History of the Ministry

  • The Lock-Up
  • In Prison
  • Return to Custody
  • A Ministry is Born

Prison Cells

The Lock-Up

 

The following is a simple telling of the grace of God in my life.  I pray the experience God put me through will bring glory to Him and help you in your walk with Jesus.

In January 1991 I entered prison.  It is in “Reception” where we are fingerprinted, photographed and given our numbers.  We are then tested and evaluated in order to determine our place in the prison system.  Inmates also go through the “doctor’s line”.  When I came to the doctor, he had my charts and was looking at me very strangely.  He asked me how old I was.  I told him I was 40.  He shook his head and said “You have the health of a 10 year old”.  I have been a vegetarian my whole life.

This was my first time to prison.  While in jail waiting for prison I had to make a decision: continue believing in Jesus or give it all up.  It was obvious the church I grew up in had failed me.  I decided to give up the man-made church and find out for myself if God is sure and certain.  I dedicated my life to Jesus and began a systematic reading of the Bible, starting in Genesis, and reading all the way through to the end of Revelation.  I have continued that process since 1991.  At the time of this writing I have read through the Bible over 100 times.

The first cellblock I was housed in was where the very rough and hardened criminals were placed.  It was the cellblock of murderers, gang members and drug dealers, etc.  You were expected to die fighting for your “race” on this block.  The devil obviously knew something of God’s plan for my life that I did not.  He was determined to destroy God’s plan.  However, the Lord softened the heart of my cellie.  After his interrogation of me, he was very forthright, I did not belong on that block.  He called a guard and asked to meet with the sergeant.  Shortly after I was transferred to a “soft” block .

I had been raised in a Sabbath keeping church and lived a vegetarian lifestyle my whole life.  Even in the military I had separate rations as a vegetarian.  By this time in my prison experience I was very hungry.  I asked a couple of the inmates what the procedure was to work as a food server.  Food servers eat well.  They laughed at me.  They told me that everyone wanted to work in the kitchen.  The list for working in the kitchen was very long and I probably would not get in.  I got on my knees and asked my Friend Jesus to get me into the kitchen.  I was hungry.  Two hours later a C/O (Correctional Officer) came to my cell.  She identified me and asked if I wanted to work in the kitchen.  Yes ma’am!  I started working that afternoon and continued for the remainder of my time in Reception.

I learned that since this was my first time in prison I was eligible for half-time.  If I kept my record clean, worked  and didn’t get into trouble, I could get out of prison after serving half my sentence.  However, in order to start half-time, I had to get out of Reception.  It turned out the prison system was so full and crowded the waiting time was six to eight months.  That was discouraging.  I again got on my knees and asked my Friend Jesus if He would move me quickly.  Within about two weeks I was on a bus and headed for Corcoran State Prison, California.  Thank you Jesus.

 

In Prison

  • It was a long, cold, night bus ride to Corcoran that January.  Corcoran was a newly built prison. I was one of the new “fish” to help break it in.  I was housed on a level three yard.  The prison system is divided into five major levels.  The most dangerous felons are housed in the higher levels.  If they do well, their points drop and they can move down to lower levels.  Each level allows greater freedoms and privileges.  After settling in, I looked around to see what jobs were available.  “Good luck” I was told.  There was a waiting list.  It would be about a year before I could get my “work time” started.  There were more inmates than jobs, education or vocational training available.  Once again I got on my knees and prayed.  Within two weeks of arriving at Corcoran I was working in the kitchen as a clerk. 

    Looking back upon my experience, I see the hand of God in all of this.  1st, just going to prison reminded me of Joseph.  Joseph did nothing to deserve being taken away from his family but God had a plan and purpose.  2nd, Joseph did nothing to deserve being put in prison, but again, God had a plan and purpose.  However, Joseph remained faithful to Jesus.  He did his duty and God blessed him.

    A few months after working as a clerk in the kitchen I was transferred to work as clerk in the Administration Building.  There, I clerked for the Program Administrator and upper echelons of power on the yard.  For the rest of my stay in the prison system I worked as a clerk.  God had this all planned out.  Through my experience as clerk in the many different prison departments I learned how the prison functioned.  This would be very important for me in the work God had prepared for me to do in later years through this prison ministry.

    Just learning how to “clerk” was an important skill to learn for God.  Since I am all alone in this ministry and must do everything myself, the clerking experience taught me much in keeping the ministry well organized so I can operate it as a one-man-ministry.  I have to read and answer all the inmate mail that comes in.  I have to enter all the names and information into the computers.  Inmate and donor Initial Newsletters have to be printed, stapled, folded and prepared for mailing.  Those who receive books must have their packages put together.  The monthly newsletters have to be written, compiled, printed, mail-merged, collated, stapled, folded and prepared for mailing.  Then there are the videos the ministry puts together.  I have put up over 425 videos on You Tube, so far.  Then I put our material up on-line each day to as many web sites as I can, reaching a potential audience of over 10,000. 

