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

June 2018 Newsletter

Hello Saints!

Do we dare say that Spring is here? Hallelujah, it has certainly sprung! In Psalm 22, David spends the first 21 verses crying out to God.  He’s abandoned, alone, overwhelmed. He even says he can count all his bones. His despair is so relatable. He doesn’t seem to see any end in sight. There’s no calvary coming to save the day. He lays his whole situation before God and pleads for deliverance. At the end of verse 21, there’s a space, and then it simply says, “You answered Me.” (NKJV) In the midst of his distress, everything changed in a moment. There is nothing like that moment when God shows up. Your heart soars. Faith leaps out of your mouth. How easy it is to believe when He moves! David beings to declare how he will praise God in the midst of the assembly. His spirit is overflowing with the goodness of the Father and he is determined that everyone is going to hear about it. That’s how it feels when you’re definitely sure that winter is over. In one second, you feel like it’s going to be beautiful and sunny forever!

Don’t you love God! He is the joy that comes after a rough season. It’s through those long winters that He grows our trust in Him. He teaches us to persevere. A few years ago, (I can’t remember if I’ve ever written about this or not, so bear with me), I was in one of those dry seasons, when you keep praying everyday but your prayers just bounce off the ceiling and hit you smack in the forehead. It felt like God had changed His number or was blocking my calls, I thought He wanted us to be stalkers of Him, but He didn’t seem to be paying me any attention. One evening, I threw my hands in the air and said, “Here I am again God!” In that instant, it felt like bracelets slid down both my arms. My heart melted. How can anyone stay mad at Him when He is so amazing! His presence, His kindness, just the tiniest bit of His breath, changes everything.

The weekend at the Westville Correctional Mens Facility went totally awesome. It’s hard to believe in this age, in America, that some of the prisons are in the disrepair that they’re in. Their chapel is in a room with old theater seats with the cushions worn down to the metal and some of the cushions simply gave up and left the building. The ceiling has big pieces of plaster missing and hanging down. A man told me that one time, during one of the worship services, a big piece of plaster came down and landed on the sound system. The paint is peeling off the walls. The floor is spotted and speckled where the paint has worn off the concrete. There’s a curtain over the stage that’s in tatters. Just the kind of place that Jesus loves. Because He certainly showed up! As those men lifted their hearts and their hands to worship, a transformation happened. We were in the throne room, exalting the King of Kings. It’s a level playing field at the cross. It doesn’t matter your background or what the place looks like you’re worshiping Him from, we’re all in need of this great Savior who poured Himself out for us. “As I live, says the Lord, Every knee shall bow to Me, and every tongue shall confess to God” (Romans 14:11). Isaiah 43:7 tells us we were created for His glory. Bringing glory to His Name is the best job in the world!

The Lord also gave us an unexpected blessing in the form of chocolate. A couple in my church has a trucking business and a pallet of mini Reese’s cups was donated to them for ministry.  So they’ve given us over 500 pounds of it! I took 100 pounds into Westville, and will be taking the rest into 2 other prisons. It’s in bulk, so we had to scoop it out in sandwich bags inside the prison. As we handed them out, the room certainly became animated! It was a joy to watch their faces. You can fit a lot of mini Reese’s into a sandwich bag. One guy scarfed straight through half his bag and I took it from him to help him get control of himself. When I gave it back he had a sheepish grin on his face. I felt like his grandma. He promised to behave. Another guy told me how all week he’d wanted a Reese’s cup so bad and now he had a whole bag of them. God speaks through these moments and shows them how He cares about the little things.

We know they’re in prison, so does God. We know they did wrong, even some horrible things, so does God. We cannot deny that Jesus paid for them. He wants reconciliation with them. His heart aches to set them free. Our job is not judgement, that’s reserved for the Only One Who is Worthy to judge. There were times this weekend, with a few guys who did not appear to be there to get right with Jesus, and I wondered why they came…. and then I had to release those thoughts to Him. Only He knows the intents of a man’s heart. Only He knows His plans for them. No matter why they came, His plans for them are good. His love for them is abundant and His hand is not short that It cannot save them.

