Quietly Changing Lives
Although often forgotten by many, JESUS is the reason for the coming season. His love is what we should be sharing, instead of expensive gifts under a tree. Please keep Christ in Christmas, and in your heart all year long. That child, born in a manger, knew your name before the beginning of time. His preparation and instruction can be gift enough if used as He instructed.
We look at a world in turmoil as told us by God's Word. HIS word tells us every knee will bow, not join such and such a church. We join all of you in praying for peace around the world. Jesus was crucified because of politic. His birth, leading to His death, led to our eternal life. Make Someone Happy this season.
ALMOST THE LAST NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS
I was in my house (inmates never call a cell home) making my last preparations. I had a very sharp razor and the water in my sink was warm. The year: 1981, and my life would soon be over.
I heard music, Christmas music? On TV? No, it was coming from the yard. I looked through my window and saw free folks caroling! It sure bought back times past. I went back to my task at hand but still listened. Going back to that window changed my life. I looked at the other building and saw lots of faces jammed up to barred windows to hear the Joy of Christmas. A voice spoke out, "bring back found memories?" At my cell door was a man I had never seen. I asked who he was and he introduced himself as Don McClure, a Chaplain. We chatted a bit and he invited me to Church on Christmas day. As he got ready to leave he said, "Don't think you need a shave tonight!" I listened to the Caroling and cried. The next day I accepted the invitation and my life changed forever. An altar call at the end of Don's service brought me to the foot of the Cross, and into the arms of Jesus. I still keep in touch with Don & Yvonne, and thanks to the God Squad; I have kept many a �Night before Christmas.�
My name is Terry and I extend Christmas Greetings as a free man.
JOY TO THE WORLD .
.. writes Janet from a California Prison. �I received the packet of Christmas Cards you sent. As promised, I passed them out to the other girls. One of the girls, a Black gang girl, broke down and cried. We were able to pray together; Black and White, all are precious in HIS sight. Thanks from all the girls here, and Merry Christmas.
Yvonne and I want to thank all of you again, who donated cards for us to send to prisons.
PEACE ON EARTH
Jack from Florida writes: "I want to thank you and your supporters for the Christmas cards I was able to pass out. Thanks for my Pen Friend and the neat Bible study. I must admit a lot of inmates were really surprised when I accepted Christ. Through the kindness of many, I do have the Peace that passes all understanding. For all you have done for me, I wish I could do something for you.�
HEAVEN CAME DOWN
True Glory filled my soul when I again gave my life to Christ. Through your ministry, a change came over many. My ex wife, my folks, my home boys (gang members past). You taught me that if Paul and Silas could lead a whole prison full on convicts to Jesus, through God's power I could try to set that example. That same power cut my chains loose and gave me the experience I needed. I want to go home, but in God's time. Believe in Jesus, you taught us, and me and my family will be set free. I now have a friend in Don & Yvonne and a friend in Jesus.
JOY TO THE WORLD
Bob from Texas tells us of a lot of changes. Drug dealer, gang leader. One bad dude. We matched him with Pen Friends, a bunch of kids.
" I was ready to shoot up (do drugs) but I heard the screw (guard) coming. I hid my stash (drugs) and waited. The guard stopped and gave me three letters. �Must be a miracle, someone writing you,� he said. It had been years since anyone had written. Inside were notes and pictures�from nine kids! Tony (eleven) asked me if I knew Jesus! My whole world stopped. The Holy Spirit moved in.
I put together in my mind all the damage I had done over the years. This bunch of kids showed me Someone Cares, really Cares. I learned God is ready to throw when we are ready to receive. Then at my cell door a guard appeared, a man I hated.
�Want to talk?� said he. That talk ended with the first prayer I had ever been a part of. I got rid of my stash and shanks (knives), and now I carry a sword, my Bible, everywhere I go. God keeps on changing me like me there really will be Joy To The World.
DO YOU HEAR WHAT I HEAR?
From California: I am amazed at how many people Someone Cares reaches, especially since most are those are from a world we don't understand, and too often even families have written off. It has been over a year since I accepted Christ.
