Thursday, January 28, 2016

No Bibles

The Bibles didn't come in this week. Pray they arrive soon, we have over 500 prisoners waiting to receive one. We had work at the Berean office just not near as much work as we would have had if the Bibles would have arrived. The worst part about the entire day was RYAN was here to help with his muscles. If only if only those Bibles would have arrived while he was here.
I'm not complaining he was put to work on copying the lessons and labeling the studies but what a waste when he could have been lugging those 32 pound boxes off a truck, into a van, off the van, and up on the loading dock. Oh well we will just have to pray he comes back when they arrive.
Anna, Edie, Eva Jean and Roma also worked on studies while Diane R and Tiffany read letters. Diane got all the certificates out then worked on entering.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Piles of Mail

Eva Jean was the first to arrive this morning and quickly sat down in front of one of the piles of mail that came today. We were expecting a light group today, one of our usual volunteers had surgery last week and will be out for a few more weeks, a few more went to TAG (that was excellent and I was sorry to have missed that) a few more are out of the state traveling to warmer weather, and some had to work at a real job. We were very grateful to all who came to help.
 For a few hours poor Kathy was the only reader. She didn't think she was going to be able to finish.
 Chuck, Shirley, Eva Jean and Vonnie were put to work on studies but then Shirley felt bad for Kathy and started reading letters leaving just 3 people to work on the studies.
 Mom arrived after TAG was over and went right to work also helping Kathy read.
 We quit at noon to break bread together. Actually no bread was broken, mom brought the lunch today and it was just delicious. She served glazed ham, fresh steamed broccoli, salad, chips and fresh baked brownies.
 Marie arrived with her boys and joined in the fun at lunch then helped finish entering all the studies and printed labels.
 Below Justin is checking out the desserts.
 The meal was colorful and delicious.
 Below are are discussing the strategy for the afternoon. Just trying to figure out the most efficient way to get the work done before too late, Eva Jean was sure we would finish up by midnight.
Everyone went right to work and by 3:00 pm the last envelope was stuffed. So so thankful these wonderful volunteers were all willing to work this hard and stay overtime. Of course the pay scale around here doesn't factor in overtime, we say the pay is out of this world and the rewards are heavenly.

Thursday, January 21, 2016


We were surprised at how much mail came today but what was interesting was every piece of mail was in one of our postage paid business reply envelopes. On Tuesday we had more letters than studies come in, today some letters were included with the studies but hundreds of studies. Unfortunately we were short of Bibles and only able to get out about half of the requests that came in this week. Tiffany, Anni, Rachel and Ryan stuffed, wrapped, labeled and loaded all of those into Diane's van. Marie and Justin were here getting studies for folding. They take home these home for folding to help keep us supplied with enough prepared studies for mailing each week.
 We were short about 200 Bibles, hopefully those 200 will be mailed next week if the Bibles get here in time. Once the last one was loaded Ryan, Anni and Rachel came in the other room and joined the group opening studies. Tiffany joined Diane R reading letters.

We finally just quit around noon, enjoyed lunch then went right back to work and was able to stuff the last envelope at 2:00 pm. Diane and I are very very thankful for these dedicated hard working volunteers. We have a couple praises to report. Marie knew of someone heading out to Rittman, OH and took the last FULL box of studies to be graded for the Ohio churches but don't worry Peoria after today we have 2 more FULL boxes to bring on Sunday. There are enough studies to be graded to keep everyone supplied and this program just keeps growing.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

More Request Letters than Studies

We had more letters today than studies and that happened because of the holiday yesterday. We notice a drop in studies from prisons and jails before and after each holiday. We weren't sure why until Marvin started volunteering at the Berean office.  He reported the jails and prisons go on light schedule so more than likely the mail won't be delivered to the prisoners in a timely matter.
We were busy today but finished with the studies and reading the letters by noon then sat down together for lunch.

We are now out of Bibles at the shop and will be completely out of Bibles on Thursday once today's mail gets processed. Tim Martin ordered another 2000 last week to send over, sure hope they get here soon. 

Monday, January 18, 2016

Prayer Request

We have a prayer request. David Obgerfel is having cataract surgery tomorrow. He needs his eyes, we need his eyes, David is a letter reader for Berean Prison Ministry. Each week he and his wife Kathy read hundreds of letters and answer those that need something special. Please pray that the surgery would be successful and healing could be pain free and quick.
Diane had a surprise today. A lady named Debbie Rupp from Rittman, OH called to say she had been grading Bible studies from Berean Prison Ministry and has been giving them out to other people to grade. If we could get them to her she would take 500 of them. She said it has been such a blessing to all who are grading. Amazing how this study program is such a blessing to graders AND prisoners. 
Another request and this is for any of the AC churches in the area, if anyone gives greetings from Rittman, Smithville, Akron, or Mansfield, Debbie requested that we send studies back with them. There are graders in Ohio willing to grade and hundreds of studies that need grading!

