Thursday, August 27, 2015

Banquet Time

Everyone is invited to the Berean Prison Ministry Banquet. This year the banquet will be held at 5 Points, 630 Wilmore Rd., Washington, IL at 6:30 pm on September 11th, 2015 There is plenty of room, plenty of parking, the featured speaker is Tim Goeglein, the meal is delicious and the tickets are FREE but there will be a free will offering taken. If you would like to go to learn more about this important ministry and how it helps change lives,  there are 3 easy ways to reserve your seat or better yet reserve a table for 8. The first way is to call Ellen at (309) 672-0991 OR email Ken Helmuth at and the third way is a bit harder. Print out the flyer below, tear off the bottom and snail mail it in to Berean Prison Ministry PO Box 761 Peoria, IL 61652
 Diane and I had a great work day today at the Berean office. We have had so many chairs donated the room is getting crowded. Check out the video below:
Mark arrived with a pallet load of Bibles and 10 boxes of paper. Thankfully Joan and Marie brought their children in to help. There aren't any child labor laws here yet are there? These kids are strong, willing and able to unload 600 Bibles, wrap them, label them then load them into the car for mailing. So thankful for willing helpers. Roma and Edie provided the pizza for lunch. Well Edie wanted to help provide the pizza but Roma refused the help so Edie offered to bring lunch another day. We were all ready for a lunch break after that back breaking work.
 We had a lot of mail for a Thursday and weren't able to finish before 2:00 pm. I had to leave then but the rest stayed to finish up. Hannah and I loaded Hadassah, Jewel, Whitney, and their foals up to take out to Middle Grove. Those mares were so glad to be back as soon as the halters were removed they took off at a gallop to go find the herd. We got stuck in a lot of traffic on the way back and didn't get home until 4:30 pm. Mom came over for the evening then mom and I went over to Diane's for a bit. Spark came over as I was out taking pictures of the sunset tonight.
He wanted to barn storm ideas on how to get the word out about the banquet. The board sent out flyers and news letters, but we really believe social media is probably the best option. An event was created on the Berean Facebook page. Please if you use Facebook, would you mind sharing it to get the word out? Why we need to do this is the Bible program has exploded. We were spending $20,000 a year on postage and this year $60,000.00. We do not have the funds to keep this up and if this is to continue we must raise the money or shut this program down. Not everyone believes in this ministry, we have heard, "they deserve what they get," but speaking for myself, I'm thankful I don't get what I deserve because of Jesus. I'm going to the banquet and am going to bring with me a basket and a roll of stamps and pray that roll of stamps turns into a basket full.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Get it Together

We have a tough time getting our act together sometimes at Berean. On Tuesday we ran out of first class stamps for the studies and weren't able to finish them. Today we got all the studies stamped and ready to mail out but ran out of Bible stamps. We were 84 short. Ellen is on vacation, Aunt Bernie was called and she is going to go down to TEMCO to see if there are any Bible stamps there and if so I'll run down so our job can be finished for the week. Wish we could get our act together and have enough stamps of both kinds on hand to get the job done each week. Below Diane is working on certificates for the prisoners that have finished all 50 of the lessons. 
 Diane R was the only reader today but that worked out ok, there wasn't that many letters to be read.
 Below Edie and Roma are working on separating the studies from Tuesday while Shirley and Eva Jean take care of a few of the problem studies from Tuesday.
 As Rachel was the youngest worker today she was excused from reading letters so she could label, stamp and carry out the Bibles to Diane's van for mailing. She will not need to go to the gym this week. Actually she probably won't want to, I'm sure her muscles are going to be sore from lifting those 32 pound boxes.
Diane H provided a tasty abundant lunch today for our small group of workers. We feasted! Tim Martin called to report Keystone was going to be sending him to Mexico for 3 weeks. He ordered us 2000 Bibles so we won't run short while he is gone. Hopefully they last until he returns.

Friday, August 14, 2015

397 + 205 = 602

Did our volunteers ever work today. Thankfully there were many hands to help lighten the work load. Below is just a small snippet of some of the action at the office this morning. 
Everyone had a job to do and everyone did their job well. Below they are wrapping Bibles, folding studies, and stamping envelopes.
 Rachel and Marie were joined by Diane H and read all of the letters today.
 Edie and Roma weren't just laughing, they were very busy then when the camera was ready to snap the picture it stopped working which made them burst out laughing. We have such a great time 'working' with each other.
 Notice the white label on Chuck and Eva Jean's chairs? These 2 were smart and labeled their chairs with their names. We use to say if you want a comfortable chair you have to arrive early, well Eva Jean took care of that by applying stickers with names.
 Aubrey and Berlica are the best envelope stampers! They know exactly where the stamp is suppose to go. 
We were finished with everything today by noon and enjoyed sitting around the table laden with the fruits of the earth. Below Megan is getting our lunch prepared and keeping it safe from little hands until after the prayer.
On Tuesday Joan delivered 205 Bibles to the post office but today she took 397 Bibles to the post office. A pallet load of Bibles is 600 so this week we wiped out an entire pallet. Now just for the record last week we were not able to get out as many requests that came in as we ran out of Bibles before the requests could be filled. So the 2 week average coming out of our office is around 425. People ask, "how many Bibles do you send out each month?" but there is really no way for me to tell. I can only keep track of what goes out of our office. 

