Our Yard Pastors & Ministry Coordinators:|
Our Yard Pastors, under the direction of the Protestant Chaplain provide a
non-institutional resource for men interested in changing their lives by
maintaining the Chapel open for Bible Studies, worship services and
counseling throughout the day and evening.
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Rev. Jack Oien, Founder and Yard Pastor, RJDCF
A native of San Diego, Pastor Jack is the son of missionaries to China. He
attended BIOLA College and Long Beach State College part-time while working as a
printer and supervisor for the Aerospace Corporation.
Called to the mission field, he ministered 13 years in the Peruvian jungle as
the print shop manager with Wycliffe Bible Translators. With his wife,
Joyce, he also had a fruitful ministry as youth sponsor for the teenagers who
attended the Wycliffe school.
In 1980, Jack experienced a call to the US pastorate. After completing
seminary, he was ordained at Fellowship bible Church of Park Cities, Dallas,
TX., and served as pastor of the Chula Vista Missionary Church in California for
Jack and Joyce founded the Pastors to Prisoners Prison Ministry. Before
her death in 2003, Joyce asked that Jack continue to grow the ministry as long
as he were able. At Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility, with its
4,700 inmates, Jack has found the richest mission field of his life.
Dr. Roger Ziegler, Yard Pastor RJDCF
After serving at RJ Donovan as a volunteer in the Protestant religious program
for over 10 years, Roger has felt God's call to full time ministry with Pastors
to Prisoners as a Yard Pastor.
Roger is uniquely qualified for prison ministry. He has served in the
KAIROS ministry; he has a Brown Card identification (which allows him to escort
other volunteers); taught Bible studies on several yards, and participated in
chapel programs at Centinela State Prison. He has also been a leader in
ministries at his home church, and has shared his vision of ministering the
Gospel of Jesus Christ to men who have lost all hope.
Roger has seen the fruit of his ministry in men who are now out of prison,
and have found in their faith, the resources to experience not only a new life
in Christ, but the power to experience the changes that allow for a new life of
freedom and lawful productivity in the community.
Roger is giving up his chiropractic practice to follow what he believes in
his heart to be God's call. We eagerly seek your prayers and support as
Roger enters the "devil's playground" as a missionary of the Lord
Rev. Jorge Molina, Yard Pastor RJDCF
Jesus changed my life many years ago on June 2, 1983. I was 27 years old
when I opened the door of my heart and invited Jesus to enter in by asking Him
to "Help Me." I was tired of living. I was a former heroin
addict, gang member and an ex-felon for many years. Since my conversion, I
have worked for the Life Outreach Program, a residential drug and alcohol
program run in San Ysidro for over a decade. I was involved with the San
Diego Country Jail Ministries for about 10 years while working in the New Life
I have been volunteering at RJ Donovan Correctional Facility since
2000. I am now, by the mercy of God, a Yard Pastor. I was ordained
as a minister in 1987 and have been married for over 30 years. My wife and
I have been married for over 30 years. My wife and I have raised 7
children and my love and passion is for those incarcerated. It is a
blessing to be used by God to touch the hearts of many men. I love to see
them turn from a life of crime through the power of God's Word to be God fearing
men in and out of the prison. Keep me in your prayers that God may someday
grant me the privilege to be a Yard Pastor full time. Thanks for your
prayers and support of my ministry.
Rev. Elena Hernandez, Spanish Programs Coord & Yard Pastor at CCI,
In 1984, I became involved in correctional ministries. This was after
experiencing a powerful conversion in the late 1970's while overdosing on cocaine;
an experience which turned my life around completely. In 1990, I was
introduced to Chaplain Buzz Brewer who offered me the position of Program
Coordinator for the Spanish religious programs at RJ Donovan Correctional
Facility. In 1995, feeling the need to further my theological and pastoral
training, I moved to New York city, where I graduated from the Healthcare
I continued volunteering my services as the Spanish Yard Pastor at RJ Donovan
with Pastors to Prisoners, ministering in the mainline yards under the
supervision of the State Chaplain. My role at the prison is to help the
inmates become reconciled with God. In September 2013, I began to minister to the inmates at CCI in Tehachapi, also coordinating the Spanish services and serving as a Yard Pastor.
God has given me great love and compassion for the people in jails and
prisons, and I believe my strong commitment to those in prison is rooted in the
knowledge that this is a God-given calling.
