May 2019

 Hello Saints!

He loved us first! We’ve heard that for so long, that it seems like old news but His love for us is alive and vibrant! Has someone ever come up to you and told you that they’ve been watching you and they admire you? All of a sudden you have a connection with this person because you realize they were admiring you when you didn’t know anyone was paying you any attention, and you start paying them attention because you want them to know their admiration was well placed. J When you know they’re in the room you walk a little taller and greet others with more cheerfulness and try and keep a smile on your face, because now you know someone’s watching. God is always watching. And still loves us. I don’t want you to be jealous but I have to tell you how He woke me this morning. While my eyes were still closed, I sensed this presence all around me, loving me, watching me, and I realized it was Him! He was there, waiting for me to wake up. I was in a full glow of warm, beautiful light, although it was 6 am, cloudy & gray outside and only 37 degrees. It surrounded me. He was loving me first. Before my brain could even register a single thought. When I was fully awake and had my prayer time, all I could do was tell him over and over how much I loved Him. In my mind, I said it, shouted it, sang it, and danced it out before Him. He loved me first! It’s so easy to pour love back to someone who’s pouring it out on you. The more you praise Him, the more you open the door to receive from Him, until it’s like one of those water wheels with all the little buckets on it, as some buckets are filling, others are emptying and it keeps the wheel turning round and round. He loved you first. He loves you still. He’s watching you like someone watches a loved one they wish would wake up just so they could talk to them. Let your heart sing to Him with abandonment and unhindered adoration. He loves you!

Now I have a great faith story to tell you! I’m on the board of a recovery meeting called Faith Based Mentoring. We meet on Monday nights, share a meal, and have a message with people who’ve been in trouble with the law and/or drugs. One of the young men who attends has been on a program called Hope Probation. It’s a good program but because of the number of classes it requires the participants to be in, it can interfere with their ability to hold a full-time job. This young man had an excellent full-time job opportunity come up and decided to go ask the judge to let him off the program two months early. While waiting for the court session to start, he ran into two of the male mentors from Faith Based Mentoring. At the same time his probation officer came down the hall and asked what he was doing there and told him that he had absolutely no chance of speaking to the judge or of getting off early.  The mentors, seeing how dejected he was, prayed with him about the situation. He went into the courtroom and sat down. At the end of the day, all the cases had been called and the spectator seats were empty, except for this young man. The judge had turned off the court clock. A lawyer was at the bench talking with her. The prosecutor was gathering his things and talking with one of the mentors. It looked as though the young man was going to walk away empty handed. Yet he still sat there. The judge happened to look around the attorney she was talking to and seeing him sitting there, called the young man forward. As he presented his request to her, the judge asked the two men from Faith Based Mentoring if the young man had been faithful in his attendance, to which they responded, “Absolutely.” She granted the young man’s request. He had already spoken with the employer, prior to coming to court, and had asked them if he could start his new job the next day. He dared to believe God!

God is no respecter of persons! Whether you’ve been a Christian 20 years or are a new Christian on probation, (not with God, but with men.  Hmmm, if God had us on a probation period, what would that look like? Maybe we all are on probation…… this is going to require some thought!) He is the answer to your dilemma! What I love about this, is that this young man made plans as if God had already answered. What a great example of James 2:22, “Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect?” Or like my dad used to say, “Even a mosquito doesn’t get a slap on the back until he starts working.” There are times when God will unexpectedly bless us when we are sitting perfectly still, but what a blessing to step out and find Him already waiting for you when you get there.

On TCT (Totally Christian Television) there was a testimony of a young man who was in prison, walking by the chapel and seen a movie was playing inside. He went in. It was The Passion of the Christ.  He was an active heroin user there in prison and was in a gang, head shaved, tattooed all over, looking like the last candidate on earth to ever become a Christian. God touched him during that movie. As tears rolled down his face, he quietly asked Christ to become his Savior. He is now out of prison, married, and has a ministry helping street people. The power of God is alive & well! It never diminishes!

By both of these stories we can see that honestly God can save the whole world all by Himself. He moved on one young man to believe Him for a miracle and moved on another to make Him Lord of His life. Our involvement is a privilege. And definitely for our benefit! God loves us so much that He lets us in on it! Has it ever taken your breath seeing someone get their answer from God? Or being there when they first realize how much He loves them? It’s soooo beautiful! Hallmark is great for anyone who likes a tearjerker, but there is nothing like the amazing power of the Holy Spirit when He washes over someone and brings the brokenhearted back into right relationship with their Creator.

The Lord gave us an unexpected treat at our weekend with the men at the Blackford County Jail.  We had a good turnout Friday evening and the ministry went very well. When we went back in Saturday morning, an officer came to us and said there were some men in isolation cells who were saying it wasn’t fair that they couldn’t come to the service. The officer explained that they couldn’t be mixed in with the other inmates and wanted to know if there was any way we could minister to them. I told her to bring them on in to the gym. There were only 3 of them. We gave them the whole show, snacks, music, preaching, as if it were an auditorium full of people. At the end, we had a unique opportunity to minister to them individually. The Lord would have showed up even if it had only been one of them. We can’t ever get caught up in numbers when it comes to ministry. When Jesus rescued me, it was only me, sitting in a chair in the living room by myself. It didn’t bother Him a bit that there wasn’t a whole building full of people to see how He moved, and it felt like He stopped the whole world just to speak to my heart. Don’t you love that about Him! We did get to minister to the rest of the men for a short time that morning after those 3 were taken back to their cells, and for a couple of hours in the afternoon. It simply shifted our agenda and reminded us Who’s really in charge.

The following weekend we were able to go into Westville with Sue and Dick Brooks for a weekend of ministry. We were so blessed to be able to join this faithful couple in kingdom work. Their humble steadfast dedication is in inspiration to all who have the privilege of seeing them in action. My best guess is that there were between 160-180 inmates who attended. My favorite part was the Sunday morning worship. You cannot help but be inspired when you see so many men in prison uniforms raising their hands unashamedly to praise the One who came for them. They have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Despite their living conditions, the fact that all their earthly possessions have been stripped away from them, and they are separated from family, they find hope in Jesus. It reminds you what really matters.  When nothing else is left, He remains.

Now that I’ve went on way too long, I may as well tell you a story I heard on the radio today. It was about a middle-aged woman who was having surgery and died on the table. She seen God and asked Him if this was it for her. He said no, He was sending her back for 42 more years. When she came out of the anesthesia, she was totally healed of her condition. So excited about the new life God had for her, before leaving the hospital, she’d consulted with some specialists and had a face lift, liposuction, and a tummy tuck and even had her hair dyed. As she was leaving the parking lot and going across the parking lot, an ambulance came roaring in, hit and killed her. When she found herself so unexpectedly in heaven, she asked the Lord what happened to the 42 years she’d been promised. He answered that to be honest, when she was crossing that parking lot, He didn’t recognize her! J While you’re shaking your head, just know I truly did hear this on the radio today.

While reading through the Old Testament, I keep noticing in 2 Chronicles that when someone new was made king, many times God mentions who their mother was. Why was that significant? I don’t know either. J But since this is the month of May it’s a good reminder that if moms were significant to Him, they should be significant to us also.  Like the little boy trying to pull in this fish that is obviously too big for him, he should have listened to his mom when she said don’t bite off more than you can chew. He’s probably wishing he’d of eaten his vegetables like she told him so he was stronger, but he won’t dare complain about struggling because she might ask him if he wants a little cheese with that whine.  He’s probably thinking he should of brushed his teeth and worn clean underwear in case this ends up being the accident she’s always talking about. As he keeps holding on, he’s trying not to let his eyes cross, because she did say they’d get stuck that way.  Is this what she meant when she said, “put that down, you don’t know where it’s been?”  But no matter how hard it is, he knows it can’t be as hard as when she had to walk two miles to school in the winter with no coat and shoes that had holes in them.  If only he’d of held onto his horses and not ran out of the house with ants in his pants. Why? Simply because she said so.  Moms, what would we do without them!    All you moms, have a blessed Mother’s Day!

“For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be the glory forever, Amen.” Romans 11:36

Love,

Pam

 

 

 

April 2019

Hello Saints!

