How can it be
That others can’t see
God only knows.
Within the dark pit
Our loved one will sit;
In God he grows.
In darkness each day;
No bitterness shows.
A beautiful soul,
The years take a toll,
Yet true love flows.
One day at last
All darkness is past;
Grace God bestows.
Freedom has won,
God loves you, dear son,
Our precious white rose.
How can it be
That others can’t see…
Trust God for He knows.
Mama & Pops
Richard, Beth,& Jesse
We started corresponding with Richard in 1989 and were blessed to be able to visit him in 1994. In 1999, Richard accepted Jesus as His Lord and Savior! God is good!
Excerpt from a letter Richard wrote:
“I have some very good news for you and Jesse! I know it’s been a long time you have been waiting to hear this. Beth and Jesse, I have accepted Jesus Christ in my life as my Savior! I feel very wonderful and blessed these days. And I just wanted to write and share this with you my friends! I know that you two are happy for me. It’s been a long time coming, I know that. Also I know there is a lot ahead of me, that I must be careful because of the world I was once in. I truly believe that God will provide a way for me.”
Richard was easy so I soon asked Prison Fellowship for another pen pal; they sent us two, Tim and Irving, both a challenge.
Tim, our second pen pal:
Tim was released from prison and then a few years later God blessed him with a beautiful Christian family.
You will enjoy reading Tim’s Testimony.
Irving, another 2nd Pen Pals; God is good, gives doubles!
God has a purpose in bringing us together. Irving has not as yet accepted the truth of the Gospel of Christ. But I know God has not given up and neither have we; we continue to pray.
Our “Little Brother Perry” has really become a part of our family over the past eighteen years. He loves the Lord and is serving Him; that is what keeps him going through his difficult circumstances of incarceration and an incurable disease attacking his body. Still Perry has the joy of the Lord and I will never forget the sparkle in his eyes when we visited him in 1994.
We met Jose when he was young and new in the Faith. He was growing and learning, but then had a lot of ups and downs, disappointments & troubles. God blessed us to be allowed to visit him; that was wonderful, he has a beautiful smile.
Jose is now out of prison, praise God, and married with a little boy, Jose Jr., and baby on the way. He bought and renovated a big house in Des Moines Iowa, his home city. We stay in touch and look forward to seeing each other face to face again one day.
Jesse & I sold our home in the NC mountains and bought a used RV to travel west and visit our pen pals. God greatly blessed this year of travels!!
Christopher was the only pen pal we didn’t get to see on our travels to the west coast. He didn’t want a visit and wouldn’t let us come. He said it would be too hard to see us leave. To this day, we have never seen him face to face. But we are trusting God to make the way.
Try to imagine a big “keyhole” in your mind,
being in a remote place while doing your time.
Now picture if you will the image of a lonely man
who stands in the center of this “keyhole” in no man’s land.
It’s plain to see his agony by the trail of his tears
without a pen pal to correspond with to help him defeat the years.
If you look closely, the “keyhole” begins to shrink
when you establish a link with someone on the outside who cares and shares.
So, before you dismiss me with a wave of your hand, think to yourself “Just who is this man?”
Will you give him a chance and show that you care …
or will you neglect the opportunity to brighten his day and
show him the way?
…That life can be fair and some kindness spared.
Christopher wanted more of the inmates to get the kind of support he had gotten from Jesse & me so in 1998 he asked us to help find Christian pen pals for inmates he knew had no one to care about them. We had 17 inmates in need of a pen pal. I tried contacting churches to no avail. Then God made a way for Jesse to get a computer. He taught me enough to use email and do surfing. I soon came to see how useful it was in recruiting Christians at chat rooms and message boards. ChurchUSA was my favorite place. James came across our ministry and was lead to called with his offer to partner with us and build the web site. In March 1999, after 3 days, he had “Christian Pen Pals” up and running!
From CPP Ministry, we met Chico. Chico has had a hard life, abusive and troubled childhood which left him struggling with many issues that prison life only compounded. He is in VA so Jesse & I were close enough at one time to visit him in prison. He had come to know Christ and he is doing good in the Lord today. We are believing God for the healing and victory to overcome; God to make the way for his better future.
Robert: We soon learned that in addition to the personal contact of a pen pal, many prisoners need Christian reentry and aftercare support. We started finding resources and networking with ministries and churches to help inmates who didn’t have family support . Robert was our first case.