    And then there is the work of keeping the financial part of the ministry under control.  Making sure our outgo doesn’t exceed our income so our upkeep isn’t our downfall.  :-)  The recession proved to be very challenging.  After the ministry work, there is the every day work just keeping the physical plant, the home, the office, the studio, lawns, trees and everything else kept up and going.  So God had a reason for teaching me organization.  :-)

    My job in Administration was typing up the daily reports, keeping track of inmate movement, writing up disciplinary reports and anything else the administration wanted.  It was a good job.  When the inmates were on lock down I was always out to do my work.  God was good to me.

    God was good to me because I had made up my mind to serve Him.  I didn’t go to church or get involved with the Bible studies that had nothing to do with changing lives.  My job was to change my life.  God sent me to prison to move me away from my family, the church and society so I could learn to depend on Him and Him alone.  I watched inmates going to church, singing loud and carrying their Bibles, but as soon as church was over, they were back to lying, stealing, fighting and playing the inmate prison games.  The church taught them nothing to change their lives.  All they were taught was “saved by grace”, fun and games.  I refused to get involved with their religion or prison politics.

    It was this experience that led me to see that the behavior in prison was not much different from the churches outside of prison.  Just a bunch of “saved by grace”, fun and games, entertainment with no desire to change the life.  It was all about “What God can do for me” instead of “What is my obligation to God for all He has done for me?” 

    It was at Corcoran where my faith and beliefs began to be tested and developed.  I believed in the teachings of Jesus.  Most so-called Christians did not.  They believed in the teachings of Paul, as long as they could manipulate Paul to say what they wanted him to say.  2 Peter 3:16 reminds us that Paul says things in his letters “that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures.”  

    Jesus is not the God of the prison church system.  They do not want to obey Him.  An inmate came up to me one day and wanted to know why I believed in Jesus as God.  He was a Jehovah’s Witness.  I had spent a few years in Sabbath keeping colleges studying to be a minister.  But Jesus told me He had a “higher” education for me.  Now I was getting that “higher” education.  Nothing the college or any of my Sabbath “Christian” schooling from first grade up to college prepared me for real life living in Jesus.  Now I had to stand up and be counted.  I soon learned that if you can’t defend your faith from the Bible, you have no faith at all.  What was I to do? 

    I developed a habit of four times a day, morning, noon, evening and bedtime, coming before the Lord for worship.  Therefore, when my friend asked me why I believed in Jesus as God, I turned to the Lord at my next worship and laid it before Him.  Three days later while in worship, the Bible pages just seemed to turn and texts were highlighted.  The Spirit of God took me through a whole Bible study on that topic.

    Over the next several years the Spirit of God would come and continue to “open” the Bible to me and provide me with wonderful Bible studies.  My faith grew deeper and deeper as my walk grew stronger and stronger with Jesus.  The Bible became alive.  Anytime I was not at work, out walking the yard talking to Jesus, eating or sleeping, I was at a table or on my bunk studying the Bible.  Men would gather around to listen and learn as much as they desired.  Most rejected the teachings of Jesus.  The teachings of Jesus were not what their church, denomination or beliefs agreed with.  Yet, because I stood tall for the teachings of Jesus, He protected me, blessed me and stood very close to me.

    After about a year of working in the Administration building, the Lord allowed a “prison power play” to turn me out of my job.  So I knelt down and asked the Lord what He wanted me to do since I was His missionary there in that dark world of sin, where did He want me to go?  Where did He need me to serve Him?  I learned of an opening for a clerk in the education department.  I headed over and found myself in the ESL (English as a Second Language) classroom. 

    Mr. Garza was the instructor.  He had spent his life in the Navy.  He retired and got bored sitting around the house.  He wanted to do something good with his life that would have meaning.  He read in the newspaper of an opening at the Corcoran State Prison for an ESL instructor.  He applied and was accepted.  These people, those who work for the prison but are not guards, we called “free-people”.  They can come and go as they please.  :-)

    Mr. Garza interviewed me and at the end asked me if I spoke Spanish.  I told him that I did not.  He stated that he wanted someone who could speak Spanish in order to converse with the students and help them in their learning of English.  I told him I understood and left.  When I was about halfway down the hall, I heard these fast approaching footsteps from my rear.  I turn around and there was Mr. Garza.  He said, “You know, I have four T/As (Teacher Assistance) who can speak Spanish.  I need a good clerk.  You’re hired.”  I spent the next year with Mr. Garza.  Since both of us were former military men, this part of my prison experience was the best. 

    One day we were on lock down because of the fog.  Mr. Garza came and escorted me over to the classroom.  As we waited for the students to be escorted over by the security staff, I was busy reading my Bible.  Mr. Garza’s desk was in front of mine so we could pass papers and materials back and forth. 

    Well, this day he rolled his chair over towards my desk and said, “You are an inmate!”  Really?  I wonder what tipped him off?  Was it the prison blues I was wearing? But then he continued, “I want what you have.”  I looked at him as if he had lost his mind.  I am an inmate and have nothing.  What could I have that he would want.  He continued, “You are an inmate but you have so much peace.  I am a free-man and have none.  I want what you have.” 

