Sunday, March 29, 2015

A Parent's Perspective

I received a message today from a parent whose son is in prison. She writes:
Thanks much. Our son has a Bible but he is facing a long sentence and he's just not ready for a study yet. Thank you though for all you do.
It's very difficult having a son in prison. Few people understand our feelings.  No one raises their children to be inmates. We are very fortunate to be able to visit often. You look around the visiting room, see the tears, know the ruined families, the emotions and you know that the inmates aren't the only ones in prison. It is heart wrenching to watch these young guys visit with their elderly parents, young children and hear how life continues to move on while theirs is at a standstill.
If there is anything her son needs more than her support it is to learn that Jesus loves him so much he died for him while he was yet a sinner. This is what Berean is all about. The gift of a Bible is a way to give hope to the hopeless. When a prisoner learns what Jesus did for him this sometimes brings a change of heart, not only brings a new heart but new hope.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Wonderful Willing Volunteers

We were blessed today, unbelievably blessed. The plea went out Tuesday about being overwhelmed with mail and today people responded. Our office was filled with wonderful willing volunteers.
 Above is Myrna and Diane reading the letters while Eve Jean works on the studies. Below Maddi, Tiffany and Cooper are stuffing and labeling the Bibles.

 The jail ladies came here today instead of working at the jail. Beth and Myrna volunteer each Thursday at the Peoria county jail but this Thursday they came to give us a hand helping us catch up. Below Beth is working on the studies filling boxes for next Tuesday.
 Below came a check for $20.00 from an inmate along with a letter asking for a couple Bibles.
 Below Tiffany is hauling the boxes of Bibles out to Diane's van while Maddi and Cooper are busy filling the boxes.

 There were boxes, papers and tape flying everywhere today but the productiveness from these helpers was amazing.
 Below is a new volunteer for Berean, this is Janet. She was more than willing to do what ever was asked.
 She and Joyce were put to work in the conference room filling boxes. 
One of the letters that came today was a new request, one that I've never seen requested in a letter in all the 21 years I've been working at this job. The first part of that letter is posted below.
So how does one answer a letter like THAT? Not sure exactly what kind of grill he is thinking of.
We were able to finish by noon. We had 350 Bible request this week and AGAIN ran out of postage by 50 stamps. Aunt Bernie ran down those and by noon we had them all stamped and loaded into Diane's van for the trip to the post office. A big thank you to Rachel Sauder who brought in lunch today for the volunteers.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Letters from Inmates

This morning letters from inmates are being posted. You may have to click on the letter to be able to read it.
Sorry but we just don't have that kind of Bible, his answer was no.

 Below is an envelope decorated by the inmate. 

 The diagram below was sent by the writer of the next 2 below this one. 

 The letter below came written on a hand decorated piece of paper.

We were able to respond with half of his requests, guess which one.

Another Record

Diane drove mom in to Meisters while I drove down to TEMCO to pick up the mail. When Ellen opened the door she said, "you are going to need more than 2 arms for this load."
She was right it took both of us to load it into my car.
 Diane, mom, Eva Jean and Shirley were waiting for me to arrive with the mail. All of us had come in early today and that was a good thing. Below Diane is lining it up getting a quick count before we start to open it. We all believe today's mail is a record for amount of mail in a day!
 We ALL groaned when she reached 700. At that point she quit so we had 700 envelopes today give or take a few. We were pretty thrilled when Lisa dropped off 2 of her boys but still worried about getting done.
 Below is a pile of studies with the labels printed waiting to be put on the envelopes then attached to the studies. Diane decided we needed to put a call in for more help. I posted a couple pleas on Facebook while Diane called the TAG ladies to see if anyone would come to donate a few hours after TAG.
 We were so busy we decided to just have food hauled in. Mark picked up food at Denny's for us. While we were all scarfing that down Joyce, Kathy, and Rhonda arrived to help.
 We put them right to work on studies. Below Joyce is getting the labels on the envelopes and below that Kathy is reading the letters.

 Jenny Schick saw the plea on Facebook and brought 4 helpers down plus herself. 
Below Willow and Irelyn are stamping envelopes and below that Tate is emptying the garbage cans.

 Crew was busy pushing the cart that the garbage was loaded on for Tate. 
 Now before we get turned in for child labor laws, they didn't HAVE to work, they wanted to work.
 The studies were taken into the conference room to separate and stamp. Below the ladies are getting the stamps applied to all of the envelopes.
Rhonda and I finished entering all the Bible requests.
We printed them off and the requests stretched all the way across the room plus up the wall. 
By this time it was well after 3:00 pm, too late to start stuffing, wrapping and labeling the Bibles. We decided we would have to wait until Thursday to work on those. Rachel is gonna be mad, all the boxes are empty, and none of the Bibles are stuffed. We really need more help. Please consider coming for a couple hours. We start at 9:00 am Tuesday and Thursday and try to be finished by 2:00 pm but if that is too long we would be thrilled for even an hour of your labor. There is no one too old and we even have jobs kids don't mind doing (at least for a while).

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Working Hard

We had a very busy day at Berean, Diane estimated 550 letters and studies came in today and all had to be opened and processed. We only had until noon before we lost her but thankfully some of the other volunteers stayed until the bitter end. We mailed out 390 Bibles today. By the time Mark was done loading my car it was stuffed full.
 Above Diane is opening the mail before the rest arrived and below everyone just goes straight to work. Kathy and Dave read the letters while Shirley and Eva Jean open the studies. Emily is at one computer entering the studies while I am at the other computer.
 Rhoda is busy putting labels on the envelopes as soon as Emily and I print them out. This was Rhoda's last day to join us down at Berean. At least for a while. She gets married on Saturday and will be moving to Bloomington, IL.

 Above and Below Jan and Joyce are busy at work opening more of the studies. We had a huge mail day and ran out of space so moved the 2 J ladies in the conference room.
 Below Diane is labeling the Bibles to go out, check out the blur at her hands, they were moving so fast it was hard to get a decent picture.
We were all tired by the time we were done and heading home.