Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Prayer's Requested

We had another busy day at Berean but thankfully had new volunteers. Gary and Marie showed up with their family. We were only missing Dave and Kathy.  Dave called to tell us that Kathy was in the hospital in a lot of pain and was requesting prayers. Please please if you are reading this stop now and pray for Kathy. If the doctors are not able to help here in Peoria they will be driving to Springfield for surgery tomorrow. Kathy is the most kind person I know. We always ask her to answer some of the harder letters to prisoners as she does this so gently and sweetly.
Mom and Marie ended up reading all the letters but there were so many they couldn't finish this morning and had to work into the afternoon.
Below Marie is interpreting a Spanish letter while Gary, Megan and Chuck open the studies.
Below mom and Shirley are reading letters while Eva Jean opens studies and Joan enters the studies on the computer.
 We had piles of mail, today 2 of those big white mailboxes were full and somehow got the studies all processed.
 Joan had the kids working in the conference room stuffing boxes and stamping envelopes.
 Thankfully Shelby and Terren arrived to help keep the kid room working smoothly so Joan could work in the other room on the computer.

We took a break once the studies were all entered and labeled and went to lunch at Denny's we wanted to tell the waitress, Tammy, that tomorrow Berean moves and we probably wouldn't be back on Tuesdays or Thursdays. I'm not sure if she will miss us or be glad to see us go but we thought it only fair to go one more time to explain why we weren't going to show up anymore. Besides that we were hungry, it was well after noon.
When we got back the studies were separated, stuffed and mailed out. We were not able to process any of the letters but needed to quit. There were horses and dogs to care for.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Found It!

Moving Moving Moving. Berean has been praying for a place to process the studies and Bibles more convenient for the volunteers and larger than we are using now. Scroll down to see how prayer works.
We had another productive day at Berean Prison Ministry. Eva Jean and Shirley beat me down at the shop and were all ready for work when I arrived with a big full basket full of mail.
 Kathy, Dave and Dakota walked in next with brownies for our dessert today.
 Joyce and Jan walked in then Emily, mom and Joan were the next three to arrive. 
 We don't care they were a little late, we are just so glad for the help that even if there is only a couple hours donated we are thrilled for the man power. Emily could only stay a couple hours but had to sneak a meat ball out of Eva Jean's crock pot before leaving. Eva Jean made the lunch today and the smell had the entire office staff of Meister's drooling.
 Tim Martin arrived with the Bibles as promised but more than Bibles he brought 3 of his sons to help unload them.
 The guys formed a chain and within minutes all 600 wrapped Bibles were unloaded and stacked for ready for our Thursday group. Oh how thankful we are that our Goodfield Bible distribution is back on board with stuffing and wrapping Bibles.

 We broke for lunch after the last of the studies were entered. We couldn't hold off any longer the delicious odor floating around the room was making our stomachs growl.
After lunch we finished processing the studies, stuffed the new envelopes and mailed them out. That work went quick with everyone stuffing and stamping as fast as possible. After everyone left I stayed until 3:00 processing the letters but only finished through the Hs.
Spark left to check out Wayne and Lukie Unsicker's barn. They are offering it to Berean for the Bible distribution. He checked it out then called to say it will work! It has plenty of parking, a fork lift for getting the Bibles off the trucks, heat and air conditioning, a bathroom and best of all a kitchen. Now we just need to pick a moving day.

Friday, June 12, 2015

17 Volunteers Get out Over 500 Bibles

Amazing but 17 people showed up today to help with the Bible program. Even though we were crammed into the room we are so glad for the help everyone that came was more than welcome. Just about every available work space was put in use. Below are a few pictures of the morning with our wonderful volunteers. In the picture below Cheryl and the kids are putting the labels on the 20 boxes of Bibles Joan's group wrapped on Tuesday.
 Tiffany brought Lisa's horde of kids along with one of her own to help get the Bibles out. Rachel's friend Cheryl came for the first time and if we are blessed will come again. Our usual helpers from Thursday also came..Eva Jean, Roma, Diane R, Edie, Diane H,  Chuck and even Sarah came down to help.

 Above they are getting the paper work ready to stuff in the Bibles and below they are busy stuffing, wrapping and labeling more Bibles. We didn't keep track today of exactly how many went out but by the time they had them all loaded in Mark's van it was stuffed pretty full. When Mark and Spark took them to the post office they were pretty sure they unloaded 43 or 44 boxes so we know it was over 500 Bibles that went out this week.
With so many hard workers we had everything done by noon just in time for lunch.

 The best news for us was that Tim Martin called, the Roanoke and Goodfield young groups are back wrapping and he has 600 Bibles all wrapped and ready to bring down for Tuesday. So so thankful to have that help. I must say these last 3 weeks without their help was difficult.
Our number 1 prayer request this week is for new and willing graders. We have another request we have been praying about but not sure it is appropriate. We need a bigger work space. Do you think that is too much to ask? I was reminded that Our God knows our needs before we ask, but this is such a big request that I am embarrassed to write it here.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Swamped Again

A lot of volunteers showed up today for the prison work which was a good thing, we were swamped and could never have finished without the many hands working hard. We had 2 full tubs of mail today. Below Emily is entering on the computer in the far left next to Eva Jean who is opening mail along with Shirley, mom, Kathy, David, and Dakota all on the right side of the room all busy reading or opening the mail. At the other table Megan, Jan and Joyce are hard at work processing the studies.