June is going to be a busy month with 3 prisons in Kentucky and a week in Missouri at a kids camp.  The camp is called Camp David of the Ozarks. It’s for the children of prisoners. I believe the week I’m there will be for teenage girls. There’s a book written about this place called, “Shame Is No Longer My Name”, by Grace Smith. I’ve had it for 3 months and have refused to read it. Since I gave birth to a daughter while in prison and then after getting out while she was a toddler, went back a few years later and didn’t get out until she was almost a teenager, and still never raised her, I wasn’t sure if I could handle the words of their pain. How’s that for selfishness. I’m so grateful for the grace of Jesus. He’s definitely leading me there and although I’m shaking in my boots, “Thy rod and Thy staff will comfort me.” There are times when we have to walk into the hard places, even if it means facing our failures head on, with no choice but to believe His plans are good. Since the time is getting close, I picked the book up a few days ago and it’s remarkable. If you get the chance, it’s a “must read”.

There’s an opportunity in Alabama for volunteer chaplains.  The women’s prisons are especially short on help in this area. I put my name in this week to possibly go for a three-month term. It’s completely “volunteer”, which means finding housing for that time, while maintaining where I live here. So, if you know someone in Montgomery, Alabama, who’d like to be blessed with the best roommate of a lifetime, let me know! Please agree with us in prayer about this. If He’s not in it, there’s no point in spinning our wheels.

In Ephesians I’ve been trying to memorize 2:17 and I kept getting the revelation, wisdom and knowledge parts all mixed up. Finally I realized that the first letters of “wisdom and revelation” spelled “war”. If we have “the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him”, we’re ready for battle!

Be blessed in the Name of our Lord Jesus! Love your sister in Him, Pam

 

June Schedule:  June 2nd, Kentucky Womens Correctional

June 10th, Luther Luckett Correctional, Ky

June 16th, Roederer Correctional, Ky

June 17-22, Camp David of the Ozarks.

 

 

April 2018

Hello Saints!

I would first like to say “Thank you” to all of you who were so kind to us during the past 6 weeks, showing up for the viewing and the funeral, and sending your love and support. It was a great comfort to us. In all the times that dad went in and out of the hospital, I never imagined what this letter would be like. Its been a little harder to get started than I would have thought. As you can imagine it has been a very challenging time for mom. Please keep her in your prayers. Her and dad were married for 57 years. I know her parents couldn’t have imagined in their wildest dreams that dad would turn into an evangelist. He was a piece of work when the two of them first married. I think the only thing in this world that was bigger than dad’s ego was Jesus. There wasn’t anything that he couldn’t fix himself, except his need for a Savior.  We are so grateful for a God who’s bigger than our messes, bigger than egos, bigger than our plans, and Who pursues us even when we aren’t looking for Him. He is a revolutionary life changer. If you watch television for any amount of time, you will see something brand new that’s guaranteed to change your life. All we need is Jesus. Its what He came for. In John 6:51, Jesus said, “I am the living bread which came down from heaven.  If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world.” Hallelujah for the Bread of Life! Because of Jesus, we have this hope.

I started off the January 2018 newsletter with Psalm 136:1-4, “Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! His mercy endures forever. Oh give thanks to the God of gods! For His mercy endures forever. Oh give thanks to the Lord of lords! For His mercy endures forever. To Him who alone does great wonders, for His mercy endures forever; To Him who by wisdom made the heavens, for His mercy endures forever.” My opinion has not changed, He is a good God and His mercy endures forever. In February I put this scripture in the newsletter; 2 Corinthians 4:6-7 “For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us.” How great is it that He uses us in spite of ourselves! He put “this treasure”, His treasure, His Spirit, His mercy, His grace, His compassion, in these “earthen vessels”. It doesn’t matter what shape you are, the more room you make inside of yourself, the more of Himself He will pour in there. He has shone His light into our hearts, that His light can shine out of darkness. Not because we’re so smart, or talented, or capable, but so “that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us.” We can only love through Him, because of His great love that He has towards those whom He longs to draw to Himself. We may look like ordinary people, but when you’re filled with an extraordinary God you become a treasure of incredible value.

