|Vol. 1999 No. 3
PLAY BY THE RULES
1. Friends, if you are a Pen Friend or want to be one, help. Please put your name or Pen Name on each en velope.
2. Please do not have Some one Cares as part of theaddress.
3. If you donít want to write the inmate we send you, return the paperwork.
4. Yes, you can write through us after your inmate is released.
5. No, we do not suggest you write direct.
6. Please tell inmates not to send Chapel religious tracts to you. Most in prison have very little and may ask often for things.
7. Deal with requests openlyand honestly. A good answer is no.
8. Lonely men and women inmates can be looking for romance--be careful of the use of endearing phrases and the use of word love. If you are not sure, please ask us by Email, phone or letter.
DEAD MAN WALKING
This is what is yelled or spoken over the sound systems whenever a Death Row inmate is moved inside the prison. A
special alert. Now there are seventy-five ex-Death Row inmates who have formed an alumni; they have been set free from prison. The last, with five others, are free because of six college students who proved these convicted men where not guilty of the crime they were sentenced to die for. In the last case they even found the guilty person and got a confession, and a man who spent 17 years on the row is now free.
We have been told that as many as 20 % of those incarcerated are not guilty. The rest claim to be not guilty, but are. Yvonne and I have spent many hours on Death Row at San Quentin, in Tennessee,
and Kentucky. We have had prayer with men who have been killed by the state. It costs three times more to execute a person than it does to keep them in prison for life. The Death Penalty has been
proven not to be a deterrent to crime.
We are not getting on a soap
box against the Death Penalty, the Bible favors it. But if there
is any chance for human error then we have to think again.
We need special folks who would be willing to write to those on Death Row, who are guilty and may be executed. Jesus always hated the sin but
loved the sinner. We also ask for special prayer for the families of the victims who have suffered greatly.
JOY TO THE WORLD
As He has so many times in our ministry, God has again proven He knew what He was doing, bringing us back to California.
So many things have hap-pened to both Yvonne and me, and our ministryóyour ministry. Last week I preached several services at Delano and the Holy Spirit was present. Prior to both services, I announced that Yvonne and I would be available for one-to-one Christian counseling several days a week. We were swamped with requests as soon as the service was over. One man told me he was in
for sex crimes and had been down 9 years without a bit of help that he knew he needed. This is a difficult part of our ministry as we hear things that are terrible, and requests for help that will prevent these men (and soon women) from re-offending. We share some
of these stories, leaving the names out.
This program has become so large that administrating it is difficult, when it should be so easy. We have several
packages returned from prisons that we have no idea where they came from and donít know how to return them. Again we need to remind you
that when writing, YOU are the Pen Friend and NOT Someone Cares. Please put YOUR name or Pen Name on all letters and packages, NOT Someone Cares.
Often inmates sign up to be part of programs offered
by other ministries and forget who or how they got involved with you. Remind them it was through us. If you get a letter you donít like that we missed reading, don't just stop writing. Send the problem to us and let us handle it.
Ladies, lonely men writing to
lonely women can create problems if not handled with care. Words like "love" have to be handled very carefully. To answer some questions:
(a) We are asked often to visit
an inmate, or have Some-
one do it.
This we can do if inmates are near, or we at some time enter their area, or we have someone else who can visit for us. Too often we just arenít near, or don't have people nearby.
(b) My Pen Friend has shown
an interest in Baptism.
As great a piece of news as this is, we have here a massive problem. One: for security reason, or rules by Chaplains, this is in some cases not possible. There was a day when a minister could show his/her credentials and just go in upon clearance of the Chaplain, and visit or baptize; not so any more. In fact, each
month more and more religious programs are being cut, and volunteers also.
THIS WORLD IS NOT
We are all just passing through. We are adding this to our newsletter as information and thought. This morning a neighbor who really befriended us when we moved in, died. The event has since really bothered us. Did we do all we could to find out about his relationship with Jesus? We had several chats about church and found he, like many, were not church goers. Our prayer is that he did have a relationship with Jesus.