Excerpt from Robert’s letter following his release:
“I have indeed arrived at the Dodge House here in Wichita, Kansas. I am absolutely elated to have been released. I have been in fact receiving some assistance thus far from the Calvary Church of which you’ve emailed. They have been incredulously helpful to me in my initial days of release! They have taken me shopping for ‘new clothes’ which I appreciated immensely, and even gave me some spending money! The Word of Faith Church here in Wichita is also standing ready to assist me…. They are in a combined effort to assist in getting me established with residence and maybe some transportation and employment!…there are no words to express my profound gratitude to you both and others who have assisted me!”
In 2004 and 2005, with the help of some CPP volunteers, I started working on a book of writings from inmates and others in ministry. I had been collecting stories, testimonies, poems, and art work. But I didn’t know anything about getting a book published until Leonna guided. She did the needed typing and formatting a manuscript. The project was on the shelf, seeking God’s will until 2009 when I finished the work and got it to the publishers and “Your Cry Has Been Heard” was accomplished!
A Letter response to the book:
Hello Jesse & Beth.
Blessed Is He Whose Transgression Is Forgiven, Whose Sin is covered.
Received the Book “Your Cry Has Been Heard” and let me tell you, the contents within is evident of God’s unlimited Grace. God: Is for everyone. Praise His Holy Name, that nothing too hard for Him.
The book I use as a tool to witness God’s Love, and He is in the business of restoring lives. Thank you for allowing me to be a part in reaching out to win souls for Jesus.
I wanted to write before now but when the book arrived to me, from the mail room they had omitted to place your address along w/the book. So I had waited to obtain the address from the Chaplain Department. One of the clerks had your address. I believed he as well have written.
How can someone (Like who reside in the the Netherlands) have a copy of this book? Also, add me to your pen pal list. I have missed that ministry.
The both of you be strong in the Lord and In the Power of His might. And may the great grace of God be upon you all. Thanks Again.
Love from your friend,
Sam Wilson #037240
Dear Jesse & Beth,
I was just working on your Christmas card. I also finished that book today, “Journey to Freedom”. It talks about everything that I am going through. How did you know that is what I needed? I love that book, it has stirred something inside me. I can never tell you both how much I appreciate your friendship.
I am out of the hole (solitary confinement), I was released Dec. 7th. I received your card and $25.oo THANK YOU SO MUCH! I love you both soooo much for your kindness. I took a recent picture of me and put it in the card so you both know the man you inspired.Yes, God is good! So suffering is never wasted when we humble ourselves. Thank you for keeping me in your prayers. Yes, I want to understand God’s purpose for me. Right now I am just suffering and fighting with sin.
I hope you both have a good Christmas & Happy New Year.
Love always, Michael
(Journey to Freedom by Dr. Rich Dorst)
Well, God has answered our prayer to get to go back out to Missouri and Iowa!
We finally got to visit Christopher in August 2015 and meet with him face to face. We spent the most of 2 days talking, laughing, and the time flew by too fast. Yes, it was hard to leave; but I will always have the memories. So thankful to God!!
After leaving South Central with After leaving South Central Christopher, we went to Iowa to visit Perry again. We had some trouble recognizing him, it had been so many years, 20 or so. He looks great though and we had a wonderful visit. It was so good to see him once again!
We have an awesome God!
January 2018 is the start of a great year ahead for CPP Ministry. First we are announcing that the children’s book “Knick Knack Looks Longingly at the Road” is published. The reason it is so special is that our Chico is the talented illustrator for this book. CPP Ministry may get to increase in this area and help other inmate artists use their talent illustrating books. Go to Amazon to see some of the book pages and purchase.
2018 has been a blessed year, the highlight of which was the long awaited release of Richard and then Chico. Both are out now, Richard is in California doing great and calls us from time to time.
Chico is living in Virginia and we are close enough that we got to visit him at his group home March 24th, 2019. He looks great and it was a joy to be with him and talk about the goodness of our Lord.
Visiting Chico March 2019
Richard is doing good, in church, working, living with his sister while getting on his feet. I am waiting for a phot of him to add here. He calls us to stay in touch.
Finally!!! Things were slow in 2019 and it gave me the opportunity to work on the book I have been wanting a re-make of the book used by Prison Fellowship Ministries. Since they no longer have the correspondence outreach, they agreed to give CPP transfer of copyrights. With God’s leading and help from many people I got it compiled and published “Visit Prison in an Envelope” October, 2019.
We believe it will be a valuable tool for pen pals, especially ones who are new and church groups.
We started CPP Chat, place to come together to chat, support each other, share what God is doing, and get to know others pen paling.
The URL is: https://cppchatroom.yooco.org/
And the Journey Continues!