Hallelujah! The tomb is empty! If He is isn’t in there, then we have no business being in there either! John 14:3 “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you unto Myself, that where I am, there ye may be also.” Well, we know where He isn’t!!! I have to confess, my mind gets so overwhelmed with the sin in the world, with the blatant disrespect of God and disregard of His Word, that often my thoughts are simply, “Come Lord Jesus and get us out of here!” If we look only at the darkness, it seems like this world has already become our tomb. While praying one morning this week I realized that all the evil over the past few thousand years, hasn’t erased the wonder of a waterfall, the breathtaking view of the mountains, the beauty of the landscape when you’re taking a country drive, the splendor of the sunrise and sunset, nothing has wiped out His majesty. “Indeed before the day was, I am He; And there is no one who can deliver out of My hand; I work, and who will reverse it?” Isaiah 43:13 Evil has not triumphed. Nothing can stop the flow of water throughout the earth, except God. Nothing can stop the sun from rising and setting except our Father. And what happens every morning? – His mercies are new! (Shame on you if you didn’t know that J) Come out of the tomb! Shed that cloak of darkness, it’s not yours. Don’t bear the burdens that aren’t yours to carry. Release them to the One who said, “Come to me all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30.

We are free to enjoy being in this world! He put so much here to delight us. We can be in it but not of it, and there is joy in that. We don’t have to feel guilty about being happy even when the ones we love are going through heavy trials. We can trust Him with their lives and with their outcomes.

I don’t say this lightly because mom and I have been closely involved with a single mom and her infant son, (they even spent a few nights sleeping in moms living room) and despite all our efforts she still keeps turning to alcohol and putting her son and herself in dangerous situations. A few days ago I kept breaking down in tears over the situation and during one of those moments mom started praying out loud and committing the whole thing to God and even though nothing physically changed, something happened in the spiritual because the burden is no longer mine. It was never supposed to be mine. We can be supportive without being overwhelmed. We can be free to enjoy today even when others choose not to. We can walk in the Light that dispels the darkness, so that when we’re around someone who’s in darkness, their darkness becomes a shadow behind them as our Light pushes it back. Their darkness does not diminish our Light. Because Who is the Light? John 8:12, “Then Jesus spoke to them saying, “I am the light of the world.” Can anything blot out Who He is? I think not! So this morning when I prayed, I began thanking God for every good thing that He’s put on the earth for us to enjoy and embrace, and my heart feels 100 pounds lighter! He is risen and if we’re to be where He is, then so are we!

The weekend with the women at the Blackford County Jail couldn’t have started out any more chaotic than it did. It was to be our first time ever having the women in the gym for an entire 2-day seminar. So the first evening we arrive, in comes a group of 4 men, Christians, who are there to finish their 3-day event with the men, in the gym. Their last day, our first day, and somehow the 2 events got overlapped and overbooked. We knew that no way, no how was the staff going to let both the men and the women in the gym. Since 3 of the 4 gentlemen looked to be over 60, and there were 7 of us women, it was obvious we could take ‘em. One of them was in his 50’s and quite vocal, I knew he might leave us a little bruised and battered but I was willing to tackle him for the glory of the kingdom! It turned out to be an awesome opportunity to be humble in the midst of adversity. Trying to be as polite as possible I told the ring leader that if they did not allow us to have service with the women we’d gladly join their service and serve the men the snacks and drinks we’d brought for the women. His response to me was, “And what are you going to do, sing Kumbaya?!” I replied softly with, “No,

but I have written a rap song.” He retorted that he was there that night to preach against rock music. I told him then apparently I had come on the right night. As sweet as this might look in black and white, he did not appreciate my sense of humor. If you’re ever in this type of situation, remind yourself, it does not matter if things go according to your agenda. It only matters that the name of the Father is glorified. During one of his rants, I kindly tried to inform this gentleman that he might have some anger management issues, to which he refused to acknowledge me and continued his rant.J

It ended up that their group was sent into the gym with the men, and we were sent to the women’s block. The Lord had the sweetest time of ministry planned for us with those women. Out of the 14 women who were in the block, only 2 stayed in their cell and didn’t want to participate. We sang, talked in small groups, shared testimonies, and prayed. Many tears were shed. It was simply beautiful. The atmosphere in that bleak, concrete environment was fragrant with the love of the Lord.

The next morning we were in the gym and I believe all the women but 1 came to the service. Had we not have been in their block the evening before and had that personal time of ministry with them getting comfortable with us, I doubt if we’d of had so many. The Lord is personal. He wants to reach those who would hold back. One woman was also brought from an isolation cell and allowed to attend. (People can be put in an isolation cell for disciplinary reasons, mental health issues, or physical issues where they need special attention and need to be watched closely.) We had a morning service and an afternoon service with them on Saturday. At the end of the day when the altar call was given all the women came up for either first time dedication or rededication. We formed a big circle, holding hands, and praying together. We ended with a time of shouting our love to the Lord and twirling each other around in circles, it was a celebration! The joy of the Lord fell on us. We had given them all pink leather Bibles with a cross imprinted in the front cover and silver edged pages. They loved them. A woman in her 30’s, said no one had ever given her a Bible in her entire life. Many of them asked us to fill out the front page with their name and ours. Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus. I can’t give enough glory and praise to Him for how He orchestrated the whole event. He is incredible.

I’m writing this on the 28th of March. Tomorrow and Saturday we will be back at that same jail doing services in the gym with the men. My option was to get this done either before or after, and to finish this on Sunday, but my heart has chosen to honor the Lord’s day and finish this before. It’s amazing how much we struggle with His command to rest. The following weekend we will be at Westville men’s prison. So be looking forward to next month’s newsletter to hear about our awesome Savior and His continuing faithfulness! There’s no better job in the whole world than serving Him.

Thank you once again for your faithful support. When dad passed, there was a time of unsettledness for me. I was so uncertain about how to continue without him. But as the donations kept coming, it was obvious that we needed to keep going. My confusion was in thinking it was dad’s ministry. The whole time it belonged to God.

 

Be blessed in the Name of our glorious Savior, Jesus!

Love, Pam                

March 2019

 

Hello Saints!

Glory to God in the highest, the One who is worthy of all of our praise!

While sitting in a parking lot this morning, waiting on someone in a shelter to come out so I could give them a ride to work, who called me to say they had literally just woke up when I texted them to say I was there, (mind you, I had gotten up at 6:30 a.m. just to be sure I wouldn’t be late to get them to work on time and it was now 8a.m.), I had the wonderful opportunity, as I waited for 15 minutes, to reflect on nature. J (Yes this is my subtle way of venting.) There was a cluster of trees on the far end of the lot, completely bare on this brisk morning of 12 degrees, with their arms raised as if they did not know any reason as to why they shouldn’t praise the Creator. What struck me was their bareness. All their covering had fallen away, yet they didn’t look stricken that their fullness was gone. In fact without the leaves you could see more clearly how strong and diverse the branches were. Regardless of if there was any hope of a season of abundance, their only thought was to continue reaching upward. What option do they have? They know that every good thing that comes to them comes from somewhere above themselves, so sight unseen, they just keep reaching for it. I didn’t think any less of them for standing there in their vulnerability, but admired their determination to wait. When everything that we think defines who we are has been stripped away, will we be as determined to keep reaching for the Only One who can add to our worth? I would love to be so noble as any one of those trees, not moving, not bending, not looking for a better location, not blaming the tree next to me for blocking my light, but standing firm, holding my own ground, knowing without a shadow of a doubt that the One who brought me to bloom in previous seasons, will be the One to fill my arms with new life this season also.

It’s with a heavy heart that I write this letter because just a little while ago someone called to say that a woman I knew in prison died there this morning. I met her in 1985 at the Indianapolis Women’s Prison. We were both 22 years old that year. She had been arrested the previous year and was given a 98-year sentence for aiding in the deaths of 2 men and helping dispose of their bodies. Her mom was arrested on the same charge and was given more than 100 years. (Her mom died at the prison some years ago.) When she passed this morning, she was my same age, only she’s never left prison during these past 34 years. She had 5 more years to go before she’d of been eligible for release. I have no idea if she had a relationship with Jesus, which is heart breaking. “The thief comes only to steal, kill and destroy.”

During my prayer time this morning, I looked up out the window, and seen the branches of the tree next door, kind of tangled together, and immediately the image of the ram caught in the thicket came to my mind. “Then Abraham lifted his eyes and looked, and there behind him was a ram caught in a thicket by its horns. So Abraham went and took the ram, and offered it up for a burnt offering instead of his son.” (Gen 22:13 NKJV) How refreshing is that thought! A sacrifice has already been made on our behalf! Provision has been made. We are not without remedy. No matter how bleak the day may seem, no matter what bad news may come, He has made a way for us to get to Him. We always have this hope! We have the blessed joy of stepping through Jesus to come into the presence of the Father. How wonderful to be at His feet, the One who looks at us with complete compassion and mercy and find our refreshing there. Praising Him releases that fountain.  As I continued kneeling there, bowed down, I had the impression of someone coming to me and saying, “The King will see you now.”

