Quietly Changing Lives
I was thinking back to so many years ago when I accepted Christ, whom I had never believed in. Now as a member of a church I once was lost but now am found! Just a few months after accepting Christ and barely able to understand the Bible, I made a phone call. The call was to Soledad Prison. I talked to Chaplain Reed and asked him if I could teach Bible there. “What is your experience,” he asked? I said I had been a Christian three months. “Why do you want to come here,” he asked? I answered “My wife and the Bible taught me to go forth. I am lost in the church. I need to be doing something for the Lord. I have had almost 40 years on Satan’s turf and three months In the family of God.” “When can you start,” he asked?
My wife thought I was nuts but said she would pray for me. I arrived at Soledad and the Chaplain met me and escorted me to the Chapel and left! I heard an announcement of a Bible study over a loud speaker. Almost at once men arrived, and I shook their hands as they entered - thirteen men in all. I introduced myself and opened my Bible. One inmate said, “Are we having prayer?” Opps. I told them all about my burden so I would be more at ease with them. If they had a question and I did not know the answer, I told them I would answer it the following week. I took them to the foot of the cross and explained that the man hanging there had sent me - but only after HE had cleansed me and directed me. One inmate asked what was in it for me. I said YOU. I told them abut the time when I was a kid in custody. A man chatted with me and what he said made me feel better. He left and never came back. Jesus left and is coming back and until HE arrives would be here for them. Someone Cares was born and grew rapidly when Yvonne joined me. We have never received a cent from church or state. We have been acting as full-time chaplains in three prisons. We have established programs in other prisons and helped other ministries.
... to be enrolled in Bible studies! We sent this message out and pray it is received. Working with Voice Of Prophecy and several other organizations, we have had much more success than that already. This was done with your help and your support. Last night we watched It Is Written and several other ministries sending and bringing God’s word all over the world. The Bible says every knee will bow but only when they find out about Jesus. The Christian world has to deliver that message. You can help from the comfort and safety of your home. We have a captive audience of over two million inmates to reach out to. Once again this will only happen with your help!
Upon retiring after 20 years of service as a prison chaplain with
the state of California prison system and hearing you are relocating, I
thought a letter of appreciation would be in order. It was about twelve
years ago that you started to volunteer your talents and energies to the
religious services at Soledad Prison. Yvonne, I shall never forget the
vitality that you put into your worship services by forming and directing
a choir as well as playing the piano or organ (whichever was working.)
In as much as I can not carry a tune in a bushel basket, you will never
know how much this was enjoyed by all. Later you expanded your
ministry with a well-planned and spiritual Bible study using the whole
Bible. Your demeanor in an all male prison was always above anything
of a question. You learned rapidly how to fend off slurs from inmates
who were not aware how to respect a lady. Don, your masculine
approach to the men was always a true example to the religious and non
religious inmates that a vital and viable faith not only gives strength, but
requires it. Your man-to-man sessions also vital in prison was a class
action. You both gave to the men an example of what it takes to change
and prepare for release. As a team you came up with some innovative
ideas. Some of them were a bit much and too advanced for the
Department of Corrections. You were both often on the hot seat when
you did not deserve it. I appreciated it then and even now. None of
knows what the future holds but with you two serving God in prison I am
sure that many an inmate will find Jesus and to be free in Jesus is to be
Stan wrote that many years ago. He mentored and opened many doors for this ministry. What we have done and will do is because of his knowledge. We will chat with him about all this in heaven. Stan died a few years ago and am sure all his efforts did Continued from page 1 not die with him. Amen.
I’m not sure how others take the words of Jesus. HE established all we do and should do. Churches have adopted doctrines and not all agree. That is why we teach “Do not let your doctrine be a barrier but rather a bridge to Jesus.” Trying to get more of you involved, we have called many of you. We hear that they have attempted to get folks involved but often the prisons stop them. Listen to Helen. “When I heard you two on radio I was touched to get involved. You sent me two names and people of two different races. I read all the instructions and called Don. He helped me understand some things. The one thing I found vitally important was to get them involved with something.”
