Quietly Changing Lives
“Ask in my name and you shall receive.” We keep asking and HE keeps on providing. The early response to the latest radio program on Voice Of Prophecy is staggering. As long as we have been doing this ministry, we are each amazed at God’s power. Several other ministries had advertised our Pen Friend Program (Please, we have enough of our own) and we got swamped again.
The stack of requests for applications was very high. To save time, we are matching inmates and having you send the application with the first letter. If you once wrote an inmate, or have never written, we do need YOU!
Last month I shared a couple of problems, and like Grandma and Grandpa said, “ask and you will receive.” I will try to answer some of the many notes and Emails I received; now I know how important being a part of the family of God really is.
[We have had the chance to speak to a lot of young folks, many in prison. The shame is, too many of our youth are paying for the sins of the parent. I have been asked to provide a program of information on the massive growth and influence of youth gangs, and we will.
Looking around the world again, we have a drug problem that led to the flower children of the 60s and kids are dying as they get caught up in it. We’re so thankful that Jake is with us, so we can give him the love and Godly guidance he wants and needs ]
PASSION OF CHRIST
Twenty prisons received copies of the movie thanks to Rick Kendle, who wrote us a note: “Thank you for the work you are doing, God Bless you.”
Again, we get credit for what others are doing. Without all of you, there would be no Someone Cares.
This is a person we are trying to define, and have been for a long time. They come from every walk of life and it is difficult to cover some of the problems you and we face. Frankly, some of them are just no good. Most have made mistakes and really are trying, and many have done nothing wrong. The following information may help:
I have been writing my three friends for a long time, two of which are no problem. Larry is more trouble than I can handle. He asks for something in every letter and no matter how I try, I can’t get across to him I can’t get it across to him I can’t send money. I’ve tried my best. Will you take over and replace him with a new friend?
We sent a new name and I wrote Larry.
Then there is this: “I was so happy to receive a letter from you, Barb, and look forward to some exciting things in the future. I hope we can develop a relationship leading to ???”
Barbara returned his information, we rematched him with a man and explained to both why. Many male and female inmates will try anything they can get away with.
The important thing is that neither of these ladies gave up but switched Pen Friends.
HIS NAME IS GEORGE
George is a true hustler. He was an inmate at a prison where we worked. He had over 500 pen pals. He generated an income of nearly $3,000 a month.
He had three wives (part of the reason he was in prison). He is also gay. He had completed dozens of Bible studies and knew the Word, but did not know God.
The mail room alerted us when he filled out one of our forms and I wrote him. He wrote a glowing letter of our long-term friendship, he was going to die very soon, claiming he had cancer. He said he needed money as he had to pay for his medication and on and on and on again. I called him into my office and introduced myself. I could have had him charged with fraud. I explained the prison was onto him, and so were we. He told me he was serving double life – what more could they do to him?
The prison, separate from my talks, told him to quit or be sent to a place he did not want to go to. Several of the folks he had tried to hustle stayed with him, and last we heard he had changed and was setting a new course for his life.
PRISON IS A PLACE
Where normal is total boredom. The hard-core inmates usually hook up with each other for protection and to cause trouble. Often nice guys are sucked into this mess. Cells are their house, never their home, are small and usually overcrowded.
Jobs are rare and pay very little. School is almost impossible, so time is spent doing a whole lot of nothing. Many prisons, thanks to active Christian inmates, have also formed miniature God Squads. Some have active volunteer programs but these are falling by the wayside as staff cut-backs increase security problems.
Bob writes: “Hey, Don, help! After six years in prison doing a quarter (25 years) I got a Pen Friend. My house is a two-man cell with three of us living there; we just had a three-week lock-down. Real neat. We ate our meals, one hot, two sacks, there. We went to the bathroom there, we did not shower there. We do rotate who sleeps on the floor. We have a 9-inch TV but don’t get much. I don’t work or get out on the yard often. I do not have the foggiest idea what to write about.”
So if you’re assigned a friend who has this problem, help by asking questions.
JUST GOT A CALL FROM JO B.
She was concerned about not hearing from her friend.
I explained how important, and in some cases vital, a thing such as a stamp can be.
Another friend Emailed and told me her friend sold his dinner from time to time for a stamp. So make sure, if they can receive them, you send a stamp every now and then. Also the import-ance of letters. All the time I spent locked up I never received a letter. The guards often get a kick out of calling out names of those who do get mail, to hurt those who don’t.
