one of the cars, and Don towed the other behind the RV.
Then came a plaintive call from the hinterlands of Wyoming. The Old Pinhead had discovered their whereabouts and decided to try stopping this ministry in its tracks. Result: their motor home needed a new engine ($2700)! The Lord wasn’t about to stand for that, and found them a young couple in California who would drive it through for them when repairs were completed. Score: Jesus 1, Pinhead 0.
Round 2: Both cars were now in service, each with a driver and one of the dogs, and sure enough, both cars broke down (another $1000). They were quickly repaired, but there went the rest of the ministry’s financial reserve, and the delays had caused them to miss their deadline with the moving van at their destination.
Neither rain nor sleet nor dark of night, as the saying goes, can stop this ministry!
Friends in their California home church met the van, unloaded it, even set up the bed and had it freshly made for them so they could simply crash when they arrived. Is that Christianity in action, or what?
Don’s praise is very flattering and the ministry’s showers of love are much appreciated. The gift of writing, editing, or whatever is needed, comes from God, and His interventions in keeping the devil out of the computer this year have been awesome to experience. My machine is due at the "hospital" for major memory upgrades as well as any other corrections and software coordination. Once more we should have the graphics that make the newsletter fun. This issue is being completed on a friend’s machine. Mine simply refuses to open a file. It’s out of something called "virtual memory."
There’s an empty spot in my heart already for the McClures; they’ve been physically present in Michigan and that presence will be ‘way out in California now. The technology that can send men to the moon also produces many web sites that can carry God’s end-time message to the world, and there’s so much good out there we don’t need to use the bad.