We had a good morning at the Berean office today. One of the letters though was pretty funny. We actually burst out laughing when Marvin was reading it to us. The prisoner was doing the studies and sent a message that he had enough money to do the studies but wanted us to send him the answers. Just for the record, we don’t charge anything for this study and always send a self addressed stamped envelope for the prisoner. Below are a few pictures of our morning.
Bill is holding up a very large snake skin. This wasn’t found at the Berean office.
I actually brought it in to play a prank on Robin but she didn’t come in today. I had it coiled up on her copy machine. Bill went right to work on the computer.
We had plenty of help and were able to get everything accomplished before noon.
We took extra long at lunch going over some ideas for the Berean Banquet that will be held in September.
I had to leave early from the Berean office so really pushed it to get all the computer work done. Thankfully Mark K came in to help with that part. We had plenty of great volunteers and I was able to get home by 11:30 am. The other workers all stayed to finish up.
I’m very thankful for everyone that comes to help. We got a lot done before 11:00 am.
We had a wonderful group of volunteers today and got everything done before noon. This gave us a chance to have a nice visit over lunch. I’m sure thankful for everything that happens in this place. Marvin has an alarm set on his phone that goes off every Tuesday morning at 9:30 so we remember to pray only today that didn’t happen but mom’s phone went off right at 9:30, Robin came in for the prayer and the rest of us were mystified why she was in this room. She told us, “I heard the alarm and none of you others paid any attention to it.” Only then did we realize it was 9:30 and Marvin’s alarm did not go off. Each Tuesday we pray not just for the program but every prisoner this reaches and the volunteers that make it happen. I’m so glad mom’s phone went off at just the right time. Below are a few pictures of the morning.
This office really is a blessing and not just to the prisoners that request Bibles and do the Bible studies. It is also a blessing for those of us who get the privileged of volunteering here. If anyone is looking for a place to serve others, you may just want to join us on Tuesday morning at 9:00 am.
We had another good day at the Berean office. Mark brought his grand daughter to help this morning and that wasn’t all, he also brought a yummy dessert from Cathy, his wife. We REALLY enjoyed that. We had plenty of helpers and enough work for all of them. Below are a few pictures of the morning.
We seem to have the best volunteers around. They show up all ready to work and even before the mail arrives they have found work to do while waiting. Today the mail needed to be picked up in Peoria so was a little late arriving. By the time I got it there there were 3 people all stuffing and wrapping Bibles. It didn’t take long for the rest to come and everyone started working on the mail.
When Bill arrived, he and Marvin went over some of the problems we have been having.
One of the problems is the Bible returns. One prison in Pennsylvania is rejecting the Bibles as they put the cover isn’t soft enough. The Bibles are in a cardboard sleeve and are soft cover but the prison didn’t open them to see, they just rejected them all and we had to pay postage to get the Bible back. That means we paid around $7.00 just to mail the Bible and then get it back when it was rejected. Bill tried to call and left a message for the chaplain’s office. The second call he tried to get to the mail room to explain that the Bibles were NOT hard cover and shouldn’t be rejected but that call didn’t go through either. Hopefully we can get this resolved by sending the Bibles to the resident chaplain and having him deliver them.
As soon as the studies are processed they are taken into the other room for stuffing.
We were able to finish everything by 11:20 this morning and enjoyed a leisurely lunch together. I’m very thankful for those who come ready and willing to serve.
Marvin brought in a special treat for the Berean volunteers today. His wife Gale made a rhubarb dessert that was absolutely scrumptious. Before we could try it out though we got the work done for the day. Marie came in today with Timothy and they brought garden lettuce from her garden to share. They went right to work putting in a few hours before needing to leave.
Shirley and Glenna are at one table applying labels while Shirley, mom and Vonnie are opening the mail.
Bill came in to work but as one looks at the pictures below one would wonder exactly how much work was being done.
He was actually telling us about some of the successes of the program and one of the letters was kind of funny. The camera just happened to catch the moment when we were all laughing. Mark worked on the computers until the studies were all processed then joined Marvin in reading letters. Marvin had a message to call someone. When he made the call he came in to tell us what it was all about.
This ended up being a mother of a prisoner he worked with for years. She found the phone number to Berean and asked Ellen to have Marvin call. She really appreciated how much Marvin did for her son and just wanted to thank him. When it finally came time for lunch Gail’s dessert was the centerpiece of the table. It really tasted amazing with a mix of tart and sweet. The ice cream was put on top of the rhubarb bars then the sauce was poured over the ice cream.
We wanted to start with a prayer and have in the past but usually get so busy we forget. Marvin is now setting his alarm to go off at 9:30 am for that reason. The work just goes so much better when we ask for His blessing and His help to do HIS work. Marvin came in early this morning to work on our computers.
We are always glad to see Bill, he is a true leader for the ministry. He makes the coffee and serves it but more than that he deals with the post office, he talks to chaplains directly about the ministry, opens doors to prisons and jails and saves thousands of dollars in postage by working with the chaplains direct. Below he is making the coffee for our lunch break. Shirley, Chuck and Jeanette are busy filling the studies.
