Quietly Changing Lives
Our Plans Are Not Always His Plans. We had a great idea and put it into action. We moved to Arizona with the idea of semi-retirement. We would hold the Pen Friend Program in place, and handle it. Well, that would have worked if we were not getting 50 or more requests a day from inmates for Pen Friends.
God gave us the idea of having Someone Cares Charter Groups in every State, which we spoke of in previous newsletters, and praise God we have nine groups getting ready to start! Part of our family wants to get involved now and is in training to take over if anything happens to us. Therefore, believe it or not, we need to move back to Indiana.
Time to Move On. You may recall the reason for our move to Arizona was to leave the cold weather due to Yvonne�s health. However, several medical specialists have cleared Yvonne to return to a cold climate as long as she stays inside when it is really cold. Also, we could always look forward to visiting some of the Charters in warm areas.
No, we are not nuts, but are excited as another door is opened. This move will both grow the Ministry and keep us close to loved ones.
By the way, we have a car that needs to be driven to Indiana. Anyone interested?
PAYSON HOME FOR SALE
The home is on a large wooded lot with 4 fruit trees, and the lot rental is $398 per month. Payson is a very nice area, and is in Ponderosa Pine Country at 5,000 feet, so no valley heat. The valley is beautiful and there is much to do. We wish we could keep it as a winter home, but that�s not possible. Call us at (928) 468- 1777 for more information. If interested we can email you some pictures.
Please ask your Pastor to place this information in your Church Bulletin.
SINCE YOU ASKED
How Do We Do It? We are often asked how we are paid. For 35 years by God�s abundant grace we have been a Faith Ministry. We worked full time at Soledad for eleven years as volunteer staff Chaplains and raised the funds to do it. We receive free-will offerings, collections when we preach or put on Programs, and donations from listeners when we speak on V.O.P. (Voice of Prophecy).
We have gone to our penny jar a time or two. The next two years will be challenging, fun, and a lot of hard work. Postal rates continue to go up, with postal days going down. Prison systems are challenging, and there�s always lots of travel.
When we started we asked if our supporters could give $1.50 a month for 7 years. That was a long time ago. We need 100 folks to commit to $25.00 a month for a year in order to make ends meet these days.
Keep On Keeping On. We need our regular Faith Partners to keep on keeping on, and for a few of you to step up with a bigger one time donation; God will provide the increase. You can donate anytime using your credit card on our web page, at www.someonecares.org.
We need the prayers of each of you and your inmate Pen Friends. It would be nice if we could make an appeal by phone to your Church for folks to write. Could you ask your pastor if he would be willing to speak with us?
If each of you got one other person to write an inmate, we�d be a heartbeat closer to Jesus, and a lot closer to Heaven.
RIGHT WAY, WRONG WAY
The saving grace of Jesus Christ has brought Yvonne and me a long way. We have learned by experience and God�s word how to grow a Prison Ministry. Going into prisons and preaching and teaching has been fun and rewarding. Ministering in prisons today has become very difficult. Our time, which God controls, is very valuable.
Years ago, we came to Arizona to put on a workshop and the results were amazing. But today it seems no one cares unless Someone Cares. We can preach and teach to groups, but we cannot one-to-one with the inmates.
The economy has cut Chaplains budgets to next-tonothing. To get Jesus on the �Main Line� we have to get there first. Due to cutbacks, most prisons keep their inmates locked down in dark dreary cells. That is why it is so important for them to receive Paper Sunshine.
If not you, who? If not us, how? God, through Yvonne, then both of us, and then you, has built a Mighty Ministry. Paul and Silas broke into prison to minister; now we need your help to do the same through a massive effort.
First of all, my health is great. We are looking forward to the challenge of a Charter in each state that would control all the mail for that particular state, lending our support with expenses as we are able.
As most of you know, it is exciting to read those letters, and many of them bring tears to my eyes. While I was sick, I received one letter from a friend on Death Row letting me know that he was praying for us, and that since we had always been there for him to cry on our shoulders, he was there for us.
We are very excited about getting Charters going in each state to spread Paper Sunshine. We prayerfully hope that you are excited with us and get involved. This is a special challenge to friends of my folks who have never jumped in until now. There is no age limit, only a willing heart and a love for Jesus.