My heart melted, and I said to the Father, “I want that job.” How awesome it is that we have the opportunity to tell others, “The King will see you now.” All because of the sacrificial Lamb. If they will only accept it, they can then step through the veil of Jesus love, into the presence of the living God. And we, as servants of the Most High Court, have the prestigious position, the highest honor, of leading them in.

So although my heart is grieved for a life lost, my hope is in a God of mercy, who knew her completely, who sent His Son for her redemption, and whatever her end, I trust in His wisdom, His righteousness, and His perfect will which He will and does accomplish. We can spend hour after hour letting our hearts anguish over thoughts of where someone is spending eternity after there life here has ended. Or we can simply tell God, “I trust Your righteousness.” Just like the trees, stand firm. There is nothing in this world that could possibly be offered to a tree that could make it any more complete than what God has designed it to be. How wonderful to be in that place where nothing here can either add or take away your value . Where dramatic news doesn’t sway you. Politics don’t bend you. Good days or bad do not change your point of view. You simply keep reaching up.

In two weeks, on the 15th and 16th of March, we will be going into the Blackford County Jail and spending our whole time with the ladies! This has never happened before and we are very excited. We’re taking them pink leather bibles! Normally during a 2-day event, we’d get approximately 1 hour with the ladies. Then the last time we went, the officer in charge, offered to bring the ladies for 1 hour during each session, which was the first time they’d been brought to us in the gym. In the past we always went to the ladies block for the hour. This tells us that God sees the ones who no one else sees and His desire is to bring them forth and let them know that His heart is for them. The least of these. His eye is on the sparrow. He leaves the 99. Your time is never wasted when it is spent on only one person. That’s exactly who He’d have you minister to. It’s what He did at the well. The chaplain has generously arranged this special time for us with them and then two weeks later, on the 29th and 30th, we’ll go back and do the same with men, minus the pink bibles J.

I pray the God of all love and mercy shines upon you so greatly that you become Son-tanned!

Be a reflection of His radiance and your wrinkles will be lost in His glory!

Be blessed in the Name of our glorious Savior, Jesus!

Love, Pam            

         

February 2019

Hello Saints!

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Have you noticed this is the phrase Paul most often started his letters with? With the exception of his letters to Timothy and Titus. For them he also added the word “mercy”, those boys needed something a little extra. God’s grace and peace can carry us a long way. If that was all He gave us, it’d be totally worth it to follow Him.

Although I’m writing this from Alabama, by the time you receive it, I will be safely frozen in Indiana. When watching the weather, I keep wondering what I was thinking to return home in the middle of winter! I’m actually writing this a week early because from January 27th to 31st, is the Renew Hope invasion of all the prisons in Alabama, where about 400 volunteers will come together on the 27th to receive instruction, worship and pray together for the prisons. We will then be divided up and sent to all the institutions in Alabama over the following 4 days where we will minister day and night. It’s a whirlwind week where you have so many encounters with people you’re not exactly sure at the end of the week what happened but you know God has the tally and all the glory.

I have to confess to you, there were times during this season when I wanted to pack up and run home. The darkness in the prison caused me to have some mornings when I just did not want to get up and go back in there. The Lord caught my attention one morning in the book of Exodus. Specifically chapters 28-32. Moses was on the mountain and the Lord began giving him instructions as to how to design this royal garment for Aaron. The Lord was very specific about the kind of thread to use, how it should be “skillfully woven”. Not just hastily thrown together and not by just anyone but by someone who had the skill to do it right. He went into intricate detail about braided gold chains and onyx stones on the shoulders, the breastplate with the precious stones set in it. You should read it. The whole chapter is about this garment, all the way down to bells and pomegranates around the hem. The part I love best is the headdress. The Lord says they shall make a plate of pure gold and engrave on it, “Holiness to the Lord”, and it shall be on the front of the turban. The first half of the next chapter is all about the ceremony to honor Aaron as he is consecrated to the priesthood. God is laying out this elaborate plan to honor Aaron and his sons in front of all the children of Israel to make it clear that God has set them apart as his royal priests. Do you know what Aaron was doing while God was giving these careful instructions to honor him? Making the golden calf. I wish I could make a long dramatic pause right here. For the first time I seen this in a whole new light. Don’t you love how God does that with His Word! Aaron was doing the very thing that was an absolute abomination to the Lord in front of hundreds of thousands of witnesses, and it did not change God’s mind to dress him in His righteousness. (Other than the one brief moment when He wanted to wipe all of Israel out of existence and Moses begged Him not too, but we all have those moments J)

How great are the mercies of God! There is not one thing any of these inmates have done or are currently doing that has changed God’s mind about clothing them in His righteousness. Proverbs 4:22 tells us that God’s words are life to those who find them and health to all their flesh. Reading this word about Aaron gave new life to my spirit and health to my flesh, which was becoming weak. It renewed my vision. He doesn’t see what we see. Poor Moses. Can you imagine after being in the presence of the God for 40 days having to return to that! I probably would have agreed with God about wiping them all out and just making a great nation out of me. But that’s why God chose Moses. After seeing how incredible God was, Moses knew if anyone could fix that mess, God could. In 32:26 he said, “‘Whoever is on the Lord’s side-come to me!’ And all the sons of Levi  gathered together to him.” Including Aaron. And although 3,000 men fell that day as a result of their unrepentance, God was faithful to His Word, and clothed Aaron in the royal robes just as He said He would.

This shouldn’t surprise us about God. Numbers 23:19 says, “God is not a man that He should lie, Nor a son of man that He should repent. Has He said and will He not do? Or has He spoken and will He not make it good?”  This passage is it’s own wonderful story about God’s mercy. It’s where Balak is trying to get Balaam to put a curse on Israel and God said to Him in Chapter 22, “You shall not curse the people for they are blessed.” Mind you, in Chapter 21 the people were telling Moses he should have left them in Egypt and their “soul loathes this worthless bread.” That’s a pretty harsh statement against God, when that “worthless bread” was the very thing keeping them alive. God sent fiery serpents among them and it says many of them died. But isn’t it interesting, God will not allow someone else to curse them. In Numbers 23:8, Balaam says, “How shall I curse whom God has not cursed?” To many onlookers, it may have looked like Israel was wondering around in circles with no direction. But God had a plan and He called them blessed. How dare I look at any individual and think God couldn’t possibly have a plan for them. (Oh yes, that thought has crossed my mind.) They look like they’re wandering aimlessly, they’re in constant rebellion against God, they love Egypt. But how do I know that He hasn’t called them blessed?

I’m telling you, this has been a growing revelation for me. I was in General Dollar last week. And this woman came in and asked the checkout guy about someone. He was so rude and short with her, that she started to respond then obviously bit her tongue, did an abrupt turn and went out the store. She looked like the type of person who was a million miles away from God and He would be the last person she’d want to hear about. Yet because of these passages I kept thinking what if God did want to reach her, what if He calls her blessed. I was thinking if she was still outside maybe I should say something to her. Sure enough she was in her car, just sitting there. I went to my van, thinking of how I’d approach her and how my words might encourage her, got into the van, still thinking, and drove off wondering if my words would have made her feel any better. I got a couple of blocks away, turned around and went back to the parking lot. She was still there. With my heart in my throat, I walked over to her window and told her I’d heard how the clerk had spoken to her and I just wanted to bless her. I gave her some money, which surprised her very much, and asked if I could say a pray over her. Her whole demeanor changed instantly. After I prayed, she asked if she could get out of the car and hug me. We looked like two of the most unlikely people to be hugging one another in the parking lot. No matter their appearance, no matter their attitude, what if God calls them blessed. What if His design is to clothe them in royal robes and put a gold plate on them that says, “Holiness to the Lord.”

Some people seem to have a natural gift for witnessing and the goodness of God oozes out of them. As much I as I have went into prisons, jails, halfway houses, and been with the homeless, it’s still hard for me to walk up to a stranger and share Jesus with them. I tell you this story because we’re all a piece of work in progress. Even when though it’s hard or awkward, and sometimes we’ll drive away knowing what we should have done and didn’t do, still try again. There is not one person who has done something so awful that God doesn’t want to complete His plan for their life.

 

Love,

Pam

January 2019

Hello Saints!