In John after Jesus had fed the 5,000 with the 5 loaves, the next day the people who’d eaten went seeking Him. They actually asked Him in 6:28 what sign would He perform so they could believe in Him, and even quoted scripture to Him about their fathers eating manna in the desert, “bread from heaven”. The other day I realized how ironic their statement was. The day before they had just eaten bread from heaven and didn’t realize it! And even when their “fathers” ate manna, if they really knew scripture they’d of remembered, that their fathers called it “worthless bread”, Numbers 21:5. Jesus is so gracious. He could of told them how dense they were, He could have insulted their intelligence. He could of called them a bunch of ungrateful loafers (why weren’t they at work anyway?). But instead He told them again that He was sent down as the bread of life and how they can find fulfillment through Him, that anyone who comes to Him will not be cast out, and He was here not to do His will but the will of the One who sent Him, that none should be lost and that all may have everlasting life. (John 6:32-40)

Jesus taught by example. When questioned we don’t have to try and prove our opinion or our own self righteousness but keep the goal in mind. Since God has entrusted this treasure to us, it’s more important that we do the will of Him who has sent us. Through these past 10 years, in doing prison ministry with dad, I seen him live that out. There were trying situations with officers and volunteers when dad could have blown his lid and his witness but I seen him humble himself because he had his eye on the prize. It was more important to him that the light shine into the darkness. There is nothing I want more than to continue to carry that out.

We had a board meeting of the ministry this past week. I now carry the title of president which I’m very humbled by. I believe in ministry that a man is supposed to be over woman, so it feels a little uncomfortable. I am trusting this is where God wants me and am definitely submitted to Him. I also am blessed to have two senior board members, Jim Hines and Monty Sheets, to whom I can turn to for guidance. Mom will continue to be treasurer, secretary and Chief Prayer Warrior. Her value in this ministry is beyond measure.

At the end of this past January when I came back from Alabama, I told mom how it was on my heart to teach inmates how to read the Bible. You think if someone can read, they can certainly read the Bible. For those who’ve never had it in their homes or even been to Sunday School, its intimidating. A lot of the inmates we encounter don’t even know the basic Bible stories like Jonah and the whale, Noah and the ark, or even the story of the Ten Commandments.  So we began praying for God to give us Bibles and 3 weeks later, 1,000 Bibles were donated to us! They say they have 1,000 more if we need them but for right now the first 1,000 are sitting in the gym of my church. I’d also like to get comic book Bibles to take along with the regular Bibles, so if they have trouble at first the pictures will help them, or for the ones who don’t need the comic book Bibles, it’s something they can send home to their children. Two weeks ago, I took these Bibles to the Women’s Work Release here in Fort Wayne and we had a great time looking at scriptures together, explaining the gospels and Paul’s travels through Acts. By the time you receive this letter we will have done this also at the Blackford County Jail, March 30th & 31st.

Are you wondering what we’ve been doing in prisons all these years if not teaching the Bible? Dad’s seminar was a pre-release seminar where he gave them biblical principals for how to make it when they were released from prison, as well as first-hand testimonies of people who’d been in prison and have succeeded with the help of Jesus.  He also never ended without an altar call. When dad first started doing prison ministry, the prisons didn’t offer any classes on how they’d merge back into society. Over the years, the prisons have picked up on this and now they have there own pre-release training that inmates are required to take.  Also years ago, most people had some basic knowledge of the Bible either through Sunday School or a praying grandma. These past few years, its became more evident, especially since prayer was removed from the schools, that many children never even have an introduction to the Bible. So you may be giving a message and refer to one of the biblical stories, thinking they’ll know what you’re talking about, and all you get back is a blank stare, because they have no idea who Lazarus, or Mary, or John is.

Last week one morning while I was praying, my apartment filled up with the smell of freshly baking bread.  It was 5:30 am, and my neighbor definitely wasn’t baking, so it was undoubtedly the Presence of our Savior. He is a sweet smelling aroma, our comfort, the Only One who satisfies, who nourishes us and encompasses us. May His fragrance fill you and surround you as His mercy washes over you.

 

Your sister in Jesus,

Pam 

February 2018

 

February 2018

Hello Saints!

Blessed be the Name of our Lord, the God of all mercy and compassion. The One who upholds and strengthens us, carries us when we’re weak, rejoices with us when we’re strong, fills our cup to overflowing and fills our hearts with laughter, puts a spring in our step, sets our feet upon solid ground, blesses us going in and coming out, goes before us to defeat the enemy and delights in watching us pick up the spoil! Blessed be the Name of the Lord! How great is our God! How wonderful His mercies! “Give unto the Lord the glory due His Name; Worship the Lord in the beauty of His holiness,” Psalm 29:2 (NKJV) His holiness is beautiful. It’s in His holiness that we have this hope, this treasure in earthen vessels.

