Quietly Changing Lives
ASK IN HIS WONDERFUL NAME:
We have been, for awhile, looking to expand this Ministry and getting additional help.
Yvonne’s heath issues came into play especially when asthma was added. My shoulder injury has hampered me especially when cold.
A question often asked is “What if something happened to you two”? Relocation became a priority.
Following leads and suggestions and lots of prayer the Lord led us to Arizona. Lots of you who have been with us a long time remember we lived in a mobile home when this Ministry started. We found the right mobile home for us and a wonderful couple to buy it from.
We will be outside Payson, Arizona and our new address is in this newsletter. We will be located in a senior mobile home park on a very large lot in the woods. A move, a honeymoon and a vacation - all in one!
Now a place to live and the idea of semi-retirement was well planted. On the 20th of March, we head west. This will be Yvonne’s 58th move. We are really getting rid of a lot of stuff that has been moved and not used. AmenSTEVE AND SHIRLEY FLETCHER:
This very neat couple will be joining The God Squad and with them a group of volunteers from around the world.
We also pray that all of you stay as you are, and always will be - the backbone of Someone Cares. They also join us with an active group of volunteers. Steve has been with us and has a calling to do more - I sure remember that. Some are called, some are sent, and some just got up and went. This timing is vital as we are growing by the hour. God’s amazing grace has caused another Miracle.
Not so long ago Pastors were saying when folks inquired about writing inmates, “we do not want those kind of people in our Church.”
Dedicated members of The Pen Friend Program tried to get folks to write hard task. Then something wonderful happened. Our reputation of being Christian got through to inmates. Inmates and staff saw a positive result in others. Our biggest job now is helping Chaplains provide stamps for inmates as budget cuts are large.
Prayerfully, the Fletcher’s and I will be meeting in April in Arizona, God willing, at a couple of Camp meetings. Victory In Jesus.
Since last year I have been working 14 hours a day and need a break. My Bride on the way back from the accident, almost had fatal Kidney failure, then a knee replacement, and now asthma, needed a break.
Many years ago Yvonne and I were invited to Arizona to do a Prison Ministry workshop. Jim Hardin was a big part of my growth in Christ. A seed planted there was a growing one as they have had an active Prison Ministry since. Payson will be the smallest town we ever lived in - with a super Wal-Mart.
With all the calls we have had from there we, as always, know Jesus was still leading. Talking to some Church members there is an active Church we can get active with. There are a lot of lakes and rivers where I can read mail to be a fisherman of men and women and enjoy again the outdoors we love so much. We will be closer to a lot of relatives out West. Working with Steve we will do training there where we all started.
GOD SENT TWO. . .
. . . Michele like a daughter to us and an inmate we led to Christ years ago. Foster was a lifetime criminal serving life. We met him at San Quentin about the time we put on a seminar in Arizona – He was hard core, but V.O.P Bible studies, and several Pen Friends helped change all that. We had not heard from him in quite a while. Even with serious downsizing, moving is expensive. We got an envelope from the California Dept Of Corrections with an $1100.00 check from Foster - he makes $28.00 a month! Michelle made up the difference and brought us miles closer - one hurdle crossed.
We have seen over the last year an amazing transformation. With the economy a real mess donations were slowing down and we had lost some donors. I will tell next month how many with nothing gave everything. We now ask all to please, no matter how small an amount, give in HIS name. We have speaking engagements already lined up and we are trying not to fall behind. Our daughter and Grandson, Ronna and Jake, are staying here. We are giving them one car and will need a replacement. A laptop would be neat. All are tax deductible.
LET’S HEAR FROM SOME OF YOU:
I apologize for the delay - I would like to e-mail my letters. I would like you to know that you are both in my prayers; you are so wonderful for what you do. Thank you for doing God’s work and allowing me to help. Claudia.
When folks e-mail we get it. Cut off top and snail mail the letter to inmate, they do not have computers.
Doris writes: Here are some pictures you might use in your book. God Bless you for the wonderful Ministry you started and are continuing.
Barbara: You both have had health issues and I pray God picks a good spot for you to continue its growth, I will keep you and it in Prayer. Will continue to pray for this Ministry and that God will reveal what to do for your move. He has miraculously led this far and will help find the needed help. BG
From Betty: We have lost jobs and may lose our home and if it were not for our Pen Friends we would have really lost it. May this $ 5.00 multiply a hundred fold, pray for us as we pray for you,
From George: I lost my job and am living where ever in my car. I pick up odd jobs and write my Pen Friend through General Delivery. Here is a $1.00.
SLEEP WELL MY FRIEND:
I was really scared. It was a moist California night.
I had to stop and have a couple of drinks. No I was not getting ready to rumble or rob a bank or steal a car. I was going to meet a man. Having hit the gutter hard I was looking for help.
Yvonne was with me. We drove through the night to a Church! My life flashed before me. Entering the church and walking to the Pastor’s study was like being moved in prison - except no chains. The man, Euell Atchley, stood and put out his hand - a big man a strong hand. “ “Why are you scared?”
“Me, never”, palms sweating. “Looks like you need a cigarette.”
I pulled one out.
Yvonne said, “You can not smoke in a Church!”
Euell asked Yvonne to sit in a corner and be quiet - no other person had ever done that then or now. I never lit the cigarette.
Euell told me about a man called Jesus. I had used that name often, now forgiven for swearing. Euell told me softly and gently I did not have to give up, but give in.
It seemed like hours passed as Euell told me of the Joy of The Lord and invited me to be a part of a great family and go on a journey that would end in Heaven. After several hours he invited me to my knees, Yvonne joined and Jesus entered my life. When I rose I never did drink or do drugs again and had no withdrawal.