    And that is when I shared with him my Christian beliefs.  He could not believe that I had so much peace living with so much hate, pain and violence in prison.  I shared with him that God is my protector and as long as I live in obedience to Him, He will glorify His name through me.  Then I shared the book, “Great Controversy” with him.  A month later he told me that he had read the book, given his heart to Jesus and was keeping the Sabbath.  Praise God.  About a month later my points dropped and I was transferred to a level II prison.

    “Selling” my “condo” at Corcoran and moving was not exactly up there on my most favorite things to do list.  I had settled in and was comfortable.  Two-man cells are nice.  Things are quiet.  Lots of order.  Besides, state bus rides are not exactly Greyhound. 

    Upon reaching Chuckawalla State Prison I found level II living was very different.  No longer was I to be locked in a cell, no, now it was dorm living.  I sold my “condo” for a “communal”.  No quiet, no order and everyone coming and going.  This also left me open to attacks.  Most men who come to prison do not get their best sleeping done in prison.  They are always sleeping with one eye open.  I, on the other hand, never slept so well in all my life. 

    God blessed me very much there.  I was able to get a clerk’s job for the Lieutenant on our yard.  He was a very conscientious man and cared very much for the men.  Again, the Lord always has a purpose in everything that is done when we serve Him.  Because of my clerk jobs I was able to type 100 wpm.  That skill would be a great asset in my future work for Jesus in this ministry. 

    While at Chuckawalla the Lord used me to touch many hearts.  I was able to start a Bible study class on the ballfield bleachers.  This experience was the beginning in teaching me how to “teach” the Bible.  Most of what was passed off as “teaching” by most of those who claimed to be “Christians” was mostly arguing, debating and telling.  The Spirit of God taught me how to take a person through the Bible, step by step, line upon line.  This again was in the Lord’s plan for my future.

    Since I was so different from the “normal” inmate, I didn’t settle in very well with most inmates.  I was not a gang member.  As a Christian I associated with all.  I did not let gang affiliation, race, religion or sexual orientation keep me from doing my duty as a Christian.  I even enjoyed associating with the staff at all levels.  After all, having spent three years in the military, prison wasn’t much different.  Because of this, most inmates avoided me since they were under the control of their various “handlers”, or “shot-callers” as they were called.

    How sad.  Christianity frees us from sin and sinners.  They had placed themselves under the yoke and control of others to their own destruction.  I have seen that control since leaving prison.  It is very strong in the churches.  People have given the control of their lives to their pastors, churches and denominations.  Jesus tells us that no one is to have any control over us except Him.  That is why so few “Christians” have found the peace that Jesus offers.  They are attempting to reach the world’s standard instead of the high standard that Jesus offers us: freedom from sin and the control of the world. 
    Since this was a level II and more open and free, there were of course more fights, stabbings and the yard was locked down a lot.  Again, as a clerk to the Lieutenant, I was mostly out of the dorm and working which had it’s nice side effects.  Chuckawalla is out in the desert where temperatures can reach 125* in the shade, not that there was much shade on a barren yard.  But working in the office allowed me the privilege of air conditioning. 

    It was here that I became even more aware of the admonition of Paul to stay clear of the world.  The Bible is very plain that we are not to get ourselves tangled up in the affairs of the world.  Prison politics is as ignorant as the selfish inmates who partake in them.  Pride, ego, selfishness and sin abound in prison.  But I find that there is no difference in the world and churches of today.  God’s truth is truly needed in our world and especially in the churches.  But few care for His truth.  People pick churches not for truth, but for acceptance of their sins.  They find a church that accepts their sins and pay the pastor well to keep telling them they are “saved by grace” and going to heaven in their sins.  And society wonders why inmates keep going back to prison.  No one is telling them that what they are doing is wrong.  The churches have lost their way. 

    Within six months my points had dropped and I was on my way to level I.  Tehachapi was truly wonderful.  What a contrast from the other prisons I was in.  Most of the newer prisons are built for efficiency, not for aesthetics.  The prisons are grey concrete with no color or vegetation.  Life can become very depressing in the prison environment.

    However, when I got to Tehachapi, the first thing I did was hug a tree.  Green, green, green all over the place.  Well, there was a reason for all the green.  The prison used to be a women’s prison.  They always get the best.  But in 1952 an earthquake hit Tehachapi and the third floor of the women’s dorm collapsed killing some women.  They moved the women to another prison and Tehachapi became a men’s prison.  Therefore, it was extremely nice.  We even had a laundromat for our personal use.  Most of us even had our own room keys.  The housing for inmates were not “cells” but more like college rooms.  Well, college rooms of the 1930’s.