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Another 480 On the Way

We knew today would be an exhausting day labor wise at the Berean office. We had some of our usual hard working volunteers come and they all got right to work on opening mail. Below Diane R is showing Diane H some hand drawn art on one of the letters
 We are amazed at the talent so many of the prisoners have. I guess it helps they have the time to draw. Check out the cute puppies below.
Below Tiffany is hard at work reading the letters. 
 Chuck, Anna, Eva Jean and Roma were put in charge of opening and processing the studies today.
 Eldon from Meister's brought the skid load of Bibles over about 10:30 am. Diane, Rachel, and I formed a chain to help Eldon unload. Rachel and Tiffany went to work immediately stuffing and wrapping. As soon as the studies were finished the rest of the group came in to help.
 We were able to finish just shortly after noon and enjoyed breaking bread together. Honestly it was such a relief to get this week done. I left the office early to meet Ryan and Steven at the Bartonville post office to unload the Bibles. So so thankful for willing nephews. By this time the artificial joint was causing some trouble and bending was pretty uncomfortable. Young men are much more bendable than old ladies.
By the time the day was over we had 480 Bibles on their way to prisoners all over America.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Quarterly Newsletter

While talking to JoAnne Sunday night she reminded me about the Berean Newsletter. Please click on the link at the bottom of this post to read it, it is interesting and tells much more about this ministry than what happens with the study program.
The blowing and drifting snow caused a few problems at the Berean office today. The parking lot had been plowed but the snow coming off the field built a big drift right in front of the entrance. Eva Jean was the victim and ended up just leaving her car for later. That was a good thing to do, each and every other volunteer that came were warned by seeing her car stuck in a drift to use the other entrance. When Marvin arrived he was sure he could get the car out of the drift and did.
The rest of us went right to work on opening letters and studies. Roanoke church is going to help with grading this batch of studies. We figured out we could send a box home with Ruth and Fedi's daughter Rebekah who comes each week to their place and she will be glad to take them to the church and recruit graders.  Check out the smiles in the picture below. Even though there is a lot of work we have such a good time working together it doesn't seem like work.
 We were missing a few of our regulars but had enough to get the job done by 2:00 pm today.
 Marvin brought in the paper below. He opened a letter December 31st, 2016 that had this written. He printed it exactly as it was written. Of course the man who wrote this is in prison so we are assuming it changed his life after the conviction. Or maybe he turned himself in.. we don't really know anything about his case.
 In the other room Megan, Justin, Timothy and Marie were working on getting Bibles labeled and ready for mailing.
 We only had 3 readers today, Shirley, mom and Marvin. They were not able to finish as we were swamped with letters. Tomorrow I'll finish those and start entering them. We will need to get another load of Bibles delivered for Thursday so today's requests can be filled.
 Once Marie was back from taking Megan to school she helped enter the studies for processing.
 One of the volunteers opened the letter below, it was so touching I felt this letter MUST be shared.
This letter just proves how important the graders are to the prisoners doing this study. Sometimes this is the only mail they get. This program is just a small part of Berean Prison Ministries. There are volunteers going into the jails and prisons counseling, preaching, speaking, distributing Bibles, books, hygiene products and just letting the prisoners know some one cares. Berean publishes a quarterly newsletter. I HIGHLY recommend taking the time to read it, just click HERE.

Friday, January 8, 2016


This is just a thank you post, no it is a HUGE THANK YOU POST to all of you who gave during our matching event. We had someone offer to match all donations up to $30,000.00 by Dec 31st, 2015 and we are so very pleased to ANNOUNCE that amount was almost reached. I don't have the exact number but heard this morning it was very very close to the $30,000 meaning Berean now has close to $60,000.00 for postage and supplies. For this ministry the AC church has been providing the Bibles and will refund Berean half the postage spent, but the amount we were spending to get these Bibles and studies out to prisoners all over the United States and the supplies needed to do this was more than we could afford. We asked and God's Children responded. THANK YOU!

Thursday, January 7, 2016

The Number is 540

Well by the time today was over this Berean office filled 540 requests. We still need to take care of Galveston Jail and the jail at Sherman, TX but those will be UPS'd out on Tuesday.
Eldon from Meister Electric showed up with a pallet of Bibles around 9:00 am this morning. Once they were unloaded the volunteers were put to work stuffing, wrapping, labeling, stamping and hauling.
 I was so thankful for every one of them. Vonnie, Rachel, Roma, Chuck, Eva Jean, Diane R, Anna, Ryan, Logan and Steven.