Vonnie organized all the studies while mom and Chuck stuffed envelopes
This was Shirley’s second week and today she was a pro.
We had a good morning, quit for a leisurely lunch around 11:15 am. I’m thankful for all who come to volunteer at this office.
We didn’t have a lot of mail today, but that was a good thing as we didn’t have a lot of volunteers.
We had a new volunteer come in and we were thrilled to welcome her. Glenna and Vonnie were happy to give Shirley instructions.
We asked the other Shirley to help David read as Marvin was at the jail for the baptisms. Jeanette came in a bit later and also helped with the reading of the letters.
Today the Peoria County Jail had 7 baptisms. Bill, Spark, Skip, and Marvin were there to witness these. Marvin arrived here just before lunch and was able to tell us all about them. What a privilege it is to be a part of this ministry and to experience just a small bit of the harvest.
The letter below was mailed to us at Berean Prison Ministry and I would like to share it here. This is a letter asking for prayer but also thanks those helping with this ministry. Dear B.P.M, I wanted to write a personal letter to you to share my life. On the17th of this month, this year I tried to commit suicide here in prison. I struggle with myself about my past and often at times wonder who I am. (No I’m not crazy) I just feel lost. I claim to be a believer but yet I do the type of things I don’t understand. I’m hungry for God, for His Word but its as if I ‘m holding on to something. I argue with this voice in my head that tries to steer me away from God, it often wins out and I don’t know what to do. I was placed on suicide observation being that I attempted to do so all my property was taken from me. I just now got the privilege of mail and pen and paper back. Yours was the first piece I received. I eagerly done the courses. They help me realize that someone does care. I don’t have my Bible, but there was a piece of an Gideon one in my cell. I think it’s NKS, not sure but I”m doing the best I can. God knows I need help, I want help and I’m confused about me. I need you all to pray for me. I’m going to ask for prayers. I know the Word tells us that Prayer makes thinks happen, esp. when there of the righteous. I want you to know I do appreciate all that you do for people like me. God will reward you!
Pray for him, his signature isn’t legible so I don’t know his name but God DOES! God knows exactly who he is and what he needs.
We had a good amount of mail and plenty of helpers to get that mail processed. Below are a few pictures from today.
We had quite a bit of mail today with over a 100 letters and 96 of those were requesting Bibles. Some of the letters were touching some were sad and some were pretty amazing. One man had been put in solitary and was determined to commit suicide. When his mail was delivered, his lessons had arrived. He didn’t have his Bible with him but found some sections of a Bible from the Gideon’s in the cell and he credits those Bible sections with saving his life. We had a good group of volunteers today and were able to get everything done including the mailing of those 96 Bibles. Mom, Marvin, Kathy and Jan were our readers today. Kathy came in early as she had to leave early so when Jan arrived she was put right to work in Kathy’s chair.
Chuck was put to work with the labels.
Shirley is always in charge of the intermediate studies and there were lots of those today.
Below Marvin and Jeanette are working on some of the problem studies. We had one study come in today with no return name or address on the envelope and only a last name on the 4 pages of his study. It took some time to figure out where to send the graded one and his next 4 lessons but we did figure it out.
Robin kept everyone busy in the other room with filling the studies.
We were able to finish before noon and enjoyed a leisurely lunch before heading home.
We had a very light mail day today but still found plenty to do at the Berean office. Kathy and Marvin were the 2 readers. Glenna and Ray opened the mail. Chuck and Jeanette applied labels. Then once that was all done Robin put Chuck and Ray to work on wrapping Bibles.
We easily got done by 11:00 am and had a leisurely lunch. It was actually nice not to be in a hurry. Thankful for an easy day.
We had a pretty amazing day at the Berean office. It started with Marvin opening the mail and finding this:
In case you can’t read the letter it says: Thank You so much for sending a large print Bible when I was in prison. I still have the Bible but in all the movements I lost a lot of pages. The Shepherd’s Psalm 23 is my favorite.
ps I serve the Lord because He first loved me!
Not too much later Marvin opened another letter with a $3.00 check from a prisoner from Taylorville, IL. He wanted to pay his tithe to Berean.
These two letters weren’t the only amazing things happening. We also got a letter from a prisoner who stated he was going to commit suicide after he was put in prison but instead he found the Lord. BUT…that too isn’t the other amazing thing that happened. For the last amazing part of the day you will need to read to the end of this post. We had a good group come today. Our readers were Dave and Marvin. Our newly weds Shirley and Ray almost always show up AND sit together but that doesn’t keep them from working. Vonnie and Glenna both know exactly what to do and go right to work as soon as they arrive.
Bill is our servant director. He will take the time to make coffee and serve it to the other volunteers as he is receiving and making calls to prisons. Bill is always finding cheaper and better ways to get the Bibles to the prisoners and saves Berean thousands of dollars of postage.
