Quietly Changing Lives
Isn’t technology wonderful? We have now been blessed with a secure line and the capability of accepting your donations by phone or internet.
GET IN THE BOAT.
WE ARE GOING TO THE OTHER SIDE.
When Jesus said those words, HE meant nothing would or could stop us, or you. In the boat with Jesus, today in his Word and by His way, we can accomplish everything. Each day this ministry grows; we claim all of God’s promises.. It is more than Amazing Grace when we see HIS work in action through so many of you. We pray there are no problems for you or us, knowing Satan does attack in every way he can.
IN THE BEGINNING
We had God’s love, a massive amount of faith and dedication, a typewriter, an adding machine, and a receipt book. As the ministry grew we got into the modern age rather quickly, with very little experience. I remember the first $100.00 donation with real excitement. We thank God for so many helping friends.
With the blessing of radio and TV, we grew. When we faltered, God picked us up and pushed us. Soon we will be coming to California to do another Voice of Prophecy radio show. During the show we did on 3 ABN, I said that we were going to try something very new. A friend in Canada had asked if he could write via E Mail. At first I said no. But then we got to thinking — how it would work with the postage difference? Hmmm---make it easier!
This is how it works. You write your Pen Friend via e-mail and send it to us. We remove your e-mail address, put your E-mail in an addressed envelope and send it off via snail mail. We then send the reply to you.
One Pastor is now writing a bunch of inmates. He writes a base letter, then personalizes it to each. E-mail is a bit more work for us, but it adds additional Pen Friends. Might you try it? We now have Christians from China, Australia, France, Germany, Spain and on and on, who are writing. Thirty-eight Canadians, who had written but quit, started again via E-mail. A seed was planted, God let it grow. [A donation from time to time, to help with the additional postage costs for Someone Cares, would be much appreciated — Jean]
OUR FRIEND JARAN
Wanted to support us via credit card. Others over the years have asked the same. Well, now we do accept all major credit cards. We now have a secure room for donations on our web site at www.someonecares.org. Several have asked us about Tithe, as they want to pay it but have no church membership. We welcome this..
HOW ABOUT ME?
About a year ago we received a letter from Billy Boggs. We put it in here and asked you to write. Many did. Here is part of that letter:
When I arrived in prison, I moved into a cell with little. A mattress, blanket, and a Bible. After a month I picked up the Bible, and a piece of paper fell out. Someone Cares’ name and address was on the paper. I have tried writing these 4 or 5 times but could not. No one cares about me, including me. This letter is an attempt to find something to hang onto. Many of you wrote, some more than once.
Sherrie did stay with Billy and she writes: “I have found a friendship in Billy. He may be a big guy but he has the heart of a Teddy Bear.” Sherri has sent him information on her church and enrolled him in a Bible study. Billy needs a pair of walking boots that cost $54. If those of you who wrote him before might chip in, we will get him the money. Sherrie’s dad, Russ Lemon, had a big part in starting us in Prison Ministry.
ITS BROKE! LETS FIX IT.
Like all of you, we have seen or listened to all the crime going on, especially sex crimes. We speak in school and women’s groups trying to get the public informed. I know a lot of folks who do not have computers, as there are no restrictions there. A friend invited me over and asked if I could see where his son has been. Sorry, I cannot tell you what I showed him, but it was really bad.
Play station is not the problem; it is when it’s an addiction. How about Diablo or Dungeons and Dragons?
I remember years ago talking to Ted Bundy. He told me he never would have done the terrible things he did it were not for pornography. It is nice to see Christian TV dealing with some of the problems, but not nearly enough.
Now to deal with the criminal once caught and sent to prison. There is a code in prison and the very bottom of the code is sex crimes, especially toward children. These men go into hiding. There are no programs for them at all. We spend $40,000 per year (higher in some states) to house an inmate, yet not a dime to rehabilitate them!!! We have ten inmates, pedophiles, all with more than one sentence, who through Christ have been released and lead productive lives. But we worked with them in private. Years ago a wise Chaplain, Stan Reed, asked me to work with one, then another and so forth. The crime turns my stomach, and Yvonne’s, but Jesus saves. We know there are thousands of cases not reported...
My name is Sandra. I was abused by my stepfather starting when I was about six. It was sexual and often. When I was 10 my mother had another baby girl. I was sure he would not hurt his own daughter. But he did and I killed him. I met Don and Yvonne at Coldwater Prison in Michigan; they took the hurt, fear and sorrow and had me give it to Jesus. Mothers, talk to your kids often, and don’t turn your back if you find something wrong.
His name was Tex. We met him at Soledad. He was a Vietnam vet in prison for many sex crimes while addicted to drugs. I spent a lot of time trying to help him but could not — Yvonne spent much more, He knew his addiction. He as much as told the prison he would reoffend and he did. He is now in a hospital for the criminally insane. But his last victim does not know that. He killed her. There are some surgical cures. Why does the court not make them mandatory?