This change has brought my mom and dad and my sister back into my life. They visited me last week and we had a great time. They asked about you and Yvonne. I explained you were full time, unpaid Chaplains here. You came in daily and cared for all our needs the office required. Then on weekends you both went out and raised the money to do what you do for all of us.
Other than preaching and teaching, you provide paroling inmates with Dress Outs; others, you teach to read and write. You handle a reentry class to prepare inmates to adjust to freedom.
My dad asked, �Why does their church not pay them? I didn't know. A lot of inmates, because Someone Cares, get out and stay out. I know I will.
And he has!
HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS
Sitting in prisons around the world are those of us who made mistakes and had to pay for them. Most will remember Christmases past. Most, like myself, will regret all the mistakes they made in the past. Your ministry makes us remember and teaches us what we knew and had forgotten. Most all of us will go home some day, hopefully rehabilitated. My gift I received from Someone Cares is regeneration. Prison Ministry is crime prevention. Next Christmas I'll be home for the Holidays, knowing Jesus is the reason for the season.
As we make a list and check it twice is there something missing? Anyone we did not get a gift for? What are we giving Jesus? Only one thing HE wants and that's us. HE wants our faithfulness to Him. Take the time over this season to let someone know you love him or her. Our gift to you is a promise to serve HIM even better in the next year. May God bless you and yours.
WE WISH YOU A MERRY CHRISTMAS
Yvonne and I, Jean and Darryl and our Board wish you Happy Holidays. Without you there would be no Someone Cares. For the thousands of inmates and their families we say "GOD Bless!" .A gift in our hearts go to all who, over the years, have helped us so much. Euell, Darryl, Jim F,, Stan, Michelle, VOP, and so many more, all your names are written on our heart and the Lamb�s Book of Life, we are sure. We wish we could name each but to our Prayer Warriors, Faith Partners, Pen Friends and especially YOU, may we all be together soon.
Don & Yvonne
In the midst of the night,
I am never alone,
As Jesus is my light.
I am here for a time,
But there is peace in my heart;
My sins are all gone,
Jesus took my part.
There are walls
All around me,
But my heart is not bound.
For in Jesus I am free.
One day I will leave,
When His work is complete;
All the sadness
Will lay at His feet.
I'm here for a purpose,
And it�s part of His plan,
That I speak as His witness,
Of His love for man.
Many seeds have been planted,
Day after day,
And through the name of Jesus,
They, too will lead the way.
Frank James, 1997
I will never forget our first Christmas in Prison. When Don told me we were going I was not really pleased. Since then we have spent most Christmas days, or eves, in prison. The first one still is special.
My husband, a new Christian, was going to preach. He had spent hours preparing the sermon, asking me a lot of questions. We got to the prison and the Chapel was packed,. Don and I had prayer and the song service started.. Men and women in prison love to sing! To see these outcasts from society singing carols bought tears to my eyes and my heart. The Holy Spirit fell on Don's presentation of God's word and the birth of Jesus in a way I had never heard. I watched with amazement as grown men, including a guard, cried openly. Then, I was stun-ned again, as Don was going to make an altar call. He had never done that before! I prayed!
I forget how many men came forward � a lot.. Heaven came down and glory filled many a soul. We still get Christmas cards from men who were there. Christmas is a time we really are blessed by this ministry. Getting cards from men and women who, while in prison were touched by this ministry. Don and I get this blessing and the credit, but it is because of you that Someone Cares. Each year we pray that the next will be in Heaven. Soon and very soon. If there are more, we pray you will help us lead more men and women, boys and girls to Christ through our ministry, yours and ours. I rarely ask for funds but every dime is used to lead these poor souls to Jesus. Every prayer is a stumbling block to Satan. Each letter written to and inmate (Paper Sunshine), is a step to Glory. By joining together here, we can be together in Heaven.
P.S. FROM DON:
My help mate, my partner, my wife. I, too, remember that first Christmas in prison, serving Jesus. I had spent a few Christmases in prison before, but not as a Christian. I am overjoyed at the Power of Jesus if we let Him in. God has helped us, and you have helped us bring many to the foot of the cross.