The rapid pace of things that happen when one dies is amazing. Please pray for Waltís family. He thought, as a Veter-an, he would receive a full mili-tary burial with honors. Not so. He thought, as did, I that all expenses would be paid. Not so. He thought he would be buried close to home, again not so.
We thank God we were here to help a little. We also are thanking Walt, as we now are going to make sure both our houses are in full order. If you have not, maybe Walt's legacy will prompt all of us to get our worldly house in order, and make sure we are ready for our new home with Jesus.
GLORY TO GOD
We were walking across the prison yard and a couple of inmates came up to us and said "Are you counselors?" and we said "Yes, but not the kind you mean." We told them we did Christian counseling and they said "What's that?"
What a door opened as we each took one and explained we were there to help with any problems they might have. We told them the base was Gods word.
Brothers and sisters, none of us likes crime. Some of the people we deal with have done some really terrible things, mostly on drugs or as a result of the way they were raised. Given a chance, most will end up just fine. They have to learn not to let prison drown them. Getting institutionalized is pretty easy, doing the same thing year after year. It costs taxpayers too much to put men and women in prison for years and do nothing to help them help themselves to change. We feel we at Someone Cares can do that. Those of you writing have some really neat stories to present. We would love to share them.
When these men and women learn how life can change when the Lord is directing their steps, the direction they go is a lot easier. Each one reach one and the world becomes a better place.
I AM A GANG MEMBER!
I read this manís letter to his Pen Friend with amazement. He had been in a gang since he was nine on the streets of L.A. They were his family. He was a gang member inside prison and on the street. Did not matter he had been locked up 13 times and was now doing hard time. I had to explain to his new friend that the road he was about to undertake was long and hard. This young man had never had family, was used to taking, never giving, and his only definition of love was sex. We have tried, and Praise God often succeeded, in breaking the gangís hold on those in prison. It is hard and they are often disappointed but once they learn that to be free in Jesus is to be free indeed, they soon become workers for the Lord.
HUMOR IN PRISON
Quite a few years ago we helped open up Avenal
Prison. Avenal was a new concept in prisons which today is the norm.
Shortly after we started there the warden asked us to do a
cell-to-cell ministry in Ad Seg ("The Hole"). We said we would be happy to. The warden said
"There is one problem: you both have to wear bullet proof vests!"
I need you to picture thisó Yvonne at 5'2" and 105 lbs., in a 22 lb vest, carrying a case full of books and things to pass out.
If ever asked to do anything in the name of Jesus say "Ill be Happy to"
Here we are three months into this New Year, and what have we done for God? Some of you might think that all we do
is Prison Ministry, but for some of you who have never had the
privilege of meeting my hus-band, he has this Golden Rule that he lives by. If ever asked to do anything in the name of the Lord, one should always say "I will be happy to!"
Don has always lived up to
that rule and I must admit at times I have had some reluc-tance,
Thanks to God He has seen me through. I wonder how many of us ask to be used of God each day in our everyday life, come what might,
and take each moment to witness for Jesus to whomever we come in contact. That is what Jesus did while on this earth.
Just a few days ago our next door neighbor died of a heart attack, Don was one of the first to go over and offer to help in any way he could.
Now we all know that after that first step, I got involved by
taking food over, and Don is going to have the burial service.
This is not a big thing, but we may never know how many lives may be touched or witnessed to by that one act. This is just one of those every- day chances that God puts out there; do we always respond? I have a morning prayer that I pray every morning. Iíd like to
share it with you:
"Dear Lord, clear my mind as I kneel before you; Help me seek you in all I do.
Help me to know where you are leading today, Help me to follow each step of the way.
"I pray not for riches or worldly fame. I just ask for strength to lift up your name.
If a Friend has a need or a burden to bear, Help me to be there to show that I care.