WHY SO MANY RE-OFFEND
Let’s take Rocky. Rocky spent quite a bit of time in prison. He was able to work and save very little money. Some of the figures we have say a California inmate cost the state over $50,000 a year to keep. Rocky was in for ten years, you do the math. Rocky came up for parole. Before his release he was faced with a problem. His roots were in Southern California, his crime committed in Northern California. His parole destination? You guessed it---Northern. He had no job, no training, no place to stay.
When he was released, the State wanted to help him get settled. They gave him $200, no job, no friends in Northern California were he committed his crime. Some states are worse! We wonder why recidivism is so high? In days long gone some States had an inmate go to school, or work, and you were given a day-for-day credit. This worked well, so of course it’s been done away with. Prison is big business and the states need to keep prisons full. But more prisons than schools?!
WHATS IN A NAME?
I received E-mail moments ago informing me of the death of a mom. The mom’s name was not given. Again we have mail sent to Someone Cares, then (Dear First Name) only. Or Grandma, Sis, etc. Mail from the inmate to us must have: Your name or Pen Name and our address. Someone Cares is not writing, you are. Thanks
For the first time, we have received a lot of males willing to write inmates. Praise God! It does make us more aware of a problem. Men in prison sign up for a Pen Friend looking -- for what, a girl friend or something? They are not aware that requests from male inmates for a female Pen Friend are returned with a note.
A lonely person in prison is looking for friendship. It is our job to be a friend. Often when a male inmate gets a letter from a man, they don’t even answer it. This is why we ask you to write three times. One man got a match we missed. His letter said “you asked for a female to write.”
Another said, “You might have been looking for a female, but I pray we can be friends.”
As a ministry, deal with any problems before they become problems. Many gang members use all the different Pen Pal services to obtain money. After three tries we will rematch you, and deal with the inmate.
Tom writes. I am an inmate at Crescent city, a very bad prison for very bad people. I am locked in a cell almost all the time. I have no TV or radio and have little to talk about. The prison system says I will never change, but I sure would like to try.
I wrote him myself. I asked lots of questions---lots of them. Not about the crime but about him. I found out about his dysfunctional upbringing; his street life, his gang life. His interest in cars. I send him a magazine through a vendor.
THE RICH GET RICHER THE POOR GET PRISON
When Jesus was on the cross, He acted for the convict next to Him. He did not use a public defender. He got the best there was.
Amos was arrested and charged with murder. He was a high school graduate who could not read. After being grilled without an attorney, he confessed to a crime he did not commit. Why? Police told him that if he pled guilty, he would only get a few years. If he went to court and was found guilty, he would be given life. Then he was given a public defender who advised him to take the plea. He was sentenced to life! “Justice” won out three years later and he was found not guilty.
Bob, with no money, was found guilty of vehicular manslaughter and drunk driving. Blood alcohol:1.2. Sentence: 12 years
Jim, the same crime. Blood alcohol: 1.1 he had a very good attorney and served one year of a six year sentence.
Two step-daughters accused George of sexual abuse with no physical exam. He is a Christian and the girls did not like the new house rules. Sentence: 20 years! Public Defender. Some friends got a good attorney after the girls admitted they lied, and after 5 years he was released. Justice? Inmates say, “Just us!”
It is easy to get discouraged and not write, especially when your Pen Friend does not respond, or the weather is nice and you go on vacation.
Even for me it is hard to write sometimes, but you really need to know how much your letter means.
The time has finally come,
As I lay here in my cell
For I’ve waited all day long
Just to see if I got mail.
It won’t take much time,
I wouldn’t ask that of you.
Just write me a line or two,
Is all you have to do.
A few sweet words of comfort
Would really make my day,
And let me know I’m thought of
With each long passing day.
So put a smile on my face,
As I lay here in my cell,
Let them call my name,
When they pass out the mail.
This should give you an idea that even post cards — they enjoy both the words and the pictures. Just make sure they are not from the area where you live.
Don & I feel very blessed that God chose so many of you to participate in this ministry, God Bless you all!
Shirley and I were very surprised this past week to see our even-week alternate in the waiting room on an odd-week ministry day. He’d been compelled to do a two-hour drive to arrive by 8:30 in the morning!
Friends, God never makes mistakes, and our first session gave us a clue. Our inmate especially needed a man’s encouragement and counsel. Isn’t God awesome? He zealously takes care of His own when they cry out for help from behind prison bars!
It’s exciting to see our afternoon group growing, as well. It has gone from one person, who invited one, then two more came in, then two more, and it’s rumored that two others are waiting for their assignment to the service! The parable of the sower is being fulfilled. These gentlemen are all good Bible students, love to sing, have boundless enthusiasm! We will have to expand into the larger chapel if this joyful group grows much more. God hasn’t let us down yet. He leads, we do His bidding. As His little flock grows, we’ll humbly thank Him for reaching behind those prison walls, and say “bring it on!”
Even the guards have become more friendly, and know that we faithfully come for two services, so we know God is watching over each step we take. It was a day of blessings to have our fellow minister join us for the day. He relates so well to these men, speaking words of encouragement to carry them through the week. Perhaps our “motherly” influence has some uplifting effect as well.
So, Pen Friends, never underestimate the power of our Father in Heaven to multiply our loaves and make us fishers of men.