Jimmy writes: �I was at your first Christmas service. I have no idea why I went � I think to get out of my cell. Singing was fun and it took me back to times past. Your sermon struck me deep. When you made an altar call, I was dragged out of my seat and no power on earth could stop me from going forward! One of the guards told me later he cried when I went forward, as he went with me! No, he did not go down front with us as he was a guard, but he said we accepted Christ together that day. Three of the other men who went forward I still keep in touch with.
All of us are out, three are married, and all are church members, looking forward to that meeting under The Tree Of Life
BECAUSE "HE" CARED
For many years I have been bound by Satan's chains and was cast deep into this prison, guarded by his demonic angels. It was not until I learned how to break out of this prison, that I could break out of the chains that had me bound. The continuous use of drugs, immoral acts, lying, stealing etc, was a cycle I could not break. I was wrong. Bought by the blood of the lamb, Jesus Christ, reading God's Holy Word, brought me to my knees in my cell, talking to God in prayer. Only then did I finally find inner peace, love and contentment. I was finally set free, my chains were broken, I found His peace. Today, because of Jesus, I'm free from prison, free from Satan, and my old ways are passed away.
2006 will be another year for us and Someone Cares to grow. We can't do it without you. If all of you matched what you did this year, next year, God will grant the increase.
Please check the address label. If there is a "w" there it means we sent you an inmate's name to write, and we pray you are doing that. If there is a number below 1,000 you have financially helped during 2005; if the number is higher, you supported before 2005. If you have never given to Someone Cares, you will receive tax deductions for any gifts in 2005. Our Tax Receipts go out with February�s newsletter.
If you use a Pen Name and may not have sent it to us, please do so. If you are starting, please do not use a one-name Pen Name. We have 13 Mary's, 6 Grandmas, etc. Also, please ask your inmate friend for poems and stories for our newsletter. Yvonne and I will be featured on the VOP radio station for 5 days starting December 27. Please join us. May God above Increase his Love for you and yours.
It�s not that I mind giving gifts, I love making others happy; it�s just the pressure of being expected to give gifts by the system of greed that takes in 60% of its annual income in December. It�s become the ritual now to decorate for Halloween in early October. The day after Trick or Treat and while the kids are still sick and bad-tempered from their sugar high, Mom & Dad trek back to the roof-top with the Christmas show.
Wait a minute! Isn�t there another holiday becoming obscured by tinsel? What was that? Thanksgiving! Yes! That warm, fuzzy time when we gather the family close to us, head for Grandma�s, or significant other relative�s house with a passing dish, and catch up on all the family happenings of the past year.
The Pilgrims gathered with the Native Americans who had so generously taught them how to survive in this vast wilderness called America. The Pilgrims didn�t celebrate the December holiday. They worshiped their Savior all year and shared the bounty of the land with family and friends.
If you look into the origins of December�s holiday, you will be surprised by what you learn. It�s nice to give gifts to one another, if all budgets are created equal, or if the family agrees on a fairly equitable dollar limit for each one. Once children catch the spirit, they happily participate in the true generosity of the season.
Several churches in this area joined to provide a dinner for a �hotel� in Detroit on a set schedule, each church taking turns. We had such a wonderful time serving these homeless folks who really appreciated the good food and hospitality.
When remembering others with gifts, remember your in-mate(s). A money order can be deposited to their account with a pretty card to make their cells a brighter place to live.
Remember, too, the Voice of Prophecy and Someone Cares. These organizations work hard all year to make life bearable for others. It boggles my mind how Don and Yvonne accomplish so much detailed work every year.
It takes a lot of stamina to handle all that mail, keep up the mailing lists, stay in touch with their speaking schedule, and have any life of their own.
I hope you all have a truly memorable holiday season, a time of loving your family and friends (and telling them so).
Avoid the colds and flu time by eating lots of fresh foods your body can use to stay well. Get plenty of rest. There�s little on TV that�s uplifting. When buying gifts, go on line. It saves fuel, wear and tear on you and your car. Take �getaway time� for you and your �significant other� to have a quiet dinner. Do include your Best Friend, Jesus.