    Besides the green trees, bushes, grass and other vegetation making the place more like home, there were animals.  Huge owls could be seen in the trees.  So large in fact that I was concerned for some of the smaller inmates.  I could just see one of them catching another case for trying to escape while being carried over the fence by an owl. :-)

    Tehachapi level I was very relaxed.  No one caused any trouble there.  Not one inmate wanted to be moved anywhere else.  Therefore, all inmates were very content and in more control of themselves.  It was “heaven”.  It was so relaxed that the fence was falling down.  I could not believe it.  You could walk up to the fence and almost push it over.  But then again, Tehachapi is up in the mountains far, far away from civilization.  Where would an inmate go if he did escape?  As a matter of fact, a couple of undocumented Hispanic inmates thought they would try.  So, deep into the winter months, with snow all over the place, and during a snow storm to cover their tracks, they simply walked over the fence.  Snow can get deep there.  Three days later they were begging to be brought back.  Inmates from Mexico have no idea how cold snow is. 

    One day, while jogging the track, I was going by a gate in the fence that was open.  I heard the officer in the tower speaking through the squawk box by the gate asking if I wouldn’t mind shutting the gate.  

    I went looking for a job and found one as clerk to a teacher in education.  It was a good job.  This job actually allowed me to leave my yard to work in education on level II.  It was nice having a bit more moving around room.  After about a year in education I moved to the kitchen as clerk.  Then a couple of months later I finished out my time in prison as clerk to the upholstery teacher.  In this shop the inmates were taught the vocation of upholstery.  The community paid to have their furniture upholstered and repaired by inmates.  I truly enjoyed that job.  Very kick back and more like “family”.

    It was at Tehachapi where the Lord really did His best work in training me for this ministry.  You see, if you are a free person out in society and don’t agree with someone, you just “unfollow”, “unfriend”, walk away, go home or change churches.  You don’t need to listen, learn or practice “testing of the spirits” as the Bible says.  For most “Christians” it is simply, “I don’t believe that” and the ears hear no more.  Christians no longer do the searching and testing God requires.  “If my church doesn’t teach it, it must not be of God.”  How sad.

    In prison you can’t just “walk away”.  After all, where are you going to go?  Therefore, I was in constant contact with many different opinions about Christianity.  Everyone wanted to be a “teacher” and no one wanted to learn.  Reminds me of many “Christians” in our churches today.

    Because I taught the teachings of Jesus, very few wanted to listen.  The opinion, going around by some who claimed to be great teachers, was that the teachings of Jesus were done away with at the cross.  Once Jesus died, everything He taught was now obsolete.  I could not believe their satanic opinions.  How could God, who does not change, who came to teach us truth, teach that which He knew would be a waste and be done away with as soon as He died?  Couldn’t be! 

    One day while I was sitting on a nice grassy lawn, reading my Bible and having worship, a young man came and sat down to study with me.  It wasn’t but a few minutes before two other “Christian” men came and literally picked him up and told him that he was not allowed to communicate with me. Wow!  How unchristlike.  But again, we see that same attitude in many churches of the world.  Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Catholics and many others are not allowed to study any other material, or have Bible studies with any other religion, unless authorized by their handlers.  So satanic.

    God is a God of freedom and individual exploration, study and testing.  Never are we to let a pastor, church or denomination take that duty from us personally.  Never are we to give our salvation to anything, any one or any church or denomination; only Jesus.  Salvation is a personal and individual experience.  No church or denomination can save one person.  Jesus and Jesus only.  Our personal salvation is to be a personal, experimental religion.

    One inmate, who took matters into his own hands, asked me if he could have my meat.  I explained to him why I was a vegetarian.  He was impressed and decided to try a week without meat.  At the end of the week he came back and told me he felt better and could workout better on the weight pile.  He quit all meat.

    I was amazed at the deception the “Christians” were willing to teach simply because they hated truth.  For instance, I came upon a Bible study in which the “teacher” was telling the “student” that when Jesus rose from the grave He was
    a “spirit” and had no flesh and bone as we humans do.  Therefore, we would be “spirits”, when we were raised from the grave, like Jesus.  And yet, this concept goes totally against what Jesus taught.  Jesus said to Thomas, after His resurrection, “Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself: handle Me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see Me have.”  Luke 24:39.

    It was this constant hate for Jesus that confused me.  How could they claim to “love” Jesus and hate what He taught.  Jesus said  “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.”  John 14:15.  I soon learned that this so-called “love” for Jesus was just a cover for their hatred of Jesus and anything that had to do with law and order.  They were inmates and their lives had been filled with selfishness, getting what they wanted and hating any rules or laws that got in the way of their selfish desires.  I found it was the same with church people of the world.  They claim to “love” Jesus as long as that “love” does not require them to change their lives and live as Jesus commands them to live.  Their religion is all about “what Jesus does for me” and nothing about what Jesus commands me to do for Him.  Nothing about “my” obligation to “walk as Jesus walked” in obedience to His Father’s commands. 1 John 2:6.

    Over the years that I was in prison I was able to watch a very interesting phenomena.  Inmates coming to prison, claiming to be saved, going to church, carrying and reading their Bibles, singing in the choir, then going home.  After a few months they were right back in claiming that it was God’s will for them to continue breaking God’s laws and the laws of the land.  No change!  What were they “saved” from?

