Sunday, November 30, 2014

Older News

The post below was written Tuesday June 4th, 2013 on the horse blog but it fits here better:

Overwhelmed Understaffed

The three of  us volunteers couldn't finish processing the Bible studies today. Eva Jean spent most of the morning opening the mail, Diane worked the computer and I moved Bibles and Bikes. We didn't end up going to lunch until after noon. Most of the letters that come in are simple ones asking for a Bible or to join the study but one letter came in today that had us shaking our heads. I'm going to post some of that letter in his exact words and spelling here just in case someone wants to pray for this man or his celly.
Dear Berean Prison Ministry and Church My name is Albert. I am an African American Christian Man. I am under attack daily by my cell mate James Sanders. The best I can explain his behavor is that Please God, help me to describe Mr. James behavior, Mr. James Sonder is a voiltile Hostile bitter man. He uses Passing Gas constantly as a weapon to harm me and my body.
That wasn't' the only thing Albert was asking for he would also like a one time gift of $50.00 but he promises to pay it back when he is able. On the way to lunch we read the letter to Spark to see what we should do with this request and Spark had the perfect solution. Send his cell mate James a case of Bean-o and a letter to Albert that this is a better solution than money. For some reason I don't think Spark was taking this very seriously. 
 While searching for something else I ran into this and remembered the letter well. It was the first time we  had ever heard of someone using gas as a weapon.
 On July 30th, 2013 this was written: 
Spark came down to our office to show Diane how to work the new duplicator and all was going well until we ran out of masters. Making copies for the Berean Prison Ministry is a huge job. We send out  a set of 50 double sided Bible study lessons to prisons and jails in 48 states in the basic study and have now started an intermediate study. We have over 30,000 prisoners doing the lessons and that grows each week. It is not easy to keep enough studies on hand and when our copier broke almost impossible. One of our volunteers spent her own money, about $150.00 getting a thousand of lesson #1 printed off and a thousand of the letters that explain the study.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Fulton County Jail

Ruth and Fedi volunteer at the Fulton Co Jail, she writes:
Yesterday a woman at the jail told me how much she prays but then said but she had such big sins that She didn't think God would forgive her. I saw her burden lift as she accepted forgiveness. Lots of sad and happy tears. What a message we have to share
Please anyone volunteering at the different jails and prisons we would love some of your amazing stories, share share share!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Paper Clips

Diane, mom, Emily, Rhoda, Sarah and I headed down to Meisters to work on the Berean stuff and were joined by Eva Jean, Shirley and a couple of Lisa's kids. The best part about today was the donation of papers clips that came in. We got 10 boxes of them giving us an extra thousand jumbo paper clips.
We can still use more so if anyone has any laying around please consider donating them to Berean Prison Ministry.  Below Eva Jean is putting them in our box to prepare for the day.
 Sarah, Emily and Rhoda were put to work opening the mail and stuffing envelopes.
 Mom, Shirley and Eva Jean were busy opening and reading the mail. Today Shirley was introduced to the computer work. She is going to be learning the program for when Diane and I are gone.
 Below are a few of the 150 letters that came in today.

 We broke at noon for lunch at Denny's.
 After lunch, Diane, Shirley, Eva Jean, mom and I stayed to finish up labeling the Bibles and stuffing the envelopes. We filled one entire box of studies that will go out in tomorrow's mail. I'm sure Meister's mail man is probably thinking our office sends out a lot of bills, either that or this office single single-handedly keeps the Bartonville post office in the black. 

