Quietly Changing Lives
About thirty years ago we were invited by Dan Matthews to the Media Center to put on a Prison Ministry Program. After the program we visited the Bible School. There an idea was born, which is still blooming today.
Often when inmates wrote to the Bible School to request a Bible study they would also ask for a pen pal. We had just developed the Paper Sunshine Pen Friend Program, so we got the idea to provide a Bible Study lesson application to the inmates, and if they responded the school would send them the lessons. We worked with several different Bible Schools, sending out their individual Bible Study lesson applications, and as a result we believe that over one million inmates have completed one of the studies our Church offers.
Many of you have heard us on radio broadcasts, and heard about the marriage between our two Ministries and how we have worked together with radio. When we were on the Voice of Prophecy radio program, we also featured them in our monthly newsletters. We are blessed to be the center where anyone can call to learn about Prison Ministry. We pray that we can find more radio coverage. If we find someone to work with, we can promote that organization by mentioning them in our newsletters, during preaching at church services, and in Prison Ministry Workshops. For quite some time the radio shows we were featured on were done over the phone.
Visiting churches to speak about our Ministry is becoming more of a challenge as our age is catching up with us. We hope to finish turning all our video footage into DVDs so we can �come to you� via video rather than in person, in order to teach about Prison Ministry.
We got a call from a man
who was called to minister in
prison. He was referred to us
and we explained the Pen
Friend Program. He agreed to
take 10 inmates, and since
Ronna was gone having surgery
I matched him. When Ronna
returned she also matched him
with 10 inmates. He later called
and told me what happened. I
said how sorry we were, but he
said he would take 10 more!
A woman said she and her group thought it would be nice to write letters to inmates, but write to them only, not have them write back. I explained how sad that would be if the inmates were touched by the Holy Spirit and could not write back. She is going to explain the whole program to her group, and hopefully they will decide to become pen friends.
As we�ve mentioned in the past, this Ministry is getting larger and larger. Paper Sunshine is running rampant through many prisons, and we need more writers.
Let me tell you about Bob and Mary. They joined and wrote one inmate each. They were so blessed they added more. They shared their letters at Church and others joined in, and together they are writing almost 100. They also got their own P.O. Box in a nearby town for receiving their letters, taking the burden off us. By using �pen names� it�s almost impossible for inmates to ever locate or identify pen friends.
Please ask your Pastor to contact us, and let�s see how big God will grow us.
We received several large donations, which really blessed us. We now have a Subaru 4-wheel drive wagon, and Jake has a 4-wheel truck he uses for school and the Ministry. In the past I�ve had to be pulled out of the snow twice and Yvonne once, but no more with these cars. We are going to put several large ads out, praying for those wanting to share God�s love as He has requested. Several of you have gotten articles in newspapers and in churches. This can be expensive but now we can afford it and God will continue to grant the increase.
To Bob and Debbie, Michelle, Roger and Betty, whose gifts hit it out of the park, we say God Bless. To all who have supported this Ministry, some for over 30 years, thanks with all our love.
My Name is Henry. I�m a school teacher, husband and father. A few years ago I was invited to a Christmas party held by others at school. I had a few drinks, something I did not usually do. On my way to pick up my wife I ran into another car, killing two. Guilty, yeah. I was given eight years in prison . I lost my wife and my teaching credentials. Prison is a terrible place. I made it through as I used my teaching skills to help others. There are plenty of us in prison who did something to be here, but are not criminals. I thank you for my Pen Friend and ask for prayers that maybe I can put this all back in order.
Jackie and Jim. We hooked up with the God Squad about 10 years ago. We started with one inmate each. The need was so great and we have written to very many. We have been forced by inmates� questions to read and study God�s Word. We now both write about twenty. Is it easy? No. Many inmates are looking. We explain what we do and who we do it for. They fill out an application provided by Someone Cares and often lie. But we send the ones we are not clear of to Don and he gets things going God�s way.
Maggie. I have written over 25 years to 200 inmates. Thirty were animals looking for prey, and Don took care of them. Forty were looking for girlfriends, and Yvonne took them. The rest we rode a seesaw, and the results were very positive. God has asked, told, commanded us to witness. What is easier than pulling a chair to a table and spending time sharing God�s love? Oh yes, letter writing is a lost art. Computers we have, but inmates do not. That personal touch is a tear in many an inmates eye.
Edmund is Lonely. I just want to write and thank you for what you do. I�m pretty lonely and could use someone to talk to. It is hard to tell someone out there what a letter means in here. A few words of encouragement. I usually stand by my door waiting to hear my name called. (We have told you before, some inmates write themselves just to hear that!) It is hard to ask a stranger, but there is no one else. Take care and God bless.
I�m Not a Christian. I believe in something but what I have seen of religion, especially in here, is bad. I was given a Bible, but wow. So I�m reaching out for some direction, even correction, to attempt to make sense of it all. The guy next to me hooked up with you a couple of years ago and he even left the gang he was in. I am educated but not very smart, I am trying to make it through this madness and see if I can make it out of here. Thank you, Rick
Quite a while ago Yvonne and I were leaving Soledad after two services. Out the front gate we heard a boy saying, �Daddy, don�t you love us anymore?� He was standing on the hood of a car. Dad was behind the fence near the visiting room the boy had just left. Yvonne and I went back inside to talk to dad. We became friends and helped him find out about the Lord, and how to better communicate with his son. Some Church members near their home worked with them, and all accepted Christ. Dad cut off his prison gang association and got an early release. A couple of months ago I got a call. They were driving to Church and listened to Yvonne and I on VOP. They called and all thanked us for putting Jesus in their lives. The boy told us daddy loved him and so did his Heavely Father.
I think I wrote in the last newsletter how I had been sending post cards to inmates who have been using abbreviated names on their letters. I got one response saying he used the abbreviated name because it�s the only name he was given to refer too. I do realize most of you who have aliases (also known as Pen Names) have had the same ones for a long time. But if your alias is abbreviated, such as Barbara A. or PJ, please come up with a full name and let us know what it is (example, �Barbara Andrews� or �Phyllis Jane�). The attempt to get these aliases straightened out is one of our main concerns, because we have good quality letters from inmates and we don�t know who they belong to.
This Ministry is growing, but there is more
room to grow, so I want to ask one more thing of
you all, and that�s to spread the word of God and
this Ministry to just one person a week or even
one a month. Help us show how much love and
honesty God has to share with everyone on earth.
Some people just need a friendly nudge to get
going. God bless you all and stay warm and safe.
We received a letter that I want to share with everyone:
Dear Someone Cares Ministry,
We are often asked about tithe. Many of you do not have membership in a Church, and God tells us to give. Yes, we accept tithe, but also ask that you help the Church you attend. Thanks to 2013 we were blessed more than in any other year. Not being able to travel as much we need to use TV, radio and magazines to reach people about our Ministry. This is expensive, but it gets us what we need � people.