Marvin and Jeanette are siblings. Jeanette has a heart of gold and Marvin thinks she may be just a little too gullible. We wouldn’t have her any other way. She loves grading lesson’s 17-20 and today she took all of those home after we finished our work today.
See all of those boxes on the table in the picture below? Robin brought those back from her house today. She spent hours of her time at home this week folding all of those lessons and putting a self addressed stamped envelope with each group of 4 lessons so they would be ready to send to the prisoners this week.
Mom was able to come help today and because of her help we got lunch on time. Mom is so good at making sure the lunch is ready to be served as we finish up. Below she was applying labels to envelopes while Shirley works on the intermediate studies.
Now for the most amazing thing that happened today. Last week Robin opened our last package of the sleeves we place the Bibles in for mailing. Diane was sent a text that we would need more mailing sleeves. The sleeves came in yesterday but the post office told Diane they were too heavy to deliver and they would need to be picked up. The post office doesn’t open until 9:00 am here in Hanna City and I needed to be at the Berean office by 9:00 am as the volunteers arrive then. I was hoping we had enough sleeves to finish today’s mailing but had no idea how many sleeves were left nor how many Bible requests would come in today. Robin counted the sleeves and announced we only had 67 sleeves for today’s requests. By the time we finished entering the requests and printed the labels out there were exactly 67! Everyone that requested a Bible this week was sent a Bible today. Now THAT is AMAZING!
Today at the Berean office we actually had more request letters than Bible studies come in.
Kathy and Marvin were trying to get the letters all read by lunch time but were falling behind until Jeanette came in to help.
Ray, Vonnie, Joyce and Janet had to get the studies processed and did that job without any other help.
Below is just some of the mail.
Robin worked in the other room getting the Bibles ready for mailing. She had every Bible in the place wrapped and ready for labels but was short exactly a case. We had 140 request come in and only 120 Bibles. Bill is going to grab more cases so these last can get out quickly.
We broke for lunch then finished the Bible request after lunch while Marvin and Bill were working on the certificates and a few other problems. We had a couple interesting letters come on, one from a Muslim man that thought we should all convert to ‘his religion, as Islam is the religion of peace”, basically he wrote that this country is terrible. What is kind of ironic about that letter is he was writing it from prison. Such a shame to be so deceived. Jesus said LOVE your enemies, not cut off their heads or blow up the innocent. He didn’t ask for a Bible but we probably should have sent him one any way.
We had a full tub of mail today to process and thankfully had a big group of volunteers come in to help process it. Robin and Bill went right to work making copies which were very needed. The computer below is used to send the correct study to the printer and almost as if by magic the copies start printing.
Shirley and Vonnie were kept busy opening the plethora of mail.
Joyce and Jan also helped open the mail.
Marvin and Chuck were put to work applying labels to envelopes as soon as the labels were printed.
The new studies were stuffed for mailing in the other room.
Kathy is reading letters, Jeanette is applying labels. Not pictured was Bruce who was working on the back table with the postage machine. The USPS raised the price on first class mail making a lot of extra work for Bruce who runs the machine on Tuesdays.
Leila was the other reader today. Between Leila and Kathy they had all the letters read by noon.
Kathy worked through lunch as there were so many letters to answer. I had 90 Bible labels printed but then ran out of time and had to leave around 1:00 pm. I know Robin stayed late to keep printing labels and also offered to get the Bibles stuffed, wrapped, stamped, labeled and ready for mailing. I’m not sure how long she stayed but thankful that job got done.
We had a smaller group again today at the Berean office as we are still missing some snowbirds. We can’t blame those snowbirds for flying away from our awful weather right now. Today we had freezing rain which was falling on top of a foot of frozen snow and making the roads a nightmare by afternoon. We were glad for each person that did make it. Chuck and Bruce were the only study openers but these two knew exactly what to do and got the job done.
Bill walked in with a visitor all the way from Mexico. Denver happens to be married to Bill’s daughter Katy and they are up here for a wedding.
Denver was put right to work with Marvin.
When Marvin needed to work on certificates Leila was willing to show Denver the job of figuring out where the returned Bibles came from and why they were returned. These need to be entered back into the computer as returned.
Below Robin is using the computer to tell the printer to print out the next set of lessons. She kept the new printer working the entire time and made hundreds of copies today. As the copies were being printed she also organized the stuffing, wrapping and labeling Bibles along with filling the next set of lessons for each prisoner.
We were able to break around 11:30 for lunch. We had another good productive day and I am thankful to all who came to spend it here volunteering their time.
The snow birds flew south and we were short handed today but we sure can’t blame them. Bill Schick sent a text out to all the volunteers that the roads were salted but please be careful of the icy sidewalks. A text came back from one of our usual volunteers that there was NO ice in Florida. We have another storm predicted this weekend with extreme cold of below zero temperatures will be here for at least the next two weeks so we really can’t blame those going south. Perhaps we should ALL move south. We have over a foot of snow on the ground that is not going to melt any time soon. We still were able to get everything done today but that was because of the good help we had come and the fact that it was a light mail day. The camera wasn’t taken out until we finally broke for lunch. Kathy, Chuck, Marvin, Robin, Rhoda (my mom) Bill and me were glad for the chance to sit, visit and enjoy a meal together.