Last week I was with the We Care prison ministry in Alabama for the annual Renew Hope prison invasion where more than 350 volunteers were divided up into 26-28 facilities (can’t remember the exact number) to share the gospel for four days. I was in a group of 6 women who were sent to a small women’s prison for 9 hours a day from Monday to Thursday. We sat in their “dayroom” which is their TV room, hair styling room, microwave-using room, letter writing, and gossiping room, with the bunks all around us. It was pretty much like a one-story concrete warehouse only it had 150 bunk beds in it that held 300 women. Just row after row of beds, no personal space, no lockers. All their worldly possessions hung off their beds in 2 laundry bags and a metal drawer on the underside of the metal bunk. One women I spoke with will have been there 18 years this month. Another got there when she was 19 and is now 36, another 11 years, another 6 years. In this one room. Where time stands still. There isn’t a school or a recreation building, so there are few jobs there. Most of them don’t work. It was heartbreaking. They just sit there, or go out to the yard, which is just as bleak; a bare yard surrounded by a fence. This is not what God intended. The chaplain is part-time so she only goes there two days a week. There are few paid state chaplains in Alabama so most of the chaplains are volunteers and have to raise their own support. But we have this hope in earthen vessels. The inmates have it too. So our job is, according to 2 Corinthians 5:19-20 “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. Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us; we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God.” Our job is to help them brush aside the dirt “not imputing their trespasses to them” and realize the treasure that is inside them. There is no other bright light inside that place. 2 Corinthians 4:6-7 “For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us.”

Several women complained to me about the amount of drugs in there. A handful of the women are classified as “community custody level”. That means they can actually leave there during the day and go to work in the city at Wendy’s or a factory. For that, they get to wear civilian clothes, so no one in the community realizes that person is actually a prisoner of the state. The downside is that drugs are big money in prison, so the women have people bring drugs to them at their jobs, which they then sneak back in with them. Not just the inmates do that – an officer got fired from their last month for doing the same thing. Drugs are rampant in the prisons. And why not. The enemy comes to “steal, kill and destroy”. What a better way to finish them off. If you look with your human eyes, the atmosphere is heavy, overwhelming, even hopeless. But when you look with your spiritual eyes, “the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power…” Ephesians 1:18-19. We have this hope!

You have to believe that the One “who commanded light to shine out of darkness”, can speak light into their darkness, that His plan is to give them a “future and a hope”, that they can have the “riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints”, that they also “have this treasure in earthen vessels”, that “greater is He” in them, “than he who is in the world”. You have to believe His Word! You have to love His Word, and you have to love the One who wrote it, if you’re ever going to look at a person in a hopeless situation and convey to them the “exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe”. Because He can mountains! There is no power of the enemy that is greater than He is! We have this hope “which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at the His right hand in heavenly places, far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come.” Ephesians 1:20-21

While praying early one morning, I think it was the 2nd day, I thought of 2 Kings 19:35, “And it came to pass on a certain night that the angel of the Lord went out, and killed in the camp of the Assyrians one hundred and eighty five thousand; and in the morning, there were the corpses – all dead.” Isn’t that something that King Hezekiah, who had been so worried about the overwhelming size of his enemy, while he slept, the Lord sent an angel to slay the entire army. But also King Hezekiah humbled himself and cried out to the Lord. It’s okay to admit you feel powerless over a situation, cry out to the God who is all powerful and totally capable of delivering you. In 2 Chronicles 20 when king Jehoshaphat had a huge army come against him, he sent the worshippers out first. The enemy got so confused they turned and killed each other. It took the king and his people 3 days to carry back all the spoil from the enemy’s tents. As I thought about these scriptures, joy rose up in my spirit. Without a shadow of a doubt I knew God was at work while we were sleeping and all we had to do was go in with a heart of praise & worship and collect the spoil the enemy abandoned and return those treasures in earthen vessels, back to their proper owner, the King of Kings. So while the outward situation looked bleak, my heart was rejoicing, the battle isn’t ours, but the Lords! It’s His desire to bring them back into right relationship with Him. “Now we have this confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions we have asked of Him.” (I John 5:14) When you’re praying about witnessing, or praying for someone’s salvation, have this confidence. It doesn’t matter what the situation looks like, is it God’s will that they be saved? Is it God’s will that you share this gift of reconciliation? Of course! Therefore you will have what you ask for! Is His Word true? Need I even say it! Our enemy in these situations is hopelessness, despair, addiction, unforgiveness, depression, demonic oppression. None of these can stand against the living God. They are invaders just as real as the armies that surrounded the kings in the Old Testament. But our God is the same God who defeated the enemies of those who diligently sought Him, who will never leave nor forsake you, whose perfect love will cast out fear, who has defeated death and the grave, who says “Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loves us.” Romans 8:37