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an incorruptible and undefiled inheritance that does not fade away, kept in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” I Peter 1:3-5  How awesome is His Word! How great is this news! According to His abundant mercy He has given us a new birth into a living hope! We don’t have an empty hope. We have a hope that is full of promise, life a water balloon so full it’s about to burst. An incorruptible, undefiled inheritance that does not fade away. When your windshield is all fogged over in the morning, you don’t say, “oh my, where has the world gone?” Yet for some reason when life clouds our vision, we think His promises have changed. What we have in Him is incorruptible, undefiled, incapable of fading away. We couldn’t erase it if we wanted to. Read it again. Let it water your spirit like fresh rain. Now read it out loud, let your ears hear it. This is a living word and according to I Peter 2:5, we are living stones! When you swing back and forth through these first 2 chapters you’ll find we are living stones refined by fire, being built up into a spiritual house to offer up spiritual sacrifices that are acceptable to God through Jesus! Our spiritual sacrifices don’t have to meet the approval of any man because they are accepted through Him. My spirit is lit up like a neon sign this morning. We have this foundation that cannot be shaken. “Therefore, to you who believe , He is precious.” (I Peter 2:7) Isn’t He precious to us!

With all the natural disasters look at the thousands of foundations that have been torn apart. Earthquakes cause foundations to be disrupted from underneath. No matter how solidly they are constructed the shifting of the ground causes them to come apart and everything built on them topples. A torrent of water from a hurricane or tsunami washes them away in an instance. A tornado tears through them. We have the One foundation that no force of nature can move. Having been through life we’ve all experienced those disasters that rocked our foundations or demolished them. For us, we come to this foundation with great joy, jumping up and down on it, rejoicing to build on it, knowing that our lives are built on the One that will never be shaken. Like how you feel when you’ve been on a trip and you walk through the door and breathe a sigh of relief that you’re home. That’s how our spirit sighed when we surrendered to Jesus, ahhhh, home. As I was reading this, of us “being living stones built up into a spiritual house as a holy priesthood to offer up spiritual sacrifices that are acceptable to God through Jesus Christ” I had this glorious image come in my head of us gathering to worship, each of us glowing in our own stoneship (that may not be a real word J). Some of us being rubies, topaz, opals, pearls, with this beautiful glowing foundation underneath us, (Jesus), as we the body made this living temple resounding with praise that was reaching up to heaven. Can you see it!

Then you come to the part that says to the unbelieving it is a stumbling block and a rock of offense. The world builds on shifting sand and even though they know cities are built on fault lines, they keep thinking they can outwit natural consequences and build earthquake proof structures. What we see as unshakeable, they see as too hard. What we see as safe, they see as bland. What we see as freedom, they see as bondage. We see a foundation that is unyielding. They’re looking for ground where they can dig a pit in case they want to fall into it. We have to help them! It’s so beautiful when you get to where we are! As much as you look at some people and want to give up on them and say it’s not worth the argument, they’re worth it. And forget the argument, James tells us, “the anger of man does not work the righteousness of God.” (Did that sting a little? It did me too.) In James 5, he also tells us to be patient as the farmer who “waits for the precious fruit of the earth and is patient with it until he receives the early and late rain.” The unsaved are precious fruit. They can be transformed

from hearts of stone to precious living stones like us. Mom told me she heard it said, “2019 will be the year of the prodigal returning”. Let’s claim it. If we look at any single person and think there is no hope for them, then we are doubting the bigness of God. Do we believe that He is able? Do we believe that He is Who He says He is? Do we truly believe that He is the God of the impossible? Was the blood of Jesus enough to cleanse you but not enough to cleanse them? Has the power of His blood diminished? “For you know that you were not redeemed from your vain way of life inherited from your fathers with perishable things, like silver or gold, but with the blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish, and without spot.” (I Peter 1:18-19) His blood cannot perish, has not perished, will not perish. Everything about Jesus is eternal, “for you have been born again, not from perishable seed, but imperishable, through the word of God, which lives and abides forever.”  (I Peter 1:23) This is our foundation, “but the word of the Lord endures forever.” (I Peter 1:25) This is why we have this hope! This is how we can stand steadfast and sure that He is the One who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think! This why we walk above our circumstances and not beneath! This is why we walk as a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that we may declare the goodness of Him who has called us out of darkness into His marvelous light!  Because we HAVE received mercy, the old IS passed away, we ARE new creations, because HE Is Who He Says He Is!!! Whew! We Love You Jesus!!! Why shouldn’t this flow out of us like living water? Hallelujah!

Dad always especially loved doing something with the homeless at Christmas. Mom and I were talking about the different things we’ve done over the years, meals, gift cards, candy, donuts, pies, one year we even had hats, gloves and blankets. So Patty, mom and I took gift bags with socks, honey buns, and candy, (plus mom ordered 12 dozen donuts, they were sooo delicious!) and took it all down to the Rescue Mission. Another couple had brought subway gift cards. It was a good morning but honestly this letter was as much for me as it was for you. I often look at the homeless and even going into the prison and wonder if their lives will ever change. We’ve been doing this for years and although we know some success stories there are some of the same hopeless faces, even though they’ve heard the word and have been prayed over multiple times. We pray for them in season and out. Sometimes you can’t help but feel discouraged. Which is exactly why we need to keep reading the word. As I started reading I Peter this morning, just an ordinary morning, all of a sudden my spirit grabbed something that I hadn’t seen before, about the living stones. You know what I mean, you’ve read it, but all of a sudden it comes to life. On the inside there was this disco-tech going on as I visualized those stones coming to life and this desire stirred up to pull others onto that foundation so that life could flow into them and they could feel the joy of the transformation.

We have this hope! We are not without a remedy and therefore neither are they. It worked for us, it’ll work for them. They are precious to Him. His desire is to draw them unto Himself, to welcome them home, to bring out the best robe, to put His signet on their finger, to bring them to the banquet. Let’s go fishing!

As you go, follow the wisdom of the Word; “Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time. Cast all your care upon Him, because He cares for you. Be sober and watchful, because your adversary the devil walks around as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him firmly in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. But after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called us to His eternal glory through Christ Jesus, will restore, support, strengthen, and establish you. To Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.”(1 Peter 5:6-11)

“Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these things, be diligent that you may be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless. Keep in mind that the patience of our Lord means salvation…” (2 Peter 3:14-15)

Don’t grow weary, be wise as serpents, harmless as doves, remember He IS the God of the impossible!      Be blessed in the Name of our glorious Savior, Jesus!

Love, Pam            

                                      HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!

December 2018

Hello Saints!

What great reason we have to celebrate this Christmas season! Thank You Jesus that You came! Hallelujah! Because of Him we are set free. Because He came we can have deliverance. Because of His sacrifice for us we can have peace, hope and joy. Without a Savior we’d be pitiful! There’s healing in the Name of Jesus! There’s power in the Name of Jesus! And freely He has given all of this to us. We are a blessed people indeed. “Is He not also the God of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also, seeing it is one God, who shall justify the circumcised by faith, and the uncircumcised through faith.” Romans 3:29 MEV (Modern English Version) I am so grateful for this verse. After being saved a few years and reading 144,000 from the tribes of Israel were going to rule with Jesus, I began to wonder where would we fit in. I didn’t want to question anyone and break the sad news to them that maybe heaven was only for the Jewish people. But it was genuinely a concern of mine. I was looking at the difference between the lives of Christians and non-Christians and even without the benefit of heaven, it was still a pretty good deal. People who believed they were going to heaven seemed happier, at peace, even joyful on occasion. And just for us believing that Jesus is the Son of God, God still was doing miracles for us. I witnessed answered prayer in areas of healing, finances, addiction, broken homes, all kinds of things. I came to the conclusion that heaven or not, He’s so good to us here, He’s totally worth following. Then I stumbled on that verse and boy the joy that flooded my soul, whew! We’re absolutely going to heaven! Because Jesus paid the price, anyone who believes on Him can be saved. We have a ticket available to the marriage supper of the Lamb! “Then a voice came from the throne, saying: “Praise our God, all you His servants and those who fear Him both small and great!” “Then I heard something like the sound like a great multitude, as the sound of many waters and as the sound of mighty thundering, saying, “Alleluia! For the Lord God Omnipotent reigns!” Rev 19:5-6 MEV. Can you imagine what that will sound like? Praise so loud and thunderous that it sounds like many waters! Thank You Jesus that You came for us!!! My heart is doing flips right now. How can we not be grateful to the One who refused to leave us without a way of escape. Don’t get yourself all worked up over making the perfect television Christmas for others. Just show them Jesus.