The box on the left is the box of studies going to church after all the special groups got theirs and the boxes on the right is going to the post office. Those two bigger boxes are filled with Bible requests and the envelope boxes are filled with studies to be mailed.
Bill and Robin were also able to get hundreds of studies printed off with our new printer today. Keeping enough studies on hand for what we need to send out and what the jails and prisons need is an almost never ending job and we are thankful for a working printer.
We were swamped today after taking the last 2 Tuesday off as Christmas landed on a Tuesday and so did Jan 1st. We were only able to get the Bible studies processed today even though we worked way past lunch time.
Around 2:00 pm Dave looked out the window and realized something pretty bad must have happened as the authorities had shut down Randnor road. Vonnie decided as long as she was stuck there she may as well keep working.
We found out later that a lady was on the interstate talking on her phone, crossed the median, her car jumped Radnor road and she ended up on the other side alive but injured. We finished the studies and got the requests all entered into the computer but will need to come back on Thursday to get the Bibles stuffed, wrapped, labeled and mailed. If anyone is interested in helping out with that I will be there around 9:00 am and hope to be done by 10:00 am. We have 140 Bibles to process. A big thankyou to the crew today that had to work overtime.
With Christmas and Jan 1 both landing on a Tuesday today was our last day of work at the Berean office until 2019. We had a busy day for our last day of work filling around 83 Bible requests and processing almost 200 studies. We had a good group come for our last work day of the year. Below are the volunteers who labored together today.
We enjoyed a leisurely lunch before closing up the office. We are very thankful for everyone that volunteers with this program. There are so many that labor without any of us knowing how much they do from the graders to the ones that visit the jails and prisons, each volunteer is needed and so appreciated! THANK YOU and MERRY CHRISTMAS from all of us working at this office to all of you who volunteer in other areas of this ministry!
Our Tuesday mornings are usually pretty much the same, the same work and a lot of the same volunteers and what is amazing is that there is enough work to keep everyone busy. We had almost 170 studies come in today and 62 Bible requests. What was unusual today was where those requests came from. We had a request from a few different prisons and jails we have never sent Bibles to before and request for a Bible from a prisoner in a jail in Alaska. For some reason one doesn’t think there is much crime in Alaska. We were pretty thrilled today that Ray came back this week. He went right to work this week knowing exactly what to do.
Bruce and Chuck also got right to work opening the studies.
Leila and Kathy were readers today.
Dave was also a reader but when Lance showed up to work on the copy machine, he and Bill went out to talk to Lance.
We got some bad news on the copy machine that was donated from an Alzheimer unit. Dave was telling us that was why the machine forgot how to run. Lance told Bill and Dave it is completely worn out and not worth spending the money to fix it. That puts us right back where we were a month or so ago really needing a working copy machine. We are not inclined to take in any more donated machines. This one weighs over 400 pounds and was really hard for Bill to get it here. His son even smashed one of his fingers while trying to help move it. Lance is recommending we switch to a laser printer. He feels they are fast and cheap. The only problem with that is the cost of the ink. We always say, “This is God’s ministry, if He wants it to continue we will find a way.”
If we were to vote on which volunteer is the must enthusiastic, pretty much everyone would vote for Jeanette. She is always thrilled to be helping.
Robin keeps everything organized in the other room.
Below she has everyone stuffing studies of the next set of 4 for each prisoner that returned a study.
Once the stuffing was done the group below is stamping envelopes while waiting for me to finish printing out the Bible request for the week.
Once the requests are all filled and the studies all stuffed complete with the next 4 lessons, Bill loads everything in his car to take down to the post office. At that point we can clean off the table and serve lunch. We had a special lunch today. Robin brought in all kinds of Christmas goodies which we put on the table to pass around after eating but Dave took one look at all those delicious looking desserts and exclaimed, “what a good lunch!” We all had to laugh.
We had such a good crew come in today at the Berean office. We had a brand new volunteer come. Shirley brought her new husband Ray.
He was put right to work opening the studies with Shirley showing him the ropes.
Jan and Joyce also came in today but they were working when I was working so no pictures of them. Benj and Karl were also back for their volunteer day and we were thrilled to have them. Marvin put Benj to work on the computer to see if we could get that working any faster.
As soon as the studies were done we went to work wrapping Bibles in both rooms. The program is growing again with more Bible requests coming in each week.
We were glad for our lunch break today. Bill’s wife Joan made her special potato soup and everyone enjoyed that treat.
When I left Marvin and Benj had gone back to work on the computers. I’m not sure how long they worked but it is wonderful having them take care of the little problems that show up each week. Today was a very productive day and a special thank you to all who came to help and a special thank you to Joan for lunch.
