Quietly Changing Lives
There is a time when we’ll all be with HIM. We hear HE is coming soon, but how soon? The world we live in is sure messed up. Many of us want to claim the promises of Jesus that HIS shed blood paid the way for. HIS amazing grace promises there is a spot for all. In God’s Word we can find the way, but not the “when.” We are told every knee will bow, every tongue confess.
We did a survey and found out that an amazing amount of people who attend church often do not read their Bible at all. When we pray (if we pray) getting down on our knees is not as easy as it used to be so sometimes we don’t do it. Learning how to claim God’s promises is easy - just ask. By faith we are saved through God’s grace. We can share in the riches of God, provided at Christ’s expense.
“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.”Matthew 7:7-8NKJ
Did you know . . .
There is an election coming up about the time you get this. We cannot put our non profit status at risk, but please vote.
The year was 1946. I was thirteen years old, full of hate, and ran away from home, hitch-hiking from California to New York. To survive I joined a street gang, and later started my own. The gang’s main source of income was selling numbers, meaning for pennies having folks pick the closing stock market number. I got caught and went to jail (today they call what I did the lottery). By the time I was released I had received quite an “education” from jail, and was a lot more street smart.
Being in and out of trouble I adopted the attitude of “Live fast, die young, and have a good looking corpse.” If something was yours, I took it and I became quite good at not getting caught, but wish that I had been. I made a lot of money, more than anyone could use, but was oh, so lonely. I ended up messing with the wrong people and had to run. I ran for ten years, and then I met Yvonne.
She was the daughter of Pastor Clyde Groomer, and had just divorced from an abusive husband. I had all anyone could ask for - cars, clothes, money and now a great girl. It would have been nice if she had taken me out of my life into hers, but instead I took her into the fast lane of my life. Soon the bright lights faded, the fast cars were gone, and we ended up in a cheap apartment with no furniture. Yvonne and I slept on the floor and her daughter slept on a mattress taken out of a dumpster. Drugs and alcohol had cost us dearly.
Thanks to Yvonne’s early upbringing, the one “Lighthouse” that could lead us out of the dark was near. Yvonne informed me that without Jesus I would be ruined for life, and she wanted no part of that. I had drunk up to a quart of booze and smoked three packs of cigarettes every day, and all the drugs I could handle as long as they were not injected.
When we started studying God’s word, it was tough, until Yvonne talked me into visiting a pastor. I walked into his office as an atheist, but three hours later I was on my knees accepting Christ. I gave up all the bad habits. Jesus lifted me, but now what? That was almost forty years ago, and we have been in this Ministry thirty-one years now. A friend again asked, “When are you going to retire? You’re almost eighty!” Well, the answer is when Jesus comes or I go.
Postage is going up again; have you got any extra Forever stamps laying around? We are growing at a pace much too fast. How hard can it be to write one or two letters a month? Please read all of Mathew 25, spoken by Jesus. I turned on the TV and happened upon a church service with a massive audience, many of whom had Bibles. His message was okay, so I wrote the Pastor asking him to read the information on our Pen Friend Program to the folks, but never got an answer. I called our Conference President to get a plug, but never got an answer. Thank God for most of you, but we need more help. We average 30 to 40 requests a day from inmates. We invite you to our website and ask that you share it with friends. Paper Sunshine is a vital life changing Ministry that needs your continued help. With Jake working hard to keep the letters flowing (my eyes are getting older than I am) he will take it over soon, with Yvonne and me to help. I am again going to start preaching and giving seminars with Yvonne. Let’s keep our eyes on Jesus and go do.
My story is a lot like my grandfather’s. When I was thirteen I was arrested for the first time for possession of marijuana. I was put on probation and got let off three months later because they felt I was a good kid in the wrong predicament. That made my head even bigger than it already was. A couple things I was good at was putting on a front, being stealthy and sneaky, and making money. I even fooled my grandparents, my mom and all my goody-good friends who I didn’t want to know about my second life.