People are sent to prison for a long time. We teach them to prepare for release from the get go. If they have not been educated we help them get a GED. For most folks I advise them to go to our website and visit the archived newsletters. This is another way to explain what we do. I have talked to a whole lot of folks who teach Bible in prison. You arrive, are escorted to wherever the study is given and escorted out when finished. You teach for an hour and leave but you cannot talk one-to-one with anyone in the class. Some prisons do have a different class every night. If they are from seven churches they get seven different messages. We had that problem at the start but collected volunteers and formed an all Faiths’ Chapel.
We really do believe we can get another 100,000 inmates into a Bible study. In the past we have been featured on the Voice of Prophecy radio show for ten programs annually. They have made some adjustments to their programing. We pray and ask you to pray that we will be included in the programs in the future. We have had to place ads in magazines across the country. This is expensive. Depending on those already involved the response has been just great. If we had all your e-mail addresses, it would save us money. We are non-profit organization so your donations - at least for now - are tax deductible If you know of a Christian radio station we can get on, that would help too. Working with Lonnie Melashenko, Connie Jeffries and Ken Wade, we did most of the radio shows via telephone saving travel expenses.
About 40% of the folks on our mailing list do not attend a church. Some listen via satellite but others do not listen at all. The Bible talks about tithing. We in no way wish you to stop tithing to your church in order to tithe to us. We have been and continue to be good stewards of your donations.
Reprinted from our October, 2006 newsletter.
We thank God that HE does. I am amazed so often at the scope of this ministry that God placed us in
As a diversion to the mountainous job of moving mail, I love to work outside. We love color and beauty. I was out weeding some new flower beds. The weeds come often and it can be hard work. I often think of Jesus in the garden. We reflect on how HE asked others to stay with HIM. In the world we live in, God’s being there for us is so vital. One of the first songs I remember learning when I first became a Christian was “Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus.” So often we do that. I think back so many years and reflect on how truly hard it was for me to understand what “Power In The Blood” really meant.
It is such a pleasure reading mail from inmates who are matched with Pen Friends. Prison is such a great place to minister, and the rewards are plentiful. The workers are few and many programs are being stopped. Sure, there are awful people there; some will abuse and try to use this ministry. I am amazed so often at the scope of this Ministry that God placed us in. I really believe that with a big effort anyone can change. Every time I read, and send on a letter I say a prayer. I am writing some of the hard core types and trying to explain we really do care. Low self-esteem is the ruin of so many.
I once visited a man in a prison hospital. He had been stabbed a lot of times. He was so full of hate. He really did not want to hear what I had to say, but he had nowhere to go. Reflecting the love of Jesus I told him of the journey we all had to take. I explained the pain-free, sin-free, hate-free journey to Heaven. I told him of changing into robes of white. He was shocked when I took his hand, held it firmly and prayed the sinner’s prayer. He tried to pull away, but soon his grip relaxed. Jesus moved in that day. The man did not die, but was born again. Thank you Jesus.
At a Soquel Camp meeting years ago, we had a prison ministry seminar. A young girl came to all six meetings. The last day she wrote this and crumpled it up. Yvonne picked it up.
If you don’t care how the problems get solved, you can’t shake your head later that you never got involved. The call came ringing from the throne of gold, but you never got the message because your mind is on hold.
There isn’t a word that a preacher can say no matter how lovely or true nor is there a prayer his eager lips can pray that can preach such a sermon as YOU. You vowed to serve Christ, and men know you did. They are watching the things that you do. There isn’t an action of yours that is hid. Men are watching and studying you. You say you are no preacher - yes - but you preach a wonderful sermon each day. The acts of your life are the things you teach. It isn’t the things that you say. If Christians were Christians as they do profess, men would notice and learn what things they profess who follow the meek Nazarene. Christians will remember that you bear His dear name, your lives are for others to view you are living examples men praise you or blame. Then measure all Christians by you.
This note was sent to us years ago with a $50.00 bill in a blank envelope.
Jake’s father was released from prison after 15 long years. We ask you all to pray for him. Lord willing he may be a part of this ministry if only in the newsletter.
Many of you because of
the years are not involved. If
possible ask your friends to go
to our website
visit the archived newsletters.
Then ask your friends to e-mail
this information to their friends.
Share this with your pastors.
Also when you are finished with
each newsletter, pass it on.