LETTERS FROM THE INSIDE
From Sam: I was in a holding cell getting ready to be moved to Ag Seg (The Hole) for stabbing another inmate; I found one of your applications and kept it for awhile. I sent it in and you matched me with an elderly Christian couple. I almost laughed at how naive they were. I sent them a letter full of all my cares and woes begging for help.
The answer knocked my socks off: �If you are looking for friendship we are here for you. All the problems you wrote about, which we do not believe, got you where you are. Choice yours.�
That was six years ago. I�m getting out in two weeks and they are picking me up. To all you home boys in the joint� listen to me. If you want to be Set Free, Jesus is the answer. To be free in Jesus is to be free indeed. Quit running numbers on nice folks because that is who you are. They take the time to help you in doing your time. I�m happy today.
From Sally: I am in prison for life. I was not a Christian and have an anger management problem. You matched me once before but I attempted to really use the person you matched me with. Yvonne broke the match and wrote me herself. Boy, did I get a lesson in manners.
I requested a new friend and you matched me. I�m white and the folks were black. I tore up their letter. But then I saw Someone Cares and remembered Yvonne�s lesson; that was five years ago and we are now the best of friends. I even now have black friends here, which is a miracle. The prison system breeds hate. I am a Christian now and Don taught us to be color blind. Tough in here, but it can be done. Thank God for Someone Cares and my friends.
PEN FRIEND TIPS & TIDBITS
Writing to Released Pen Friends. When your pen friend gets out they may still write to you through us. However, be aware of the possibility that some may mistake �friends� for something else. The world they come from is very different than ours.
I remember when I became a Christian I thought I had moved to a new planet. The mind-set of an inmate can be learned by looking on the internet for Prison Pen Pals. You will see why some get confused about us�we are different than any other pen pal program out there.
Speaking of the internet, if you have kids, be sure and monitor all their internet activity to find out where they are going (also some husbands). While the internet is a valuable resource for information, it also contains a great deal that is not so good.
Addressing Envelopes. Please put your real name on your envelope to us. If you use a Pen Name, put that on your envelope to the inmate. Make sure you tell the inmate to write your whole name, first and last, on their envelope to you.
Also, if you have an email address, please provide us with it. This is helpful as a quick and easy means of contact.
Matching Pen Friends. We are often asked how we choose matches. We have a two pile system: one pile for inmates, the other free folks. The two on top of the piles are matched. If we see a request for a female pen pal, giving a physical description, we return their letter.
When the Pen Friend Program is more localized through the Charter Groups it will be easier to call the Prison Chaplain to check on an inmate�s condition. At this point we just do not have the time.
When a pen friend is first matched and they begin writing, a few different things may happen. They may answer, or they see this is not for them. Or, they may not have a stamp. Write again, and if you receive no answers then tell us and we will rematch you.
A Day in the Life� How about this for a day�s work? I got up at 7:00 am, finished addressing a bunch of letters and went to the post office where I picked up a tub of mail. When I got home, Yvonne and I sorted through it all to find 55 requests for Pen Friends, 82 letters to free folks, 64 letters to inmates and 33 notes to us. We had an overflow from the day before which added to the overflow for the day after�
SATAN�S TURN IS COMING God told Satan the earth is his, but that the heavens are God�s. We see worldwide wars and rumors of wars, poverty, and sickness. There are earthquakes and storms, and evidence that the earth is changing.
When an inmate goes to prison, so does his family in a sense. The massive unemployment rate has contributed to filling our prisons. Being in prison without some kind of street background is dangerous. Gangs run rampant and they run prisons.
Please Don�t Give Up. Some of you are getting requests from inmates begging for money. Many of you cannot or do not want to send money (that�s okay!), and some get discouraged and quit writing. Please, we need every one of you! Don�t give up! When you receive a letter or request that you cannot handle, send it to us and we will take care of it, then we will rematch you.
LOVE is a big word. Acted out it carries a lot of weight and can open doors to the hearts of souls. You have the opportunity, through your loving example, to open the door and introduce Jesus to a lost soul.
The Purpose of a Pen Friend. The purpose of a Pen Friend is to bring Jesus to an otherwise lost inmate. A friend does not run away when the going gets tough, but tells the truth in love and gently steers their friend in the right direction when they are going the wrong way.
What an awesome opportunity
it is to be a true friend, and
show the love of God to others!