We had a funny morning at the Berean office today. It started with the door. The key would not go into the keyhole. Water had gotten into the lock from the storm and froze. The door knob needed to be heated up by hands and breath until the ice melted. Then the computer program we used would not open. The program was rebooted up twice and then the computer itself shut down and restarted and still it would not work. Marvin was able to use the back up from last week to get it started. Robin arrived to make copies except the copy machine was out of ink. Bruce was in charge of the postage machine and that too kept declaring it was out of ink. At least that worked. We had one of the studies come in with no name, no number, no address on any of the 4 studies and the envelope was accidentally thrown away. Shirley and Vonnie went through each envelope until they found 3 possibles. Of those 3 only 1 was on that study so we sent it to that prisoner although we have no idea if it really was this person’s study. All of this took extra time. I grabbed my camera to take a few pictures, was snapping away at them, looked down and saw the notice that there was no card in the camera. The phone was used for the 3 pictures below.
We had almost 100 Bible request this week and over 200 studies so there was a lot to get done. We didn’t finish until just after noon. Went to dish out the soup and the crock pot had been accidentally turned off. The soup was just warm not hot. At that point just about everyone in the office burst out laughing. That last little irritation brought out the humor of the entire morning. I’m thankful we can laugh at small irritations and very thankful for each and every volunteer that came in this cold snowy day. It really means a lot that each and every prisoner who requested a Bible this week will get a Bible and each prisoner that returned a study will have that study graded, sent back and sent the next 4 lessons thanks to these amazing volunteers. Bill stayed until the last person left as the parking lot was snow covered with ice underneath. He wanted to make sure everyone one safe as they left the office.
We had a larger amount of mail than we have been getting today and I thought we were going to be short handed but instead we were pleasantly surprised to find 2 new volunteers today. Karl and Benj arrived. They both work at Caterpillar and Caterpillar gives their employees a morning off to do charity work. Karl was put right to work opening the mail. Notice he is moving 3 of the piles over to Shirley. He wasn’t giving Shirley more work he was just making room to open the pile he had.
This is actually Benj’s second time here so today we had him read letters.
Chuck and Marvin were put to work at the back table applying labels to envelopes while mom, Shirley, Karl, Joyce, Vonnie and Glenna opened the studies.
As soon as all the studies were opened the group went into the other room where Vonnie lined everyone out stuffing the next study into an envelope.
Mom and Shirley were left in the computer room as they were processing the intermediate studies and we don’t allow those to leave the room. We don’t want them mixed up with the basic studies. Shirley knows how to process them correctly and mom was helping her.
The next job was to wrap Bibles and today we had 60 Bible requests.
One funny request happened. On a lot of the request letters the hand writing is hard to read. I was struggling with one of them trying to figure out the last name. The first name was obviously John but it looked like John’s last name was Jones but I just wasn’t sure. I opened the letter and saw John May. He had no number and I gave that one to Marvin telling him. I can’t send this man a Bible, his last name doesn’t match what is on the envelope. Marvin looked at the letter and started laughing. The May was him asking if he may have a Bible. We were done by noon and enjoyed lunch while visiting with each other. We kept Karl and Benj so busy they both agreed to come back at least 1 more time this year.
I never got the blog posted from last Tuesday and that must be included here as we had a special treat. Kathy and Dave provided the lunch. Kathy made all kinds of goodies to go with the fresh baked hot pizza. Everyone that stayed for lunch raved over her peach blueberry dessert.
We had a decent mail day and ended up sending out quite a few Bibles. Below Kathy, Dave and Marvin are working on the request letters.
Below Chuck is working on labeling the Bibles going out while Shirley (behind Chuck is working on stuffing the intermediate studies and Vonnie and Glenna are stuffing and sealing the basic studies.
Robin kept everyone busy.
The next few pictures were taken today Nov 13th. We had a small mail day as yesterday the post office was closed for the Veterans Day holiday. We only had 31 Bible requests. Marvin and Chuck are labeling the Bibles going out today while Glenna, Vonnie and Shirley work on stuffing and sealing studies.
Kathy finished her work in the other room writing letters, and came in to help with the Bibles.
We were done well before noon today and had plenty of time to visit with each other while eating lunch. This work is well worth doing and actually doesn’t seem like work at all when it can be done with so many willing wonderful volunteers.
Bill Schick got the new (to us) copy machine to the Berean office and got it up and running. He actually FIXED it himself and it RUNS. The other part of this story is that first he called a ‘real’ repair man and that man told him it couldn’t be repaired. Well Bill is from Mexico where of course things can be repaired. He found the problem and fixed it.
Robin kept that machine running all morning trying to catch up from the last 2 weeks. We had another light mail day but that gave us time to get other important things done this week. Below the mail is getting opened.
We were missing some of our usual readers so Joyce and Jan were asked to fill in that spot. Below Shirley and Mom are explaining to Joyce that this job not that hard and she will be fine.
Jan is reading a letter to Kathy.
Bill arrived with some supplies. We found out we were completely out of sleeves, the sleeves that we put the Bibles in. Diane was called and more are now ordered.
Below are the 4 readers of the day. Leila, Joyce, Jan and Kathy.