 Joan took all the kids in the conference room to wrap Bibles and this group was able to finish 20 boxes.  They had to start from scratch folding the studies first before stuffing, wrapping and labeling.
 I am so proud of these willing workers. Can you imagine giving up a hot summer day when it could be spent floating around on a lake and instead they gave up most of the day to work inside for prisoners.  We broke for lunch at noon. Below Joan is getting the food line ready.
I did not load the studies in the car. No more can be taken to church for grading, Peoria church is overwhelmed. I'm sending a plea out for new graders. Is there any groups that would like to help out? It isn't hard, there are answer keys available and the prisoners would be most grateful to get their studies back in decent time. The wait time right now for grading is probably more than 2 weeks. The stamps are already on the envelopes so once the study is graded it can just be put in the mail. This is a great service project for young groups, sewing clubs, potlucks or Sunday school classes. Please consider helping out. We would be MOST grateful!

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Over 700

We had another record, it wasn't the amount of envelopes to open this time, nope it was the amount of Bibles sent out in one week. We had such a great crew working at Berean Prison Ministry that over 700 Bibles were sent out to prisoners this week alone. Each Bible was stuffed with a letter explaining the study, the first 4 lessons in the study and a postage paid business return envelope. If the prisoner does the first 4 lessons and mail them back to us we send them the next 4 then try to find graders for the first 4. I say try as we have probably more than a thousand studies waiting to be graded. Please please if you would like to donate some time to help a prisoner learn consider grading. We have answer keys, the studies already have been stamped so once they are graded they can be dropped in the mail. Today our crew were wonderful workers. Below Rachel and Diane are reading letters while Diane, Roma and Edie are putting the prisoner's name and address on each of the Bibles.
 These are the Bibles our Tuesday volunteers worked so hard to get ready. Eva Jean forgot her brace today so when the camera came out she quick hid her arm behind some envelopes. We would have known she was hiding something by that smile on her face. Someone has to spill the beans to her daughters.
 Rachel opened an honest letter today. 
  When Lisa arrived with a van load of willing workers, Rachel gave up her reading job in the big room to organize them on filling boxes. These kids worked wonderfully together.
 Roma, Edie and Chuck worked on stuffing and wrapping Bibles the entire time.
 Below is Rachel's crew of willing workers. When Peggy walked in with Jayden we were actually shocked. We thought we worked Jayden so hard last week there was no way she would come back. Well not only did she come back she brought a friend.
 Jarvis was a great help on stuffing the Bibles before Chuck would wrap them. Oh how we miss Goodfield and Roanoke young groups about now. Praying we can get them back on schedule soon.
 When the last Bible was loaded into Mark's van we broke for lunch. Today we had taco salad for lunch. We were all hungry after lifting and processing that many Bibles. What an amazing week we had for Berean.
On Tuesday we processed so many lessons we could hardly carry them into church last night then Wednesday getting out 312 Bibles and today mailing out  411 Bibles for a grand total of 723. If each prisoner that receives the Bible does the study and mails that back we are going to be overwhelmed.
What are YOU doing next Tuesday or Thursday? If YOU have a free day and would want to help please please come. There is a job for waiting for YOU! We would love to have you come.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Wonderful Willing Volunteers

The mail box this morning was stuffed so full it was heavy bringing it into our office. Eva Jean arrived bearing a gift, a moist delicious cake for our dessert today.
 Spark came in to ask a few questions and was put to work carrying in water which Shirley brought.
 We are very grateful for water to quench our dry thirsty throats that dry out from visiting during our busy day. One good thing about too small of a room is that it makes it easy to visit with each other from one side of the room to the other.
 Joan had her children and grand children working in the conference room getting the letters and 1 through 4 of the studies along with a business return envelope ready to go into each of the Bibles we send out.
 Below Berlica is busy stamping the return address on 500 envelopes, a perfect job for her.
 They had a wonderful system in place and were able to get almost 500 ready for the Bibles.
 Below Mackenson is placing them with the envelope before stuffing it in a box.
 Hannah is in charge of this room and does well keeping the work flowing. Sarah walked in then asked the question, "isn't there any child labor laws around here?"
 Kathy and Dave arrived with their grandson Dakota to help.
 Below Joan is lining Dakota out, Sarah and Chuck are opening the studies, mom is reading letters, David is organizing his work and out of the camera view Kathy, Shirley and Eva Jean are opening mail.
 When Joyce and Jan arrived they took over Sarah's job and she was given the job of stuffing Bibles. David S called, he was released from jury duty so joined us and was put to work on labeling the Bibles mom and Sarah were stuffing and wrapping.
 Below Dakota is hard at work filling boxes.
 Sarah is placing the stuffed Bible in a sleeve.
 Kristin arrived around 10:00 am to help read letters.
 Below is a short video of everyone hard at work in these 2 rooms. What isn't recorded are David S and Dakota who were taking the wrapped Bibles from mom and Sarah and getting the labels on each one. They were working in the hallway as we ran out of room in the office and conference room.
Around noon Sarah drove up to Kroger to pick lunch up for everyone. She set the food out on the table Dave O had the prayer and everyone dove in for some sustenance. 
By 1:00 pm we had all the studies processed, all the letters read, the new studies stuffed, labeled and stamped ready for mailing. When the last envelope was stuffed we all broke out in applause!