 Above Diane R is reading the letters and below Logan and Steven are handing the boxes of Bibles that are ready to be mailed to Ryan who was inside the van stacking the boxes. Having strong guys to do the heavy lifting was such a blessing.

 The entire pallet of Bibles were wrapped by noon. 
Ryan and Logan went with me to unload the Bibles at the Bartonville post office. The rest of the volunteers stayed to finish the studies which Rachel took to the Hanna City post office. Thankfully we survived another week and it was only because of all the good help that came in an extra day this week. If it wasn't for working on Wednesday we would not have be able to finish. A BIG BIG THANKYOU TO ALL THE VOLUNTEERS FOR THIS WEEK!

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Unexpected Much WELCOMED Help!

What a surprise today, expecting maybe 4 volunteers we were blessed and overjoyed with 10. We had 2 new workers come today. Leona came today, Leona is the quilting lady at the church, she is in charge of keeping all of those quilters and knotters busy. I found out today Leona also takes all of the Peoria County jumpsuits the prisoners wear that need mending and mends them. All along we thought a bunch of ladies were doing this task and then to find out Leona single-handedly has been doing the mending. We were honored by her presence today.
 Above these volunteers are separating the envelopes from the studies and below Roma, Leona, Shirley and mom are stuffing and sealing envelopes, Glenna was also here to work, just not pictured in these pictures. 
 Eva Jean was working in the other room filling and sealing envelopes while Marvin worked on typing in Bible labels. 

 Skip, our other new volunteer (to this office, Skip is actually on the board at Berean) was put to work making the certificates for those that had finished all 50 lessons of the Basic Bible Study. 
Below Roma, Leona, Glenna and Eva Jean are folding studies for the next set. 
 All of the ladies needed to leave by noon today. Marvin and Skip stayed to try to finish the Bible requests. Gail, Marvin's wife told me at church tonight he didn't get home until 5:00 pm and wasn't able to finish.
Mark, mom and I arrived at church tonight with 3 full tubs of studies to be graded. Mark K and Rebekah K walked in right after us and each grabbed a tub. These joined the 3 FULL tubs from last week. HELP!!! We NEED HELP grading these studies.

Peoria is maxed out, these studies are coming in faster than we can possible grade them. ANY church WILLING? They are not hard to grade, in fact we would be glad to give out the answer keys. The postage is already on so as soon as they are graded they can be mailed out. PLEASE please consider helping with this. The prisoners love the feedback and anxiously wait for to see how they did. Sometimes this is the only mail they receive. If you know of a potluck group, sewing club, young group, retirement homes that are looking for a service project we would be thrilled. If you cannot will you please pray for this program?

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

2016 Starts with HUGE Mail Day

I was a little bit shocked at the mail this morning. Knowing that the group worked on Thursday I thought we would have a normal mail day but check out what Lila helped bring in.
 Lila and Bruce separated the studies from the letters placing all the letters on the other table. When each person arrived they would look at the tables and exclaim, "No!" Below Eva Jean walked in and was saying over and over, "No, No, we are not going to get done before midnight."
She was actually right, we did not get done today. Check out that pile of mail to be opened in the picture below. Thankfully we had a lot of good working volunteers, they sat down and started slitting each envelope open with those handy dandy openers Cheryl donated from Akron Services.
 Marvin arrived with a few questions but by the time he left we had a few more questions. Marvin is one of the readers and he also grades all of the 49 and 50s that come in each week. One of the prisoners he writes to sent in $3.00 today. Marvin wrote to him last month and told him of all the thousands of envelopes that come in each week he had opened his and saw the check. The prisoner explained he works in the prison receiving $30.00 a month and the $3.00 check was his tithe money.
 Jeanette came in a bit later and her reaction was about the same as the rest of us. "Oh MY!"
 Below they are making some headway on the piles of mail. We are really wondering exactly how long we will be able to keep this up. This program is exploding!
 In the picture below are the 4 readers of the day, Lila, Marvin, David and Kathy. Marie was assigned the computer and busy entering the studies.
We decided there was just too much to do and started cleaning up the room by 2:45 pm. Marie was gathering up the huge amounts of garbage from the envelopes. 
 Chuck was in the other room with Timothy and Justin trying to get the studies ready for stuffing when Marvin L came in to help. This was late afternoon and we were all pretty tired.
When we told Marvin and Chuck we were quitting for the day the smiles came out big time. 
 The piles were left neatly on the table. Thankfully some of this crew plus a couple extra are coming in tomorrow to help finish what we couldn't finish today. If anyone has a couple free hours tomorrow morning and would like to come help us stuff envelopes we could sure use the help. Many hands really do make light work. We will be at the Berean office at 9:00 am and hope to be out of there before noon.