Below the ladies are stamping envelopes. There always seems to be plenty to keep everyone busy at this office and we are thrilled with how many volunteers show up to help.
Lots to be thankful for today but the BIG thing to be thankful for was a working copier.
We had a light mail day today. Believe it or not it is because of Columbus Day holiday. When we have a holiday that falls on a Monday, it doesn’t hit 6 days later, it hits the next week. Even though it was a light day we had plenty to do.
We ran out of Bibles but Bill told us where to find them, Chuck drove to Hoerr’s met Johnny Hoerr, got Bibles and brought them back to the Berean office for wrapping.
By the time everything was done it was almost noon. We enjoyed a nice meal and plenty of fellowship together. Bill was heading down to Springfield, IL with a group of Romanians who were here to learn about the prison ministry. He called to report that he was able to get a copy machine donated to Berean. It wasn’t working but he was able to get it up and working. It is a big heavy machine and he still needs to get transport for it but hopefully it will be here next Tuesday. That is another answered prayer.
A few weeks ago at this office we were struggling with the postage machine and Robin asked if I would tell the Roanoke church that we needed stamps. My response was, “no we should just pray for stamps.” This morning on the walk Ruth came with a bag full of stamps, over 3000 of them. When I walked in the Berean office Robin was already hard at work. When I showed her the stamps she could hardly believe her eyes.
What a blessing, not just for the stamps but such a dramatic answer to prayer. A BIG BIG thank you to who ever donated stamps for this program. We hate to make a prisoner wait for his study or graders wait to grade because of not having the postage. We also ran out of Bibles last week, Bill walked in with the report the Bibles we use went on sale AGAIN and he ordered 5000 of them. Another answer to prayer. It is hard not to smile when working here. We have another prayer request, our copier, the one that shoots out 130 copies a minute, the one that works like a mimeograph machine has officially died. It has served us well for many many years and spit out millions (literately) of copies. This is a very needed piece of equipment. It has been the cheapest way to make copies but also by far the fastest way. We must have something fast because of the thousands of copies that need to be made each week. We ask for prayers that the right machine could be found and that we can afford it. We had a good group of volunteers today helping. Everyone willingly went right to work at what ever needed doing.
I’m always amazed at how much work gets done at this office and gets done joyfully.
We had a really good day at the Berean office. We were so glad to welcome back David from his long hospital stay.
Vonnie brought a guest today. Her grand daughter came in to say hello to all of us old folks. Bill brought the mail today. He stayed to work on the copy machine which is not working.
We had a lot of mail but also a lot of visiting to do while the mail was opened.
It was such a joy to be working with these amazing volunteers.
Below Robin had everyone busy stuffing envelopes.
It was a lot of work but many hands made it seem light and the time just flew by.
The Bible requests were entered and we were able to get them all out today. Mark brought in a laptop so he and Marvin worked on getting that to work with our other two. Sure am thankful for these to men who keep the computers running properly.
Please pray that we can either get our copy machine fixed or replaced. We will run out of studies soon. That machine puts out over 100 copies a minute and we go through hundreds of copies each day. Today we mailed out over 400 envelopes stuffed with 4 studies and a postage paid envelope. That was over 1600 sheets of paper and each and every piece of paper had a study printed on BOTH sides. We will be taking OVER 400 studies to church for grading tomorrow evening so if anyone WANTS to grade there is now an abundance needing to be graded.
We had a special day at the Berean office but best of all was Kathy and Marvin were both back. We did not expect Kathy back as we knew David was still in the hospital and were all shocked when she walked in the door. She told us David is getting out of the hospital this afternoon so she grabbed these few hours and came to help us out. Marvin got back from his 2 week vacation in Gulf Shores.
When Marvin goes on vacation he doesn’t really just lay around, he spent time removing the glass shower doors from the tubs in the condo he was staying replacing those with shower curtains. The owner asked him to do it and he did it.
We had 88 requests for Bibles today and around 250 studies. Below the owner of the building, Wayne came in to check on things.
Mark also came so we were very efficient on entering the studies and Bible requests
Marie came today bringing gifts.
A huge container of tomatoes. Robin took most of them to can for the winter.
Robin kept everyone busy stuffing studies while the Bible requests were entered.
We had a special surprise today. Stephanie, Israel and Elisabet brought lunch for everyone.
It was DELICIOUS!
After lunch Israel helped sweep up the floor.
He was fascinated with the little carpet sweeper.
Elisabet helped pull out the replacement garbage bags.
She was happy to help.
It is always a special day when the grand children come to help out at this office. A big thank you to Stephanie and all the other wonderful volunteers that helped out today.
The Berean Banquet was held tonight and what a night it was. Rhonda sent a few pictures. Below is a picture of the table before it got all messed up with food. I think Pam and Myrna did all the center pieces.
The band playing while we ate was really good called Rivers of Life Band which was made up of all pastors of the Methodists church.