When I was fourteen a gun was held to my head for the first time for drugs. All that did was make me mad. At that time I was supplying a whole apartment complex with any drug that they wanted. My “boys” and I, the Insane Gangster Disciples, ran it. We were the most well known white gang in the area, and that’s who I was, making money and gaining respect for the gang. Three days after my fifteenth birthday a gun was held to my head for the second time, and I honestly believe that if I hadn’t given the guy what he wanted, he would have pulled that trigger. I lost $25,000 dollars of the wrong people’s money. God got me home that night when five guys wanted me dead. No one I know changes their mind that quick after loosing $25 grand. I think that was my sign to walk away. After I stopped the dealing and riding for my street I met a girl and she pulled me out of that life of crime. I made a commitment to myself that I was going to make a difference in this world, that I would never go back to being what I was.
I am now eighteen years old and want to be an honest man of God rather than a man of money and the streets. Besides now working with this Ministry I also work at a restaurant on the weekends and am a full time student in college, going for my Associate’s degree in Automotive Tech. After that I hope to attend a different college for my Masters in Business and play college football, if everything goes as planned. The moral of the story is that no matter what you go through in life, no matter how many memories you hold inside, you have got to think about what is best for yourself and your family. The ones who love you are the ones who will never let you go through anything alone. The ones you love are the ones you need to keep close to your heart and never let anyone or anything come between you, your family and our Holy Father God. God Bless.
Here is a poem we received from a young girl in prison. She now has a Pen Friend who has helped answer her questions.
I can’t see the light and I’m so tired
Of the drama that comes with the night.
God, can you teach me to be happy? Can you show me the way?
I can’t escape all the sorrows that come my way.
God, can you explain what is a friend?
Please show me the meaning,
I’m so disappointed by the plotting and scheming.
Can you take away the hate and explain what is love?
I’m so in need of your affection that comes from above.
There’s a battle in my heart, can you take it away?
I remember when I first walked into a church in Sunnyvale as a babe in Christ. My background had preceded me and I’m not sure I was welcome. Since then many more men and women with sordid backgrounds have come to know the Lord, many of them as a result of this Ministry and you. The Lord has changed the minds of so many to believe in HIM. Some in the Church need that same kind of caring and sharing.
World conditions have really messed up things and people and families. With Jake we are going to start speaking at churches regarding many things our youth are hit with, that our pastors are not trained to handle. While Jake was living with us he got into trouble, and because of our “he’s not my kid” attitude, we missed it. There are so many important topics that affect our young people today that we just don’t talk about but should be, such as sex, the dangers of the internet, bullies and even religion.
If we are going to reach our youth and help them through the issues they are facing, we must open our eyes. Here’s a suggestion – take a drive through the “other side” of town (with your doors locked) and look around. You may see young girls and boys selling lots of things, including themselves. When these kids get caught and put in prison as young as thirteen, who do they turn to? Many come from dysfunctional homes and one parent families.
Jim’s is a perfect story to tell. He came from an upper class family with a dad and mom who worked and had no time to spend with him. The first thing the parents did when they came home was have a drink or two, to “unwind” they said. Dinner was in front of the TV watching the news. They had a Bible on a table, but it was never opened. When Jim had a problem he tried to ask one or the other parent, but they didn’t have time. This young man was searching for something, and without the involvement and direction of his parents he got mixed up with the wrong crowd, started drinking and taking drugs. Finally, after being beaten at school he took his parent’s new car, got high and drove off a cliff.
Sadly, there are thousands of kids who go through similar situations, some of them even getting caught up in the sex mills of this country. Yes, this happens even in your town.
Let’s remember the importance of Paper Sunshine and how it reaches those who have suffered and are in a dark place. Bringing Jesus’ Sunshine to them can provide the hope they so desperately need.
We need experiences that
you have had with
Someone Cares, either
good or bad. For example,
Bev and Chet were writing a
lady who got released and
asked them to write to ten
ladies still in the same
prison. However, it’s not a
good idea to write more
than one in the same prison
so Bev is going to get some
of her women friends