Quietly Changing Lives
Father in Heaven, we ask in Your name to extend blessings on all who have made this Ministry a true blessing for You and others. Because of You we have been able to spread Your Word worldwide. Into dark damp cells Your Word has reached. Your seed has been planted and we pray that our members, with Your help, will make it continue to grow. We ask that all who hear Your message from Genesis to Revelation will practice and prayerfully follow Your Word. I thank You, Lord for taking a sinner as I was and setting me free by bringing Yvonne into my life. So many prayers have helped this Ministry to grow. Jesus on the main line has been a blessing to many broken families. You took those broken pieces and put families back together. We know not what the future holds, but we worship You who holds the future. This world is not our home, we are just passing through. To be free in Jesus is to be free indeed. Bless us as we worship You. Amen
I was asked to teach Bible at Soledad Prison while I was just learning it. Then I was asked to be a volunteer Chaplain full time and I accepted. Yvonne was pressured to join. I quit a good paying job and Someone Cares was started. After several months living off savings I took a speaking invitation. The “love offering” we received was $55.00. We have been to prisons all over the U.S. and I have preached in over 400 churches. We received no pay from churches, prisons or States, but free will offerings from YOU. It is a true blessing that we have never had a year in the red. Amen!
I called Chaplain Reed at Soledad and told him I wanted to minister in his Soledad Prison. What experience did I have? Well, I told him I dropped out of school in grammar school. I accepted Christ a couple of months ago and am studying the Bible a lot. The phone was silent. Then he said, “When can you start?” I learned as I taught, with Yvonne’s help. But Yvonne did not want to go to prison. God changed her mind. I took every course I could. Read and re-read the Bible and books about the Bible. Eight months later both Yvonne and I were ordained and two weeks later we became full time unpaid chaplains at Soledad. We worked at Soledad, San Quentin, Avenal, and Cochran. The men knew we were there to help them and they helped us. We have boxes of inmate’s stories and poems.
When I listened to your broadcast years ago I never knew me
and my family would be so blessed. We sent a donation as we
believed that the Bible and Jesus blessed what you were doing.
Satan hit us hard when our son got in trouble. We tried our Pastor
but he was not interested. I called you, Don, and got some advice.
You got him a Pen Friend and he was led to Christ. This also got us
into church, a different one. When we hear we don’t want those kind
in our church we walk them through what Jesus wants. Between
Someone Cares and Voice Of Prophecy we are a truly blessed
I have known Don for a life time. We lost touch for a while and I
was driving to a golf tournament. I was looking for a radio station
and hit a station that said our guest is Don McClure. I listened and
sure enough…a Minister?? I got the contact information and called
the next day. A grammar school drop out and run away at 13. Prior
to that, several run-ins with the law. I knew he had done drugs and
drank a lot. How did he get ordained? It seemed with his
background he fit into prison. Yvonne taught him what she grew up
with. When they went to work at Soledad the inmates knew they
earned the money to help them. Full time staff Chaplains. He learned
the Bible and taught it. He tried to work on me but not yet. I believe,
but I guess a lot of us walk the line. I do admit when Don said I’ll be
praying for you it felt good.
They Just Do Not Care.
My name is Paul. I met Don and Yvonne in the prison hospital after being gang raped for not paying a debt. That meeting saved my life. It is hard to tell how really bad prison can be. Gangs everywhere, and if you can’t handle it Protective Custody is safer. One day I heard a female voice say, “Hi, I’m Yvonne, one on the Chaplains.” I went to the bars and said hi. She told me a little about herself and her husband. I asked her if there was a chance to talk to her husband. Don came by that afternoon. I explained what had happened. He knew the police would do nothing to help unless I gave them the names of all. And if I did they would kill me. I do not know how but I was transferred three days later. I was blessed twice as the new prison I went to was where Don and Yvonne ended up at. He got me together with my family. I am now a Christian and only have 40 more years to serve. If you can help this Ministry, they walk the walk and talk the talk.
We are a non-profit organization and all donations are tax deductible. Yvonne and I are getting older but not too old. Jesus took me out of the gutter and I want to end up on the sea of glass. Times are tough and getting donations are not as easy as it used to be. I used to speak four times a month, but now just once in awhile. I often think of the elderly lady who came to one of our programs and gave us all of her 87 cents to lead an inmate to Christ. The widow or widower’s mite will get the job done, and a couple of big donations can relax us a bit. We would also like to try for a warmer climate as these winters are terrible, with black-iced roads to get to the post office.