Thursday, November 20, 2014

293 Bibles Today

We didn't think there was a lot of mail but by the time we were done today Mark helped take almost 300 Bibles to the post office. The count (if we counted correctly) was 293 Bibles. We had some special helpers today. Diane brought in 2 of her grand children to help.
Diane was a slave driver today keeping them hopping. Each time she saw them sitting down on the job she reminded them of all the prisoners waiting for their Bible. Notice all the Bibles ready, Just check the long list of label still to go one.
They got stacks and stacks done. By the time Diane was ready to leave there were finished boxes of Bibles all over the room waiting to be placed in Mark's van.
Diane had to leave at 10:30 am for a dentist appointment but Eva Jean and I worked until noon, broke for lunch at Denny's with Mark, Phil and Spark then went back to work until we finished at 1:30 pm. I was reminded today of the how many prisons and jails our Berean volunteers serve. 
Canton Prison
Dwight Prison
Fort Meyers County Jail
Fulton County Jail
Lincoln Prison
Logan County Jail
Peoria County Jail
Sheridan Prison
Stark County Jail
Statesville Prison
Taylor Missouri County Jail
Woodford County Jail
Berean Prison Ministry has chaplains and volunteers at each of these facilities. There are too may to list where the Bibles and studies are sent. 
We also have local chaplains in Russia and Romania that go into prisons and minister to the prisoners and the poor. 
We ask for prayers most of all but I'm also putting a plea out for paper clips and tape. If anyone would like to donate these we need them for the studies. 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Jail Ladies

Taryn is one of the many  Berean Prison Ministry volunteers who volunteers at the Tazewell County jail. She posted this on her Facebook page:
They become like friends, excited to see me and pouring out their hearts about how God is changing their life. Tonight, the 7 of them handed me stacks of finished bible studies that they completed in a mere 3 days and anxiously waited as I supplied each with more. "We all do the bible studies together, and the COs call us the God Squad," they told me, "but in all seriousness, they are more than just something to keep us busy. We actually love learning about what's in the Bible and where the different chapters are, and always talk about it together and ask each other questions." On Sunday, we talked about how everything happens for a reason, and tonight we talked about how our true purpose in life starts with God, not ourselves. "I'm saved, but I'm still ghetto," one of the girls told me. This is why I love my ladies at the jail-- it's authentic, it's real life, and it's all about Jesus meeting us where we are and changing our hearts. A shout out and thank you to anyone who helps grade bible studies for Berean Prison Ministry.... You are appreciated more than you know!

Thanks Taryn sometimes the grading is just so overwhelming. We have over 30,000 inmates taking the study. Not all of them are from the Peoria and Tazewell county jails. That was sarcasm! The Bible study program is now in 48 states plus Russia and Romania.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Mail Call

Diane was a little late getting the mail but we had so many good workers today we STILL got done. Below Diane is bringing it in. Can you imagine how many pieces of mail fit in those 2 boxes. A LOT!
While we were waiting for the mail to come we were all busy folding lessons for stuffing later.
 Above is Emily and Below is Eva Jean

 We are always short of paper clips, if anyone has any to donate we would LOVE to have some larger ones. Above is a few of the containers paper clips come back to us in.  Below are 2 of Lisa's boys. Every Tuesday and Thursday we get 2 to 3 of her kids who are willing to donate time and muscles for this ministry.
 Below we have the entire crew working on reading letters and opening mail. The amount of mail today was pretty overwhelming.
 We took a break for lunch and drove to Denny's Emily was willing to help  our waitress by passing out the menus. We had a pretty full table.

 The food at Denny's is good and when it is served looks just like the pictures on the menus. Below Tammy our waitress every week is taking good care of us. She really is the best waitress anywhere.

After lunch Emily and I drove to the Peoria County Jail where a lot of the Berean work happens. Rhonda let us into the Chaplain's office. 

 Above Barb and Jan are getting ready to fill request. Each person there has a job to do and they work together like a well oiled machine.

 There were a couple inmates busy removing staples on the table below right next to the sign about removing stables.
 May was busy in the counseling office but stopped long enough for a quick picture.
 Rhonda was busy filling bags
 She took us into the storage unit and we put Emily at work too. They have boxes of shampoo, lotion, tooth paste, deodorant, soap, and other hygiene items inmates can request.
 The boxes in some places were stacked all the way to the ceiling. 
After they let us out of the jail I still needed to head back to the shop to finish entering the letters and studies. We had 400 studies come in today and well over 200 request letters. Below are a few of the 200 that came in today.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Flying Flurries

The snow flurries were flying outside our office windows this morning as we were working on the Berean mail. We had more mail Thursday than Tuesday and not even half the helpers. Below Diane is sitting on one side of the piles while Eva Jean is sitting on the other side both opening as fast as possible hoping to meet in the middle

