|Vol. 1999 No 7 July 1999
HAPPY BIRTHDAYSomeone Cares Home Page
Well, Dearest Don,
You are running right on course, with one ear toward God's heart and one to the needs of people who are as much worthy of love in prisons as we who are here on the outside. Thank you for taking up Christ's call and standing in the gap so that we can do this calling without the risk of getting involved in a way that would not be good for the inmate or for us. This way we, too, can participate. If you were not there, I would not be writing. Thank you for your and your bride's wisdom as to how to know our pen pals' hearts and how to best meet them at their point of need.
You have used these years well, because you have done it His way and paid the costs. You were given (yet chose well) your bride, who lifts you up and strengthens your hand in the course as well so you can maximize the potential God has placed in you.
So, Lord, he sure is one of your better ideas. Thank you for giving him a heart's desire to go this way. Thank you for teaching and leading him so well. Thank you for making in him a heart after yours. Praise you for the new openings and the slight change of the call.
Don, praise God for keeping on listening so we can be blessed. Thank you for being the leader God gave for us.
The race is not finished yet. I pray He will keep you going so you will have all done that you need to get accomplished for Him.
Happy Birthday, dear sir, and I would wish you many more, but heaven looks greater every year older we grow. Like Paul said, it is gain either wayPatti Mac
My wife sent a birthday message about me last month, and it bought tears to my eyes how many sent me a note, a message, or a passage. Thank you all. I have to figure a way to catch her next February.
We have formed many prayer groups around the world by Email. If you have never been to our web site please visit.
If you have ideas please share. If you have an Email address, please send it.THANK YOU, JESUS
Yvonne and I stay in a state of amazement at the things He has done. I found an old binder in which we kept track of donations when we first got started; now we have a computer and a great friend who takes care of the books, thanks Darrly.
I was putting information in the computer and with a joy in my heart, could not help but notice all the different areas of this country, and around the world, where we have received support, prayers, and true love.
We have at least one inmate in every prison in the U.S. We have more than one Pen Friend from every state in the U.S. and 11 foreign countries.
With all the joy we have, we love all of you.
I AM SO SORRY
We received a letter from Tony: Don & Yvonne I don't know if you remember me, but in the late 70's I met you two at San Quentin. In fact, I was shocked as I was in "C" section and Yvonne came to my cell. Later I met you and when I was transferred to Soledad you were there. Then I went to Avenal and you were there. I thought I had really grown and learned to depend on Jesus.
When I got out of prison in 1989 I was sure I had it made. It was rough getting started but slowly I moved up my personal goal ladder. Had a good job, got married and had two kids. Pretty nice home, a good car and good Church. Then in a flash it was all gone.
I got into the trap of easy credit and neither my wife nor I were mature enough to deal with it. The pressure of bill collectors put a wedge between us. I came home one day and my family was gone!
But Satan was there with all his offers of help. I woke up in jail not remembering what I had done, or why I was there. Pieces fell together-I had gone to a bar and started drinking. I met two men who asked me to give them a ride to get some drugs. We went to a house and they said "Wait here I'll be right back." The next thing I remember is lots of gun fire, and the two of them jumping in my car.
"Get out of here," they shouted, and I drove back where we started. I asked what had happened they said, "just a little trouble, have a hit." I got high and passed out. I woke in a stupor as the police had broken down the door. I was handcuffed and shackled, thrown in jail, to wake up facing charges of murder one. Three men a girl were killed when the men I was with held them up. I have now received life without parole. When I arrived at D.V.I. I was shocked to hear you both had come back to California. If over this way, with a forgiving heart, please see me.Steve
NOT MY KID
I got a card from a friend and mentor. For years this man had taught me everything I now know about prison. A man of God, a dear friend who, with his wife, brought much joy to Yvonne and me. It was a sad note as their grandson, who they raised, was in jail for drugs. Here is a young boy raised to know about prison, with two neat folks as role models. But he got into the rat race and got busted.
My friends, if you have kids or grandkids or great-grandkids, learn what they are doing! Drugs are not going away but leaping forward.
ASLEEP IN JESUS
We would ask you to share a moment of prayer for the family of another dear friend, Paul Massey who has died. Paul and his neat wife, Ruth, have been in Prison Ministry forever. Paul worked hard and the Lord led him to be a Chaplain of Walla Walla prison. He, like we, operated on faith and when you put your faith and trust in Jesus you cannot fail.
Our movement separated us a bit, but we would chat at conventions, and sometimes on the phone. I pray our next fellowship will be in Heaven. We ask God to care for Ruth and grant her all the blessings he gave her and Paul.
IF EVER ASKED TO DO ANYTHING IN THE NAME OF JESUS...
Say "I'll be happy to."
I received a call from Darryl Retzer, the President of the Northern California Confer-ence. Many years ago Darryl studied with me, helped lead me to Christ, and baptized me with those words. He, his wonderful wife and son, have a bond that is a reminder that Jesus saves, we just lead the way. We will be going to both Northern and Central's Camp Meetings and are really excited. I think we have all the bases covered for the forwarding of mail, but alert your Pen Friend that there may be a bit of a delay. Central's Camp meeting is going to be very exciting for us, We will have ten days to worship with friends and friends to be-a bit of a vacation which we never seem to get.
I remember when we first started, we had a booth in the back of the auditorium and shared our Ministry. We pray to be able to do that again soon. Those of you reading this and going to Central's Camp Meeting, we will have our R.V. in Central City. Bring any used Study Bibles there. We do have all the regular Bibles we need.
WE HAVE BEEN ASKED
By the N.A.D. to unite, under a common banner, all the Prison Ministries and their Lay Workers here in California. This will be a massive job, but so needed.
