SOMEONE CARES PRISON MINISTRY
Quietly Changing Lives News Letter
Vol. 1999 No. 11 November 1999
Someone Cares is a faith
ministry, supported by God's
love and your gifts. It is a non-
profit corporation; all donations
Don & Yvonne McClure
THANKS FOR EVERYTHING
We stay amazed at God's blessings through so many of you. The sympathy cards, get well cards and notes are a joy to receive. I think at times we take for granted the support system we have, as everything runs so well so often. Then when a reversal does happen, we wake up to see who this ministry is made of-YOU.
CHRISTMAS IN NOVEMBER?
This is a time of year we look forward to in our sprit, but dread for the Pen Friend Program. So I am going to start early on a couple of things. Last year and the year before, we had a massive problem with packages sent by you to your inmates with no idea if they can receive the items. There may be a thief in the prison mail room, so items turn up missing. Not all guards are honest. The prison sent many packages back to us and we had to return, at our expense, the items your Pen Friends were allowed to have, and the rest back to you or a local charity if the inmate could not have them.
I would suggest that you figure what you would spend on what you would like to send and send them the money instead. FIRST, contact the PRISON and ask how money can be sent. It is vital to contact the prison because each prison in a state might have a different policy.
One problem for our Canadian friends who write to U.S. Pen Friends-if you write your friend saying you are sending US$20, make sure that what you send us covers the substantial ex-change difference in effect now. There's no problem with Canadian money orders being forwarded to Canadian Pen Friends, of course.
Inmates do not have money for Christmas cards and each year we give them out to send to their loved ones. Please send them early, as we need to get them passed out in time. After the Holidays we are going to get into prisons as they really are.
WE SEND OUT TAX RECEIPTS THE FIRST PART OF JANUARY 2000.
THANK YOU AGAIN JESUS
My name is Ellen and my son just got released from serving 16 years in prison. Those years were spent in another state and we only got to visit twice. I was frightened when he wrote, not called, to tell me he was coming. I was shocked, as the man who arrived at our door was not the one who went away.
I guess the first question I asked was "I thought prisons did not have rehabilitation."
He said, "They don't but I was lucky to get hooked up with a couple named Betty & Paul. They were part of one of the programs of Someone Cares Prison Ministry. They wrote me often and visited me twice a year. They put me through Amazing Facts, and The Voice of Prophecy Bible Schools and helped me get my GED."
The first question he asked was, "Mom, can we go to church tomorrow?"!
I am afraid it had been years since I went to church, but drove by one every day. We went and now belong. My son has a very nice job and is helping out at a local jail. I was saving the enclos-ed $50.00 for a rainy day. Somehow I don't think any are coming my way.
Bless you and yours,
WHAT WOULD JESUS DO?
There are thousands of men and women in prison who were raised in Christian homes, who have gone to church. Mainline churches have adopted their own doctrines, which may be different from yours. When you write, if your Pen Friend is not a Christian, take your time and build up a friend-ship with him or her. Only when you find out where they are spiritually, tell them what you believe the Bible says. We need to get down to where they are, to bring them up to where Jesus is. Here are a some letters:
FROM TONY: Don, I have a problem with my Pen Friend, a really neat person. He believes that to go to Heaven I must speak in tongues. He sends me a massive amount of stuff about it that I don't understand. Can you tell them I am just learning.
FROM GEORGE: In prison, all wrapped up in drugs, and have finally kicked the habit. I started doing an Amazing Facts Bible study and got interested in the Bible. My mom was really religious. I wrote my friend that my mom had died and I was sad but glad she was in Heaven with my dad. Back came a letter telling me they were not in Heaven but sleeping. I'm glad you sent an explanation and direction.
WRITES MARY: Yvonne, I really need some help. My Pen Friends sent me a reply to a letter I sent that has me so confused I quit going to church. I've only been down a year and I wrote about a special meal we had that the main dish was ham. The reply was like I had shot them. I got all these scriptures on clean and unclean meat and that I would go to Hell if I did not change my diet. If I ate the way she said, I'd starve.
OK, DON, HELP: We have a new Chaplain here and he is telling us that once we are saved we have eternal salvation. Do I? My answer was to study God's word and do a plus/minus on the direction. I also told him we were saved from sin and not in sin. Then asked if Judas was saved and will he be in Heaven? That will take awhile.
WHAT DO WE DO?
We base our entire ministry on the Life and Ministry of Jesus. We talk about Grace, God's Riches at Christ's Expense. God's love is what it's all about, finding and claiming God's truths in HIS Word. We don't rush. Remember, don't let your doctrine be a barrier but a bridge to Jesus.