I was at the prison this morning and when it got about lunchtime the girls asked if I wanted to go eat. I told them I was heading home to get this newsletter written. One of them said, “Write something about me in there.” To which I replied, “You want me to talk about someone who’s hardheaded and stubborn?” She said, “No Miss Pam, but write something.” I said, “I’m sorry, I’m trying to think of something else but all I keep getting is ‘Hardheaded’.”  We had a good laugh. Just like all of us, she wants to be a good Christian, but still holding onto her own agenda. I’ve been crocheting cross bookmarks. It takes less than 15 minutes to make each one. A couple of the ladies have had me show them how to do it. One of them started selling them to other inmates a couple weeks ago and was happy to have an extra income. Two days ago she came to me and said she didn’t feel right about selling them. So now she’s contacted a lady who does ministry in a nursing home and is going to be sending the crosses out for the residents there. That left me speechless. This is a woman who used to live in Hawaii, has done underwater photography, has really had quite an interesting life. Now she’s in prison absolutely in love with Jesus. These past few days when she’s talked about Him, her eyes have filled with tears. Something is changing in her that is so wonderful to witness. Every type of emotion is on display there; anxiety, despair, defeat, anger, envy, rebellion. And there she sat with this beautiful peace. Remember the woman I told you about last month who was praying her daughter would get arrested before she overdosed? Well, the girl did overdose, but was revived. She is now in custody and will be heading to the prison. We’re so grateful to God for this girls life. She’s 26 years old. Going to prison may not seem like answered prayer, but in this case, it’s definitely what answered prayer looks like. One of the women is writing a Christmas play and instead of the three wise men, she has the three wise guys. In her script a couple gets lost looking for the hospital to have their baby in and end up in a trailer park. The man runs up to a door, only for it to be a trailer where drugs are being sold. The man says they have to come in because the baby is coming now and in they go. The three wise guys are thinking if they kidnap the baby, they can get rich quick. As the play goes on the three wise guys end up in these conversations about how they got to where they are in life and finally bow to Jesus and ask Him to be their Savior. It’s funny and beautiful. (Don’t you feel like you just watched a Christmas movie?) God has given this woman an amazing writing ability. I told her we need to get the Wayans brothers in there to read her material.

With dad gone, we’ve been praying about the direction of this ministry. Dad always went to the Rescue Mission on Sunday mornings when we weren’t in a prison, as well as ministered to the men from Chain of Lakes Correctional on Fridays. Somehow between the two of us, we seemed to cover a lot of ground because we both had individual areas of ministry as well as what we did together. We’ve also only had 2 board members, both of whom are old as dirt, but they’re faithful and no one gets rid of faithful dirt J. So we’ve asked Steve Delarosa to come onto the Board and he has accepted. Steve is a worship leader. He’s been involved with the Friemann Square ministry for about ten years, which is where dad preached in the park on Sunday mornings for the homeless, and Steve has been leading worship there for the past 3 years. Steve has also done some jail and prison ministry with us in the past. His sister, Theresa Delarosa, has been to several prisons with us and has a true heart for spreading the gospel to anyone who’ll listen.

Since I was going home for Thanksgiving we decided that’d be a good opportunity to go into the Blackford County Jail in Hartford City. The chaplain there has always been very accommodating to us. He said it’d work out great for them since they wouldn’t be having their usual Thursday evening service. Theresa coordinated getting some volunteers together and planning a ministry outline. I picked up Steve in Fort Wayne and we met the rest of the crew in Hartford City. Friday night went great. Out of 54 men in the jail, 24 came out for the service, which is really good. We’ve went when only 6 have come out. Saturday morning we picked up donuts to go with the coffee we were taking, Theresa had the whole day planned as well as could be done, but when we got there the whole schedule changed. We were supposed to have the men for 2 hours, while 2 of our women were going to go minister in the women’s block. They ended up bringing the women into the gymnasium for 1 hour (12 of them), and then the men the next hour. This has never happened in the 8 years I’ve been going to this jail. So Theresa flipped the morning schedule and said that would be done when we had the men for 2 hours in the afternoon, and for the morning she winged the arrangement. We had music, testimonies, speaker, prayer, not quite as neatly as that looks, but definitely Spirit led. In the afternoon when we go back, the officer asked when we’d like the women! So once again the whole arrangement went flying out the window. God is so amazingly faithful. This was the first time Theresa coordinated one of the events. In fact, other than Steve and Theresa, this was the first time for these volunteers to come in with us, which is probably good since they had no idea how it was usually done. I had the wonderful view point of watching this whole team flow with the Spirit, laying down our own ideas, and having to be totally open to what God wanted to do in that place. This morning, I’m in Alabama getting ready to go into the prison, and I get a phone call. This woman tells me she goes into the Blackford County Jail on Tuesdays to minister to the women and she got my number just to let me know how much that time of ministry meant to those women. That blessed my socks off! Our time with those women was so unplanned, so spur of the moment, and so Jesus. We do need to make plans, because God is a God of order, but don’t ever be so wrapped up in your plans, that you don’t step aside for His.

Thank you for your faithful support of this ministry. As I’ve told you this is a volunteer chaplain position. I’m so blessed to be able to be here and not have to worry about how the rent is going to be paid. I can’t tell you how much you’ve taught me about what family really looks like. I am overwhelmed by God’s provision during this unique time of ministry. Thank you for the sacrifices you’ve made and for standing with us. I pray God’s peace over you during this season and that His joy will well up from within your spirit. May you fall in love with His Son all over again as we go through this season of celebrating Him.

Be blessed in the Name of our glorious Savior, Jesus!

Love, Pam                     

November 2018

Hello Saints!

Blessed be the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, the Name that is above every name! Last week during church, the pastor was talking about the years when they were struggling financially and not sure if the church would make it, and it made me think; how many church mortgages does God pay every week? That’s a phenomenal thought isn’t it? He is rich, rich, rich! We need to keep in mind how large He actually is. He’s bigger than any obstacle that could possibly raise up against us. He’s bigger than any situation we find ourselves in. He’s bigger than any cloud we walk under. He’s bigger than the Olympics, bigger than the Superbowl. Bigger than any event that could draw any amount of people and the day is coming when He will demand an audience and not one person will be able to opt out of being there. It does a body good to reflect on the magnitude of an unfailing God.

I started going into the Montgomery Women’s Facility daily, Monday to Friday on October 3rd. It’s a small prison with only 300 women. It’s actually classified as a work release center although many women there are doing life or are violent offenders and will never be eligible for an outside job. As a “work release” facility they are not required to have a chapel, so there isn’t any. The staff let me know my first morning that there is no room for me, all their space is used up, and don’t ask for a room to do one-on-one counseling, any type of bible class, or anything else in. They said if I want to come into their facility on a regular basis, the only thing they can offer is for me to go into the women’s dorm and sit at a table in their dayroom each day. We Care is the prison ministry that puts volunteer chaplains in all the prisons in Alabama. When they said they needed women to volunteer to do chaplaincy down here, they failed to tell me this facility wasn’t interested in anyone coming.

I honestly thought the prison wanted a chaplain and expected them to welcome me with open arms. More than once in my walk I have found out that Christians are pretty sneaky. And honestly I love that about their ministry. They don’t care if the prison wants it or not, they know Jesus needs to be there.

The prison is a big square warehouse type building. There’s one big room where the majority of the women sleep, then the bathroom and the dayroom.  The dayroom has additional bunkbeds in it, a television, microwaves, coffeepot, ice machine and 4 picnic tables. There are no floor to ceiling walls dividing these spaces. The walls go about ¾ of the way up. So sound floats freely from one area to another. The end of the table farthest from the television is where I usually sit so we don’t interrupt those watching it, but that puts us closest to the bathroom.  There’s a woman in her 40’s who’s been locked up 12 years, who is learning to read. So each morning her and I spend about an hour going over words and then she reads the Bible to me. Today there was a constant symphony of flushing toilets going on and the smell of cigarette smoke as apparently someone was smoking in there. It’s like being in a henhouse. There’s chatter all around, announcements over a loud speaker as officers keep calling for different ones to report somewhere, the television being turned up to compete with all the other noise, showers running, and of course the flushing.

Each day is different. I go in from 9am to noon. On a couple of occasions I have stayed longer when in the middle of conversation and the need has been there but honestly as brave as I want to be, 3 hours is about all I can take. Yet when I drive away my heart cannot stop pleading to the Lord to move in that place. Today they told me there was a big fistfight last night. The officer who got in between them got hit, and chaos broke out. According to what I was told it was quite an ordeal. Other officers rushed in to help. There are 3 microwaves but only 1 is working. That is why the fight started. Of course there are many underlying issues, that was just the thing that lit the fuse.

A woman who is obviously gay told me she was going to start getting the injections to become a man. I have found out since then that the state has to allow the inmates to receive these injections who request them, and the state has to pay for it. I asked the staff what they were going to do with these women as they changed their gender. She said the department of corrections doesn’t know yet as it wouldn’t be safe to send them to a men’s prison, nor is it appropriate to keep them with the women. And they absolutely can’t have a prison only for these gender swapping individuals as that would violate their rights. What a mess! Remember at the beginning of this when I was talking about how big God is? He’s bigger than what this looks like. The woman thinking of getting the injections did agree to pray with me and she wrote her prayer in my journal that God would show her what is the right thing for her to do.