    They kept telling me that Jesus came to abolish the Law and do away with it.  I just could not understand their total hypocrisy and stupidity.  Jesus plainly teaches, “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill”  Matthew 5:17.  You can’t have Jesus destroying that which He came not to destroy.  But because they have been taught such lies and hate for Jesus they are not able to see the clear contradictions in their thinking and living.  They claim that to “fulfill” is to abolish, thereby making a liar out of Jesus.  They just couldn’t wrap their minds around the concept that to “fulfill” does not mean to abolish but to magnify, make it honorable and to make it indestructible.  In other words, to fulfill something is to obey it.  If I fulfill the speed limit, I am obeying it and I don’t abolish it for anyone else following behind me.  My fulfilling of the speed limit honors the law, magnifies it and lets people know that I respect it and obey it.

    The problem I found was that they hated Jesus so much for keeping the Law, and then requiring them to follow His example, that they were willing to put the teachings of Paul above Jesus.  They would take Paul and twist his statements to claim that Jesus did away with the moral law, the Ten Commandments.  But again, we have two very important problems here. 

    1.  That would make a liar out of Paul who tells us the only thing that counts is the keeping of the commandments (1 Corinthians 7:19) and

    2. It makes a liar out of Jesus. 

    And the Bible is very plain that no liars will be in Heaven.  Therefore, if they were true, Jesus and Paul are not in Heaven.  I realized that what Peter said was very true about those who used Paul’s writings, “which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures.”  2 Peter 3:16.  In order to satisfy their wicked lives they are willing to make Jesus and Paul liars.  How sick.  But that is what sin does. 

    But the most important concept I learned while at Tehachapi was the concept of “grace”.  One day an “elder” of the church, an inmate who thought he was somebody very special and great, told me, “We don’t have to obey the Law since we are ‘saved by grace’”.  As I thought about that, I came to realize that he was correct.  If we are “saved” eternally by grace, we don’t need to keep the Ten Commandments.  Why?  Because grace is “unmerited”.  That means that you can do nothing for it.  I knew that we had to keep the Ten Commandments, but in order to refute such satanic teaching I had to know what “grace” was and how it “saved”. 

    I went back to my room and knelt before the Lord and just told Him plainly that the man was correct.  But I knew that he was wrong.  So I ask Jesus to teach me what “grace” was and how it saved.  Three days later while in worship the Bible opened up and the pages began to turn and texts were highlighted.  That was the greatest Bible study I ever had.  I learned what “grace” was and what its function was.  Finally, my mind was at rest.  Greater peace came to my soul.  You could say that the proverbial  “light bulb” went off in my head.  Or as the Bible says, the sun was rising in my knowledge of the truth.

    This phase of my instruction was complete.  I had now read the Bible through over 30 times.  The Spirit of God had met with me often and instructed me.  I had learned to trust Him and communicate with Him.  But most importantly, I was learning how to listen to the Spirit of God.  Listening which did not require any church, denomination or person: only Jesus.

 

Return to Custody

I left prison and my folks took me in.  Not knowing what to do, my mom paid for a correspondence course in Medical Billing.  Well, I was never one for memorizing and to be a Medical Billing specialist I would need the skill of memorization.  However, God used this correspondence course for another reason.  I was looking at it from the perspective of how they put it together, physically.  It looked like it was put together on a home computer, printed and then bound.  Pretty simple.  I could not see into the future, but Jesus did.  I would remember that and He would use it in His future plans for me and this ministry.

The other wonderful thing my folks did was get me a computer.  Keep in mind, this is 1996.  Computers were very new to the public.  They were not exactly “user friendly”.  But they were getting better.  I began exploring the computer and learning how to use it. 

About 30 days after being out, Jesus used a “violation” excuse to put me back into prison.  This is called “Return To Custody” (RTC).  God had more training for me to do, but from a different perspective.  Just as Joseph had one perspective when sold into slavery, then he had another perspective when he was put into prison.  This time, I entered prison, not as a “student” but as a “teacher”.

I was sent to Chino Prison for Men while they decided where to place me in the prison system.  I immediately began teaching what I had been taught by the Spirit of God.  The reception I got from inmates was completely different from what it was before.  Now the inmates listened.  Bible studies were held and men began studying.  One night while on my bunk reading the Bible, a young man came up to me.  He had been listening to the Bible studies and had given his heart to Jesus.  So when he came up to me, it was as a brother in Christ.  He asked me if I had anything for pain.  He said he had the flu and was feeling terrible.  I told him that I had no medicine.  However, I would give him what I did have.  I laid my hands on him and prayed that Jesus would heal him.  He left and within about 10 minutes he returned and let me know that the pain and sickness had left him.  We praised God.

From RTC I was sent to do a simple seven month violation at Avenal State Prison.  Here Jesus had more for me to learn.  I was placed in a computer class.  In this class I learned about the inside of computers.  This would be very helpful in the ministry for years to come.  I could not even begin to tell you how many computers I built in order to save money, but also to have the specific internal parts needed for the work this ministry requires.