Help me to be all You want me to be; Let others see Jesus living in me.
Then when the day has ended and sleep takes control, Dear Lord, Help me say, "It is well with my soul."
Don and I pray that each day may be a new day for each of
you to witness for Our Lord. As for me, it is getting easier for me to live by that Rule that Don has set before me as a challenge; now I will pass the challenge on to all of you.
Dear Fellow Christians,
At Someone Cares, we get a lot of Emails and have aquired a lot of addresses. We are the second oldest prison ministry in the nation. Our web page is located at:www.someonecares.org.
We have 3 areas of need:
(1) Prayer Partners
(2) Pen Friends, a risk-free
program of writing letters to inmates.
(3) Faith Partners whose
Tax-free donations keep us
going and growing.
If you would like to receive our monthly newsletter send us your mailing address. If you donít want to be in our address book, Email us and we will remove your name.
Remember Hebrews 13:3. May God Bless You and Yours
A MOTHERíS ANGUISH
I have two sons, ages 20 and 23, and both are in prison in Indiana. The youngest is in Michigan City for murder and the other is in Plainfield for Burglary.
The oldest one is due to get out in March and is coming to live with me until he gets back on his feet. The youngest one has quit writing or calling and
seems very unthankful for things the family has done for him, but that is what prison has done to him. He has been locked up since he was 15. I am very saddened by this and don't know what to do. I was hoping maybe letters from
people would help him and me to both understand things better. I don't know if I will even be alive when he gets out as he was sentenced to 60 yearsó what kind of life would he have even if he gets out? All he has known is Jail--Prison. I am afraid he will end up back there again as he knows no
Any help you can offer will be appreciated. Cheryl
WHAT ITíS ALL ABOUT
Like many, I thought I would never end up in prison. I had a good job, great wife, two wonderful kids. Like most, I spent more than I made and lived better than I should. The more we spent the more credit we were given. Then the pres-sure came. On top of all my problems an answeróyou are approved for a loan on your home to pay of your debts.
We will give you 125% of value. And we were deeper in debt. To try to keep up with keeping up, I stole from my company and got caught. Now I have a sentence of 5 years, have lost my home, my wife, and every-thing I had. What do I now have? Fear. I live in a cell with another man who hates me and scares me to death. I get things sent from my folks but as
soon as I get it someone takes it from me. I watch daily young men being raped, or forced to do terrible things to other men. Gangs, drugs, violence are everywhere.
I got involved with Someone Cares, I found out later from my ex-wife, who must care a little. They introduced me to
Paper Sunshine which has saved my sanity. No I havenít given my life to Jesus, but am reading the Bible. What Bob and his wife did for me is give
me back some respect for myself, and a vision of the future.
Please take this as a warning. If you get your back against the wall, don't do anything to go to prison. You will not believe what these places are really like. If I get out of here at all I hope it will be with my sanity, and maybe I will even learn to understand Jesus. This is a great ministry that really does deserve its name, since I no longer have a name. #74589
WHATíS IN A NAME?
Most of us like our names, some donít. Some have changed the names we donít like; some treasure a name so much they pass it on many times and put a number like II, III, etc., after so folks will know how many generations have had it.
Did you know that Jesus puts so much value on a name, that when we get to Heaven he is going to give us a white stone with our special name written on it that He has made up for us. It will tell much about us. I look forward to having this treasure in my pocket.
"...And I will give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name written which no one knows except him who receives it." Revelation 2:17
Hereís a new web address for a wonderful set of Bible lessons that are easy to understand, and rich in Jesusí love. You can share these with your Pen Friends after rearranging them in your word processor. Include space for answers and grade the lessons yourself, answering any questions. These are also good for small group outreach.
I canít wait to get started on my own set of lessons.
Have you noticed that when youíre in love with Jesus, people smile back at you when you didnít realize youíd been smiling at them?Home