JAIL-MAILfrom Chaplain Tom, NEW LIFE CORRECTIONS MINISTRY
at WAYSIDE CROSS MINISTRIES, AURORA IL August 20, 2012
A PRESSING NEED
Because I work inside the prisons, the Dept. of Corrections does NOT permit me to correspond with any inmates. As you read the letters >>>>>>>>, you can surely see that they need answers! I need partners to answer my mail! I read all the letters and make note on how to answer them, but I just cannot answer them personally. As a ministry partner answering mail, you'd work as part of a team - a team that meets every Tuesday evening, 7 - 9 PM, at Redeemer Fellowship Church in St. Charles. The team also grades the many Bible Lessons we receive from the inmates. There is no application, but you need to be Born Again, a Church Member, and an adult. Please join us!
Postage. The inmates sending us letters all pay their own postage, even the ones returning their Bible Lessons to be graded. And all the letters we send to the inmates, especially the ones with more Bible Lessons, cost us more than a few dollars per week. Actually, I don't even know the exact cost, because the Bible Lesson Graders pay all the postage out of their own pockets. Well, we're getting more letters and more inmates taking our Bible Lessons, and the postage costs are going to soon cost more than the Volunteer Graders can afford. (They've not told me how much they spend, or how much they can afford.)
And, I'd like to get to the point where we could offer the inmates postage-paid envelopes in which to return their Bible Lessons.
So, if you could donate some money for postage, I know it would be put to good use!
The last time I wrote a JAIL-MAIL like this one - with letters from inmates - I reported that I was receiving an average of one letter every day from inmates. Well, today it's an average of MORE THAN TWO letters, every day! Last week, it was THREE - per DAY! So, here's a sampling, just to give you a glimpse into how inmates are responding to our Gospel outreach:
Chaplain Tom, My name is William. I am writing hopefully enroll in the Master's Touch after I'm released from prison. I am already developing a relationship with Jesus Christ, and am interested in more! I want my life to change! It just seems like, for so long, so much has gone wrong for me. I need God's people to guide me in the right direction.
Chaplain Tom, I have received your letter recommending me for approval. I would like to take this time to say "thank you" for considering me for the Master's Touch program at Wayside. I am really looking forward to coming to Wayside and I pray that the Placement Resources Unit will approve me with your recommendation. My goal is to change my way of thinking and my way of life. I want to do God's will and not my own. I truly believe that through the Master's Touch program and my willingness to change, all this and much more will be possible.
Dear Chaplain Tom & Staff, I'm Eugene. I want to apologize for the delay with my correspondence, and the delay in my March 12 parole. You see, I've been deported back to Italy. After 47 years in this country, a theft I committed in 1997 has come back to haunt me. And I do want you to know that I haven't given up on God and He hasn't given up on me! I'm only being strengthened by Him as I'm finally right with Him! I've never lived in Italy (only born there), and I don't speak any Italian. Please pray for me.
Dear Chaplain Tom, Hello, my name is James. I'm 31 years old, and my entire life has been on the bottom. My mother was a crack addict and my father was a dope fiend. And as crazy as it sounds, they are still indulging! The streets and prison raised me. I could go on and on, but for the first time in my life, I'm SO READY to change! I don't want to return to the negative surroundings. I don't even want to speak to no-one that's not about changing themselves or assisting me with change. So, today I really have NO ONE! I can't control the rain coming down from my eyes or the storm rumbling inside me. Recently at Stateville, I was given a flyer that I thought I'd never use...until today. This feeling of lost hope overwhelmed me, but then God kind of illuminated hope through this flyer that I thought I'd never use. I want to know, can you guys really help me? Does everything in the flyer really exist for a person like me? Please send me information on your aftercare program. I want to be a man that has a job, a family, some structure in the church, and helpful to the community. I've seen my last days as a criminal. Please write back.
Hello New Life Corrections Ministries! I am fine and things are only getting better! Will you please keep me in your prayers? I really think I've done real good on these lessons, and I'm ready for my next ones. I hope to hear from you real soon.
Your brother in Christ, Willie
Dear Chaplain Tom, I recently had a cellmate that listened as I told him I was having no luck finding a herd to join once I was free. That I wanted to enter a structured environment and be around and learn from real Stand Up Men of God. He told me about your ministry and opportunities for me. He showed me the information you had sent him. Could I be accepted into the Master's Touch Ministry? Oh, I pray it could happen! Please write me back! Damon
Hello, Well first of all I would like to ask, How are you all feeling today? Just marvelous I hope. As for myself, I'm definitely not feeling so well, thanks to the fact of my being fed up with not receiving any sort of replies from all of the Half-Way Houses that I've wrote to. I'm in my last 3 months, and unfortunately my loved ones have all passed away and I have no place to go when I'm released. And I can't get anyone to answer my letters. So, if possible, could you all please, I repeat, could you please send me some sort of information concerning placement within your facility? With all respect, John
Like I said, I receive 2 - 3 letters like these EVERY DAY. So far, in 2012, arrangements have been made for 75 men to parole from Illinois Prisons to our 6-months, BIBLE-BASED, CHRIST-CENTERED, aftercare program, where they can continue up to 2 years, as needed. Do they all make it? Well, no. But, the last chapter hasn't been written yet!
And, as food for thought... (you must enable your email to DISPLAY IMAGES)
YOU CAN FIND OUT MORE about the NEW LIFE CORRECTIONS MINISTRY at www.waysidecross.org/newlife. CHAPLAIN TOM is available to come to churches, Sunday School Classes, Bible Studies, and civic groups to speak about the Jail Ministry. The best way to reach Chaplain Tom is by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Find out about how YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE!
Dr. Gene Getz (Measure of a Man) will be the Keynote Speaker at our