My work for Jesus was growing and growing.  When I sat down at a table to study, 10 to 20 inmates would gather around to listen and learn.  It was awesome.  At one time I saw this young man listening but then he left.  Come to find out, he had to go to work.  But later that night he came by my bunk while I was sleeping and woke me up asking for Bible studies.  He had just gotten off work from the kitchen.  We went out onto the floor, found a table and studied. 

However, this made Lucifer very unhappy.  He was losing his subjects.  He instigated many inmates to try and kill me.  This one man came up and told me very plainly that if I continued to teach the Sabbath he would kill me.  So I let him know that God would have to move him off the yard since I had to teach truth.  A few days later an inmate came up to me and said, “Do you remember the man who threatened to kill you?”  I nodded.  He continued, “He has been moved off the yard.”  This was very interesting since his removal had nothing to do with me.  God simply moved him and the whole yard understood the power of God.

Another time an inmate, who was from Cambodia and skilled in Martial Arts, came up to me while I was lying on the top bunk, my head resting on my left hand.  He came up and was talking nonsense and how I had to get off the yard or he would have to hurt me.  I told him that I wasn’t going anywhere.  Then, in a flash, his hand came up and he hit me in the nose with the heal of his hand.

The inmates were expecting me to be hurt very bad if not dead by the driving of the nose bone into my brain.  They expected lots of blood and screaming, etc.  So they were all prepared for the C/Os and a lock down.  However, the only one hurt was the Cambodian.  He walked away shaking and holding his hand showing great pain.  The next day the inmates were expecting to see lots of black and blue marks on my face.  I had no cuts, no black and blue marks, nothing.  No pain.  God is very good to those who obey Him.  I learned in prison that I do not need to “defend” myself.  God will defend us if we are living for Him.  But if all we are doing is putting on a show and going to church, God can’t help us much.

One evening while sitting at “my” table, the janitors were going to sweep and mop the floor.  We had a choice, go outside or go to our bunks.  I decided to go outside.  It was winter and the nights came early.  I entered the queue and waited for the gate to open.  When the gate opened, we all pushed into the little hallway that led outdoors.  We must wait in the hallway while the back gate shuts, then they open the front door.  We all pushed out and then it was that I realized I made a mistake.  It was raining.  But the door had closed behind me and it would not be opened again for another hour.  I raised my eyes and hand to heaven and ask Jesus to stop the rain until the door opened.  Just then the clouds cleared away and the stars came out.  It stayed clear and beautiful until the door opened.  Then the rain came down.  God is so good.

The seven months went by fast and I paroled in 1997.  The week before I was to be released I was instructed that the prison committee was going over my case to see if I could be released or needed to be kept longer.  I got on my knees and made a vow to God.  I would not eat until I was released.  Seven days later I was paroled.  

 

A Ministry is Born

I didn’t know what to do with mylife.  Serving the Lord was my top priority.  How was another matter.  While in prison the Lord and I became very close.  He had revealed Himself to me on such a personal level that when I paroled I felt as if I had been orphaned.  My folks had purchased a very small trailer up in a small trailer park at Big Bear Lake, California.  Being in the mountains and far away from “the world” I found myself back in the presence of God.  I began jogging and we resumed our personal relationship.

One day, about four weeks after paroling, the Holy Spirit came to me and told me that we were going to write a book.  He told me that He was going to dictate and direct the book to me.  “Windows 95” was the operating system of the computer I was using.  Having spent the last almost 6 1/2 years behind bars I knew nothing about computers.  As the Holy Spirit dictated to me, I would become frustrated by not knowing how to work the “Windows” software.  That was when the Spirit would direct me on how to maneuver through it to find what I needed to accomplish His mission.

One day while taking a break from the book, I was walking the RV park and meditating.  I saw an older gentleman, by the name of Ben, who seemed to be distressed.  We began talking and I shared with him what I was doing.  Stopping, he looked at me with great anguish in his face and asked, “How can you believe in a God who would burn little children forever?  I go to church and try to believe, but to burn a child forever because of a sin, that is torture.”

“Ben”, I said, “you have been taught wrong, God is not a torturer, He loves people.”  I then invited him to my trailer.  We sat down at the park bench and began a Bible study on what happens when a person dies.  As we progressed through the Bible study, I could see the burden lift from His soul.  I could see the pain of lies give way to the joy of truth.

Many months later his wife told me that his whole life changed after that.  Not only did his life become happier, but the whole family benefited from his joy in the truth.  I studied with them and within about three months they sent a letter of resignation to their church of 15 years.  They became Sabbath keepers and strong supporters of this little ministry. 

The Holy Spirit would wake me up at about 6 o’clock in the morning and we would work until about 1 a.m.  It was usually about that time my eyelids could not stay open.  I would ask the Spirit to let me sleep.  One day while the Spirit was dictating to me, the computer froze up.  “Windows 95” was notorious for freezing up.  I did not know what to do.  The Spirit of God was dictating and I was not able to keep up.  The computer refused to respond.  “Stop.  Stop.”  I cried,  “The computer won’t work.  What do I do?”  Just then there was a knock at the door.  I opened it and there was Ben.  He came for another Bible study.  After the Bible study, I turned back to the computer and there on the screen were the instructions on how to clear the computer and unfreeze it.

