Quietly Changing Lives
This month's newsletter is in memory of Roleen Payne, Yvonne's oldest daughter who was found murdered on May 15th. Much of this letter’s content will be addressing this issue. Please remember the family in your prayers.
Tragic News. My wife will not be doing her “corner” this month, as we just found out that Yvonne’s daughter was murdered by her husband, who then killed himself. We discovered this news when a reporter called us from NBC.
Yvonne and I had prayed many lonely years over the choices this daughter had made. So many times we tried to find her, only running into blind corners. Then, finally finding her, we could not help in the way she really needed, but gave in ways that we could.
A Special Appeal.
This death has set us back a bit, and not only emotionally. Deanna, our granddaughter who is 22 and currently a student, has been given the responsibility of taking care of her mother’s burial. We are asking our friends, and also friends of Yvonne’s parents, Clyde and Vera Groomer, to make a special donation at this time – not for the Ministry, but for the family to help pay for the cremation and placing the ashes with Roleen’s grandparents in Michigan.
This 22 year old, Deanna, for many reasons had lost her mother a long time ago. She told us she wanted her mother back! Well, that can only happen with God’s love and compassion. She can, however, receive some comfort if any of you would like to send her a note (at our address).
Never Give Up.
We pray that if any of you have kin you are estranged from, that you will try, no matter how hard it is, to get in touch with them. Try to be a part of their lives, even if it seems they do not want that. Follow the example of our Lord and Savior, providing love, having mercy and granting forgiveness
We ask for your continued prayers. We are clinging to the glimmer of hope that we will see Roleen again in Heaven. We rest on the promises of God.“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28
When tragedy strikes, how can we endure? We are able to stand firm in our faith if we have on the whole armor of God (see Ephesians 6). Only then can we stand up against Satan and the darkness of this world (verses 11-13). We fall to our knees and pray as never before, then we get up and continue to boldly preach the Good News.“Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints—and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel…” Ephesians 6:18-19
NOTES FROM FRIENDS
Update Letter. May 17. I had a tearful prayer with them (Don & Yvonne)…Yvonne’s daughter was Roleen Payne. Her husband then turned and shot himself as well as the dog in the head.
No one in the family knew anything about it for days Roleen’s daughter Deanna, in early 20s, didn’t even know about it – and she also lives in Florida. (She is a straight-A medical student and is not taking this news well.)
Jim Payne had a great government job but was laid off (with others) although he willingly accepted a stipend monthly check for ongoing pay as settlement. Roleen was a beautician and may have had some financially devastating downturns with the economy.
They lost their home, their cars recently… Evidently they hit “rock bottom” and had no place to turn.
A Prayer for Don & Yvonne.
On our knees. Love, Mona and Larry. Dear God, we don’t understand why You allowed this horrible thing to happen to your dear servants, Don and Yvonne. But we do know this: You love us. You love us so much You let Your Son die, so You understand how Yvonne feels right now. She is suffering. Be with her, speaking peace into her heart and soul. Give her Your hope, and Your certainty that You haven’t forgotten her and that one day Yvonne will see You face to face and understand this. Please don’t let Don and Yvonne and Ronna and Jake forget that they don’t have to get through this on their own. You are God over all.
We praise Your holy Name, oh
Jesus. Send comfort.
Dear Yvonne, Jeannie and I are deeply saddened to hear of the triple tragedy that struck your precious family. Daughter, her husband, their dog. We share your grief, dear Yvonne and Don, having lost 9 loved ones in the last two years – but nothing like this! Please know we are storming the gates of heaven in your behalf. Thank God for “The Blessed Hope” which Paul writes about, without which we would be most miserable. Some day soon Jesus (who weeps with us) will put all the broken pieces of the puzzle back together again. So keep looking up, ever going forward in faith. Lonnie & Jeannie
JESUS IS WAITING
We have talked to a lot of folks since this tragedy, and want to thank everyone for their calls and emails. Jesus doesn’t want any to perish, and he uses His people to reach those in the world who are dying without Him.
Who Will Help? Yvonne said to me, “Where might they have gone for help?” When folks are down and out and need help, Churches don’t always have programs that can do the job. Drugs and alcoholic training, called Temperance, is vital but missing in most Churches. Many do not want those kinds of people in their Church, but Jesus does!
Know Your “Audience.”
With our Ministry becoming too large, we have passed on letters from inmates to untrained and unprepared folks. We don’t want that to ever happen again. But there are things that you, the pen friend, can do to be more prepared for this Ministry.
A dear friend of mine offered years ago to help us. Raised in an upper middle class family, he rapidly found out that he needed to go down to meet the inmates where they were at rather than expecting to immediately bring them up to where he was at. (Jesus set the perfect example of meeting sinners where they were at.)