Ken Helmuth gave an update on Berean activities around the world. One man was honored for volunteering 40 years at the Peoria County Jail. After that came the testimony of Jon Watts who was only 17 years old when he was placed in the Tazewell county jail for possessing drugs, domestic abuse and assaulting an officer. He was placed in lockdown and someone gave him a Bible. Today he is a youth pastor and loves the Lord.
Sparky introduced Dr. Lew Sterrett, the main speaker and when Dr. Lew spoke we all listened.
He told about a horse he trained that slammed against the fence time after time. Only later did he find out that this horse had never been able to be contained in a fence. Dr. Lew spoke a lot of fences and how they are there actually for our freedom. I sure hope someone recorded his talk, it is really worth listening to again.
It was an amazing evening and one I’m very glad not to have missed.
The Berean banquet is THIS Thursday and it starts at 6:00 pm at 5 Points Washington. We are very pleased that the horse trainer/ minister Dr Lew Sterrett will be speaking.
We didn’t even think to discuss the banquet this morning. We were short handed with Marvin on vacation and Dave still in the hospital and Kathy staying with him. Thankful Mark made it back from his many mission trips to help out on the computer.
We had some problems with the postage machine today which also set us back as we had a lot of mail to process and stamp. Bill arrived and was able to get it going.
Chuck, Vonnie, Shirley, Joyce and Glenna went right to work opening the studies while mom and Leila read letters.
Marvin came in with a big box full of greeting cards Jan donated for the jail. Mark goes to the jail every Sunday and offered to take them.
When Jeanette arrived she was put to work helping Robin wrap Bibles.
Wayne, the owner of the building came in today to make sure all was well. We are always glad to see him.
I wasn’t sure what to do about lunch as yesterday I was too busy to go shopping or prepare anything. I planned on stopping at Sam’s club to buy us all something for lunch but last night Robin sent a text that Sam’s club had a fire and the store would be closed for maybe a month. Mom offered to drive to Walmart and pick up rotisserie chicken, salad, fruit, rolls and a caramel apple pie for dessert. We took a break and all really enjoyed that. Everything was so delicious, OR we were so hungry from working overtime. After lunch the Bibles were labeled and loaded into Bill’s car. We had 124 Bible request this week and almost 300 studies come in. Peoria church has too many studies to grade so when Roanoke called to ask for some we were glad to send them all the studies this week. Every time we have a need we are blessed with someone stepping up to fill that need even without us asking. THANK YOU!
Well 3 days late isn’t too terrible. I had fallen behind with work so the Berean blog wasn’t updated on Tuesday so even though today is Friday this is Tuesday’s news. We had a large amount of mail again. It really is nice to see the program growing. Many many letters come in thanking the Berean Prison Ministry for the Bibles and studies. It takes many volunteers to get the letters read, the studies processed, the Bibles here, wrapped and mailed out and most of all the hundreds of people that give their time to grade the studies. Prisoners LOVE getting mail and look so forward to seeing how they do on their lesson. We had a one letter come back with a study that had been graded and NOTHING was written on it, not a well done, not a single mark. This was so disappointing to the prisoner that he wrote about it AND sent his lesson back to show us. Please please people if you are grading the lessons the prisoner would really appreciate remarks on how they are doing. Some of these prisoners are lifers and don’t have much to look forward to except their mail and some prisoners tell us this is the ONLY mail they receive. Tuesday we had a very good group of volunteers. Marvin started out reading letters but when the others started arriving he was put to work on the computer.
The other Marvin was put to work opening the studies. We so much enjoy Marvin’s smile. He also asks us riddles as we are working.
Below mom and Chuck are opening the studies and putting them in order.
Kathy and David are our main readers. David went into the hospital on Wednesday and they put him in intensive care. We ask for prayers for him. He is such a big part of this ministry. He not only reads for us but he is on the Berean board.
Jeanette enjoys grading and loves to read the comments from the prisoner. If we were to vote she would be voted ‘most enthusiastic!’
Once the letters were read and all the studies processed they all moved into the other room to start stuffing and wrapping the Bibles that were to be mailed out on Tuesday. We were running a little low on Bibles so were pleased that by the time we were finished entering all the names of the prisoner wanting a Bible we had enough for all that had requested this week plus just THREE extra. That was cutting it a little close. Hopefully we can get a skid load here by next Tuesday.
Bill Schick arrived to help today. Bill is the director of Berean and we are thankful when he comes to help. He comes each week to collect all the lessons and Bibles to be mailed out then takes them to the post office but sometimes he arrives after we have left the office.
Below mom is preparing the lunch. She is always willing to do what ever is needed and of course lunch is ALWAYS needed.
We had a good day and I am thankful for all the help.
We have Pastor Zsolt in America right now. Pastor Zsolt opened a church for the Gypsy people in Romania and the Gypsies embraced the gospel with their entire tribe. Pastor Zsolt will be speaking at the Peoria AC Fellowship Hall THIS Friday August 24th, 2018 at 6:00 pm. ALL are invited. If you have ever wondered why Berean sends people over to Romania, Pastor Zsolt will explain the saving of souls and the amazing transformation the Gypsies have made since they have been exposed to the Good News of Jesus Christ.