This morning I was talking to a woman who has come to prison twice because of drug use. She might be late 40’s. Her daughter was locked up with her last year, and now her daughter is being revoked from parole for violating the conditions of parole. She’s asked her daughter to turn herself in but her daughter is strung out on drugs again and says they’ll have to catch her. She’s praying her daughter will get arrested before she overdoses and dies. She said if her daughter gets arrested soon, at least they’ll get to spend the holidays together. This is a whole different reality from most peoples plans for the holidays.

From the beginning the Lord put it on my heart to take in a journal and ask the women to write prayers in it. I pray over it during my own prayer time with the Lord each day. Sometimes when women are walking by the table who haven’t spoken to me, I’ll hold it out and ask if they would like to write a prayer in it, most have said yes. For the past few weeks I have heard several different times about the drug use. One girl wrote in my prayer journal for the strength to avoid doing drugs there. Another wrote asking God to stop the drugs around her. There’s nothing that’s giving them incentive to change, to develop good habits of self control. They can leave with a worse drug habit than when they came in. It’s heartbreaking. Yet God is bigger.

There’s two women (inmates) who God has put it on their hearts for revival in this place. This past summer they went out in the evenings and held a revival in the prison yard, singing praise songs and giving a message and asking girls to repent. They said a handful of people gave their lives to Jesus. They’re going to do it again November 16th & 17th. One of them, every time she talks to me about God, tears roll down her face. She loves Jesus. She’s in the battle of a lifetime. I’m not sure how long she’s been locked up, it’s been awhile, nor has she told me how long she has to go, but a couple years ago the Lord called her unto Himself. When these two told me what their vision is, it made sense to me why I’m here. Not to take over their mission, but to run interference with the enemy.  (I immediately wanted to start offering suggestions and the Lord told me to keep silent, this is His work, not mine.) Early this morning the Lord showed me that I needed to seek one of them out this morning and see how she was. When I found her, she was in tears. It had been a rough weekend. By the time we were finished talking, she knew her mission was still on, that God’s hand was still there, that He will be faithful to the end. God is bigger.

We have to encourage one another. We have to recount to one another His wonders. We have to remind each other that there’s a bigger battle going on than what we see. Remind each other where the victory lies, Who the Victor is, the Victorious One! He has the final say! He is our hope, our anchor, the One who holds us steady. He is steadfast, immovable and immutable. Immutable: “unchanging over time and unable to be changed; fixed, set, rigid, permanent, established.” So put that under your hat!  Thank you so much for listening. See, actually, I started out with a heavy heart, but talking it out, reflecting on the greatness of God, stirred my spirit up. That’s why we must not be silent. Tell someone how great God is and how much He means to you, and unleash those rivers of living water.

Even though I’m in Alabama, mom is still the secretary, bookkeeper and chief bottle washer of this outfit, which is why all the mail goes through her, in case you’re wondering about the address still being in Fort Wayne.

Be blessed in the Name of our glorious Savior, Jesus!

Love,

Pam

 

October 2018

Hello Saints!

Worthy is the Lamb, worthy is the Lamb, worthy is the Lamb! He is worthy of all our praise and adoration. Donut Days was a huge success and my heart is overflowing with love and gratitude for a God who is so merciful, so kind, so wonderful, and so faithful. The week was completely exhausting and completely wonderful. We ended up going up into five facilities. Each morning the donut trailer was set up around 6 a.m. at a different location.  It was quite an operation.  The dough was mixed, rolled, and cut into doughnuts inside the trailer. A big deep fryer was set up outside under an awning, along with two rows of tables under another awning for glazing. The first day we made over 3,000.  The doughnuts were taken inside the prison and each inmate was given 2 of them with their supper meal.  Four to five of the men who were with us were allowed into the chow hall to actually greet the men and invite them to our evening service.  Us ladies had the blessed opportunity at that time to leave and shower!  During one evening service, I went to rub my neck and found some sugar behind my ear that I’d missed!  Mom can tell you, I cannot do anything without getting it all over me.  If there would have been a prize for who wore the most glaze this week, I can guarantee it would have been mine.  It wasn’t just on the outside of my shoes but my toes were glistening like precious crystals.

During the services the inmates were asked to share what the day meant to them, some of them had not had a donut in more than 20 years.  That was a humbling moment.  It made all the tiredness from the work fade away.  Over and over we heard how much they appreciated it and how it made them feel loved, cared about.  From a doughnut.  Many of them came forward each night for prayer.  I was surprised at how many of them I watched wiping away tears.  Grateful hearts from such a simple act of kindness.  How great is God.  How wonderful are His mercies.  He longs to soften the hardened hearts so His love can heal what our words can’t.  As I said last month, we are only the conduit through which His love flows.  God is a God of creativity.  This whole donut truck thing is something that’s never been done here in the prisons, until 4 or 5 years ago, God put it on the heart of Carl Strite and his wife Miriam, donut makers from Virginia.  Yesterday was our biggest donut making day, we made 6,000!  It was a prison with 2,100 inmates and more than 300 officers.  Out of all those inmates, only about 50 came to chapel.  What overwhelming odds those men have against them in that environment.  They are truly the minority.  Yet this prison had scripture on the walls in the administration building we walked through.  That was a rare site!  Pray for it.  It’s called Limestone Correctional Facility.  God’s heart is for them.  Can we believe that revival would break out in that place?  Absolutely!

We walked through a big gymnasium to get to the small chapel.  I was praying this morning for the gym to be needed for their church services as the body of believers in that place multiplies like wildfire.

 

 

The Strites are Mennonite by denomination but also born again Christians and they brought along a group of Mennonite volunteers with them.  We slept at a shelter facility, girls in one dorm room, guys in another.  It was one of the most joyful working weeks of my life!  Without having ever been in a living environment with this denomination, I of course had my own preconceived idea of what the week would be like.  I figured the best thing for me would probably be to stay as quiet as possible and try to get through the week without offending anyone.  Little did I know how much I would fall in love them.  They are a hoot!  There wasn’t anything they’d be doing when their wasn’t outbursts of laughter.  Even after getting up too early and working too long, they’d still be smiling. This group believes in community, fellowship, family, and hard work.  And above that, they believe it should revolve around Jesus.  We’d make it back to the shelter anywhere between 8:30 and 9:30 p.m., eat supper, and then have group prayer for the next day.  By this time it’d be at least 10 o’clock, usually later, the time any normal person’s brain is going into shutdown mode, and they’d still be smiling and would spend awhile longer talking to each other! Knowing the wake up time was only a few hours away!  As if they hadn’t already been talking to each other the whole day and the day before and probably their whole lives.  They enjoy endless fellowship.  Craziest thing you’ve ever seen. J And guess how they wake up, yep, smiling.  Eternity looks even better when you look at the beautiful variety of people we will get to spend it with.

At the Northpoint Kentucky prison in August the inmates put music to a rap song I wrote about the prison and it was a lot of fun. I told them when they get out of prison, we’ll go on the road and be famous.  So at two of the prisons we were in this week, I asked if they had a drummer and each time me and the drummer would go over the song for about 5 minutes before the service and they’d play a beat for me while I did the song for the rest of the crowd.  You’ll probably be surprised to find out I’m not really a rapper.  But God has a great sense of humor and the guys seem to enjoy it.  Dad always said if you’re not having fun you’re doing something wrong.  We should be joyful when sharing Jesus.

As I was driving early yesterday morn to our last prison, an idea popped in my head.  I was driving north and always think of north as being up.  I thought what if we could drive all the way north through America, then Canada, and right at the top of the continent, we knew the throne of God was sitting there.  I looked at my speedometer and seen it goes up to 120.  My heart leaped as I thought about holding that pedal to the floor and driving straight through day and night to get there, just to run and throw myself at His feet and tell Him over and over, “I love You, I love You, I love, You, I love You so much!” And to thank Him a million times for saving me.  My brain was exploding with joyful excitement!  And then I thought, what if I seen someone walking on the side of the road, would I stop, or race by?  That caused a tug of war in my heart.  Wanting so desperately just to get there and yet knowing if I didn’t pull over, that one might never make it on foot.  I could give you a whole sermon right here but I’ll just let you reach your own conclusion, as I did.

Be blessed in the Name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Love, Pam

 

September 2018

Hello Saints!

