|Vol. 1999 No. 10
WALK WITH ME
I am going to ask you to spend a day with me, then us, to see what Prison Ministry is really about. The alarm gets us going early, arriving at the prison at 8 a.m. Upon arrival there another alarm sounds— this one meaning trouble. We sign in and after getting paper work together, we head out. It is hot as we walk across this Prison yard toward Ad Seg [Administrative Segregation]. We ring a bell. The guard recognizes us and we’re admitted. We then find where the two men are that we are going to see. But before we go a step farther, we must put on protective flack jackets.
We visit our first two men through the small hole in the cell door. As we move to the second section, the guard has the next inmate put his hands behind his back, handcuffs him, and we enter his cell. This 72-year-old man was here because a young inmate threatened him. He tried to get help but no one listened. He took a towel and pretended to hang himself (many don’t pretend). This put him here were he is protected. We chat awhile, have prayer and move on. The next man does not have to put his arms through and get cuffed; he is dying of cancer. We are allowed to enter, have prayer, make arrangements to contact family and arrange anointing, another prayer and move on. Next we go out on the yard to just talk to the few men there. Most are locked down due to racial unrest. We enter a housing unit that is locked down and chat with a few. To get away from danger, some inmates have their mattresses in the center of the floor area on cement.
THE LORD’S SUPPER
We now go into a Chapel for the first of two services that day. The inmates here are escorted to the chapel. We start with a good song service. The Chaplain plays a guitar he must carry from chapel to chapel. NEEDED: Three electrical Guitars. In God’s word I take them to the upper room and explain communion. We explain how to partake, how you must be right with the Lord, and we offer the sinner’s prayer. I take an altar call—five men come forward—"Thank You, Jesus." We finish here and walk about 3/4 of a mile in 100-degree heat for second service. NEEDED: a Used Golf cart. Here we do about the same and four more men come forward when asked. The Chaplain explains all the programs that Yvonne and I are going to be offering and the men are truly excited. They are making a special flack jacket for Yvonne. [Yvonne is a size two or three, and wearing a standard size jacket is like young David trying to fight Goliath in King Saul’s armor.]
TO GOD GIVE THE GLORY
Currently the six Chapels at Corcoran are hardly open. Soon they will be open from sunrise ‘til after sunset. If you live within 50 miles of Corcoran and would like to fulfil that urge God is putting in your heart to serve Him, pray about the following. We need those who can:
(a) Preach. We need Pastors and lay men and women;
(b) Teach the Bible (not the doctrines of our Churches until the men establish a good relationship with Jesus);
(c) Visit one-to-one or as a couple, once a week or once a month;
(d) Go cell-to-cell, men or couples, rapping with the men where they live;
(e) Walk the yard and talk with whoever you can about what- ever comes up;
(f) Teach remedial reading using the Bible;
(g) Help establish a Dress-out Center with quality used clothes for men when released; A dozen more needs: one just sitting in the Chapel to super-vise inmate services; without free people, they can't meet.
For every step and every job you will be fully trained by Yvonne and me and the Chaplain, and then have a staff orientation before you are cleared for your mission.
AND ALL OF GOD'S PEOPLE SAID "AMEN"
Once established, men and women can come here to be trained inside the prison. We plan to do a Voice Of Prophecy radio show from behind the walls. Down the line, when funds are on hand, we will do a video training program film for all your churches. It has taken us years to get here. Now we want to get it going in a flash.
I WANT TO LIVE UNTIL I DIE
At times it seems like Yvonne and I defend the criminal. Not so. We believe in the need for punishment, so does the Bible. There are a lot of completely innocent men and women in prison; the news tells us that often. Innocent men have been executed and almost 75 scheduled to die are now free because they have been found not guilty. All because Someone Cared to go that extra mile.
YVONNE AND DON SPLIT UP
No, not our marriage, but unless we have an increase in funding, one of us is going to have to run the Pen Friend Program, which is massive, and the other go to prison. We try to do everything with cash on hand. This is not always possible. We have never made an appeal for large amounts, but we are going to now. If every one receiving this letter who does not support this ministry now, sent just a dollar a month, we can hire someone to take on the Pen Friend Program. Some of you could write a check for $10,000 or $100. Whatever God touches you to give will launch this program into the next century. Some of you may want to establish trusts or annuities. Some of you may be writing a will and could put Someone Cares Prison Ministry in it— money, houses, cars that we can turn into cash for the Lord. All donations are tax deduct-ible. Long range commitment is really needed so we can plan God's work, and work God's Plan. I could raise the funding by speaking every week in different Churches, but God wants me working in prisons. Share this with friends, your pastor, your boss.
PACKAGES TO PRISON
This is a nightmare! Please, unless you get a permission slip from the prison, don’t send things to prison!!! We don’t have time to sort them all out when they are returned. Also we do not send our newsletter to inmates as it is too expens-ive. Please share yours. We will soon have an 800 number and you can call and ask, but chances are I will not know. Prisons are changing rules so often it really hurts. Here is a letter I got from Paul.
Don, my Pen Friend is the only thing that makes this life worth while. Im trying to be a Christian but slow learning. My Pen Friend is on Social Security and our prison just stopped free letters. Also no longer will they allow stamps to be sent in. Without help I will no longer be able to write. I wrote this lady’s Pastor and he is going to have the Church help her with postage. Many of you have not gotten mail because of a stamp, or lack of one. When we started this program, every prison allowed free mail 4 to 8 letters a month. No more. With Christmas coming up, think about sending a Money Order instead of a gift they may not get.
I have written several Chaplains and asked if we set up a stamp fund in the Chapel for those in our Pen Friend
Programs, would they allow it? No answer yet.
