Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Dumpster Diving

Today Dave B and Cindy entered Bible requests on the computer while Mary G and Carol R worked on studies while I worked in the other room making copies and filling boxes.
After a couple hours Dave came in to report all of the request had been entered. The printer was checked to see if their were labels in the drawer, the preview was checked and the button that says print clicked. As soon as the printer stopped the clear button was pushed so I could enter one more label but this time when the print button was clicked, 3 pages came out of the printer instead of just one with one name on it. What was worse for some reason 2 pages full of names had merged into one page so it had 2 sets of names and numbers on each label. There was no way to read the names or numbers of the labels. All of the envelopes were removed from the garbage and each name checked. At least I wasn't dumpster diving, just picking through one of our garbage cans and that only had the envelopes and letters from yesterday. If the name was correctly printed on one of the 3 good sheets it was thrown away again but if not it was marked for printing later and by the time the pile had been gone through 40 minutes had passed but all of the Bible labels, that is all 5 sheets of labels were printed and are ready for tomorrow. Now that was just plain weird we have never had something like that happen before and I sure hope it doesn't happen again.
Ellen reported that we have a pretty full box of mail for tomorrow. IF anyone has some free time we could use help opening and processing mail.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

A Word Of Thanks

We had a relatively light day at the Berean office and with all the great helpers were able to finish pretty much everything by noon. Below are a few pictures of the morning work.
 Shelby was put on the computer while Jan, Marie, Glenna, Shirley, Chuck, Eva Jean, Vonnie and mom worked on opening the studies. 

 Marvin, David and Kathy were the readers today.
 These volunteers work together like a well oiled machine. Marie keeps the copier running while organizing the other volunteers and the studies. By the time we had all the labels printed the others had most of the stuffing finished. This meant we could sit and enjoy lunch together.
 Below Kathy is dishing up the dessert, pecan pie and ice cream. 

I don't have an update yet on the banquet but when that information is shared with me it will be shared here. A special thanks to all the young groups that helped serve the meal and the many volunteers it took to put that banquet on. I'm not sure how many tables were set and filled but the room seemed pretty packed. We thank the guests for coming and supporting this important ministry too. THANKS!

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Banquet RESERVATIONS: CALL (309) 672-0991

We had a GREAT day at the Berean office. Eldon delivered a skid load of Bibles, the rest of the studies and Bible requests were processed then a crew got the Bibles all stuffed, wrapped, labeled and loaded and another crew worked on studies and by 11:45 everything was finished.
 Above Edie, Anna, Eva Jean, Roma and Marilyn are getting the Bibles ready for mailing and below Eva Jean and Chuck are working on studies. 

 Above Edie is finishing up the study labels and below Anna, Marilyn and Roma are finishing up wrapping the Bibles. 
We really were blessed this week to be able to survive the hard drive crash. So very thankful for all the volunteers that came to help this week.
Speaking of volunteers we are sure hoping we have a good turn out for the Berean Banquet Saturday. It is just TWO days away and we still have room for guests. If you have never heard of Berean or never come to this annual banquet I HIGHLY recommend attending this one. Not only will you be served a delicious catered meal you will much better informed about why we do this. Feel free to call Ellen   (309) 672-0991  She will be glad to take your reservation.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Yesterday's Work Today

I was pleasantly surprised this morning walking into the Berean office to find it all straightened out and most of the studies processed. Marie must have stayed late to get so much done. She still left plenty for the Wednesday's workers. Dave B, Mary G, Cindy E and I got a lot done easily going through the stacks of studies. We quit at noon leaving a lot of work for the Thursday group. Feel free to show up tomorrow. Lunch will be served as there is a lot of work to do. Bibles will be delivered around 9:00 am and will need to be unloaded and stacked in the office then stuffed and wrapped. There are lots of lessons to separate and fill. We could use extra help and pray volunteers will come.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Philip To the Rescue