                Are you to the age yet where you’re thinking what else can God possibly do with my life? Well, fret no longer my friend, He is no respecter of age or person! This is good news! He is an awesome God who takes what is old and remakes it. “And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter; so he made it again into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to make.” Jeremiah 18:4 NKJV.  God never runs out of options of what to do with us because He is a creator; The Creator, the ultimate remaker and reshaper. So put down the remote and cancel your order for that body-shaping girdle. There’s hope for you! Put yourself in the hands of the One who made you and come into agreement with heaven that you will be remade into the vessel He has predestined you to be at this stage of your life. Even trees, as they age and fall down, become the nest/home for animals on the ground, or firewood to keep people warm, then ultimately they decompose and become nutrition for the soil. At every stage of its life, the tree has purpose. If you’re reading this, then no, you are not ready for the compost pile. Your easy chair does not receive any life giving nutrition from you sitting in it. Although it seems like a perfect fit, the two of you were not destined to drift off into eternity together. “But now O Lord, You are our Father, We are the clay and you our potter, and we all are the work of Your hand.” (Isaiah 64:8)

The ministry I will be under in Alabama when I go to the Montgomery Women’s Facility as chaplain is the We Care Prison Ministry. I was watching one of their videos this morning about a young chaplain in one of the men’s prisons down there. I met this young man 2-3 years ago when we were doing the annual Renew Hope prison ministry in Alabama and I thought, “they are going to eat this young boy alive.” He’s not only young, but seemed naïve. He’s never been exposed to the criminal lifestyle and was raised in a good home with a Mennonite background. I’m not sure exactly when he became an official chaplain but at the time when I met him, he wasn’t one, so it’s been within the last year or two. In this video, he’s explaining how he was walking down a row of cellblocks. In one of them was a man with his head down. He started to walk past the cell when the man walked up to the bars, stuck his arms out through the bars, hands reaching, and said, “I need Jesus in my life.” He prayed for the man to receive Jesus and a few months ago, the man was baptized. The young chaplain had never spoken to the man previously and had no intention of speaking to him at that moment. But God arranged it for a man who’s heart was crying out for Him and for a man who was willing to be available, to cross paths at exactly the moment of divine intervention. We may not know why we are where we are sometimes, what we should be doing, but as long as your heart is saying yes to Him, He will direct your steps.

Two weeks ago, the crusade at the Northpoint Men’s Prison in Burgin, Kentucky went great. On the third day, 5 men were baptized. We have some pictures from previous years when dad was baptizing men in the same baptistry. He went in there every year for several years. Going there without him was bittersweet. I’m so grateful for all he taught me. And especially grateful for the cause of the cross. Sometimes it seems like our words are pretty small compared to the situation these men are in. One man there told me he’s been locked up 28 years and won’t meet the parole board for 5 more years, in 2023. Even then there’s no guarantee he’ll be released. The parole board could say they’ll interview him in another 5 years after that. He gave his life to Christ in 1996. He was carrying the biggest Bible I’ve ever seen an inmate carry, (it must have been extra large print). I was amazed at his endurance and confession of Christ in a seemingly unchanging situation. How many times have we been praying through a storm and after a few weeks or months get exasperated when God doesn’t seem to notice? We have no idea how He’s capable of teaching them to walk in freedom and to pour Himself into them in the midst of darkness.

Last weekend I ended up in an Alabama’s men’s prison. It was totally unplanned on my part. Patty and I were down in Montgomery looking for an apartment for me before my move there next month and dad’s previous ministry partner, Dan Utz, invited me to go in with him. The Alabama prison living conditions are much worse than Indiana or Kentucky. It is especially hard to minister in there. There’s no air conditioning. In a

lot of the prisons, there’s 200 to 300 inmates sleeping in one room and that’s how this one was. Their uniforms were filthy from sweat and the dry dirt that’s always blowing around. Someone paid for a chicken bar-b-que

dinner for each inmate, including macaroni and cheese, cole slaw and a desert. This was a Big Deal! That’s some good ground watering before the seed planting! After their meal, we had a sound system set up in the yard, where Dan and his wife did music and I shared my testimony. Off in the distance was a rainbow coming straight down from heaven to the ground. No rain in sight. It’s not our words that will save them. Not the songs. Not even the chicken. It’s His mercy. It’s His desire to draw them to Himself. We can’t offer them any type of physical freedom. We can only be a conduit for His love to flow through and give them the spiritual freedom that their spirits are longing for. Who the Son sets free is free indeed! It’s that upward freedom that can’t be contained by razor wire or concrete walls. The type of freedom that man can’t quench. The mercy of God that doesn’t look at dirty clothes or hardened hearts. For only He knows what is in the heart of a man. Don’t judge a situation by what you see with your eyes. It may look like it’s pointless but just like when that young chaplain was going to walk on by that cell, you never know when a person’s heart is crying out to know the Savior.

In the wee hours of the morning before going into that prison, I became really sick. I was in the bathroom alternating between hugging the toilet and laying on the floor because I was too weak and in too much pain to make it back to my bed. My sister heard me and was outside the bathroom praying. I finally made it to where she could pray with me, and then back to the bed. I took my Bible into the bed, opened it at random and put my arm on it, my whole body was wracked with pain, I had no idea what was going on, but said, “Your Word has to heal me.” When I woke a few hours later, the spasms in my back and stomach were gone, and my breathing was regular, (at one point I was having trouble drawing any air in). I looked to see what scripture I had been holding onto. It was Psalm 37. Some of the highlights are; “Trust in the Lord”, “Delight yourself in the Lord”, “Commit your way to the Lord”, “Rest in the Lord”, “Do not fret”, “Wait on the Lord”, “He is their strength in time of trouble”, “He shall deliver them from the wicked, and save them, because they trust in Him”. How wonderful is the word of God! A few hours before that I was sure I would be spending the day in bed, if not in the hospital, and knew there was no way I would be going into that prison. But we serve a God who’s ways are higher than our ways and whose thoughts are higher than our thoughts! His Word is more powerful than a double-edged sword! He slays our enemy even while we rest. Throughout the day, my stomach was feeling pretty delicate so I only ate crackers and a peanut butter sandwich. Even though God healed me, what if it hit me again…. I kept thinking it wouldn’t matter if I went to that prison or not… We weren’t scheduled to go in until 3pm, they already had music and a speaker planned and I was a last minute add-on….it didn’t make sense to me, but I had been asked and said yes, and dad never backed out on a commitment. By the time the music started, it was obvious the speaker wasn’t coming. No one knew why, he just didn’t show up. We simply need to be available. It didn’t make sense to me, but God had a plan. I was thinking of that rainbow this morning in the background behind the men and was reading in Ezekiel at that moment.  The scriptures that stood out to me were, “Behold all souls are Mine; the soul of the father as well as the soul of the son is Mine.” (Ezekiel 18:4), “Repent and turn from all your transgressions, so that iniquity will not be your ruin”. (Ezekiel 18:30), “For I have no pleasure in the death of one who dies,” says the Lord God, “Therefore turn and live!.”  (Ezekiel 18:32) How can we not go?

All this brings us to what I originally started out with, the Potter and the clay. So while Patty and I were on an apartment hunting adventure (oh the stories I could tell right here J), we got a phone call and the Lord had a house for me that wasn’t even on our radar. A man from the We Care office in Atmore, AL, had contacted a chaplain in Montgomery to let him know I was in need of housing. He at first said he didn’t know of anythingbut then later remembered that he knew a woman… this is how the family of God works. Long story short, she has a house that really isn’t ready to rent out, that she and her husband had just recently moved from, so recent that their 3 dogs and 1 cat are still living there, but she said I am just the type of person she’d like to have in there! So, the house comes fully equipped with furniture, pets, and a Friday night prayer meeting, in a safe neighborhood, that under normal circumstances we could not have afforded. With utilities included, I will be in a three-bedroom house paying less than what I would have paid for a one-bedroom apartment in a shady neighborhood. And by shady I don’t mean tree lined.

At age 55, I would not have seen myself embarking on an adventure as a prison chaplain. A position for which I have had no training, and in which there is no one on site to train me. But He is the potter. If I were to look at my own limitations and abilities I would never leave this apartment. But His word says, it is “not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit, says the Lord of hosts”. (Zechariah 4:6) It’s not trusting in who we are, but in Who He Is. This is a total makeover of life as I know it. “But now, O Lord, You are our Father, We are the clay, and You our potter; And all we are the work of Your hand.” (Isaiah 64:8) “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” (Eph 2:10). I guess I could say I have nothing to offer them. “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us.”(2 Cor 4:7) I could write two more pages on why I am too foolish or too weak, but that would only be my words and not His for He says, “But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty.” Or possibly one could argue that I am going all alone, “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31) Don’t you love God’s word. He has an answer for everything.

One of my favorite events is coming up in September. Donut days! We’ll spend the day making homemade donuts out of a food truck that are then given to the men with their supper meal. Afterwards we do a chapel service with music, testimonies, and a message. Each man gets 2 donuts. On our first day last year we made more than 2500 donuts! It’s a lot of work in the Alabama heat, at least 10 hrs per day, but sooo worth it!

