Quietly Changing Lives
When I asked Jesus into my life it was just as I was. With HIS shed blood HE washed my sins away, just as HE has with all who have accepted HIM as their Personal Savior. We live in a world of good and bad, happy and sad. Aren’t they all looking for something better than this life alone? So many men women boys and girls we meet have no idea what the flip side of this world is all about.
It is still being worked on but we pray it catches the attention of many. The world of the computer has gotten so large. We use it as a learning and teaching tool. One of the new website tools will allow you to check out the prison your Pen Friend is at, and learn a lot about what they go through.
We have been checking our Ministry computer base, trying to get more of you involved. So many names have been added over the years, but with so many of them we do not know why they are there. If you are reading this and are not currently part of this Ministry, how about joining us to help Jesus save the lost? You can write, you can pray, you can support. This is a way to “Go Forth” as Jesus asks us to do.
Once again, let it be clear that we do not like prison and we do not like crime, but both are there and Jesus told us in some manner to go there. I quote Hebrews 13:3 often, “Remember the inmate as if chained with him.” The most powerful scripture on the topic I believe is, “I was in prison and you visited me not.” God does give us the tools to work with, but sometimes it takes a bit of a push to get us started.
THANK YOU, DON.
Many years ago when it was Pen Pal instead of Pen Friend I joined your Ministry. You matched me with a young man at Soledad and I was in Prison Ministry. His letters were so neat and kind but as you helped me learn his heart was cold and hard. He was looking and knew all the tricks; thank the Lord, so did you. You matched me with another man and took care of the first. I have written to 65 men over the last thirty years; 37 were looking for anything, but they did not accept Jesus. You replaced each one and I ended up with 10 who we had a nice time writing, and did become sort of friends. The rest, praise His Holy name and your Ministry, became Christians, eight ending up joining my church when released and all the others joined assorted churches. Your newsletters I share and must admit until lately others did not seem interested. I, like you, think folks are tired of hearing HE is coming soon, go forth and prepare the way. Doing what?
TALK ABOUT A SNOWBALL GROWING!
I wrote an inmate, he got a couple more to ask
for applications, I got a couple of folks in my
Church to write, they got friends to write, the
inmates they wrote got other inmates involved, I
even got an email telling me about our Ministry.
I belong to a women’s group, and we meet monthly. I asked them some of the things you talk about. “I’ll pray for you,” is a common statement that most said, but they really never did. I belong to a church that used to collect clothes for the poor. They bundled them up and sent them overseas, then they quit. You might be interested in this and have some of your folks try. Our group is 27 strong. I read the Bible every day (3), I pray every day (9), I pray for someone every day (10), I help out in my church at least once a month (0).
I joined your program and you sent me three names. I read the information and set it aside. Two years later, even though I got a newsletter every month and a reminder from you, I never did write and lost the information. I am so ashamed.
I wonder what would have happened if she had written? Let’s pray we will find out in Heaven. We can multiply that number of unwritten names by a bunch. Let’s say 10,000, but I think that number is low. Ten inmates hear about our Ministry and write to get involved. (A lot more than that do write.) We send them all applications, which is the cost of postage times 10,000. Let’s say 6,000 return their applications, so we match them with 6,000 pen friends, but only 1500 of you end up writing! JESUS WEPT. We keep on keeping on; I can understand about receiving the information and deciding that you do not want to do it, but not letting us know? My, my!
THANKS FOR THE HELP
I was writing two inmates and having trouble with both. Don sent them this note: “When you signed up for this program you filled out a form telling you we were and are a Christian Ministry. You did not have to be a Christian but the Pen Friend would be. It seems your intentions are not in that area, which is fine. But we are matching your assigned person to another inmate. We will be praying for you and pray that some day you think of the fact that a complete stranger took the time to befriend you and you attempted to use them.”
The inmates you sent me for replacement are fine.
(We, using different names, wrote as “Pen Friends” to those first two, and they tried to use us also.)
NOT ME, NO, NO.
I remember when you and Yvonne came to our Church so many years ago. Don, your sermon was powerful and even made me cringe. I marked each scripture. The Church was having a potluck and then an afternoon program. No, not me. I went home after Church. “I was in prison and you visited me!” That scripture hit me hard. I drove back to the Church. Thank our precious Savior. You and Yvonne told stories and showed videos of the work Jesus was doing through you.
During your sermon you talked of Yvonne standing in front of a man’s cell talking about Jesus. Yvonne was raised in the Church by very godly parents. You had told us about the cell block, 5 tiers high, 50 cells to a tier, smell and fifth. Yvonne talked of feeling the fear and hate in there. I picture the sight of Yvonne, a small lady, standing among all this mess. She said it reeked of hate and fear. But she was talking to a person locked up there! No mail in 17 years touched my heart. I could go to prison via Paper Sunshine. I signed up and thanked God for making me go back that day.