To those of you new to this Pen Friend “Paper Sunshine” ministry, Yvonne once met a person, who had never, in seventeen years, received any mail. We now have gotten a bit large, but think (we stopped counting) over one million inmates have been touched and many led to Jesus, because Someone Cares. Thank you!
AN IMPRESSIVE OVERVIEW
When we started, it was just Yvonne and I, then a couple of volunteers, one now a pastor. Then different groups joined in, doing different things all over California, Then a trip to Kentucky, Michigan back to California then Indiana. Every time we came, we added to our ministry, and when we left we left behind God’s Love through Someone Cares Volunteers. It’s a real snowball, gathering size and substance as it rolls along. We remember with much joy the wisdom we had, keeping Jesus up front always.
I remember sitting down with a banker once about a home loan. I had put as our employer, Jesus Christ.
Occupation: Salvation. He asked how we got paid. “By God’s love and free will offerings,” we replied.
“But you work full time in a prison?”
”Who pays you?”
“Well, we get gifts from Gods people.”
Once a month we send a newsletter to all of you. I do lay hands on it and pray. Month after month we send our statements to our bookkeeper and we stay in the black, sometimes by a gnat’s ear, but in the black. We stepped out on faith and keep on keeping on.
Awhile back we were in a restaurant and approached by a couple.
“Are you the God Squad?” they asked.
We said, “Yes!”
“Praise the Lord!” the man said. “We saw the plate on your car. We are Bob and Janet Maners and have been part of your ministry for years.”
God is so good. If you are not an active part of this ministry, please join in. We need letter writers; we need check writers; we need Prayer Warriors; mostly we need you.” Even Mr Goggle smiled.
“Dear Someone who Cares, I want to thank you for your Ministry.” (Not ours but God’s.) “The relationship between my Pen Friend and I has flourished, not really what I expected, Bible Study and all. I just wanted to drop you a note of gratitude. I pray that the ministry continues to be guided by the precious Holy Spirit.
We thank Mr. S., but it is all of you who make the difference, and who write those letters and keep them going. We pray for each of you and we are so thankful for your commitment to writing and changing peoples’ lives. I now realize that we do things, not really knowing the impact that it has on those around us. I must really be slow as it has taken some sixty years. But every deed of kindness, no matter how large or how small, God adds His blessings and it becomes more than we can imagine. We Serve an Awesome God!
I am the Chaplain of this Correctional Institution in North Carolina. We are a new Maximum Security, closed custody facility. We are presently seeking donations to stock our empty Library, and also Christian materials we can give our inmates. We have over 800 inmates with 150 attending services. [Amen!]
They can use any material you can provide. We have had requests like this before and the Chaplains have been loaded with material. If you can help, send to:Chaplain Daniel Redding
633 Old Landfill Rd,
Taylorsville, NC 28681.
Whoever you may be. I listened to all 4 men talk of all the things that had been done, and the entire thing that could be done. Everything that was said has gotten either someone new or someone old in the White House. Everything, though, dealt with a massive expenditure of our monies. Not once did we hear about the massive waste of tax dollars.
To the best of my knowledge, in some states, it costs almost $50,000 a year to house every man, woman, boy and girl in prison. That is a lot of money! When they lock them up they do nothing but warehouse people. I would like to use Rocky as an example.
Rocky went to prison, spent seven years there, and he deserved to go. His family, because of the loss of income, was forced into welfare. He could not go to school or get a job for a long time. Finally he got a job making 19 cents an hour. His wife divorced him but stayed on welfare. Rocky was able to save $113.00 while in prison. He was from Southern California but committed his crime in Northern California. So, when he was released, he was paroled to Northern California?!
Upon release he had his $113.00 and the State gave him another $100 at the gate. He reported to his parole officer and got another $100. Now, with no place to stay and no job and a prison record, the Sate knew he would have a tough time making it. He looked for a job and slept in cars old buildings, etc. He was rolled and lost all his money.
He went to Southern California were he knew someone, but this violated his parole. He was arrested and sent back to prison. He was to pay for the crime he committed long ago again. The State spent over $30,000 in wasted tax dollars. We hear of recidivism being as high as 70%, or seven out of ten returning to prison inside of 5 years. Isn’t it time for a better mousetrap?
