Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Best Gift

We had another really good day at the Berean office processing the mail, answering letters and sending out Bibles. We also had a good amount of GREAT volunteers here to do the work. Not all volunteers are pictured, we were short a couple of our computer men (Marvin and Mark) and I was pretty busy trying to do the computer work so that not many pictures were taken.

Bill was busy ordering another shipment of Bibles. What we have in this office now is all we have available and we sure don't want to run out.
 As soon as all the mail was opened and all the labels applied Glenna went into the other room to start stuffing the next set of studies.
Jeanette is busy with one of the many steps involved in making sure the prisoner gets the correct study sent to him out of the 50 lessons in the basic program. There are another set of 50 in the next set of lessons.
In the picture below everyone is filling envelopes. 
 Kathy, Dave and Leila were the main readers of letters, almost all the studies that come in with a letter got to Shirley. Below Kathy and Leila are discussing what to do with a problem letter.
 I didn't get any pictures of the group getting the Bibles ready for mailing as I was still working on the entering the names and addresses of all those wanting a Bible. We sent out 48 Bibles today. It is SUCH a pleasure to work with willing happy volunteers. This office rings loud with laughter and fellowship as we work together making sure a prisoner gets the best gift of all.



Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Lots of Mail

We had quite a few problems when we arrived at the Berean office today but that didn't stop us from getting the job done.  When we arrived the computers wouldn't turn on. That turned out to be the power strip. Marvin checked the breakers but they were all working so he just plugged the computers directly into an outlet. At 9:30 am when Marvin's alarm went off for the morning prayer we still had not printed a single label.  Once we finally got power to the computers we though we were in business until we went to print out the first envelope. The printer was not communicating with the computers.  Bill brought in the internet modem and between Marvin, Mark and Bill got the printer back online and communicating. Below they are busy getting everything working. Thankful for the willingness of these 3.
The rest of us worked on opening the studies and reading letters.




 As soon as the last study was processed Vonnie got everyone organized to start stuffing and wrapping Bibles.
 With everyone's help we mailed out over 100 Bibles today and got 3 or 4 more boxes ready for mailing next week when the requests come in. 
We enjoyed Chili for lunch but that wasn't the 'real' treat. Mark brought in an amazing dessert from his wife Cathy. That was so good some of us even had seconds. The left overs were taken to Diane's office. A special thank you to ALL who came today to help with this ministry.  The prisoners wait anxiously for their graded study to come back and without all of these amazing volunteers their wait would be much longer.  Roanoke asked for all the studies this week for grading and those were dropped off at the shop for the trip out to the Roanoke AC church.  Today was a GOOD day!

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Welcome Surprises

Roanoke Apostolic Christian, well random people that attend there and help grade Bible studies, gave us a very welcome surprise this morning with a big bag of stamps plus $30.00.  We all rejoice when that happens as postage is one of our biggest expenditures.
 The other welcome surprise was that box of paper clips. Karen Hoffstetter found that box at a garage sale for $1.00! What is kind of amazing is I was a little worried about having enough paper clips last time we worked. A BIG BIG thank you to all those who donated those who donated the stamps and Karen for finding those paper clips. It really is amazing how needed both were and how much they help.  Below Vonnie is getting ready to put the folded studies in the self addressed stamped envelope Berean supplies for the prisoners so they can send their studies back to be graded. 
We had a lot of mail today and were able to fill 94 Bible requests and over 250 studies. Thankfully we had plenty of volunteers to help with all of that.
 Benji works for Caterpillar and that company gives Benji a day off to volunteer. We were thrilled when he came to help us. That was another welcome surprise.  
 Mom was back from Gulf Shores and brought some of our lunch today. We were thankful for that surprise too. 


 We encourage all prisoners doing the study to put the papers in a stack then fold them in thirds so when we open it we don't have to unfold each individual paper. Mom always makes a note on the study if they come back folded individually instead of together. Shirley is holding a set of 4 studies that were folded longways then sideways and stuffed in an envelope.  We laughed when she tried to give it to mom to open. That way sure was a time waster for someone trying to open 250 pieces of mail. 
 We didn't have enough Bibles wrapped to supply all the requests that came in today so Vonnie organized an assembly line to get that job done. 
We all had to work overtime today. I didn't arrive home until 2:00 pm and when I left the Berean office Marvin was still working on the certificates. Not everyone that worked today is pictured, we had some that had to leave before the camera was taken out. This was a big day but such a good day with all of our unexpected happy surprises. 

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

So Much More

This blog is really only about the Bible and Bible study program of Berean Prison Ministry. There is so much more to this ministry. Our volunteers go into the jails and prisons all over Illinois and not just on Sunday's. There are counseling sessions, rehab help, Bible studies, one on one help and of course services where the WORD is taught. I'm just glad I have an opportunity to serve in this one tiny area. In this office we read letters from all over the United States. Some of the letters are just heart breaking. Today a very nice thank you letter came in. Many of the letters are requesting a Bible and that we can do, thanks to the Apostolic Christian Church who provides us with funds to purchase many of the Bibles. The Roanoke Apostolic Church has provided us at very unexpected times with thousands of first class stamps.  At one point we were very low on stamps. One of the volunteers said, "You need to ASK for money to buy stamps!"  she was told, We will NOT ask people, we will pray about stamps. Just a few days later a full bag of over 1600 first class stamps was brought to the office.  A very special thank you to who ever donated stamps. The prisoner's love getting mail and really look forward to receiving their graded Bible study back. 
Today we had another good day of work getting almost 90 Bible requests and sending those Bibles out today. Those Bibles are stuffed with a set of lessons plus a self addressed stamped envelope. If the prisoner sends us those studies, we get them graded, send those studies back plus the next set of 4. Below the volunteers are busy stuffing and wrapping Bibles. 


Today we also had come in over 200 studies all which needed to be processed in order to send them to the graders and send the next set of lessons. There is plenty of work to be done and I'm thankful for the wonderful volunteers that so willingly come to do the work. 




Even Wayne stopped in today.
What a great day!

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Opportunity To Serve

On Sunday evening a man named Frankie Palermo came to the fellowship hall and gave a talk on his life as in the mob, his father, the mob boss, his incarceration of 18 years in the 2nd toughest prison in America, his conversion and now his preaching in jails and prisons.  The talk really was amazing. Frankie wrote a book called A Trophy of God's Marvelous GRACE and gave each one there a copy of his book. Below are a few pictures of the evening.











We enjoyed the evening.  Today we had a good amount of mail but also a good amount of volunteers to process that mail.









We mailed out almost 60 Bibles and sent 206 studies out. This really is an amazing ministry and all of us volunteers are glad we get the opportunity to serve.