I arrived at the Berean office not sure exactly what was going to happen today. The hard drive crashed on the main computer last Thursday. Marvin and Philip were called but I never heard if they got it up and running. The computer was working but we couldn't find the program. Below Marvin is on the phone with Philip who walked him through how to find the program.
 Our last back up was June 25th so we lost 2 months worth of information but thankfully we were still able to enter names and print labels. Marvin showed me how to back up the computer each day but today I had to leave early and Marie finished up on the computer so it probably did not get backed up. Below are busy volunteers opening studies.
 David is switching out chairs for one of those bright pink fancy chairs. He thinks they are way more comfortable. 
  We had a few interesting touching letters today. The letters and notes are really the heart of this program. Once the prisoner starts doing the Bible study they love the comments the graders make and can hardly wait to get their graded study back. A lot of them send very touching thank you letters. One wrote after finishing all 50 lessons and getting his certificate that this was the first time he had ever finished anything.
 Below Marvin is explaining he has enough mail to open. We didn't really think so and kept piling envelopes on his table. By the way in case you think this work is hard and boring, the office is filled with much laughter as we work together. 
 Ken Hoerr arrived to interview some of the volunteers for the Berean banquet. He got to see how the program is run and how many hands it takes to keep it going. We broke for lunch but had to go right back to work. 
We were not able to finish processing the mail and will be working tomorrow at the Berean Office starting at 9:00 am. There is SO much to do tomorrow. A big thank you to all who came today.
NOW for ONE MORE REMINDER: Please don't forget to come to the Berean Banquet Saturday. This is at 5 Points in Washington at 5:30 pm. There is STILL room to come. The banquet is always enjoyable and informative.

Thursday, August 18, 2016


When I arrived at the Berean office this morning the computer had a strange message on the monitor screen that would not go away. The computer was turned off and restarted three times and each time I tried something different but it just wouldn't turn on. No Bible studies could be processed today. Instead we worked on stuffing and wrapping Bibles. Praying the computer will be fixed soon as the mail is sure to start stacking up on us.  Chuck arrived with 4 cases of bottled water from Midwest Food Bank. A big thank you to that organization for supply this office with drinking water. The well here is fine for washing but not for drinking.  Chuck, Eva Jean, Anna, Roma, Edie and I were able to get 9 full boxes stuffed, wrapped, labeled and loaded into the car. Just as we finished up and were getting ready to leave I realized the camera had not been touched and no pictures of the workers. Chuck was already out and in his car when I snapped the picture below:
Funny there were 6 of us working and each has his or her own car. Isn't America great! What an amazing country that not only do we each have a nice car to drive it is EXPECTED that each of us have transportation. The noise level outside was pretty loud, we looked up and birds, hundreds of birds all resting on the power lines all emphatically stating their case.
They were lined up so far that the camera could only capture a fraction of the line-up.
 Each bird was chattering away to his neighbor above, below and either side drowning out the sound of the traffic. Below Anna, Roma and Eva Jean were getting ready to leave. Mom brought in vine ripened tomatoes for the volunteers and these ladies were deciding how many to take home.
 Below Edie is holding the only piece of mail going out today. With the computer not working, no labels could be printed but this one had been finished yesterday. 
 I stopped at Meisters on the way to the post office to ask Philip what he thought was the problem and he said it sounded like the hard drive crashed. Marvin was glad to go look at it and sure enough the hard drive crashed. Unfortunately the last back up was about a month ago. We are going to be in a mess. Speaking of messes, Lynn or Mim if you are reading this we had a problem with the box of studies Chuck got all ready to mail to you. When I arrived at the post office Tuesday the box was not in my car, thinking it must not have been loaded in my car, when I arrived at the Berean office Wednesday I looked for the box but it was not at the office. Marie solved the mystery to where the box was, it had been put in the mail box with all the studies going out to be mailed and there were so many envelopes they completely covered the box so I had no idea it was in there. I ran to the post office today to pay for it but they didn't catch it either and sent it along with all the other outgoing mail. So it may reach you with postage due OR it may go back to Chuck as his was the return address. SO sorry.
Also a big thank you to Mim for the books.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Jace Helps

Jace came to the Berean office today to help grandma. Of course he needed a snack before starting all that hard work of coloring papers.
 Cindy arrived and went right to work entering names of those prisoners requesting a Bible. 
 Carol arrived and started right in on filling the boxes for tomorrow. 
Not to brag or anything but I sure do have good grand children. Jace hardly made a sound the entire time we were working. Except at one point he got off his chair and wandered into the other room. We were all busy and not paying much attention until we hear in his loudest voice, "I'm DONE!" He found the bathroom and all by himself decided to use it but then needed a little help. That got us laughing. We will be stuffing, wrapping and labeling Bibles tomorrow at this office starting at 9:00 am and welcome anyone that wants to come.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Missing Readers

