July 30, 2011
Re: August 2011 Newsletter
(14) “For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, (15) but if you do not forgive others their trespasses neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” Matthew 6:14-15 (ESV) The Forgiveness Foundation Christian Ministries is always helping people who have trouble forgiving those who have sinned against them. The sin which is most common for The Forgiveness Foundation Christian Ministries to encounter is murder because TFF is a death row prison ministry. It is easy to understand how a murder victim’s family may not want to forgive the murderer. Murder is not like theft where the stolen item can be replaced; murder takes a loved one away from all earthly relationships. The refusal to forgive someone for a sin (wrong) that has been committed against you is sin. The refusal to forgive, is the direct consequence of fallen man, Genesis 3, and is sin because God instructed us to forgive others as He forgives us. Why should we forgive? As a Christian, we should forgive because God directed us to forgive. Forgiveness is hard for us, but it is God’s command to us, and He is available at all times to lead us through the forgiveness process.
Can you believe the thirtieth week of 2011, has just ended and 30 men have been executed in the United States? The thirty names that follow represent more pain and suffering than I think I can imagine in my lifetime. These men, all executed in the first thirty weeks of this year, were convicted of and executed for murder. Some of them murdered to obtain money, some of them murdered because they were racists, some of them kidnapped, raped, and murdered young children, some of them kidnapped, raped, and murdered teenage girls, some of them kidnapped, raped and murdered adult women and one of them raped and murdered an elderly woman. One person on the list killed all but one member of his family, his mother, his father, and his sister in an attempt to collect his inheritance. He was only 19 years old. His plan was foiled because his 16-year-old brother escaped. Several men on this list killed their cellmate while in prison waiting to go to trial for a murder they were charged with committing while free men. Forgiveness is hard.
Billy Don Alverson, Oklahoma Jeffrey Matthews, Oklahoma Leroy White, Alabama
Emmanuel Hammond, Georgia Martin Link, Missouri Michael Hall, Texas
Frank Spisak, Ohio Timothy Adams, Texas Johnnie Baston, Ohio
Eric King, Arizona William Glenn Boyd, Alabama Clarence Carter, Ohio
Cary Kerr, Texas Jeffrey Motts, South Carolina Benny Stevens, Mississippi
Daniel Bedford, Ohio Rodney Gray, Mississippi Jason Williams, Alabama
Donald Beaty, Arizona Gayland Bradford, Texas Lee Taylor, Texas
Eddie Powell, III, Alabama Milton Mathis, Texas Roy Blankenship, Georgia
Richard Bible, Arizona Humberto Leal Garcia, Jr. Thomas Paul West, Arizona
Richard Anthony Stroman, Texas Andrew Grant DeYoung, Georgia Robert W. Jackson, III, Delaware
Sins’ victim-list is huge!
I cannot imagine the pain a mother or father, or the pain of a son or daughter, or the pain of a sister or brother, when they first learn that their loved one has been murdered. Please pray for the families of the victims of the murders. I encourage you to pray for salvation for the unsaved. I encourage you to pray that the saved, who are struggling with forgiveness, seek God’s help in forgiving the person who murdered their loved one. I encourage you to pray that God grant the unbelieving family member the ability to forgive – an unforgiving heart is a huge burden to carry - and grant the believer and unbeliever peace over their situation. Jesus teaches (44) “But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! (45) In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For He gives His sunlight to both the evil and the good, and He sends rain on the just and the unjust.” Matthew 5:44-45 (NLT)
I cannot imagine the pain a mother or father, or the pain of a son or daughter, or the pain of a sister or brother, when they first learn that their loved one has been arrested for murder. Please remember the families of the men who were convicted and executed for murder in your prayers. As always, pray for salvation for the unsaved. Please pray for God to grant them the ability to forgive, believer and unbeliever alike, and grant them peace. Jesus teaches (44) “But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! (45) In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For He gives His sunlight to both the evil and the good, and He sends rain on the just and the unjust.” Matthew 5:44-45 (NLT) Jesus’ words are definitely worth repeating.
All these families must endure the publicity, the trial, the appeals, and the execution. The families of the men convicted also endure the time in prison before the execution.
As Christ followers our obligation to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is to share the Gospel wherever we go and whomever we are with. We are to seek out those who may not have the opportunity to hear the Gospel and share it with them, not force it upon them, but share it with them. Every Christmas season The Forgiveness Foundation conducts a Christmas Card Outreach to every man and woman on death row as one way of fulfilling a small portion of the “Great Commission.” TFF orders 3,500 pieces of blank card stock that TFF has volunteers draw a Christmas scene with colored pencil, hand write a Christmas time scripture passage on an inside flap of the card, a personal note to the recipient on the other inside flap, hand address the envelope and have it in the mail so the recipient will receive the card before Christmas. For some in prison on death row, the Christmas card TFF mails them will be the only Christmas gift they receive. I can’t imagine a more precious gift for a condemned person to receive – the redeeming message of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The Forgiveness Foundation has nearly completed 2,500 hundred Christmas cards; however, we need 1,000 additional pieces of card stock and envelopes to finish preparing the cards and envelopes for mailing. The Forgiveness Foundation needs $230.00 to purchase the additional cards and envelopes needed and will need $1,540.00 for postage. Our immediate need is the funds to purchase the additional card stock and envelopes. Prayerfully consider a gift to help us purchase the card stock and envelopes. You may make your gift online at, www.theforgivenessfoundation.org, by clicking onto the PayPal logo and following the instructions or you may mail your gift to The Forgiveness Foundation, P. O. Box 24098, New Orleans, Louisiana 70158.
The following men are scheduled to be executed during the month of August 2011:
- August 02 Manuel Valle, (Foreign National) Florida (Temporary Stay)
- August 10 Martin Robles Texas
- August 16 Gary Haugen (Volunteer) Oregon (Stayed for review of mental competence)
- August 16 Brett Hartmann Ohio (Stayed for review of execution protocol)
- August 16 Bruce Ward Arkansas (Stayed)
- August 18 Jerry Jackson Virginia
- August 18 Larry Swearingen Texas (Stayed)
- August 23 Randall Wayne Mays Texas
- August 30 Ivan Abner Cantue Texas
- August 31 Edward W. Edwards Ohio (Died of natural causes waiting to be executed)
Please pray for Manuel, Martin, Gary, Brett, Bruce, Jerry, Larry, Randall and Ivan. Please pray for salvation for the unsaved, peace for the saved, and that if any are innocent, that their innocence be discovered before they are executed. I encourage you to pray for their families and the families of the victims of the crimes for which they are convicted. Pray for salvation for the unsaved, peace for the saved, and the ability to forgive.
Thank you for your prayers and financial support. A little over six years ago The Forgiveness Foundation did not have a website and our focus was to simply share the Gospel with 3,501 men and women on death row in the United States at that time. Our goal was simple: share the Gospel with every man and woman on death row individually. We wanted to make sure that every person on death row knew that God loved them and that no matter what they had done, Jesus had already forgiven them. All they needed to do was accept Jesus, as Lord and Savior, to receive their free gift of eternal life.
Today, the World Wide Web has taken our ministry everywhere the internet is available. This year people from 77 countries have visited our website to participate in The Forgiveness Foundation read the Bible in a year program and to send prayer requests regarding family and friends. The Lord has blessed our journey over the past six years. Thank you for helping to show the love of Jesus Christ and His Gospel with the imprisoned in the United States and with our friends on the World Wide Web!
Rodney Rexrode, The Forgiveness Foundation