We finished volume I, of about 160 pages, in about a week.  It was perfectly done.  Every graphic, every clip art, all was just as the Holy Spirit had dictated and directed it.  The Holy Spirit then gave me the title for the book, “Change Your Life Biblically”.  He then told me to send it to inmates.  “Holy Spirit”, I said, “That is not possible.  I am on parole and I can’t have contact with inmates.”  He told me not to worry about that.  All I had to do was be obedient.  Sure enough, when I explained what I was doing to my Parole Officer, he was in total cooperation.

But then there was this little matter called money.  I was broke.  Not a nickel to my name.  I had nothing, I owned nothing and I was nothing.  How was I to get the funds to buy the paper and equipment to make the “book” and the postage to send them to inmates?  Not possible, I said.  The Holy Spirit was so gentle and kind.  He told me to just obey and He would take care of everything.  I stepped out of the trailer and went for a “meditation” walk around the RV park.  As I was walking and thinking on this money “problem”, I saw a man preparing his RV to leave the park.  We began talking and in the course of our conversation he asked what I did for a living.  I told him that I sent books to inmates to help them change their lives.  He said, “Wow, I feel impressed to help.”  And with that he opened his wallet and pulled out a twenty dollar bill and gave it to me.  From that moment on the Spirit of God impressed people, total strangers, to support His little book and this ministry in the work of changing lives.  He has never let me down.  Never too much, never too little.  He has always provided what we needed in order to do the work He called me to do.

You must understand how hard the walk of “faith” was for me.  I had spent 10 years as the owner of my own photography business.  I was good.  Customers came to me from all over the United States.  I photographed the wealthy, millionaires, billionaires and Hollywood.  I was booked a year in advance to photograph weddings.  Money was not a problem for me.  Now, not a penny to my name.

A few months later the Spirit told me that we needed to move to a bigger home.  This I could not understand.  We could hardly make it where we were.  Besides, who would rent to a little ministry that had nothing?  But when the Spirit says to do something, I do it.  My mom and I went looking for a place and found a mountain cabin in Arrow Bear, about 20 minutes from Big Bear Lake.  It was nice having a lager place.  It was here the Spirit of God returned, dictating and directing volume II, about 160 pages, of “Change Your Life Biblically”.  Again, it was accomplished in about one week.

The requests for the book began to arrive in ever larger numbers.  I was amazed at how inmates learned about this little book.  Requests were coming in from inmates from every state in the Union. 

After being in our mountain home for about a year the Spirit instructed me that it was time to move again.  I was disappointed at this.  I liked the mountain home.  I was not looking forward to moving all the equipment.  However, we did find a little home for rent in Yucaipa, California.  This was nice in that it was close to my parents who were in their early 80’s.  They loved the work I was doing and helped out as much as possible.  After moving in, the Holy Spirit was sent to me again and He dictated and directed volume III of about 160 pages.  With that the book was completed with over 480 pages.

During this time of the ministry, I was printing, collating, folding and binding the books by hand.  The work was beginning to take more time than I had all by myself.  One day I received a letter from a young man in Youth Authority by the name of Jeff who had read volumes I & II.  After several letters and getting to know each other, he asked if he could come to the ministry upon his release from Y/A.  He explained to me that he had no family and no place to go.  Jeff was given up by his mom into the California foster care system at the age of seven. He lived in group homes and Y/A most of his childhood life. I thought it over and decided that God must be providing the help that I needed.  I invited him to come.

When he arrived at the age of 18, we began organizing the ministry into a “two-man” operation.  We had a large table in the middle of the room with lines and lines of shelving around the room.  The pages of the book were printed on the copier and then we would run around the table collating them.  I bound the book myself.  When I had purchased a folder, that made the work a bit easier.

Living at the ministry was so different that Jeff could not control himself to stay.  Over time he would run away and then come back when he had no place to go. Then he would run away again and get into trouble with the Law. On one occasion I went before the judge and Jeff was placed in my custody.

Another inmate, Juan, who had read the book, contacted me.  Juan struggled from his old street and gang life.  As long as he was involved with the ministry, God blessed him.  But Juan, after many years being involved with the ministry, lost sight of the life Jesus had for him.  He returned to the world and drugs.  He also returned to prison.  This broke my heart as I considered him a “son”.  While in prison he decided to return to Jesus and support the ministry.  He also translated the book into Spanish.  Within six months after paroling he was being trained to be a manager of the plant he was working in.  God blesses those who bless this ministry. 

One morning I awakened with a heavy heart.  After going over the bills and the list of donors we had I, realized we were not going to make it.  It was costing us more than we had in donations.  Even though we had no incomes or salaries, there just wasn’t enough funding to handle the ministry’s operation.  I was weeping.  I called the people who owned the property and let them know that we would not be able to continue renting and would leave when our time was up.