That was so long ago and so much has happened to me since with Yvonne at my side. Soon after he also married Yvonne and me. Euell’s son informed me that Euell passed away.
But in the twinkle of an eye He and all of us will meet Jesus. Pot luck under The Tree of Life will be full of others Euell had led to Christ. Then hand by hand we will stand in The Presence of God. Thanks, friend.
2 CENTS WORTH:
The Post Office is greeting our move with a price increase of 2 cents. To most that may not mean much, but it is a concern with a mail ministry. If you have any stamps lying around, we can use them.
LEAVING AND ARRIVING:
There will be a bit of a delay with mail and e-mails. Starting the 15th of March until Jesus arrives, Someone Cares mailing address will be:Box 1307
Payson AZ 85541
Our street address will be:
HC 5, Box 49-84,
Star Valley AZ 85541
Our phone number will be:
We are leaving here the 20th of March and should arrive there the 25th. Our phone will be in the 26th.
Home warming Prayers accepted, House warming do drop by. Please pray us across country. Sure wish we had time to visit.
In all the moves I have had this one has me glowing. Mainly because each step, each decision, everything we did has Christ centered.
My illness will get better and Don will get me back helping, and we know so many folks are again going to jump on this trip to Glory.
We will miss Jake and Ronna a lot but they can visit. From the first Prayer until we arrive there is much excitement.
Don is again like he was when Euell led him to Christ, full of Holy boldness. At San Quentin so long ago when I met the inmate that ended up starting the Pen Friend Program, I could not imagine what God would do thru us -thanks to YOU. Where we are going will be like the mountains of California where I grew up.
I pray for all of you so much and with your help Someone Cares.
A friend asked if I didn’t get embarrassed in a men’s prison, eye contact - no. The best part of this move is you are all going with us, as are your Pen Friends and if you do not have one, might you?
We do pray many can visit and share a prayer. I also get to pray I don’t meet as many doctors there as I did here.
Double Trouble, Y’me, or Yvonne. Love you!
WE THANK OUR BOARD:
As we move ever onward and upward our Board needs thanks. Yvonne as President and I as Speaker Director step aside for Darryl Ferree, our Treasurer, and his wife, Julia -Darryl does all those things that take time and talent; Dr Williard Regester, a mentor friend and a wise man, doesn’t miss a question in his Bible class, and his wife Peggy; Elder Larry Engel, friend and advisor, and with his wife, Shirley, the main reason for Arizona; Jean Winter who got miffed at the errors I made in the newsletter and became Jeanius and Editor; Although not on our board, Elder Lee Grady, who when I slipped he picked me up, when I need direction he pushed or pulled and His wife, Pat; and finally, Elder Darold Retzer who baptized me and was my first mentor after Euell led me to Christ and his wife Carol Ann.
HOW OLD IS OLD:
I pray I never find out. Yvonne in a week will be, well then? I in June will be 76. I think if Jesus tarries and we Pray HE does not, can do another 20. At a prayer breakfast I was asked what part of the move to Arizona meant the most to me. Without a blink - leading someone there to Jesus and meeting new Christian friends. Then I was asked if I believed we were called there. No I think Jesus sent us there. I can see HIM on the cross directing every step of this Ministry. Oh we have made mistakes and I’m sure we will make a few more. I am still like a runner who starts a race, but I keep my eye on Jesus and miss all the obstacles Satan throws. We invite you all to enter this race and with Our Loving God finish the work HE set before us. AMEN
THE PEN FRIEND PROGRAM:
The move will open the door to more people writing, and more volunteers reading this and more results. This program is designed to establish friendship with us and Christ. Often we forget some of the rules and now is a chance to help you. Writing a stranger is not easy and especially if that person is in prison. Postage for inmates is going to get harder. So is sending money to inmates as many States are taking some of that. We think nothing of pen, paper, envelopes, but they may not have them.
Books and magazines must be sent from Vendor (Book Store or Publisher).
Phone calls - if you give your number you give your location. They will call collect and charge as high as $ 6.95 a minute.
Keep a notebook on questions so you can see if they are answered. If an inmates writes us requesting a female we do not match them as 95% become a waste of time.
All of these we will write when moved. Some ideas of no no’s: Stickers on envelopes a good way to get drugs into prison, same for candy not in tins. The biggest problems are romance. If married, talk about husband. Stay in control from the start.
Don I need help my pen friend is really neat and writes really super letters. I am locked down twenty three hours a day, have no radio or TV and little to read. I try to answer their questions, but it is hard. A guard keeps me informed on stuff so I have a little to share, it will get better but I don’t want to lose them. Most inmates sleep during days and yell all night. They send messages to each other called kites (a message on a thrown string.) You may still write through us when they are released.
Those of you writing female inmates as your friend to ask others if they wish a Pen Friend.
WELCOME FRED KINSEY:
For close to 20 years we have been featured on VOP Radio with Lonnie. Lonnie has moved east and Fred is the new Speaker Director. With our friend Connie Jeffries we did our first broadcast. It was fun and we pray the first of many. Please keep VOP in your prayers as like us they are biting the bullet.
LOTS OF MAIL TO CLAIM:
We have a lot of mail unclaimed mostly because the blue form was not returned. All I think are UN recorded Pen Names. I know some of you used a Pen name and forgot it, like a password. Contact us if your friend had not written back.
I am proud of a bunch of you getting up front in Church making appeals for writers. We do not like to hear, and Jesus I’m sure also does not like to hear, “no”. Keep on trying -remember they went out one by one. We pray each of you travels with us on March 20 to Arizona.
Don and Yvonne