Rev. Clyde Huff, Yard Pastor Centinela SP
Clyde, a native Californian, has lived in the Imperial Valley of California for
almost 40 years. He moved there to operate the family farm after marrying
his Bible college sweetheart, Joan. Together they have served without
interruption as Sunday School teachers and church workers at Imperial Community
The Lord works in mysterious ways and, guess what! Just down the road
from his farm a new state prison was erected. What began as an annoyance
to a landholder metamorphosed for Clyde into a consuming burden for the lost men
behind the razor wire. When chaplain Steve Francis asked him to visit the
prison one night a week to help with a Bible class, he unwittingly agreed.
He was unprepared, however, for the incredible blessing he received from
ministering to those felons.
His wife has since joined him in ministering to the inmates 2 nights a week
and they now feel called to turn the farm over to others and concentrate
full-time on prison ministry. with this goal in mind, he pursued and
received ordination and is now serving half-time at Centinela Prison while he
seeks to raise financial support and turns the farm over to others.
Pastor Elliott LaQuinn Nichols, Yard Pastor RJDCF
Elliott Nichols has been serving at Donovan Prison since 2010. Much of the time he is accompanied by his beautiful wife Rosemary. He will tell anyone who will listen that Prison Ministry is definitely his calling. He even takes a part in the Spanish services by utilizing an interpreter. He loves providing the spiritual guidance, love, and support the men desire and need. He is a real soldier for the Lord.
Pastor Aaron Buttery, Yard Pastor RJDCF
Pastor Aaron: In 2013, Aaron walked away from a career in nuclear power to pursue God's call in his life for prison ministry. Since then, he has been serving as a volunteer at R.J. Donovan State Prison, fulfilling a variety of roles for the Protestant religious program. In 2017 Aaron graduated from Bethel Seminary with a Master of Divinity and was ordained by Converge Worldwide, a Baptist conference that has been around for over 165 years.
Aaron has been faithfully serving as a Yard Pastor on Facility A at R.J. Donovan since October of 2016. As a Yard Pastor, Aaron helps inmates meet, know, and follow Jesus through Bible studies, prayer groups, Sunday church services, Kairos events, one on one counseling, walking the yard, and cell visits.
With your partnership, Aaron can continue to bring a message of hope and healing, and be a beacon of light in a place of great pain, brokenness, and despair.
Pastor Michael Solorio, Yard Pastor California Correctional Institution in Tehachapi
Pastor Michael: I would like to give God all the praise and glory for rescuing me from six years of drug addiction and alcohol. It was in January 29, 1991 when I was invited to come to a small church in Fairfax, CA that I had a personal encounter with Jesus Christ. I had never attended a church before, and when the Pastor said to me at the altar: "Before you get God in your life, you have to acknowledge the one who died on the cross for you, Jesus Christ." Then I said: "Jesus, please forgive me for my sins". Then I fell on the floor and cried like I had never cried before. When I got up I was not the same person. Jesus touched my heart and I was a new born again Christian filled with the Holy Spirit.
Immediately after that experience I started working with people from the streets who had the same background that God delivered me from. In 2008 I started volunteering at a local radio station helping with a Spanish program called "Treasures Out of Darkeness". Then in 2012 I felt a call from God to get involved in prison ministry and started volunteering at the Shafter & Lerdo County Jails in Bakersfield as well as at the Wasco prison, where I am going to start being the Volunteer Coordinator under the supervision of the Community Resources Manager. In 2015 God opened doors for me to start volunteering at the California Correctional Institution in Tehachapi where I have been ministering since then.
I have a deep compassion for the inmates because they need hope and we in Christ have the answer to their need: Jesus Christ!
Pastor Terry Linthicum, Yard Pastor Centinela State Prison
Pastor Terrill: I was raised by my parents in southern California along with my three brothers. After graduating High School, I went on to become a successful entrepreneur and in 1995 I married my wife of now 24 years; adopting two girls who are now 22 and 18, respectively. In 1999 the Lord Jesus Christ called me to trust Him with my life and family. I learned from Him that I knew neither how to be a husband and father, nor how to trust the God of Bible; even when I knew what He was asking me to do. God's word taught me everything that I needed to know and renewed my mind by the faithfulness of His love.
Over the years He taught me to be faithful to Him and to lead my family through thick and thin. He led me to begin sharing His word with others and has now put me in the position of Yard Pastor at Centinela State Prison. It is truly a humbling experience to proclaim the Good News to broken men. Yard Pastors provide encouragement and discipleship, both of which are so very important to men who really desire to break the strongholds in their lives, the tempting pleasures of this world. The fight against evil is daily, if not hourly, for so many of these men who desire an abiding relationship with Jesus and the Hope He offers in Himself.