Quietly Changing Lives
When I first became a Christian I spent hours in God’s Word. I learned to cross reference scriptures and subjects. It became easier as time passed, which is a good thing since I had to work harder and study deeper when we were called to serve God in Prison Ministry. While working in the prisons the shock of doctrine hit home and I learned not to let our particular doctrine be a barrier, but rather a bridge to Jesus.
When folks join a church they often go with the flow. With television shows being so bad these days we got ourselves Christian satellite, which has been a real learning experience. When inmates in our Pen Friend program are matched it sometimes becomes an education to watch and observe. Religion in prison is not a priority. The chaplains like pastors to teach what they believe. We are told that just touching Jesus’ garment can bring salvation.
Inmates usually have the New Testament and Revelation, but they are missing the power of the Old Testament. Is your Pen Friend in Bible Study? Invite them to share with you if they need assistance. Focus on Jesus and what He has done for us, not on your church’s particular doctrines. We see a world going to pieces, and religion has its part in that. What a wonderful opportunity you have to encourage your pen friend to study and pray.
2 Timothy 2:15KJV
They were arrested, and because of who they were they really did not have to go to prison. But in they went. They were stripped and beaten, thrown into stocks (which were boards grooved so the legs could be pressed apart), and then put into shackles – all very painful.
Did they complain? No! Instead they sang praises to the Lord while the inmates listened. God shattered the prison, and the cell doors opened. A sleeping jailer awoke, knowing he would be killed if the inmates escaped. Imagine his surprise to find that they were all there. (Would that be the case if something like that happened in a prison today?) The jailer asked what must he do to be saved, and was told he and his family would be saved. What a nice package deal! Many there in prison were not guilty, just like Jesus.
Look at the Cross. Jesus was found guilty of a crime He did not commit, sadly like so many in prison today. Jesus was beaten with rods and His skin was ripped. Then a crown of pain was placed on His head. It was, and it is, Jesus’ shed blood that gives us salvation. Someone Cares needs help to set the captives free, those who accept Jesus. Workers are also needed to reach out to inmates of different religions. We cannot do it without YOU.
The Ministry is growing at a pace even we cannot believe. Prison over-crowding is massive, and gang activity is growing. It seems we cannot turn on the news without hearing about racial problems. In prison it is really bad, even though we still stand by what Yvonne likes to say: “Do the crime, do the time.”
We have fought hard to keep on keeping on. With the way many are living, it seems that dollars are more important than human lives. We spend millions to incarcerate men and women, boys and girls, but next to nothing to rehabilitate them. Laws are passed, adding years to their time. Recidivism (relapse into criminal behavior) is about 60% nationwide. Justice is inconsistent – ten people convicted of the same crime may receive ten different sentences. The rich get richer, and the poor get prison.
We must take the Gospel seriously. This will increase our capacity to love our neighbor, and to apply God’s will as the Spirit leads us to accomplish great things. If we embrace the Sprit of God we will truly understand Mathew 25:37, “I was in prison and YOU visited me.” At the foot of the cross we can all understand the things we need to do and fear the things we should not do. Happiness is to know the Savoir, and we can make a difference in the lives of those in prison through Paper Sunshine, spreading that happiness, shining the light and love of Jesus, showing them that Someone Cares. We should pass on the hope that lies within us. Thanks to God that this train we are on is bound for Glory! Next stop – heaven!
1 Peter 3:15 (NKJV)
Yet ageless as the sands of time.
The Son Of God, a King Devine, My Jesus.
He gave up Heaven and came to earth.
We celebrate His humble birth.
Yet few accept His humble worth, My Jesus.
His ministry spanned but three years.
A man of sorrow and of tears.
He suffered sorrow and tears
He suffered agony and fears, My Jesus.
He did no wrong but only good;
He healed the sick because He could.
Yet He bore a cross of wood, My Jesus.
His false accuser screamed and lied;
Religious leaders filled with pride
Condemned Him with Pilot vied, My Jesus.
They nailed Him to a cross of wood.
He made the hill on which it stood.
He gave His life for mankind’s good, My Jesus.
He suffered agony and pain
To take away sin’s dreadful stain.
Soon he is coming back again, My Jesus.
He bids us tell what you can be,
A child of God forgiven and free
With joy, peace and liberty, My Jesus.
There is nothing more I can say.
You can help someone receive His Love today.
Someone Cares. He is Life, the Truth, the Way.
“He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that
we might die to sins and live for righteousness;
by his wounds you have been healed.”
Our vacation and honeymoon will soon be here and gone. With God’s help we must plan the growth we know is coming. We are making plans to restructure this Ministry; even though I am 81 slowing down is not on my mind. Our biggest need is Pen Friends, those willing to write an inmate once a month or more.
This now can be done by computer. We have stacks of requests to fill. Funding is always a problem. Postage goes up, equipment needs to be kept up. Traveling needs to be done. I would love to have everyone’s Pastor’s phone number to try and get them to help in the name of Jesus.
We realize many of you have been with us for years – amen! We value your prayers. Pray that our needs will be met.
Yvonne and Ronna are both recovering from surgeries. Yvonne had her second back surgery, and Ronna her second knee replacement. Before Yvonne’s surgery, as she was being prepped, they had trouble getting the needle in. When it was finally done the doctor came in, and the three of us had prayer.
Pray for us, and we will
pray for you and yours, too.
So many miles ago, when we started this Ministry, God was in control. To say we did not make mistakes is not so. I learned the Bible as we taught it. We said from the start that other programs were needed. The Pen Friend program was started and no one can say it is not a great success. The Dress Out program, which is still badly needed today, provided used quality clothes for released inmates. Bible Studies were started in the over 40 years of this Ministry, and over a million inmates have completed some form of study.
Most inmates today are kept in a cell for 24 hours a day. Most have no radio or TV and most have lost support from families. Learning to pray is an inmate’s way to success, and it’s the same for us as well. I can tell you all we have held hands in prayer with some very bad folks. Yes, inmates often have tried to take advantage of us, of some of you, and of Jesus. But those who have over looked these things and stuck with their Pen Friend have made a big difference.
We get notes and calls from released inmates. Many would have gone back to prison without you. One inmate was Yvonne’s clerk. He was loyal and a real big help and worked hard with us. He was released, and about a year later was back in prison. We are told that he asked the Judge to please not send him to the prison where we were working. He did. Unless the person sent to prison is changed, they become institutionalized. If you write or wrote an inmate and are having problems, call or email us. Don’t give up! Satan wins if you do.
Through life’s travels we seem to neglect,
Well in less than a year I have had 4 surgeries, 2 knee replacements, back and shoulder surgery. My doctors are amazed how fast I heal; I believe it’s God! I still have 4 more to go but I think I want to take a break and focus on the ministry, as there is so much work to be done. I want to say thank you to the ones that have sent me cards and that have been praying forme. Thank you so verymuch!
I read the letters inmates send, requesting to be a part of this Ministry. A lot have no idea and are looking for what we do not offer. Some of these types of letters slip through. Some who write for the wrong reason I personally write to, explaining what we offer if they want to be a part.
Some of you wrote and we matched you with an inmate, but we have not gotten any response. If this is the case with you, please help us put all the pieces together. If we put forth effort to work together we will get this work here finished.