There are many ways to minister in prison. Preaching and teaching can be restricted. If you have a prison nearby call the Chaplain and ask what you can do. Communication is the best. When someone goes to prison they often lose contact with family.
Here are some things we have done over the years:
Cell Ministry - This takes training, but it is neat. You go into the cell blocks and visit inmates outside their cell. You are able to take things in that are allowed, such as writing material, tracts, Bibles and greeting cards.
Dress Out Program - When an inmate gets out, if he or she does not have clothes, they buy what they wear with the limited funds they have. Getting all churches near you to gather clean clothes is great. Over the many years in California we provided clothes for over 100,000 inmates.
Visiting Lonely Inmates - This also takes training. Some inmates have no one to visit them. We had a program where once a month someone would visit an inmate in the visiting room, usually for about two hours.
Remedial Reading Workshop - Learning to read is vital. Getting a GED in prison is difficult. But this is also a way to get them to the chapel. Yvonne had an inmate gang member in her class. She used the Bible. He got his GED, left the gang and joined the Church.
Your name is on our mailing list because you may have listened to us on radio or TV and sent us a request or a check. Or maybe a friend told you about us. Either way, we need you to spread the word to others as we are in dire need of more Pen Friends.
“Paper Sunshine” as well call it works like this: When you send us an inquiry your name goes to the bottom of a pile (which is not very large). The inmate’s information goes on the bottom of another pile. When you reach the top you are matched with the inmate on top of the other pile. This is what we have done for forty years. We then send you an inmate application and introduction letter. You read everything and write to the inmate, or return the information to us. If you write the inmate, all mail comes through us and we forward it on, which is simple and safe.
Sometimes folks hear about us, get excited, and contact us. Then they receive the packet and the inmate is a different race, which they don’t like. Some return the information and we rematch them. Some just do nothing. But for those of you who do something, Paper Sunshine and you have led thousands to Christ, and we all are blessed as a result. Prison Ministry is crime prevention.
It would be nice to find someone to take over this Ministry with us supervising. But that is not easy. We are always hearing from pastors and organizations like Focus on the Family, Red Cross, and Salvation Army. More of you might support us if we did not talk so much about “we don’t want those kinds of people in our church.” I was one of those kinds of people and Jesus set me free. Yvonne has always said, “Do the crime, do the time.” Inmates go to prison as punishment, not for punishment.
With the economy of this country prison is terrible. The food bad, over-crowding, and gangs everywhere. One prison we know of has about thirty men able to take the test for GED but no one to give the test. I was told one state has or will make parole impossible without a GED. When we first started this Ministry if you worked or went to school you got a day off your sentence for each day you did that. Now three men live in a two-man cell in some prisons.
AND HAVE A GOOD LOOKING CORPSE
This, I am happy to say, did not happen as I am looking at my 82nd birthday in June. I am still blessed by the time that, when in a Pastor’s study, I went down on my knees and was soon to come up Saved in Jesus. I became a Christian and gave up drinking and drugs. Flying in the fast lane of life as an atheist seemed easy, but becoming a Christian after being an atheist was hard. Prayerfully asking Jesus what to do with my new life in Him, He sent me back to prison, which ended up being a life sentence. Yvonne has been doing time with me, and now Ronna has joined us. Amen!
We were asked how many inmates have been reached by this Ministry. We believe it’s over a million, but only Jesus knows. We have a list of folks we know, which are all written in a book. Every year about this time we stop and take a look. That is the time we realize these names are a part of our hearts, not simply a part of the book or computer they are written on. Each name stands for someone who has crossed our path at some time. While it sounds fantastic for us to make this claim, we feel we are composed of each remembered name. While you may not be aware of any special link, just greeting you has changed our lives. Meeting one by phone, or computer, or mail, or in person has changed our lives, more than you think. You are not a name on a list forgotten in between. When we send a message it is for you and yours. You are part of sharing things we do or plan to do. Because of you, Someone Cares.
BUT A BRIDGE TO JESUS
One of the first things I learned from a friend was this saying, “What says the Bible, the Bible to me? Words of men so often deceive us, what says the Bible to me?” The Bible is God’s Word from cover to cover. The Ten Commandants written by his hand are still intact. Jesus took me, a sinner saved by Grace, and turned all I had done growing up away. We have worked with some hard core inmates and seen God do miracles. We have also seen inmates try to use us, our Ministry, and you. We have missed a few of those, but not many. Let us keep our mind on God, and pray daily, and He will make it all right.
Please join us!