That was almost 30 years ago. I, my husband, my kids, and many of my friends joined forces with Someone Cares, and believe me we do. We have written over a hundred inmates, men and women. Our kids growing up drew terrible but loving pictures until they could write. Oh, we were matched with some real hustlers, and some very perverted inmates; Don weeded them out and replaced them. In three cases my husband and I hung in and took them on. Twenty-two we still hear from even though they have been released. Six were released and returned to prison, we wrote again. We feel that this family program helped us all grow in Christ. We have visited some, some of them have visited us.
Don writes, “Because of You, Someone
Cares.” Because of Someone Cares we are a
better family than we would have been.
If we had a thousand like this group Jesus would be coming soon.
PEN FRIEND PROBLEMS?
We feel that many of you who were sent a name did not write for several reasons. Perhaps the inmate was a different race. Or, you listened to us on the radio and wanted information, but we matched you with a person and you weren’t ready. You were interested, but your mate was not. Maybe you were advised by your Pastor not to write. Many of you wrote and used a Pen Name, but did not inform us.
We again have a stack of mail and have no idea who it goes to, but we are working on a new program that should prevent this from continuing to happen as it is set to have both your information and the inmate’s on one form. (In the past many of you forgot to return the blue form.) Another problem is that some inmates have taken the liberty of using nicknames for their Pen Friend, such as “Liz” instead of “Elizabeth.” Or, instead of addressing their letter with the name of their Pen Friend, they address it only to the Ministry name.
STATE OF THE NATION
We all are somehow caught up in the politics of the time. Prisons are changing and not for the better. Unemployment is causing many more to be sent to prison. In prison there are men and women who made a mistake, and those who do not care about anything but self. The users and abusers. Our program is meant to keep everything running smoothly. Now that we have the staff we can be more diligent about preventing errors. Suggestions from all of you would help a lot, so please drop us a line.
The biggest problem in prison is gangs. They control way too much. They also make conditions a lot harder. But our goal is to get Jesus on the main line. It will not get easier, but we will not give up or give in. Satan is throwing at all of us his last spears, but God’s power is mighty. Daniel beat the lions, and David slew Goliath.
We are often asked what we think of what is going on in Washington. It is not good, but in fairness we stay away from discussing politics. But we pray you all vote, and we pray that all of you as families discuss the matters that are going on today. The day is coming, and I pray soon that all this will be over. Whether God has prepared for us a mansion or pup-tent, we will meet in Glory. How many of the over 2 million inmates in U.S. prisons will be there as a result of your help?
I was going through my Grandma Groomer’s Bible this last month, reading the things she wrote on the blank pages. I would like to share some of her notes with you…
“Many of whom God has qualified to do an excellent work accomplish very little because they attempt very little.”
“I read somewhere that a Pastor’s job is to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.”
“Sell what you can’t keep and buy what can’t be taken away from you.”
She was a good Christian woman, and a very happy person no matter what came her way. Working in Prison Ministry I soon found out you need a certain amount of humor, and I’m glad I have her Bible and her notes. Don’s Bible is full of quotes and bits of humor and wisdom he uses when preaching. We have another Bible that has been marked in every spare blank spot. We have gone through it and receive great comfort in the notes that give us insight into what each person was feeling, as well as their attention span.
God bless each of you, and we thank you for what you do for Jesus through us.
I have been blessed with an amazing family, true friends and a chance at the career that I have always wanted. My life has been a journey and it has just begun. God, friends and family are the most important things in my life for a very obvious reason; without the ones that I love I would not be the person that I am today. I have come close to losing a lot of people and have lost many who I was close to, which just drew me closer to this state of mind: “When you love someone keep them as close as you possibly can and keep them safely in your heart.” If not, you are giving yourself one option – face the world, which is roamed by the devil, by yourself with no one to help support you mentally or emotionally.
God is the most amazing essence that I have ever experienced. When I feel down or feel alone all I need to do is close my eyes and pray. You may not hear or see what He is saying or showing you, but you will feel Him. You will feel the presence of your guardian angel force herself on your shoulders and feel the relief in your heart and mind. The safe comfort that God is willing to give us all, as long as we believe and trust that He is our One and Only God. I think that it is a beautiful thing when all we have to do is pray, and all the fear, all the bad, all the tears will turn to love, warmth and laughter simply because we believe.
Your friends and family can help support
you and help push you on. But with my
guardian angel on my shoulders all I have to
do is live my life to the fullest and follow my
heart. Which one sounds better to you?
“The Lord is my sheperd; I shall not want.”