A problem we always face when an inmate is transferred is getting someone to visit. If we had a data base of Prison Ministry workers, this should be easier.
Again, I don't know where the time will catch us, but God does. If you are in California and know anyone doing any kind of ministry in prison, please send us their names and addresses. Phone numbers and Email addresses are also helpful. Thank you.
WHERE WE GO "HE" WILL LEAD US
Sunday at 6;30 we are going to Cochran Prison-total Maximum Security and often in the news for violence and lock down. Yvonne and I will preach, and God's presence will be there. Then-- what we do best--we will be going into The Belly Of The Beast, to the maximum security lockdown units. We will be visiting men who did something to lose everything and have nothing. God will lead.
This is a hard ministry, talking, ministering through the bars, or in some cases talking through a small slot in the door where the dinner tray goes.
Often we can't ever see the inmate. Yvonne was once asked about this phase of our ministry.
"Why," she said, "that's where I believe Jesus would go if He were here." There are hundreds of men, women, boys and girls locked down all over our nation.
Most deserve to be there; many sit saying "It's not worth it," and are thinking of taking their lives. The cells are dark, dingy, damp with cold and reeking with fear. These are the places where Paper Sunshine reaches, where you can brighten the corner where they are. Do they deserve you? NO. Do they deserve a second chance? YES! Do they know it? NO. Bob told us, while standing in front of his cell, that he had given up. He belonged where he was and wishes the Judge had given him death instead of double life. He could not go back and undo the harm he had done, but he could change, given a chance.
Over the next year his Pen Friends taught him, through Agape love, a new life he had never known. They introduced him to Jesus and gave him purpose and direction. He had been doing Hard Time, now he was doing God's Time. He has finished his G.E.D., taken several Bible courses, and now is making plans for the future.
What plans can a person serving double life have? He is claiming Gods promises that to be Free in Jesus is to be free indeed. Even if he dies in prison he wants to make his life and death worthy by helping someone else. Because of you, he knows Someone cares.
HOW ABOUT YOU?
There is a damp dark cell somewhere with a someone inside. The world has forgotten this person, but Jesus has not. Can you TRY to bring a little light into that cell? Lets walk there.
We get up early and drive for an hour and a half. Park our car and sign in. Go through metal detectors, and electric doors. We walk through the yard full of inmates wondering why we are there. Then we enter the cell block and the noise is deafening, the stench brutal. You walk up to a cell and see real despair? But you don't have to do that. You only have to go to your kitchen table and write a page or two of you and Jesus caring and sharing. You walk the letter all the way to the mail box and you can do in a few minutes what it takes us hours to do. Anyone can write a letter and share the Love of God. God will thank you with blessings like you've never known.
Dear Friends at Someone Cares,
I want to thank you for the valuable work you do. I have been writing my pen friend for about two or so months, and I feel I have gained a true friend. Thanks. People in prison aren't the only lonely ones in the world. Each time I get that letter in the mail, I thank God for taking such good care of His kids... You are loved.C. L. Cray
Vacations, Independence Day, all are just around the corner, and I am one who really enjoys parades, bands, and good times. Yet I sincerely believe that along with good times should be a very balanced spiritual life also, because without a very personal relationship with Jesus Christ, our personal Savior, we may not be able to make it to Heaven. Self-examination is very necessary. As we travel, maybe it might help if we study where some of the disciples traveled while they were on this earth, and how they always found time to witness each day for Christ.
A few weeks ago I was on the yard at one of the prisons. Don and the Chaplain had stopped to talk to an inmate, I had continued to walk, and then realized that I should probably wait. An inmate walked up to me and said, "You look like you're a Christian."
Now I began to wonder, but quickly responded, "Yes, I am." I could not help but think how is a Christian supposed to look?
As Don and I travel, I keep this in the front of my Bible and refer to it often; maybe it is something that you might enjoy.
When you leave home for labor or travel, carry Psalm 121 with you. When you are very weary, seek St. Matthew 11:28-30, Romans 8:31-39. When everything seems to be going from bad to worse, try 2nd Timothy 3. The best invest-ment is described in St. Matthew's Gospel, chapter 6. Does God figure in our national Life? Read Deuteronomy 8. When your friends seem to go back on you, hold fast to 1st Corinthians 13. For an inward peace, consider the 14th chapter of St. John's Gospel. Have you been placed in a position of great responsibility? Read Joshua, chapter 1. If You have been bereaved, there is a message for you in 1st Corinthians15, and Revelation 21. For a stirring record of what trust in God can do, turn to the 11th chapter of Hebrews. If you are satisfied with being "well-to-do," read chapters 15 and 16 of St. Luke's Gospel. For just a moment I would like to Thank all the women who do such a wonderful work in writing and sharing with the inmates. I know that many of them can be quite insistent on wanting to know more about you. Just stand firm, do not give in to them or feel like you have to give in. Be very blunt with them but truthful. If it isn't any of their business, tell them. This is the only language that some of them will understand, and honesty is always the best policy. God will protect you if you follow the safety rules we give you.
Folks, we are really having problems. Please make it a policy before you send a package through us to get a signed permission slip for every item you are sending, not from the inmate. Money in small amounts is O.K., again with proper paper work.
Also know that even with the proper paper work the item may not get in. When a package is returned, we do our best to get it back, complying with policy of each prison. It isn't fair to blame us for Items that are lost (except for the beef jerky my dog ate). If not sure, ask.
Now, almost everyone knows someone with Email. Have them Email questions and we will try to answer. Ask your Pen Friend if the Chaplain has an Email address. If so, ask them to ask the Chaplain to send it to our Email address: [email protected] God Bless You._
Prayer is the key, in the hand of faith, that unlocks Heaven's storehouse.Agape,
Don & Yvonne McClure