Thursday, August 13, 2015

A Couple Days Late

This post is just a bit late, below is Tuesday's news. Hopefully we will have an easy day today for today's news.
Eva Jean pulled up on Tuesday, opened her car door and hauled out a brand new office chair with HER name on it. She looked a little sheepish explaining she needed something a little taller without arms. 
Joan brought Mackenson, Faith, Berlica, Aubrey and Ava while Marie brought Matthew, Megan, Justin and Timothy. Wayne brought a pallet of Bibles over with the fork lift and these kids hauled the entire pallet load into the office then with Marie's help stuffed, wrapped, labeled, stamped and loaded hundreds of Bibles into Joan's van. Below they are unloading the pallet.

 Below they got an assembly line going for the wrapping of Bibles. 
 Aubrey and Berlica were put to work stamping envelopes.
 Below not seen is Justin folding, Matthew is stuffing, Justin is wrapping, Ava and Faith are placing them back in the box once they are labeled and stamped. There is a job for everyone.
The kids were having a good time working together. In the other room Joan and I were working on the computers, mom, Kathy and Dave were reading letters, while Jeanette, Jan, Shirley and Eva Jean were opening studies. 

 Jeanette is probably our most enthusiastic volunteer. Each time she opens or finds something special she makes sure to show us. We love her enthusiasm for this prison program.
Chuck arrived a bit late and walked in to a room full of laughter, not just quiet giggles this room was filled with the side ache full scale belly laughter. The roar of laughter coming out of the adult room was even drowning out the noise from the kid's room. And yet the work went on. We had a lot of mail and didn't finish stuffing the studies until after 2:00 pm but thankfully most of the volunteers stayed almost the entire time. 

Sunday, August 9, 2015

To Work or Not

The Berean blog has been neglected these last few weeks. It is always just same old same old so why write anything? Then I ran across this picture posted a couple weeks ago and thought about works. About how the church has been criticized of being works based.
These young people from the Forrest and Fairbury churches were having a good time wrapping Bibles and folding studies for prisoners. They didn't consider this work, they were joyfully visiting, glad to be there, glad to be of service. No one was forced to come, each that showed up were pleased to come and thankful after. So do you think they are trying to work their way into heaven? They want to serve because they are so thankful to the One who saved them, the One who says, "they will know you are mine by your love toward each other" And what about most of the hospitals and nursing homes around the world, homes for the handicapped, food banks all over the world, orphanages all started and run by Christians? Are they too just trying to 'work their way into heaven'? I am struggling this morning with trying to understand why there is such a hatred for the Christian today. Why do people criticize Christians, call them names, accuse them of being bigots and worse? Christians aren't going around with this 'look at me attitude' 'look at what I'm accomplishing for God's kingdom' in fact they don't even consider their service work or even something worthy to be praised. They are just so thankful for salvation that they just want to serve the Lord, their Saviour, their Creator, the King of kings, the Lamb the Lion of Judah, Jesus the Son who left the throne to come here willingly.
So my dilemma is do I continue the Berean Blog? Is this tooting my own horn showing off my good works? Does God care or want me to write what is happening with this program?

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Thousand Hills

We had a very busy but productive day at Berean. Only 1 mailbox of mail but it was stuffed full. Below are a few of our volunteers. Not all are pictured, we got so busy I forgot to take the camera out again.
Above Shirley, Kathy and Dave are reading the many many request letters Jeanette is giving them more to read. Below on the other side of the room Bill, Chuck, Jan, Joyce (not shown), Eva Jean and mom are opening the studies.
Emily and I were on the computer, Megan kept the copier going and helped organize the folding of lessons with Dakota.
We ran out of stamps as we only had about 200 left from last week but Jan was willing to drive in to the Peoria post office which took about 5 minutes but then she had to wait a half hour in line to buy 6 hundred stamps. Sadly even those 6 hundred weren't enough to finish the job today. We had them all entered by noon, broke for lunch then after lunch got them all stamped, separated and stuffed. I'm just so so thankful so many people are willing to help. We had 15 volunteers today and kept everyone busy. Tomorrow I'll have to go in and enter the letters.
The studies to be mailed back out were taken to the Hanna City post office around 1:30 but the office was locked. I didn't realize they close for lunch. The studies were stuffed in the inside mail box but that filled up so the rest were taken to the outside mail box and even that got filled up.
We are short of first class stamps, Bibles and Bible stamps. Not sure exactly where this program is going and not sure how our church can afford to keep it up. Each pallet of Bibles cost more than $4000.00. The stamps yesterday just to get the studies out was $400.00. The postage to mail out a Bible is now $3.72 each. And then remember how much is ONE soul worth in God's eyes. HE owns the cattle on a thousand hills, if HE wants this to continue we will find a way.