Not in any way do we condone crime and we do believe in prison for punishment not as punishing. The invitation to return to California was tempting now that they seem to be interested in rehabilitation once more. At one time, long ago, we helped develop a Pre-release and Re-entry program. But according to Yvonne, God has to talk to her in person. We had moved just too many times when HE called me. Remember, Paul and Silas broke into prison to take the message of God inside. Well, we have to do the same, but we can do it with pen and paper, computer and printer. Through Paper Sunshine, both we and the inmates we write to, receive the blessing. If not you, who? If not now, When? If not here? Where? Your financial support opens many doors and we thank our Faith, Prayer and Pen Friend partners.
PEN FRIEND ACCEPTS CHRIST
Hello Mr. McClure,
Some background is that he is in the Aryan Brotherhood of TX, and that though he will read my Scriptures out of respect for me (this is a wrong reason, but any way he reads God's Word won't return void (Isaiah 55:11), so I carefully picked the Scriptures I shared), and he doesn't want to talk just about that God stuff.
A preacher had visited him at my last letter and he was now curious about some stuff. He was willing to look at a Bible study with me and could I help him to KNOW God better? Could he see God in some way and how do I KNOW God is real, have I seen Him? If I didn't want to write to him now that I know about his Aryan connection, he would understand.
I told him that if he could accept me for accepting all people, no matter what their religious, nationality, or other convictions; then I could accept him for his beliefs.
Okay, here are some excerpts which gave me goose bumps and tears:
"I know you'll be happy to hear that God's got a real hold on me right now, how can I (or anyone) explain how it all came about?! God can do anything & He's done it with me. I severely persecuted Christians, Christianity, had s-o-o many doubts, questions I felt I would have to have answers to.
It seems like I feel like it doesn't matter to have any questions answered; as I read my Study Bible, other Christian literature, any/all questions that need to be answered or revealed to me of importance are being answered by the Word of God. I was a complete fool for 32 yrs, Connie!! I'd love for you to send me that Bible Study, I'm doing one with a church here in Huntsville, put in for another one the other day with another place. I've got so much time on my hands, I'm at the point right now where the only lit. I read, or even want to read, is Christian lit “ (he put a smiley face here)."
He has a study Bible, he is reading the Purpose Driven Life and goes on to say...
"I was an honest person before I was or became a Christian, so now I'm really being convicted by the Word and Holy Spirit in all my thoughts, deeds, actions."
"I want our friendship to be built on sincere intentions to know you, you know me, one that will last for (now I know) & BELIEVE not only this short lifetime, but the next one--eternity.
Then he goes on and on, quoting Scriptures over and over for two full legal pages. He is concerned for his safety and the safety of his family. The Aryan brotherhood is a blood in, blood out organization and quitting is a hit. We know God will protect him and his family, but as he put it,
"I am new in my Christian journey, but I'm learning..."
I believe he will learn greatly. Because of his association, he is in isolation, so he talks about having time to study God's Word.
I guess, in closing, I will share two of my favorite quotes that need to get out to churches everywhere. I never could understand why Christians would want to reach out to people who are in prison, but now, as a Christian, I completely understand. My life is taking a 180% turn, Connie—my thought process, everything. Don't get me wrong, I'm fully aware that I have a long ways to go, but the point is I'm on my journey now, I believe that if no one in the whole world existed but just me—Shawn C— God still would of sent Jesus to die on the cross so my sins could be forgiven. I wouldn't be lost to the world, Satan, Hell. You better believe Satan’s not wanting to give up on me either, he's had control over my life for 32 years. I shined for him, now I'm going to shine for the one who really loves me, GOD!!! ( he put another smiley face here).
I'm one of those all-or-nothing type of persons so there is no telling how far I'll go, hopefully real far."
Okay I'll close for now. Please hold young Shawn up in protective prayer. He is really on fire and I really do look forward to meeting this young man one day.
Thanks for sharing in this blessing from God. How exciting to have been able to plant seeds. May God receive all the honor and glory for this wonderful harvest.In His Service
Your Sister in Christ
What an awesome testimony!! It was worth squeezing the type size a bit to be able to bring you Connie’s story of her Pen Friend relationship with Shawn. We need more stories from our Pen Friends who are using Paper Sunshine to reach men and women for Jesus.
God has been opening the doors to people’s hearts especially wide this year, accomplishing a truly amazing harvest!!!