One of the men speakers shared this true story. He’s a pastor and this was a family he ended up being involved with. There was a young woman who was a Christian but married a man who was not. He was abusive, didn’t work, left for weeks and months at a time, and when he did return it was only to wreck havoc on their lives with more abuse. They had 3 children. She was going to church, working, struggling, as basically a single mom, and in the midst of all this, praying for her husband to be saved. One day she was lying in the bed with 2 of their children, when he showed up and shot her in front of them. She died immediately. Does God answer prayer? The father was given a life sentence, all 3 children grew up and became drug addicts. The situation seemed hopeless for all involved. Even though in prison, the dad remained hard as ever, the children lost in lives of despair. Then one of the sons ended up giving his life to the Lord. Is any situation ever too dark for God? This brother led the other brother to Christ, and eventually the two of them brought the sister in, who also surrendered. Meanwhile years have passed and the father is dying in prison, I can’t remember if it was some type of cancer or what, but he was given only a limited amount of time left. The children wrote the parole board and explained that they forgave their father and would the state please release their father to them so they could care for him until his death. The father was still not a Christian. The parole board granted their request. And these 3, because of their willingness to forgive were able to lead their father to Christ before his death a few months later while he was in their care. The pastor who shared this story with us said he actually was asked to preach this man’s funeral, and the letter the children wrote to the parole board was shared at the funeral. God answered that woman’s prayer. We have this hope. In earthen vessels.

I know I’ve been a little repetitive but I want you to get it – “we have this hope” and He has given us this “treasure in earthen vessels”. You may not realize how valuable you are. You have a treasure inside of you that cannot be bought, whose value cannot be compared or equated to anything we know on earth, what’s inside of you is priceless. You may not know what you can share with others around you, share with them the love of Christ, share “what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power.” It’s worth giving away. We had many great moments of praying with the women, watching God exchange His peace for their pain, there’s nothing else I want to do with my life. Thank you for all your contributions. Thank you for being the “senders”. I love being sent! I’m so very grateful for your faithfulness to give to this ministry.

Dad has had a rough month. He was in ICU for awhile. A few days into it, after he was finally coming around and able to communicate, he looked at me and said, “I can’t believe I’m still alive.” I said “Me either!” It was the grace of God. Believe with me for God’s power to fall upon his home and as the glory of the Living God descends, every plan of the enemy to rob my parents of their health, peace, and joy will be sent as far as the east is from the west and a wellspring of living water will burst forth in the middle of their living room that will refresh, restore and renew them. Their praise will be, “You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; You have put off my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness, To the end that my glory may sing praise to You and not be silent. O Lord, my God, I will give thanks to You forever.” Psalm 30:11-12 We will be continue this with a praise report! For great is the Lord and greatly to be praised!

Be blessed saints!

Love, your sister in Jesus, Pam

February 2018 Schedule

February 3rd, 10th, 17th, 24th; Homeless feeding ministry, downtown Ft. Wayne, IN

February 4th, 11th, 18st, 25th; Dad preaching to homeless at Ft Wayne Rescue Mission

February 11th; Allen County Work Release Center, evening service

February 21st – 24th COPE (Coalition of Prison Evangelists) conference Daytona, Fl. To find out more about this go to copeconnections.org if you’re interested in attending, or call me. 260-445-5617  

*Am also doing individual jail visits during the month, but don’t put on schedule because never sure of dates.