Speaking at a large group of about 200 people at a Prison Ministry seminar, we asked how many had ever been to an A.A. meeting? About six hands went up. To beat Satan, the enemy, we need to know his tricks. Paper Sunshine really works, but not if the reader or writer has blindfolds on.
Going the Extra Mile.
Betty, who became a Pen Friend years ago, has written over 100 inmates. She has also attended A.A., N.A., and E.A. meetings and has spent time on the internet visiting each prison she has a friend in. She tells us she has a 60% success rate, but hopes it will get better. How did she find that out? She called each prison Chaplain. She took this Ministry very seriously.
Nancy asked for two Pen Friends and got them. When she received the packet she thought she was in over her head, so she asked her Pastor to make an appeal in Church for anyone with a street or prison background to help her. Because she went the extra mile, we now have eleven folks from that church writing to pen friends and supporting each other.
When this terrible thing happened to our family, Jesus was there. The tears are many, but God’s grace gives us the zeal to do better, try harder. If you have written and quit because we goofed, I’m sorry. Please try again. If you asked for a Pen Friend and have not gotten one, please ask again. There is a job to be done and a victory to be won. Satan has a lot of ammunition and we are left with but a sling and a stone. Prison Ministry is crime prevention. Would you like to load your sling and slay the giant with us?
UNDER THE TREE OF LIFE
We look forward to meeting each one of you that we have never met under the glorious Tree of Life. There we can receive answers to the difficult questions we face in this life. However, when we are in the presence of our LORD, will things in this life really matter?
Settling Into Our New Home.
We’ve received so many blessings over the years, and this recent move is one of them. God seemed to be directing us back to Fort Wayne. We did not want to “test” the Lord, but asked for direction, deciding to let actions speak to us. We quickly located a home in Fort Wayne that was a perfect fit for Yvonne and the Ministry’s needs. So, we prayed and put up a For Sale sign in Payson, deciding to let the sale lead us.
Along came the Cunninghams, who immediately bought our home. We told them we needed no deposit, but prayed that the sale would close. We then made an offer on the Fort Wayne home, it was accepted, and we sent our deposit.
Payson Sale Fell Through.
The day before the moving van arrived and the day our Payson sale was supposed to close, Mr. Cunningham called to say they could not buy our home. We were shocked, but had come to know these folks and trusted that if they could not buy it, there was a good reason.
Sensing my disappointment, Mr. Cunningham said, “We know you need to sell this place to buy the other home— can you swing it without this sale?” No! He then asked what it would take to finalize the purchase our new home. We told him what the amount was (a large figure), and he immediately wired the money to our bank.
They did not have to do this, but they did. A Christian is as a Christian does. We had already printed our May Newsletter telling of the sale. Many of you mailed notes thanking these folks, which were returned to you. If you still have those notes, mail them to us and we will forward them on, as these are great folks and we greatly appreciate what they’ve done.
GOD GAVE ME MANY SKILLS…
…And grammar was not one of them! The last Newsletter was a mess, mainly with wrong addresses (the Post Office gave me a wrong zip code). Also, somehow the last section of the Newsletter missed editing all together. We did the best we could through the move, but we regret any problems this may have caused.
Thankfully our daughter Ronna and her son Jake never made the move to Payson as we had planned, so they are here in Indiana where they will be a great help to us. With their help, along with Yvonne, me and other volunteers, we will try not to make such a mess of it again. All the information in this newsletter should be correct, and I believe all the mail is going in the right direction now. Thanks, everyone, for all of your help, especially the Printer who really worked with us to try and correct things. Working in this Ministry is definitely a team effort.
With all that I have been doing lately, especially with the move, I’ve done much more than I should have, which has caused an old problem to pop up again. It looks like knee replacement is in order, and very soon.
I am grateful to have been able to do all I have done to stay young. I was really looking forward to beating my grandson at tennis and ping pong, and perhaps I’ll still stand a chance at bowling. (I hope!)
PAPER SUNSHINE P
aper Sunshine is something you can hold in your hand. Sunshine is something from God that warms us in the coldest of places. Paper Sunshine can warm someone’s soul; someone we may not even know until we meet in Glory.
I suspect that most are unaware of the darkness and despair that many inmates live in. Their cells are cold and dark, with little or no creature comforts and a cacophony of sounds and smells that assault the senses on an on-going basis.
Nothing is “normal” when locked up, and the life of an inmate is just a memory of time fleeting by. Having spent time myself, I was fortunate to receive lots of mail and support. However, I know from others how it feels to receive nothing during mail call.
If inmates go out in the yard,
they get God’s sunshine. If they
are blessed with a pen friend,
they also receive Paper Sunshine.
Believe me when I say
that it makes a big difference in
their lives. Keep it up!