A few mornings later while in the living room doing my morning workout routine, crying my eyes out, the phone rang.  The voice on the other end identified himself as the director of a worldwide ministry.  He had been going through the mail that morning and had come across a letter from this ministry.  He stated that his ministry would support our little ministry for as long as we needed it: no conditions.  About a year later his secretary told me that when he came to the letter from this ministry he heard the voice of God tell him to support us.

One Sabbath, while Jeff and I were hiking in the mountains, we came to an open meadow.  A person appeared and Jeff and I wondered where this person had come from. We had a perfect view of the whole meadow and did not see from where this person had come. The person approached us and we entered into a conversation. This person told Jeff to listen to me and to obey me. When the conversation was done, Jeff and I turned and climbed a pile of rocks near by. We reached the top and looked out over the meadow. Not a person was to be seen. It didn’t take but a “minute” to climb the little rocks. There was no way this person could have vanished humanly. We always understood that God had sent an angel to impress upon Jeff his duty.

It had been about four years since the Holy Spirit dictated the book to me.  The Holy Spirit now instructed me to go up into the mountains and buy a home for the ministry.  This was not possible, I thought.  I explained to the Holy Spirit that we were a non-profit with no savings, nothing of value, no income and no one would lend to us.  All He said was, “Go”.  Jeff and I went up into the mountains to do as we were told. We went from one real estate office to another and all we got were laughs. Finally, at one real estate office, a sales lady asked if my folks would be willing to co-sign. I knew they would, but I didn’t want to put them into that situation considering their age.

My folks agreed.  Bringing all their financial documentation, we sat down at the desk.  I looked up at the real estate agent and said, “What we really need is a seller who will sell us the home and carry the paperwork.”  (To be honest, I have no idea where those words came from.)  She told us that she did not have such a seller.  However, from the back of the office a voice spoke up and said, “Did I hear you right?  Are you looking for someone to hold the paperwork?”  She told us that she had just the person.  We all piled into the vehicles and went to the mountain home.  The owner, her friend, didn’t even have it on the market yet.  He was fixing it up to sell. We contacted him and he agreed to sell the home to the ministry.

A few months later Jeff left for Texas to find his mother. He ended up going to prison for two years. “Dad”, he wrote, “you were right, I should have stayed and never left. I’m coming home when I get out.” He didn’t. He got out and stayed there and in a few months was right back in prison. “Dad”, he wrote, “you were right, I should have come home. There is nothing for me out here.”  However, over the years Jeff turned his back on the ministry for the world.  His life has been full of prison and crime.

The Holy Spirit then instructed me to remodel the mountain home.  This I could not understand.  We had no money.  What little we had hardly paid for the paper, ink, postage and other supplies and equipment needed to keep the books going to inmates.  But He was very insistent.  Fortunately, the neighbors up there were all in construction of some kind or other.  With neighborhood assistance I began remodeling the home.  We finished in about six months.  It was wonderful.  More room and very comfortable.  I said, “Thank you Lord”.  But then He said, “Sell it.”  That broke my heart.  What?  I was enjoying the mountains.  It was wonderful.  Why sell?  Where would we go?  And how much could we get for it?  Would it be enough to buy another place?  These were questions I had.  However, because He commanded, I called the real estate lady who sold us the house and ask her to sell it for us.

She came over and we filled out the paperwork.  Then she asked how much we wanted to sell it for.  We bought it for $80K.  I told her that God told me to sell it for $120K.  She laughed.  It will never sell, she told me.  Nothing up there was selling for that price.  Not even close.  I told her that was the price God told me to sell it for.  We signed and she left.  Three hours later she called and said she had a buyer.  They bought it for $120K.

Now I needed a place for the ministry.  Mom and I got into the car and headed for the High Desert of Victorville, California.  I told the Lord we would take the first exit off the freeway and go to the first real estate place and see what they had.  We did.  We gave them the parameters of what we needed and they gave us five properties to look at.  As we headed up the dirt road to the first property we saw a “4 sale” sign, but it was a house and we were looking for a trailer.  The next property  with a “4 sale” sign had a trailer, but it had water and power.  The property we were looking for did not.  When we did get to “our” property, it was a burned out trailer and we would never be able to use it.

We went back to the property with the trailer, water and power and called to inquire about it.  They wanted $44K.  We asked if they would take $35K.  They said they would take $38K.  With the proceeds from our mountain home we were able to pay off the four acre property in cash.  With the balance, we contracted with Pacific Press Publishing Association to print our books.  No more running around tables!

From 1997 through 2018 over 33,000 inmates have received from this ministry pamphlets, booklets, Bibles, books and the book “Change Your Life Biblically”.  I write every inmate who writes me.  I figured I have written over 120,000 inmates during this time.   

Your help is needed to keep this ministry reaching inmates. Your donations do not go to salaries, incomes or private use. They go to the ministry to keep the ministry supplied with equipment to send God's truth to inmates. Please go to our newsletters to read letters from the lives of inmates who have been affected by God's truth.

 

Ministry News

I thank each and every one of you who loves Jesus so much that you continually, every month, sacrifice for this, His little ministry. So few love the truth. Your help is greatly needed at this time. Please remember us at tax time.
Love in Christ,
Ron