As we near the end of a year we are truly blessed and thankful for all that Jesus has done for this ministry. Each day we grow in some way, shape or form. The opportunities that we are facing in Year Two Thousand are staggering. We have plans to enhance our Board. We seem to be directing a move to finally delegate different parts of this Ministry to others and move forward with God's plan. This blessing is possible because of things like this:
"I am so sorry that I have to reduce my giving to your ministry. For a reason I'm appealing, Social Security has cut my check way back. But the enclosed dollar will grow, yes it will."
When we asked for an amount as small as that, we never knew it would be so immense. Three months in a row we stayed in the black because of the one dollar bills. God Bless you. Someone Cares is still a widow's, and widower's mite ministry. We ask through the Holiday season that God above will increase His love for you and yours.
We are thankful.
Because of YOU
It's not always so easy to be thankful. That, however, may be our fault and what we focus on. Many people find it easy to be thankful when things go well, But they find it hard to be thankful when things go wrong. They quickly forget their years of good health after a few days of illness. They quickly forget their years of freedom after a few days of confinement. And
thankfulness drains away along with their declining strength. Do not lose your thankful spirit when you lose your health. God has not left you; His love has not failed you, God still wants the best for you, no matter how little you may under-stand that right now. Do not focus on what you have lost. Learn to give thanks for what you have!
I am glad I cannot see just now the things that lie ahead;
How wise, how truly good God is to give just daily bread.
I'm glad I cannot hear the call of all that is to be;
Some star might never shine again if God gave keys to me.
I'm glad I cannot see each cross, each crown that I might wear;
What joy, what peace my soul would miss without God's loving care!
I'm glad I need not drink the dregs of life's full cup today;
My every need God shall supply in His own perfect way.
There are two scriptures that I think of, Psalm 34:1, and Habakkuk 3:17,18. Take a moment to read and reflect on these and see how you measure up on being thank-ful and rejoicing no matter what might come your way.
WHAT A BLESSING
About ten years ago my mother started writing an inmate against our wishes. Unknown to us, she added 3 more. With this effort came a change in her that we were amazed with. About two years ago Mom's eyesight failed, and at Thanksgiving dinner she told us that she had four inmates that called her Grandma. She had enrolled them in Bible studies at different times. But she wanted us to write for her. How do you say no? Well, Mom has died, and we have continued her ministry. The enclosed donation was her wish. We as a family would like to keep these four and add four new ones. We want to experience the joy she had. We extend her request- please, only those serving life without parole. They will get a surprise when they read this; she wrote two others serving "life without" and the both were paroled.
SEASON OF GIVING
We are again faced with housekeeping. We have several hundred folks who we matched with an inmate and we don't know if you are writing direct or not writing. If we sent you a name to write and you are not, be kind and Christian enough to return the paperwork. Let us know the reason. When we receive applications and match them, we pray that this will be good. It some-times is not, but just forget-ting and throwing away information sent is not Christian. The job of going through each name receiving this newsletter, to see if they were matched and are writing, is tedious and takes God's time. Plus, when inmates send a request in, they expect an answer. If they don't get one, Jesus and Christians take the blame.
THE LITTLE THINGS IN LIFE
Too often we don't realize What we have until it's gone. Too often we wait to late to say, "I'm sorry, I was wrong."
Sometimes it seems we hurt the ones We hold dearest to our hearts; And we allow stupid things To tear our lives apart.
Far too many times we let Unimportant things get in our mind; And by then it's usually too late To see what made us blind.
So be sure that you let people know How much they mean to you; Take the time to say the words Before your time is through.
Be sure that you appreciate Everything you've got; And be thankful for the little things; In life that mean a lot.
A Home Over There
There's a city, I'm told, that never grows old,
Whose beauty and splendor I long to behold;
Its walls are all gemstone, its streets purest gold,
The half of its glory has never been told.
No sickness nor sorrow, no envy nor hate,
No death for the dwellers who enter its gates;
No famine nor pestilence walk in its streets,
For all will be heaven, eternal and sweet.
No taxes or rent there will come due,
No mortgage or brokerage or wealth for a few;
No bills are collected for fuel or lights,
For Christ paid it all, back on Calvary's heights.
The maker and builder is willing to share
The homes in that city with men everywhere;
No strings are attached to the title or deed,
It's free for the asking to all who believe.
Your home is now waiting for you over there,
But you must find Jesus, your deed to secure;
He's anxiously waiting for you and for me,
To take to that city, where all things are free.
They did it again. Don and Yvonne. Made me all misty-eyed with the family who took up their Mom's ministry and then requested special-needs Pen Friends. Isn't it wonderful how God can take our hearts of stone and give us hearts of flesh? We melt under His guidance and take a step toward fuller trust in Him.
He taught me a lesson on the freeway recently when I "zoned out" on the way to school and He brought me back to reality six or seven exits later, at 60+ m.p.h., in time to catch my cutoff. My angel had to be driving in that time slot. I thank and praise my God, in whom I trust, to keep me safe and guide me every moment.
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