 When there are less workers it seems we go into overdrive scrambling to get as much done as possible. Thankfully Lisa brought Maddie and Dillon to help. They know their job and jump right into working. Papers, envelopes and labels were flying through the office like the flurries flying outside.
By the time the morning was gone we had all the mail opened, processed, stuffed, and mailed. Mark was kind enough to come with us to unload the many boxes of Bibles that were going to the individual prisoners. This week we had just over 150 of them. There were some touching letters that came in. This post card came in from a prisoner saying: "Just moments ago I witnessed a fellow inmate receiving one of your beautiful KJV Bibles. The man was brought to tears! I was awestruck! We were both bathed in the Lord's glory.  I humbly ask that I may also receive copy. Thank you for your time and consideration."

Tuesday, November 11, 2014


On this 11th day of the 11th month we had an amazing 11 volunteers today show up at Meisters to work on Berean Prison Ministry. Diane was easily able to keep all 11 of us busy. Below are a couple pictures of our production lines today.
The studies were all processed then stuffed and put in the office mail box. The letters all read, entered with the labels printed out then placed on the Bibles.
The Bibles were all loaded into Diane's van for the trip to the post office. We drove to the post office on the way to lunch only to remember it is closed as today is Veterans day. None of us remembered it would be closed even though we commented on how we did not get today's mail because the post office was closed. I was hoping to get to the jail for pictures of the Tuesday Jail ladies but that will need to wait until next week.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Unexpected Results

The ink did not come in to print off more stamps by Wednesday so Ellen called Diane to tell her we would not be able to get the Bibles out on Thursday. Diane and I decided to let all of the usual volunteers know we would not be coming in. Then Thursday morning Diane remembered she needed to make 5000 copies for the next Bible wrapping before the Goodfield and Roanoke young group got together so we did go down. On the way in I stopped at the jail to get a few pictures of the Thursday Jail ladies. Below is the entrance we use at the Peoria County Jail
Beth was at the door waiting to smuggle me in. 
Beth stopped at the main viewing office to introduce Linda, one of the bosses of the jail. I'm not sure she would consider herself a boss but anyone in charge of that many monitors must be important. 
 She walked me down a long hallway and when we came to the first window I shocked to see who was locked up. Well maybe Marilyn wasn't exactly locked up, more like locked in.
 However she wasn't the only one in that small cramped cell. Darlene was busy preparing Bibles for the inmates. I'm not sure they trust Darlene, they had her stuffed back in a corner of the cell.
 While Marilyn got a desk in the front part. OK perhaps Diane and I should never complain about being crowded again after seeing the chaplain's office at the Peoria County Jail.
 Every available flat surface was in use. Even the shelves were packed.
On the way back out of the jail we checked out the storage room. Thanks Beth for the tour, hopefully on Tuesday the Tuesday Jail ladies will be as accommodating.
Diane drove down to TEMCO for the mail and there was a good amount, mostly letters. We were working hard when Aunt Bernie called to report the ink came in and she was busy printing our stamps off. Did we want them today? Diane stopped what she was doing and drove back to TEMCO and this time had the camera with her. Below are Ellen and Aunt Bernie. Ellen is the assistant treasurer of Berean while Aunt Bernie, besides being an aunt is one of our very valuable volunteers. It was our dad, Paul Meister and her husband, Ed Meister other wise known as Uncle Ed that started Berean Prison Ministry.
 When we found out we were going to be able to mail the Bibles out, Diane called Lisa to see if she could borrow a few of her kids and we got 3 really good ones. We love those kids they are so willing to do what ever is asked and have strong muscles!
Our office looks like a tornado went through by the time the Bibles are all labeled, stamped and boxed up. Diane always spends a few minutes at the end of the day to sweep up. I'm not sure that is a wise use of time but for some reason she does.
Below are a few of the hundreds of letters that came in today. This first one had us laughing pretty hard and yes we did send him another Bible. Read the letter and see why it made us laugh.
Did you get that part of does not need it! The note below came from one of the graders. This inmate had an idea of how to improve the course.
 The letter below was just a nice thank you letter.
We ended up at Tyrone's for lunch. Mike and Diane hauled the Bibles to the post office. We got out 220 today.