YEA, THO I WALK
Sitting here today reflecting on the last thirty days I can see why people often get discouraged. My surgery was no piece of cake, but I do thank you all for cards and, in a way, for a needed rest. Yvonne's dad's death put a void in both our lives, but we go on because God’s will is being done. This morning the transmission went out in our main car. Then the news of Yvonne's mother's death came, hitting us very hard. My darling wife has had it tough: two trips to Michigan, to be with her dad until the end. Then to be with her mom to assist where she could, praying she would make it, and returning to Cali-fornia to receive the latest news. Clyde and Vera Groomer are resting together, and soon Jesus is coming to take us all home— the words ringing out, "My Good and Faithful Servants." We will have Pot Luck under the Tree of Life.
Satan, none of this will slow us down; in fact, we plan to go into a higher gear. God's word tells us to "Be Prepared." Yvonne's folks spent a lifetime serving Jesus, and we learned so much from them. We will carry on, in a different calling than theirs, but for the same end result, as many in the Kingdom as possible. We would like to share with you a total learning experience, have your spiritual life together, get your financial house in order. The cost of dying today is massive. Try to leave as little burden on your family as possible. We thank Jesus for all we have learned and how we will benefit from all this. Mom, Dad, rest in peace and we will see you soon.
Thank you all for the sympathy cards we have received, they mean so much to all of us. It has been said that one source of man's weariness is the pursuit of things that can never satisfy, but which one of us has not been caught up in that pursuit at some time in our life? Materialism! Our passions, possessions, and pride—these are all dead things. When you try to get life out of dead things, the result is only weariness and dissatisfaction. Do you feel that you've spent your life in endless pursuit of contentment? Do you reach the top of the ladder, and discover you don't want to be there any more? Do you dream about having the perfect mate, and once you marry, you realize he or she isn't perfect? Contentment is not found in things of this world; the only path to contentment is through Jesus. I am frightened by our ability in America to convince ourselves that we don't need Jesus. We can amass fortunes, we can get degrees, we can own our house all on our own. And yet, there's a certain affluence that we can attain when we become poverty-stricken—a certain humility that comes with trials, that brings us face to face with the Savior. Let us reevaluate our lives and make sure our priorities are in line with God and His word, Out of suffering come the strongest souls. God's wounded often make His best soldiers!
Being the oldest daughter, I had the advantage of sharing almost all of my parent's life. One of my first memories, during World War II, was the blackouts. During that time we lived in Riverside, next door to the funeral home. Mother re-ssured me, in a very calming voice, that all was well.
Next we went to La Sierra. Mother was remarkable. She managed the beauty salon in the girls’ dorm, while Dad attended school. She always managed to keep me near. Mom attended college classes. By the time I was about four I thought I should have a brother or sister like other kids did. Mom said to pray for one, so that's what I did. The summer of 1945, just before Dad graduated, Mom came down with what we thought was the flu. We soon found out it was polio, which she bravely conquered. Mother never knew the word impossible, and she never gave up on anything. She was the perfect Minister’s wife, a gracious hostess, involved very much in school activities, including church and Sabbath School. My sister was born in February 1952 in Modesto, California, a real miracle and answer to prayer. Dannie was born a month early as Mother was bed-ridden and on I.V.s. Mother was brave, gentle, and always loving—one you could call a best friend. She overcame cancer and was able to write about it in an article published by Signs Of The Times. Mother was an inspiration to all and accomp-lished more in her lifetime than many of us will. We pray her felts and books will carry on for her until Jesus comes to get us all. [Felts are colorful figures used with a flannel board to illustrate stories from the Bible. The flannel background, scenery and characters stick together as the story unfolds.]
Now they lie sleeping side by side, Vera and Clyde. For they and all like them Jesus stopped living and died. Two lives intermingled for years now lay waiting to be taken in the twinkle of an eye to Jesus' side when He comes. "My Good and Faithful Servants," He will say, "I was with each of you when you closed your eyes." Many of us are sad, because they are not here, but in our hearts they will always be near. To each one left behind, Clyde would say, "There is work to be done; the job needs finishing." Vera would weave heaven on her felts, showing the stories in Gods word, Vera said to Yvonne: "I have things to do." Well, dear Vera, some of us will do what you did so long. Vera would want her children, her grandchildren and great- grandchildren to remember their scripture verses and to remember all in prayer. She would want us all to have our spiritual house in order.
Soon we will see the twinkle in Clyde's eye and the always caring smile on Vera's face, changed but we will know them. Rest well, my parents. It will not be long until we sit under the tree of Life and sing praises together because This Circle will never be Unbroken.
Isn’t God wonderful, kind, awesome, and all those other superlatives that move us to praise Him? Don and Yvonne, despite their grief, have such encouraging memories of the Groomers that they can take the torch and run with it, never missing a beat.
On those days when I’m beating myself up for not doing enough for God, He reminds me through friends that right now he’s put me where I can be prepared to help Don and Yvonne put their training films together, if they need me to; if not, He will open other doors, just as He does for them. And all we have to do is ask Him every morning to guide us where He wants us to go. He is so faithful to do that for us. Even though we may not see today where His hand is leading, one day the light will go on and we’ll clearly see the path where He’s led us.
THE SOLUTION TO LAST
We had no idea we’d cause such a stir with this riddle. In spite of your anxiety, unbridled curiosity and phone calls to Don and Yvonne, you got together one-on-one or in groups all over the country to study your Bibles. A group of 30 people near Don and Yvonne’s got together and solved the puzzle last night.
Bible study is a "Good Thing," as a famous TV personality would put it.
S-o-o-o-o, [drum roll, please], the answer is: WHALE!
Here are the four supporting texts from the KJV version of the Bible:
The "soul within" was Jonah, of course, and the "bright lights" were the whale oil lamps so widely used many years ago.
Congratulations to those who already have the answer!Praise the Lord,