We would love to have you, please come!
6:00pm Friday Aug 24th, 2018 Peoria AC Fellowship Hall 7405 W. Route 150 Edwards, IL 61528
Our mail was late today and everyone got to take advantage of empty tables and no work.
Well that isn’t quite true, Marvin and I worked on the certificates from last week and we had a whole crew in the other room working on folding studies and stamping envelopes. Ellen is out of town for a wedding and when Bill went down to the post office, they said he wasn’t approved to pick up the Berean mail. He showed them his card, told them he was the director and is there every week dropping off Bibles and studies AND he had the box key. Bureaucracy! When he walked into the office we all erupted into cheers.
Then went right to work to process it all. We had some computer problems and some mail problems which were time consuming. Today we were not able to finish until around 2:00 pm. We had 120 Bible requests and over 200 studies to mail out. We took a lunch break then went right back to work. Sure was thankful for the good help today and thrilled we were able to get it all done even starting late.
As I wasn’t here last week it could have been a very hard day but the volunteers came anyway last week and worked until close to 4:00 pm getting everything done. A special thanks to Marvin and Robin. Marvin worked on the computer until late afternoon on Tuesday then Robin came in again on Wednesday and got the Bibles all ready to be mailed by herself. All of that work meant this week instead of doing 2 weeks worth of mail we ONLY had to do this week. We had a really good group of volunteers today and everyone just went right to work.
Mom made the lunch today and it was really delicious.
We were finished with everything except the certificates. Hopefully those can be done next week. Marvin is gone this week and I’m not sure I can remember how to do them. It was another good day.
Berean is growing again. We got back a LOT of the first set of studies which means that pretty much everyone asking for a Bible is also doing the Bible study. We needed another pallet of Bibles and Jacob brought them first thing. Below David and Jake have just finished unloading the pallet and were talking about the warehouse issues.
We had a lot of studies come in, below Jan and Chuck are working on one table while Shirley and mom work on the other opening the studies.
Robin was in the other room stuffing and wrapping the Bibles.
Jeanette and David were our only readers today, although Shirley also reads when a letter comes with a study.
Mom is more than willing to help out where ever she is needed. Below she is working on opening the studies. She also corrects problems which is what she is doing with the pen. Her big issue is when the prisoner folds each study individually. She wants them all folded together. It makes it much easier and saves a lot of time for the opener. Now just so the prisoner knows she isn’t mad, she always includes a happy face.
Marie came in with a lot of fresh produce from her garden. Marie also helps out where ever and when ever she is needed.
Marie usually brings help with her. Timothy, her youngest came this day to help out. He will be getting his cast off soon.
Below Robin is showing Jan how to run postage, always an important job. Bruce usually does this job but wasn’t here Tuesday.
Once the Bible labels were printed the volunteers formed a chain with someone adding the return address label, someone else adding the Prisoner’s name and address and another person adding the postage stamp then Robin packing them back in the boxes for Bill to take down to the post office.
We had a good day Tuesday with everyone working hard were able to finish right around noon. I’m very thankful for the help and the prisoner anxiously waiting for his Bible should be thankful too when it arrives quickly.
Tuesday, July 24, 2018
Birthday Wishes for Chuck
Not a lot of studies today, less than a hundred but we had 77 Bible requests. That was up from 65 requests last week. Today is Chuck’s birthday. He kept getting interrupted by phone calls all morning long from friends and family all wishing him a blessed birthday. Thankfully Jeanette, Bruce, Shirley and Vonnie got the studies processed.
Leila, Marvin and Kathy were the readers of letters today and had a lot of letters to read.
Ruth came to help today and prepared our lunch.
We had a good morning and were finished with everything before noon. Thankful for the willing volunteers.
We had a good amount of mail today, over 200 studies and about a hundred letters. Thankfully we had the volunteers to process everything. We were all pleased when Shirley arrived. She got announced on Sunday and we wanted to hear all about it. Amazing how we could rejoice with her and keep working as she told her story. The best news is that her fiancé will be moving to Peoria so we won’t have to lose her help.
Marvin and Kathy were the readers today, we had 65 Bible requests, quite a few study requests and then some really nice thank you letters.
Jeanette helped Robin with stuffing and wrapping the Bibles.
We finished by noon and were out of there by 12:30 pm. Each week I am amazed at how the work gets joyfully done.
We had a busy day today with lots of volunteers and all went well except I forgot the camera. The phone was used for a few pictures.
This office just processes the studies and the Bible requests. There are many other parts to this prison ministry of which sometimes the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing. Even so it is amazing at how many people are touched by Berean Prison ministries from the local jails and prisons all over the United States, Russia and Romania. If I would start to list them or IF I even knew it would be like tooting our own horn.
About Berean Prison Ministries
Berean Prison Ministries was founded by brothers Edward and Paul Meister in 1996. It is a classified Organization exempt from Federal and State income taxes under Section 501(c) of the code.