Yesterday we got word that Kathy's dad passed from this earth to heaven. We knew that Kathy and David would be working with her family making arrangements for the funeral leaving the readers a bit short handed. Kathy's family could use prayers, it is always hard to lose a father. We have so many memories of Wilbur, he loved to sing and loved to pick out songs he thought others should sing. One time he brought my dad a song called Excuses and asked us to sing it in Alabama, we also sang that song at the jail, the prisoners laughed along with us as we sang of the many excuses of not going to church.  Mom, Chuck and Marvin were able to get the reading done today.
 We had a surprise volunteer show up today. Cousin Skip (David the 3rd) came and worked. Below Marvin is explaining what he is to do and how to do it.
Megan was put on the computer and we are all impressed with her skills. Why we don't even miss Diane, that is until we need to get supplies ordered. Diane was called today to order more ink for the copy machine. 
 We were missing a few of the regular study processors but Shirley, Jan, Eva Jean and Vonnie were able to keep Megan and I supplied with studies to process just fine. 
 Our lunch break was right at noon, mom got it all prepared and even had some fresh vine ripened tomatoes to serve and share with anyone that wanted some.
 Those first few bites are pretty serious but it doesn't take long for the joking to start. 
The fellowship of kindred spirits in this building is such a blessing to all who come. I can't help but rejoice to see the volunteers all willing to work and hear the happy chatter as the work gets done. These people are more than just volunteers they are all considered friends! The overflow crowd (those not yet adults) ate their meal in the other room. Below Maria is getting them all situated.
 The picture below is just for Emily. As a child she wanted to be the only child on her mom's lap, well Emily Justin seems to have taken your place.
After lunch came the stuffing of envelopes. 
 We had a lot of helpers with this and everything was finished by 1:30 pm.
 Below Mackenson is sealing envelopes.
Today was another fun filled day at the Berean office. If you have time on Tuesdays, Wednesdays or Thursdays, consider coming and volunteering for a few hours. The work is SO rewarding.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Breakfast at Bobs

We had great help today at the Berean office. Chuck brought 2 of his great grand children and they really were great, and Janelle brought a visitor all the way from the Chicago church Alexis, plus we had our usual helpers, Anna, Eva Jean, Roma and Edie. Today we got the Bibles wrapped, labeled and mailed out.
 Since everyone worked so hard we were done within an hour and celebrated by going to Bob Evan's for breakfast. 

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

ThankYOU for the Stamps

Not sure who to thank but tonight when I picked up the mail tubs at church there were ROLLS of stamps. Some kind soul donated hundreds of stamps, enough for Thursday's mail and even some of Tuesday's mail. Thank you THANK YOU to who ever did that. I can promise these stamps will be put to good use. We are holding a stamp drive during the banquet so these rolls will be added to the total donated during that evening.
Don't forget to make your reservation for that banquet by calling Ellen  (309) 672-0991 
We had an easy morning entering letters at the Berean office. Shelby arrived as I was pulling in and before we could even get the computers turned on Carol walked in. Marie and Justin came a bit later. Carol worked on finishing up all the studies we were not able to finish on Tuesday while Shelby typed in addresses on the computer.
 Notice Carol in the far left of the picture. She was stuffing envelopes while Marie worked on our stamps and filled supplies.
 Justin put away the 10,000 business reply envelopes that had been delivered earlier. 
We finished up before noon today. Saturday the young group is coming out to wrap Bibles, fold studies and stamp envelopes. Shelby will be the organizer for that. We sure appreciate all the volunteers that help with this program.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Praying for Prisoners

We weren't able to finish processing the studies today, we had a light crew helping. By looking at the picture below you wouldn't think this is a light crew but we were missing quite a few of our regulars. Thankfully we had 2 new volunteers that came all the way from Prescott AZ.
Today Megan was put to work on the computer since both Joan and Ruth couldn't make it. Megan was fast, probably faster than us regulars! These young kids seem to be born with this talent.
 This group are so good at working together, helping each other with problems.

 Above are our two new volunteers but they probably won't be regulars. The commute from Prescott would be a killer. The two below are a lot of fun, Marvin is usually telling jokes and Chuck puts up with his humor. 
 The readers are the most serious but then again they are doing the work that takes concentration. 
 Notice how blurry Justin is, that kid moves so quickly it is hard to catch him standing still. Marie and her boys Timothy and Justin were getting all the copying done, the garbage collected and the separating of studies done.
 The picture below shows how much we all enjoy working together. 
 Kathy and Dave provided the most welcome lunch today. 
We were glad to take a break and visited a while before heading back to work. We weren't able to finish but came close. We will be working at the Berean office tomorrow morning from 9:00 am to 11:30 am. Feel free to join in the fun.
Just one more thing to remind everyone. We are again holding a stamp drive during the Berean banquet. If you cannot attend the banquet we would still be thrilled to accept your extra stamps. The stamps for this program are a never ending need. The prisoners look so forward to this mail. Please consider giving. A BIG thank you for even considering but if you cannot give please pray for this program. The prisoners ask for prayer and need prayers but SO DO WE!