Quietly Changing Lives
We are amazed with what started off as a simple Bible study. I was looking to find something to do for the Lord. This Ministry does amaze us as God has done so much when we follow HIM. Months after being baptized, I became a full-time state prison chaplain for a salary of $1.00 a year. Yvonne was to soon follow in my footsteps. We attended three different police academies to learn all there is to know about working in prisons. Six months after my baptism I gave my first sermon in prison. One day while Yvonne was holding choir practice and I was studying my Bible the phone rang. It was the head chaplain. He told me he was sick and I had to preach at two services the next day. He had made arrangements for us to stay at the prison staff quarters. I had a cassette of Walter Pearson preaching. I lisened to it all night long. God is so good. I really donít think too many ministries in prison have been able to do what God has led us to do. I was an atheist at forty and am now a servant of the Lord. AMEN!
This risk free letter writing ministry has really changed a lot of hard-core criminals. God has blessed many through this ministry, both those in and out of prison. Now we have a problem. I was blessed with an idea. Letter writing is a lost art except for older folks, so we came up with a great idea - Pen Friend Paper Sunshine via the computer. You who read this would be matched with an inmate. You then e-mail the inmate and send it to us. We then snail mail the letter to the inmate trimming off the e-mail information.
The inmate writes back and we scan it, read it and give advice and correct any problems. We then e-mail it to you. The response is massive. It is quite time consuming and will take additional folks and donations. We pray for a grant or a large donation. God will work it out!
We have a problem that is
serious. People hear about us,
read about us and want to get
involved. Then they get the
packet with the inmateís information.
Some put it down and
forget about it. Some read it and
it is not what they expected.
They donít write and donít
return the information or they
write and get no answer. Inmates
often cannot get paper, a
pencil, a pen, envelopes or even
a stamp. We ask everyone to
write twice and if you do not get
an answer, then return the
inmate information to us. After
that we can rematch you. We
will take care of the inmate you
returned. Please write somewhere
on the envelope to us
your real name and your real
address. The letter to the inmate
has their name, number
and full address. This is sealed
in the first envelope and mailed
to us. We do not read your letter
to inmate. With our new program
using the computer, when
we scan the inmateís letter we
will read it to make sure there
are no problems, give advice
and e-mail to those using this
Today, with massive over crowding, it is more difficult to get into prison for ministry. A lot of chapels are being used for housing. Yvonne is a pastorís daughter, the daughter of Elder Clyde Groomer. We were full-time chaplains at Soledad for 13 years. We then worked at Paso Robles Boy School and Avenal Prison. Then we were off to Kentucky for another police academy and we worked at Eddyville Prison. We also filled in for pastors in many churchs. Then we went to Michigan. Yvonne was a pastor at Coldwater Womens Prison and I pastored at Coldwater Mens Prison. For thirty years we did the job or assisted the state paid chaplain. In prison our main duty was training volunteers. Eighty percent of our time we do one-to-one counseling with both inmates and staff. Most of this counseling was done in cell blocks while standing in front of an inmates cell, putting up with the stench and the smell of fear. We have trained many volunteers and also worked with the prison staff. At no time were we paid by the prison, the state or a church.
If our ministry does not change we will be fine. With the apparent growth the Lord is providing, we will need help. Yvonne and I are allowed to go anywhere in most prisons. We are not escorted and draw keys to get into all kinds of places. We also work with and for the staff. We have helped form a Christian outreach program for the staff. There are many who go into prison to teach and preach. These volunteers are escorted in and out and can only do what they came to do. Not being able to spend one-to-one time with the inmates is a shame. This is the backbone of ministering in prison and is vitally needed by all the inmates.
We had a day when we handled almost 600 pieces of mail. What a blessing. This Paper Sunshine Ministry could - once we are back on radio and in a major magazine - double in size!
MY NAME IS JOHN
MY NAME IS ARCHIE
MY NAME IS BILL
MY NAME IS !!!
We are a bunch of convicts who got organized to do well. We were allowed to go out to schools and share our experiences and to try to help kids. Don & Yvonne helped us in our spare time at their own expense.
INCREASE HIS LOVE
Reprinted from our
I am sitting at my computer looking out at a winter wonderland as I write this, knowing how cold it is outside and that only a window keeps it from me. Just a couple of months ago, everything was really beautiful, and full of life. Now, except for a few green trees, everything is now brown or white and bare.
Soon, and very soon, it will return in all of Godís beauty. No more bitter cold and barren trees. But even now, we who know God can feel the warmth of His love.
At the beginning of last fall, there was a large area in front of our home that was full of ivy, which I removed, and planted what I hope will be a colorful flower garden. Lots of work and much planning later, all the bulbs and plants are under the snow. We can hardly wait for spring and its surprises, and pray everything grows. Satan will send weeds, but with a lot of effort, we will show you a picture of the finished garden.
LOT OF MAIL
We have a lot of mail that we cannot send on. It is vital that on the envelope to your friend you put your full pen name. Please use twin names like your first and middle. These are the letters we have waiting which are addressed to Alice, Grandma, Barbara A., Jane Brent, Anika Art, Boyd, Terri D., Debbie, Dave F., D. Heartland, Andrea, Jean, Jim J., Johnson. Jones Family, Betty K. Kost, M Lane,, Debbie, Lee, Dixie Lee, E. Lewis, A. Theny, A. Metheny, Dawn, Palaz Melisa, Simmons, Sandy Small, Joe Scarfiel, Missy Simmons, J. Walech, Alice Wall, and Sarah Whaley. This is because many of you did not return the blue form.
Iím all over the place and Iím always full. I need to try to figure a way to get rid of Don & Yvonne. If people who like them increase, Iíll be out of business. They preach, they teach, and they provide free clothes when inmates are released. She teaches remedial reading. They make it so inmates work real hard to get out and stay out..
MY NAME IS CONFUSION
Look they are adding a new sign to the Chapel. No no no, It says ALL FAITHS. No room for confusion anymore.
My word says every name shall bow and every tongue confess. To make it easier for those in prison and those free, I died to make sure they had a future to be born again. To be free with me is to be free indeed. I sent an invitation to a very neat place. I asked you to walk with me and talk with me. I asked a friend to walk to me. He started the walk but then saw the storm but not the promise. I hear I am coming soon but there is a battle to be fought and a victory to win. To be free in me is to be free indeed.
Iím an inmate, in prison for committing a crime. I was not a very good person then. Iím starting to try to put my life in order. I donít get a newspaper, donít have a radio, and am given a limited choice of what I watch on TV if I get to watch at all. When I first came to prison I joined a bunch of Pen Pal things to try to get ladies to write and visit and send stuff. One day I listened to a radio show, donít remember what ďVoice Of ProphecyĒ was, but was told about a Pen Friend Program.
The word ďfriendĒ really impressed me as I have not had one for a long time. Well I got a letter from a real nice Christian couple. They spent four pages telling me about how great it was to be a Christian and all this Bible stuff - whoa! I did not have the foggiest idea what they were talking about. So I wrote them and guess what? They did not have to foggiest idea of what I was talking about. Well, Don & Yvonne helped, and we both learned a little about each other and bit-by-bit I learned about Jesus.