Thank you all so much for your donations towards the Alabama trip. I am so blessed by your love and support to this ministry. We are one family with one ministry, serving the One and Only living God. “Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Christ Jesus, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is that God was in Christ, reconciling the world to Himself not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.” (2 Cor 5:18-19) Let’s share His word and His love at every possible opportunity! Be blessed in the Name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Love,

Pam

September Schedule:

Sept 7-9; Ladies Retreat, Liquid Church, North Webster Lake, IN

Sept 10; Faith Based Mentoring

Sept 18-22; COPE Conference, Ridgecrest, North Carolina

Sept 24; Donaldson Correctional, Bessemer, AL (Donut Days J)

Sept 25; Limestone Correctional, Harvest, AL (Donut Days J)

Sept 26; Possibly Birmingham Work Release (pending approval) (Donut Days J)

Sept 28; Hamilton Correctional, Hamilton, AL (Donut Days J)

*I’m not exactly sure of the date of my first day in the Montgomery Women’s Facility. It will definitely be after the mens prisons we go into the last week of Sept, so probably the week of October 1st.

August 2018

 

Hello Saints!

It’s a glorious day to praise our blessed Savior! Has He set your feet to dancing yet? Lately even when walking around my kitchen, I feel like I’m doing a waltz with the Lord. My spirit has this growing expectation and excitement, that makes me want to twirl with Him. The other morning I awoke from a terrible dream about my past. Satan never tires of trying to remind us of our failures. As I got up for the day, there was a heavy cloud of oppression over me. The radio wasn’t on, but all of a sudden the song, “Who the Son sets free is free indeed” popped into my head, “In my Father’s house there’s a place for me,” and my feet felt like dancing. My spirit started swaying, my heart sprung up from the darkness. Who can stand against the Lord our God! He is our Defender! He is the One who fights us for us! Satan didn’t stand a chance that morning because God came to my rescue without a moment’s hesitation and said I’m His, with a place in His house!

Something the Lord spoke to me on yesterday was the desires of our heart. We all love the scripture “Delight thyself also in the Lord; and He shall give thee the desires of your heart”, Psalm 34:4. (Actually we like to leave the first part off and just wait for Him to give us our hearts desire.) When I finally, absolutely surrendered my life to Him for the last time (my final offer) 10 ½ years ago, at age 44, I thought certainly He would give me the desires of my heart, a house and a husband. (Yep, hard to believe that a great catch like me is still single, right?) Yet, here I am, all these years later, in an efficiency apartment, me and the dog. And yes, He has fulfilled the desires of my heart. God is so incredibly amazing. I wouldn’t trade my time with Him in this place for anything in the world. As you grow in Him, and walk out this walk with Him, you will be amazed at how your hearts desires change. When I wanted to have a pizza party in the downtown park for the homeless and the low income people in that area, the Lord provided money for 70 pizzas and plenty of sodas. He gave me the desire of my heart. When I wanted to begin taking sausage and egg sandwiches to the homeless on Saturday mornings instead of just cookies and coffee, He gave me the desire of my heart. When I needed 3,000.00 to go to an orphanage in Africa and had no money at all, He gave me the desire of my heart. When my desire was to give away lots of free stuff to low income families, He gave us a connection with a warehouse of damaged goods and for at least 4 yrs we were able to give away literally hundreds of pounds of toilet paper, diapers, and hygiene items each month to families in need. Over and over when I wanted to go into prisons with dad, near and far, He opened the doors. When I wanted Bibles to take into the prisons to freely give away, He gave us 1,000 Bibles, immediately! I can’t even count all the requests I have laid before Him that He has answered and provided for in abundance. He is a great and awesome God. Take a moment and reflect on your hearts desires, the simple things, the beautiful things that He has been faithful in. As I looked back on it, it was overwhelming and even now brings me to tears.

The Lord has been telling me to dance at church, to grab someone and twirl them around, the way He twirls with me. Simple, right? He’s so great, how can I deny Him? Yet this has been a challenge! Last week, I’m looking around, no one knowing that any of them are about to have what hopefully will be an awesome dance with the Lord, (at least that’s what I was hoping for.)

In the back of the church was a young pregnant woman, who is usually up front worshiping, and I knew immediately she was the one. When I went to her, she was crying. I hugged her and she started crying harder. (This wasn’t what I had pictured.) I prayed for her, and then stepped back, took her hands and said, “We need to dance.” We started stepping side to side, and I said, “When I count to 3, we’re going to twirl together.” And we did, and it was wonderful. We repeated that 5 or 6 times, stepping side to side a few times, counting to 3 and twirling. During the stepping process we told each other how wonderful God was and she began worshiping Him during the dance and her whole countenance changed as she entered into the dance with Him. We weren’t as graceful as my mind had pictured, and no one stopped to admire us, but the audience we had with the Father was amazing.

Wow, I haven’t even gotten to tell you about the Madison Women’s Prison yet! So much went wrong the week before we went, that there was at least 3 days when I wanted to call and cancel. Yep, I know you find it hard to believe, that me, such a victorious defender of the faith would want to throw in the towel, but there I was, absolutely empty, wore out, overwhelmed, thinking, “I’ve got nothing….” When you find yourself there, you simply have to say, (as I did), Lord this is Your time, Your event, do what You will with it. And He did!!! Haven’t I told you He is faithful! We can spend all the time in the world, planning, worrying, stressing, and in the end He will still be God. Its always a little to our disadvantage when we give out snacks, because the women become very animated when they see all the candy and chips. The chaplain had told me seldom, not often, at one of their best services, they might get 100 women to attend. At our first service there was 120, manageable. Once word went around that we had snacks, the second service was 230, and it was a circus! Which is exactly why we take snacks, to lure them in to the love of Jesus. But there are moments when your nerves become a tightwire, and mine were strung to capacity. Trying to keep them quiet during the worship was nearly impossible. Impossible for man that is. One of our worship leaders started playing and the Spirit of God fell so strongly that a hush fell over the room like a warm blanket and God began to move. One woman was openly weeping and others began crying softly. There are times when you feel moved to go to them, and times when you know to stand still and let God do what He is doing in them. We let them engage the Father for a few songs and then our volunteers began moving around the auditorium and praying with them individually. We will never know the impact of what God did that night, and it’s none of our business, but we can give testimony that His word is true when it says, “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways, My ways”, says the Lord, “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.” His ways are best.

The next morning we had to make an emergency run to Walmart for 250 bags of chips and honeybuns, as we were running out of chocolate. What I had thought would last us 3 sessions, had only last 2. So thank all of you for your faithful support. It was such a blessing to not be frantic about what we were going to do. Because of your faithfulness, the Lord had already prepared the funds and we were able to go in and get all that we needed. That afternoon, (Sunday) was a repeat performance of the night before, with God showing up and showing off. A man who dad had ministered to in many different prisons over a period of about 20 years, has been out a couple years now and is going into prisons with us sharing his testimony. He was with us and spoke that day. His testimony is such a powerful story of what God can do with a life that to society looks like will never be worth the effort.

This is why we dance. This is why we praise the One Who never fails and never falls short. Our expectation of God should only grow greater as we see how much He is capable of.  Isn’t it something that we read in the Word about all that He created, He has sustained it all since the beginning of time, and yet we wonder if He will really come through for us. I pray He releases a dance in you. Not just in your imagination, but in your feet. In your living room, or bedroom, it’s only you and Him, bow before Him, take His hand and step back and forth while looking into His beautiful face. If you have a partner, the two of you dance, (even if it looks like this) and tell each other how wonderful God is, and remember all the desires of your heart that He has fulfilled.

“I will remember the works of the Lord, Surely I will remember Your wonders of old.” Psalm 77:11 (NKJV)   He is a good God and He is worthy of our adoration, our joy, and our dance.

Be blessed in Jesus Name!

Your sister in Him,

Pam

 

August 2018 Schedule

August 4, 11, 25: Cooking for homeless

August 5; Speaking at Liquid Church

August 12; Allen County Women’s Work Release

August 6, 13, 20, 21; Faith Based Mentoring. (This is a recovery meeting with a free meal for people in half-way houses, on drug court, on house arrest, or anyone just needing help with their walk with Jesus. I have recently been elected to the board of this group.)

August 2, 9, 23, 30; Cupbearer Café, Auburn, IN (Another recovery meeting, to which I pick up a few people who are in halfway homes, and 2 from their own homes, who are recovering from drugs. This meeting offers a free meal, worship, and a message.)

August 17-19; Northpoint Correctional, Burgin, Ky